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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Do We Stop Self-Hate In the African American Community? Guest blog by Commencement Author Lawrence Cherry

Everyone knows that the biggest problem that African-Americans have is self-hatred. Self-hatred is what causes the low self-esteem in our young people, which in turn, causes them to murder each other. Self-hatred is what causes our mothers and fathers to devalue their children. Self-hatred is the primary reason why our local and national community leaders can’t work together for our own benefit.  Self-hatred is the primary obstacle to the progress of African-American people. We all know it, but we do nothing about it. Instead we work to try to get legislation passed. We work to get more social programs. We fight for more money and resources to be poured into the community. Our people minimize and trivialize the impact of self-hatred on our people, believing that if we have material wealth, the self-hatred will go away. However, the past 40 years or so since the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has proven the aforementioned idea false.  All of our efforts will be rendered useless unless we first eliminate self-hatred.

            We first we have to know where the self-hatred is coming from. It is issuing from those who have an interest in keeping African-Americans a part of a subjugated minority. It is indoctrination that comes from the media at all levels. It also comes from our nations classrooms a.k.a social engineering factories. This indoctrination is targeted toward African-Americans and other groups to make them feel not only less than, but powerless in the face of the forces that conspire against them. It comes in several forms and African-Americans must be aware of these forms in order to combat it.

Open discrimination/racism – Within open discrimination and racism, we are told that we are less than and are excluded from conversation and dialogue within the mainstream. It takes the form of openly racist symbolism, speech, philosophy and other content. There tends to be a lot of hyperbole attached to race. Black men are always hypermasculine, hypersexual, tend to have superhuman strength and agility which is contrasted against a lack of mental acumen. Everything attributed to African-Americans is given a negative connotation. This type of self-hate message relies on the suspension of disbelief to adhere to its far-fetched ideas. Most purveyors of this kind of hate rely primarily on pseudo-science and fairy tales. Hate-groups are most closely associated with this type of indoctrination of self-hatred. I have seen some blacks who identify with and dally with this kind of self-hatred. They believe that whites are gods who hold the power of life and death over them. It is beyond tragic to say that there are proponents for white hate groups within the black community today: black groups that say they are working with white hate groups. It is the result of an open loathing of self and complete disregard for life.

Our response should be:  The devil is a liar! I am what God says I am! – Out right rejection and refusal to accept or entertain anything that comes from this quarter. These folks have discredited themselves with the outrageousness of their claims. Imagine if someone came to you and said “African-Americans are merely a mutation from a strand of bleu cheese!” It’s not even worth the time to take to refute it.

Covert discrimination/racism – This kind of indoctrination relies heavily on the “American Assimilation Ideal.”  According to covert discrimination, the goal is to get African-Americans to want to assimilate into mainstream society and become “Americans”. The problem with this is that African-Americans are already Americans by virtue of being born and raised on this soil. We are already Americans because our forefathers fought and died for what we have and have influenced the progress of this country as much as any other group. What this self-hating indoctrination implies is that African-Americans must accept an artificial construct of what “American” means.  Within the artificial “American” construct is the idea that whites are physically, culturally, and mentally superior and African-Americans should be striving to aspire to this ideal. The paradox is while they insist you must assimilate, they constantly deny you the access to do so.

Equality is denied African-Americans through the use of coded language, which is used to separate African-Americans from others in the mainstream. Terms like “urban”, “low socio-economic-status”, “at-risk,” “foreign,” “single-parent household” are used to describe African-Americans while terms like “traditional”, “family values-oriented”, and “conservative” are used to describe the mainstream. In order to be American, we have to give up our history and embrace the “collective” history, which is watered down and only references one particular group. They will tell you that being a true “American” according to their concept means x,y and z and at the same time insist that African-Americans never had x, can never attain y, and inherently don’t have z, making your “American” status always suspect. African-Americans who get caught up in this group are always trying to prove they are ‘good enough’ to be a part of the mainstream. Most of the self-hatred indoctrination of this kind usually comes from amongst the likes of conservatives.

Our response should be: Firstly, we are God’s property first and foremost. Who I am in Christ trumps whatever you want to call people down here. When the judgment comes, I don’t think God is going to care about what country you come from. He’s going to be looking at your heart. That being said, I’m striving to be called a citizen of the Kingdom first and foremost! Secondly, I’m already an American whether you like it or not and I don’t have to ‘assimilate’ or prove anything to anyone! I was born here. My slave ancestors helped to build this country. My forefathers fought and died for this country just like yours. They made valuable contributions like yours. I work and pay taxes just like everyone else. The Constitution should work for me the same way it works for you. “American” does not equal a certain culture, class, or skin color. America is a place with all kinds of people in it. It’s always been that way and always will be. If you don’t like that, you can exercise your right to move out.

