Submitted by Terence Blackett
Angry Black Men: What Is the Categorical Imperative Given the Psychopathology of Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder and Its Perturbations on the Black Family?
“You cannot heal what you do not understand…” Dr. Joy DeGruy
To unpack any controversial piece of literary discourse can be a daunting task. What is even more challenging is tackling a taboo subject area that can be unnerving, as the pertinent issues of the historical argument, ebb and flow, while trying to build a knowledge base that may have timeless structural integrity.
In exploring this volcanic concept of “Angry Black Men” – there remains a Herculean edifice under construction. So the opportunity to rumble, (with no holds barred), gives this postmodern phenomenon the oxygen it needs to bring openness to a socio-political rift that seriously affects the Black family, but moreover, how this psychopathology can be contained and managed through a variety of remedial recommendations, radical policy initiatives, and most urgently, grassroots programs that will shine a floodlight on Black murder rates, Black suicides, Black prostitution, Black human trafficking, loss of Black community and probably most important of all, how do we teach the lost sons of Israel about their true heritage without the shackles of Albino-centric religiosity.
It is a scientifically proven fact that intergenerational transmission of social, cultural, moral, philosophical and spiritual capital has reproduced inequalities across the periphery of the Black family and any attempt at a one-sided explanation of the issues that merely focuses on just socioeconomic relations or Black culture or socio-academic discourse or religious exercises is in itself radically incomplete at best, and copiously sterile at worst.
Philosophers and sociologists argue that – “on the possibility of achieving goods which are valued and which bring recognition, the inequalities in resources and opportunities themselves have little or nothing to do with the moral worth or merit of individuals, but they have a major impact on self-respect” (Sayer 2005). Heretofore, it is on this issue of self-respect that seems at the heart of the problem with Black men, as some would argue. But is it really that simplistic? Or are there more profound and complex vagaries at play, given the historical transmission of coded imprinted trauma lodged in the DNA structure of Black men?
To unpack the body of lies, myths and subterfuge levelled at the sons of Ham, we must look at the moral penchant of men like German philosopher & sociologist Emmanuel Kant who opines on what he HYPOCRITICALLY CALLS the “Categorical Imperative” which denotes “a moral principle that you should act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will, that it become a universal law”, meaning that “you should act a certain way only if you’re willing to have everyone else act the same way too.” This kind of rabid “Enlightenment Thinking & Theory” (still taught in our universities unchallenged) has crossed over into a ‘clash of civilizations’ over whether the sons of Ashkenaz are the rightful rulers of the earth – to govern over all other men.
Kantian philosophy remains buggered by the defense of ‘moral equality’ and the gangbang usurpation of ‘assumed lawful dignity’ of all humans – (except the Black man, of course). Kant’s misogynistic parlance is patently overshadowed by his necrotic racism towards Afrocentric people suggesting white men are naturally somehow superior to all other races, giving them the rights of rulership over the rest of the earth – creating a never-ending apocalypsus that has not changed since the days of Christ and grew into the Leviathan that now is, since the fallout from the aptly known – “BLACK DEATH” during the 1400’s – yet remaining a dominant scourge on the world stage until today.
Kant’s racist views are endemic features of the Western philosophical narrative of his era, along with other lauded, supposedly veritable Enlightenment figures whose “classifications” were used like a magic wand to inflict the maximum damage upon the souls and psyches of other human beings – namely, Black folks! All of the gimmickry fostered by a belief system in the divine right of kings to enslave upon dictat; socially engineered practices of oppression and subjugation at the end of a musket, sword, chains or truncheon – supported and upheld by socio-reLIEgious & political institutions like the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and other so-called Protestant churches that traded in the souls of men – (‘created in the image of God’), which now forms the historical context for much of this diabolical discourse, as seen in the spurious curse levelled upon Black and Brown people.
In the United States, the conceptual theory of the “Black Youth Bulge” is an epiphenomenon of late 20th century “strategic demography”which looks at population characteristics such as age, ethnicity, geographic location and numbers to help locate homegrown terrorists or those who pose criminal threats, as have been evidenced since the post-COVID PLANdemic fallout (notwithstanding, the irony can always be traduced by Caucasian men who themselves seem by overwhelming odds, to be the perpetrators of much more violent crime).
In Kant’s table of moral classifications, whites get the nod of approval, while Africans can only be “trained as slaves and servants”. He suggest that the American Negro slave is completely the opposite of newly stolen African slaves, (which implies the tenet of indoctrination and compliance), by opining that “they are full of affection and passion, very lively, very vain in the Negroes way, and so talkative that they must be driven apart from each other with thrashings. They can be educated but only as servants (slaves); that is, they allow themselves to be “trained” as servants. They have many motivating forces, are also sensitive, are afraid of blows and do much out of a sense of honor” (Harbovsky 2013)
In Britain, pilot studies now look at how social measures including areas of social policy, does have an impact on a growing segment of the young Black, Afro-Caribbean and Black African populations, who are clearly, increasingly and tragically disillusioned by the structural inefficiencies created by a closed-classist-cult-system that undermines and stymies accelerated upward mobility, (unless you are filthy rich as in the case of Rishi Sunak) and limits true social progress amongst ethnic minorities, with the determinant factors centering on: mis-targeted hate, spillover anger and gratuitous violence.
In Kant’s categorical imperative, “educated black folks” or those self-taught are created purely of physical coercion and/or corporeal punishment – hence, the concept of the “ROD” and the schoolmaster! No wonder I refused to be flogged! This glaring admission is nefariously redacted in Kantian philosophy as to how to flog the African servant or slave into submission and obedience. One must ask – how many generations have had to suffer from this kind of trauma (even today) – both from home and school? Kant suggest that in order to control and bring the African servants to total obedience or submission “a split bamboo cane be used instead of a whip, so that the ‘negro’ will suffer a great deal of pains (because of the ‘Negro’s thick skin’, he would not be racked with sufficient agonies through a whip) but without dying” (Eze 1997).
