Saturday, 10 September 2011 05:15

The cause of white racism

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This paper says that racism is caused by the empirical differences in the attainment of science and technology by European and African peoples. It says that racism will be cured when African people catch up with the West, not merely by Africans cussing white men out.


If you are an African and have lived in America for any length of time you probably have noticed the existence of racism in the land. You probably have wondered why white folks are in the main racist. When you deal with individual white folks you may not notice their racism; in fact, you may even conclude that they are nice people but when you deal with the larger white world, especially when you seek employment in the land you notice the workings of the peculiar institution. Since instinctively, if you are like me, you probably believe that all human beings are equal and the same you feel baffled by the institution of racism. You ask: why are many white folks racist? I have asked that question. In this essay I try to answer my question.

There must be some sort of reason why many white folks are racists and the sooner we address those reasons the better for all of us. Racism is probably rooted in many white folks perception of black folks as inferior to them and as a backward people.

In the mid-1400s the Portuguese, and for our present purpose white folks finally came to the land of the blacks, Africa. Portuguese sailors sailed on the coast of West Africa from what is now Mauritania to South Africa (they reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1488...please notice that they had the technology to come to our world whereas we did not have the marine technology to go to their world). The Africans they saw were mostly naked and backward compared to the Europeans. Europeans had the technology to sail the high seas whereas the best Africans of the time were able to do is have dugout canoes. The European sailors did not see great African civilizations and did not see giant houses built with bricks, mortar and stones; they did not see great monuments to human ingenuity and architectural accomplishments such as the Basilica in Rome, The Notre Dame in Paris, and other architectural wonders of the Western world. In Africa they saw people living in thatched huts.

They must have asked: Why are Africans behind us? Africans certainly look like us except their color but in accomplishments they seem way behind us, so why so? They must have additionally asked whether Africans are capable of civilization or whether they are a lesser breed of human beings who cannot mount a civilization. And if they are lacking civilization because of some genetic factors do we, whites, want to intermingle with them and have our progeny degenerate to their lower levels of being? They probably did not want to be like the backward Africans that they saw.

(I am aware of West African empires, such as Ghana, Mal and, Songhai; those were strictly speaking not African civilizations for they were stimulated by Arabs and their Islam...Congo by the Portuguese... and at any rate they did not leave great monuments of achievement behind unless you consider capturing your people and matching them across the desert and selling them to Arabs as sign of civilization or in the case of the Congo selling your people to Portuguese as civilization. Some Africans take pride in ancient Egyptian civilization. Chiak Anta Diop and Chancellor Williams contend that Egypt was an African civilization. However, given where Egypt is located, on the Mediterranean with a Mediterranean climate, the chances are that like those who live in Mediterranean climes all over the world they were probably brown, not white or black although they had some Sudanese, Nubians, in their empire. Ancient Egyptians were probably like today's Egyptians, Semitic? And even if old Egypt was African that does not mitigate the fact that in contemporary black Africa there is no advanced scientific and technological civilization.)

If we know anything for certain about human beings it is that they always want to improve themselves; they want to be better than they are. In Europe the poor want to be as good as the aristocrats who live in mansions and rule them and certainly do not want to be like what seemed to them primitive Africans. They did not want their children to be around Africans for if children are around each other they tend to grow up without any sense of race difference and marry each other. White folks probably believed that if their children married blacks and produced children that the children would be as backward as the Africans they saw in the 1400s.

Human beings are separated selves, egos housed in bodies. Their bodies are vulnerable to injury and prone to pain. Therefore, they tend to experience fear. We all feel fear of all kinds of things, including fear of harm, death and failure. Europeans probably had normal ego fears of not wanting to descend to what seemed to them lower levels of African civilization. In America where racism is intense we know that those who settled America were poor white folks. They probably wanted to be like their rich folk in Europe, like the aristocrats that owned the lands of Europe. They therefore did not want to be lowered to what seemed to them lower levels of African civilization and certainly did not want their children to descend to what seemed to them primitive African states of being.

How do I know that these were probably how white folks felt? I do not know how any human being feels; no human being is in another human being's head to know how he feels but through projective identification we can all sense how other persons feel, not accurately, of course. What I suspect is how Europeans felt is how I felt the last time I was in Africa. I saw Africans in ragged clothes, some naked, most without shoes. The people lived in squalor and incredible poverty. I felt that the people were less developed than Europeans. From that experience I sensed how racist whites must have felt about Africans upon their encounter with Africans; they must have seen Africans as primitive and therefore not wanting anything to do with them (except use them as slaves).