Liberal Racism: Self-hating indoctrination from the liberal quarter is very hard to detect and is almost subliminal. The liberal self-hate indoctrination can be very enticing because the focus is always on creating programs for African-American uplift. On the face of it, it seems very philanthropic, but when you turn it over, you can see what it really implies. The liberal self-hate indoctrination tells African-Americans that they can’t achieve anything without the help of the mainstream or some outside group. There’s always some group or figure head who tries to make their claim to fame by ‘saving’ the people of the inner city. To these people, we African-Americans are too stupid and backward to help ourselves. We never get a voice in the design of these ‘programs’, but have them foisted upon us by these elites who feel they know better.

Most of the programs that are brought to our community from outside agents aren’t really used to help us up, but to keep us in our place so we will not compete within the mainstream. For example, welfare has been used to pacify our people and make them complacent. Many of our people don’t even try to better themselves so long as welfare, section 8, SSI, or some other program exists as a crutch for them. The programs we’ve been given don’t help us where we need it: building community ties, self-esteem, building our culture, ect. The liberal philanthropist just throws cash at existing problems making them worse than before.  A young woman who has been sexually abused and is about to become a young mother doesn’t need just a bi-weekly stipend of $120.00. She also needs counseling, training as a parent and training for a job. She needs love and support from the larger community and mentoring from strong black women. Finally, no one is going to give you something for nothing. In some cases, the philanthropy in the black community is just another way to get a customer for some business.

Our response should be: Thanks, but no thanks, man. I know there’s a God who can supply my each and every need. If God be with us we can rebuild our community and our culture and it wouldn’t take all the money the philanthropists think it would take.

Every once in a while each of these types of indoctrination will employ unwitting self-hating African-Americans to achieve their ends. We have to recognize them as self-haters rather than buy into what they are selling because they are African-Americans. Here is your litmus test: Any African-American that is consistently associated with positive images, language, and actions is a free-thinker. Anyone else is just another self-hater and I don’t care how much money, prestige, or clout they seem to have.
Overall, the goal of each of these forms of indoctrination is to get the African-American to feel as if he/she is less than and to believe in the godhood of mainstream society and the structures it has set up to limit our capacities. We have to de-install the virus of self-hatred out of our minds and hearts and create our own definition of what it means to be an African American. I believe that starts with a return to God.

As a people we have to get back to our spiritual roots in Christ. Our self-hatred comes directly from the fact that we don’t know who we are in Christ. We have to recognize that God made us just like he made other people and he loves us just as much. Stop believing what the mainstream says. When the media tries to put one message in our head we have to check that with the Word of God. Nowhere in the Word of God does it say that African-Americans are inferior, less worthy, stupid, hypersexual, evil or any other negative things that have been attributed to us.  Stop worrying about what the mainstream thinks about you. Worry about what God thinks about you.  

We also have to stop looking at the government, the majority, or the constructs that have been set in place to hold us back. We have to realize that if we have God on our side, it doesn’t matter what the so called ‘powers that be’ set up against us. Most people who don’t read the Bible know about what happened in Egypt when Pharaoh tried to break the nation of Israel. Pharaoh thought he had it made because he had money and military might. In the end, nothing Pharaoh had could match the power of God who was working on Israel’s behalf. If you read the second book of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 14: 7- 15), you will read about the history of king Asa and how he was challenged by the Ethiopian army which came out with a host of “a thousand-thousand and three hundred” or a 1,000,300 soldiers, but the army of Israel prevailed against them with only 580,000 men. Israel defeated an army nearly twice their size because the Lord was on their side.  You should also read what king Hezekiah did when Sennacherib the King of Assyria threatened him (Isaiah, 36-38). And there are plenty more instances where God deliverd his people. There is no power except the power of God. ‘nough said!

The Bible also says “the Lord is with you, while you be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him he will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2) If we as a people want the mercy of the Lord to overshadow us, we must return to Him. We have to put away the false gods of materialism, money, lust, and covetousness and turn to the true God with our whole hearts.  For too long we have been worrying about trying to get a good man or a good woman. We’ve been chasing after jobs, and political change. We’ve been worrying about entertainers and athletes. We need to be worrying about our relationship with God.