According to Kant, “to beat the Negro efficiently requires a split cane rather than a whip, because the blood needs to find a way out of the Negro’s thick skin to avoid festering” (Kant 1965). The justification for this view, he argues that this kind of “training” (corporeal punishment) is due to being “exclusively idle,” lazy, and prone to hesitation and jealousy – attributing all these negative qualities of the Negro to the fact that he (the Negro) through some climatic and anthropological reasons lacks ‘true’ (rational and moral) character”. These views above and beyond the limits of logic or reason about the African were informed by the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the 400-year-old horribilis diabolicus that has ensued in its aftermath.
In Britain, Black women who have babies are more susceptible to what Caucasian medical doctors believe, that Black pregnant women have a higher pain threshold than their counterparts and also that Black men have a higher pain tolerance level when it comes to medical interventionist procedures (cue the long list of medical experimentation on Blacks including the Tuskegee debacle). All these and more, cement the low-hanging demonic fruit that men serve up from the tree of the knowledge of so-called good and pestilent evil – peddled as a steady diet of malfeasance upon an unsuspecting and ill-informed group of people.
So the next time anyone ask – “Why are you so angry?” – ask them if they want the #LongVersion or the #Short! Anger is a natural human emotion that affects us all at some point. But for Black men, anger has a nascent psychopathology that is rooted in survivalist doctrine and etched in the endocrine structure of our being as anatomical facets – psychic scars that cannot be easily unpacked, and it is clear what happens when the windmill spins out of control, resulting in stabbings, gun violence, robberies and rape – causing irredeemable trauma for the Black family and other community relationships, friendships, work environments but especially law enforcement, (which is an extension from the plantocracy system that has not shed its malignant shackles).
Anger unmistakably damages personal relationships. We are cautioned in Scripture – “be angry but sin not” – yet these relationships are often the ones least likely most would want to lose when there is a hemorrhoidal flare up of any kind. The target is usually moms, dads, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, neighbours and the occasional nutjob. Thus, actions often taken under intense anger are regretted after the damage is already done because the ‘spirit’ which govern anger is of such a spiritual nature and few men can control themselves enough to be angry (or better yet – “RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT”) and get the desired outcome. The Bible warns us that “the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God” and even though we can get angry, we must not knowingly sin against a brother or a sister for any reason whatsoever. The difficulty comes in balancing these two extremes and even for the most astute amongst us – the challenge proves far too great.
Our young Black men vigorously opine that it is their right to be angry given what they are up against within the system (and maybe rightly so). However, reason dictates erring on the side of caution, on that one! This psychopathology which was elucidated by social historian Herbert Moller’s 1968 article – “Youth as a Force in the Modern World” in ‘Comparative Studies in Society and History’, argues that: “although the individual ‘age curves’ of psychopathy (or ‘sociopathy’) assume a variety of shapes, all manifestations of this personality disorder – from ‘wild oats’ behaviour, excessive self-assertion and pugnacity to criminal acts – are predominantly correlated with youth. It follows that primitive tendencies and psychopathic behaviours can be expected to increase in any population commensurately with its youthfulness.“
In hindsight, there may some agreement on Moller’s assertion, however, today, over 7 million people in the US are behind bars, on parole, probation, or otherwise under supervision by the criminal justice system. Two-thirds of these prisoners are “DISPROPORTIONATELY” Black and now Latinos (who being the original peoples of The Americas) – these groups comprise almost two-fifth of the population as a whole, while almost half of Americans live in poverty and the greater percentage ratio is amongst African Americans. These disparaging social statistics are contributing factors to the climate of hate and anger so prevalent in America, as we continue to see all kinds of fallout from this man-made structural phenomenon.
In Britain, according to a 2003 Home Office Study, it is suggested that “1 in every 100 Black British adults is now in prison”. The numbers in 2022 are however much, much higher given the fact that foreign Blacks now also occupy British jails in increasing numbers due to immigration offences, drugs trade and other transnational crimes – symptoms of a legacy of virulent, imperial domination by Anglo-Saxons.
It is undeniable that the psychopathology of angry black men is wrapped up in the historical legacy of imperialism, colonialism, African slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, apartheid, and social injustice across the spectrum – something which 400 years has not been able to completely eradicate, remedy or heal to any measurable degree, no matter how prosperous, affluent or technologically savvy we have become. The scars of such historical pain still bear that psychic imprint upon the psyche of the Black man, bearing low-hanging fruit in the form of gang & domestic violence, HIP-HOP-YOB culture and increasing incidences of Black on Black crime, senseless violence and bloody murders.
W. E. DuBois reminds the Black man – “The Negro is a sort of 7th son, born with a veil, and gifted with 2nd-sight in this American world – a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” Is DuBois right? Are we really children of a lesser God?
It’s now 400 years on (Scripturally & historically) and the question remains: “What will it take to break this generational curse that still affects the angry Black man?”
Let’s posit what Dr. Joy DeGruy can answer regarding this question given its true primordial and anthropological complexity leaving her traumatic analysis here as a small light shining amidst the dense darkness that has veiled the lives of billions of Israelite descendants. As a proponent of epigenetics and how those visceral factors affect every Black person today is something that Dr. DeGruy can speak to with much more tempered alacrity and salient authority than anyone else on the world’s stage. I leave you in her capable hands…