I believe that the root cause of racism is Europeans perception of Africans as primitive.

So, how come Africans are backward in every area of human endeavor making it possible for those who see them to draw the inference that they are primitive? Our schools in Africa were given to us by white folks, before them we did not develop formal schooling, did not develop the art of writing, and did not invent the wheel etc.

In the extant world white racists say that black folks are less intelligent than them. They cite what they call black folks lower score on their intelligence tests as evidence. In the West there are three main intelligence Tests: Stanford Binnet, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales, WAIS, and Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children, WISC. These tests are designed to figure out average folks' intelligence. The idea is that if one is at least average that one would be able to learn at school. The tests are supposed to identify students who can benefit from regular education and those who cannot and need special education classes. The tests do not predict how the individual would do in life in general but how well he would do at learning situations.

The IQ tests are scored from one to about 140. Generally, the average white person scores 100. Some whites are above average (score from 118-130) and a handful have superior intelligence (score above 132). Asians as a whole tend to score higher than white folks, their average is about 115. Black Americans tend to score lower than whites by about fifteen points (85). Africans, we are now told, tend to score even lower than black Americans (average 70).

It should be noted that in America IQ of 70 is considered mental retardation. Africans average score therefore means that the average African is mentally retarded. At least that is the hidden message white psychometricians want to tell the general public. The other message is that Africans are so mentally retarded that they cannot govern themselves well nor do anything well. The Nobel Laureate, James Watson, of DNA fame, said as much.

(Africans appreciate the psychological warfare involved in this whole IQ business; it is propaganda to convince Africans that they are so dumb that they should allow supposed smart white persons to govern them, to do the more difficult work; this whole IQ controversy is designed to give white folks a sense of superiority over blacks and give black folk a sense of inferiority and rationalize white rule and control of black folks. One should not underestimate the warfare going on here for many white professors, especially in the physical sciences do not believe that black students can make it to prestigious universities or that black professors can teach there; blacks are supposed to teach at less demanding universities and or community colleges.)

Scores on IQ tests tend to be correlated with scores on college entrance examinations such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). White average here is about 1100 out of 1600 possible points; Asians average tends to be about 1250 out of 1600 possible scores; black Americans tend to score around 900 out of 1600 possible points. Africans probably score even lower. The implication here is that the average black person is unable to enter the top 100 American universities that supposedly select the best high school students (those with SAT scores of 1400 and higher, and high school cumulative grade point average of 3.8 out of 4).

These statistics appear to be what testers find. If they are correct the question is: Are black people at the bottom of the intelligence totem pole, with Asians at the top and white folks in the middle? If you go by the test scores you would say so. But the real question is whether those tests do in fact test Africans accurately? Do they? Does what measure intelligence in the West do so in Africa?

If intelligence is what it takes to adapt to ones environment surely Africans adapted to their environment and obviously succeeded for they are alive. If they adapted to their tropical world they surely are intelligent? A typical African child knows most of the medicinal leaves and roots in his world, a knowledge that would take medical and or pharmacological education for white folks to have.

A white racist would say that Africans adapted to their environment in the most minimal manner considering the lack of the indicators of high civilization in Africa. Africans could retort by saying that the tropical environment did not require them to be inventive to survive on it. One could go about naked in the tropics and survive. In the colder regions of the world, on the other hand, you must be inventive to survive. If you did not wear clothes and shoes you would freeze to death in England during the winter months. Moreover, nature is more generous in the tropics; one can feed on all sorts of fruits and other largesse of nature and survive all year round whereas in the temperate world one must save food for the winter months or one dies.

So why do Africans do poorly on IQ and college entrance examinations? I do not know the answer. I have seen the tests and do not consider them particularly difficult. If it is true that Africans do not do well on those tests I do not understand what is going on here.

Let me ask this question. Since the rest of the world perceives Africans to be unintelligent and backward how is it that this does not bother Africans enough for them to do something about their people? As noted above I visited Africa and saw African school children in dirty rags and wearing no shoes...they probably get infected by all sorts of parasites from walking around bare footed, such as jiggers (they are not given food at school as American school children are given, for well-fed children learn better than hungry children). So why is it that given the insults heaped on Africans by other races their leaders do not get mad enough to undertake to develop their people, provide all children of school age with good education up to university level paid for by the public, make sure that children wear good clothes and shoes and are well fed and have access to medical treatment.

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176