If our relationship with God is not right, nothing else in our lives will be. Inside of every single person created there is a spiritual space where God is supposed to dwell. That is how God designed us. When God is absent from our lives, we feel as if something isn’t right. When we are far from God and doing things that are against his order and his will, there is something that will nag at us and let us. If we don’t take heed it can indeed become self-hatred. The self-hatred will create a lot of self-made problems that 
can destroy our own lives. But then God is always faithful to intervene.

Sometimes God will allow us to be overcome by our enemies so that we can wake up and realize how much we need Him. When I think of the state of African-American people today, I can’t help but think about how when Israel went into captivity to Babylon. Israel had it good for a long time, but when times were good, they forgot God and God had to bring them down so that they would turn back to Him. After the Civil Rights Movement, a lot of us thought we’d made it. Then we went in with Baal. Young black people started worshiping politics. Some of our people turned our back on God for communism and other vain philosophies. Some of us got caught up in the chase for the “American Dream.” We forgot about how God delivered us from slavery. We forgot that it was God that moved men to create and sign civil rights legislation. We forgot that God moved on our behalf to end segregation. We told God we didn’t need him anymore and tried in vain to make our own success with our limited knowledge and understanding of things. Now we’re paying the price.

It also makes me think about King Josiah and how he led Israel to return to God when he found the book of the law that God wrote through Moses. When Josiah found the book after all those years, he immediately wanted to do everything that was in it. I think our people should be like that. We should get the Bible and want to do everything that God says. Not pick and choose what we will listen to based on modern notions of political correctness. We must live according to every word that is in the Bible. We need to do this, not just so that we will prevail over those that are oppressing us, and not just so that we can have material blessings on earth. We should be doing it because of a love for a God who first loved us. In fact, he sent his only Son to redeem us! Think about how great a sacrifice He made for us! Trust me people, there is nothing in the Word of God that has been written to limit us, or take away our joy or pleasure. When we follow the Word of God we will have more happiness. A lot of times we think that if we could just have our way, we’d be happy, but God knows better than we do and He wants only the best for his children. Many if not most of the things we want for ourselves will only lead to destruction.

Our African-American people need God. He’s not a white man’s God. He is the God of all creation. He loves us and he desires our good, but we have to turn to Him. All the legislation in the world can’t change things. Self-haters will inevitably give up any rights fought for. All the money in the world can’t change things. Self-haters will use it for their own destruction. All the people in the world can’t change things (remember the Tower of Babel). Self-haters just end up arguing without getting anything done. God alone can change things. He will, if we have faith in his Son Jesus.
At the end of the day the only way to stop self-hate is with Love. God is Love.

P. S.
Turning your heart toward God would be a lot easier if you turned the TV off and don’t spend all day on the Internet either. I’ll tell you from experience, television (and also the internet) is an addictive habit like drugs or anything else negative that needs to be put down. I found that when I put down TV, I had a lot of free time to do a lot of things I never thought I had time for before – like reading the Bible, prayer, meditation, writing, and visiting places and people. Turning off TV opened up a whole new world for me. I can’t say enough about how harmful TV and movies can be. TV, movies, and music are the primary vehicles that are used to undermine and erode self-love in our community. There are very few positive films/shows about African-Americans and I refuse to support racist imagery or shows/movies in which people pretend that we don’t exist. So if you’re not sure if it’s good for you, just turn it off!




  1. Wow. Another powerful post. Reading this stirred up something in me. The examples you use from the bible are so poignant.

    "Most of the programs that are brought to our community from outside agents aren’t really used to help us up, but to keep us in our place so we will not compete within the mainstream." This post is so true. It disturbs me that many black people can't see that "handouts" are not really helping me but keeping them complacent so that they won't think too big.

    Thank you so much Lawrence Cherry for another powerful post. I look forward to more from you.

  2. I just want to say Shawn THANK YOU for putting thought to pen! My 60 year old self has been thinking these thoughts for a very long time. I have tried to demonstrate all that you have written in your article.Now i will post it with your blessing & hopefully the written version which is far more exact will "make the difference" my friend!

    Signed...Beshaun :>

  3. How do we stop self hate in the Black community? Awareness and introspection. People have to become aware of how they self hate and why. We need more posts and conversations like this in all forms. Unfortunate as it is, for some people, self hating is a part of how they develop a strong racial identity. They eventually become aware and evolve in their opinions and actions regarding race.

    I also wonder if there's a difference between self-hate and self sabotage, even if the two are related. Some of what we call self hate may actually be self sabotage.

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