By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (October 6, 2001)

The September 11th airplane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, has produced a variety of responses, passions, fears, and attitudes.

According to an article written by syndicated African in America columnist Clarence Page, "The Boston Globe reports that 71 percent of Black respondents to a Gallup Poll said they would favor special, more intensive security checks for Arabs, including those who are U. S. citizens, before boarding a plane." What is revealing about this poll, as cited in Page’s column, is "A smaller majority of whites 57 percent, said they would favor such a policy and, while there was no specific category for Hispanics and Asians, 63 percent of non-whites said they too favor the policy."

Page explains that "Even more disturbing in the Gallup poll was the 64 percent of Blacks and 56 per cent of other non-whites who favored requiring Arabs, including those who are U. S. citizens, to carry special identification as a means of preventing terrorist attacks. Forty-eight percent of whites opposed such a drastic move."

Many of us in the African Liberation Movement have been critical, and suspect, over the years, of polls conducted by white polling firms in terms of their accuracy and interpretations. However, given the flag waving hysteria taking place and many African people in America joining the bandwagon, it appears that the attitudes of some African people regarding their attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims, in the wake of these attacks on the United States, may have some merit.

The question is, why some African people in America have developed negative attitudes towards Arabs, Muslims, and so-called Middle Easterners in the face of this crisis in the United States? Why would some African people in America, a people who historically have been profiled since our capture and forced introduction to the western hemisphere in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, developed these kinds of attitudes revealed in the Gallup Poll? Even if we challenge the accuracy of the percentages of this poll, why are some African people responding in this manner?

One answer to this question might be revealed in the writings and research of one of our great thinkers and Clinical Psychologist, the late Dr. Bobby Wright. In 1978, in an insightful article entitled; "Mentacide: The Ultimate Threat To The Black Race," Dr. Wright explained, "There is no denying that the entire world is in crisis and all cultures are being transformed, seemingly without direction. However, one must not forget a universal truth— the inviolate principle of causality, namely, that for every thought and behavior, there is a cause. Without any elaborate research design necessary, the world crisis can be traced directly to the pathological needs of one group— the white race. Never in the history of the universe has the destiny of so many been controlled by so few."

Dr. Wright continued in this paper by proposing that what African people in America needed was a "Black Social Theory…" A social theory that would define "our relationship with the world and embodies all the necessary elements that determines our destiny, e.g. it determines the rituals of birth and death, how children are to be trained and educated, how enemies are to be dealt with, etc." Dr. Wright warns that "Without a social theory, people simply exist with no meaning to life except to be servants."

In this paper, Dr. Wright developed and put forth the concept of mentacide, which he explained as "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a person’s or groups mind." Dr. Wright pointed out that this may give a clue to why the Black race, after developing such an advanced civilization, has for the last 400 years been assisting in its own destruction and the nearly total subjugation of Africa by foreign invaders." I think Dr. Wrights’ keen insights begin to give us some explanation as to why some African people in America responded to the Gallup Poll the way they did in terms of the prevention of so-called terrorism and the presence of Arabs in this country.

Additionally, I think, still far too many African people in this country are disconnected from our history. Just a short time ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took a bold and courageous stand in opposition to the Viet Nam War. Those African people in America who are waving the red, white, and blue flag, and support this country’s pronouncement of war, should revisit what Dr. King said as he spoke out against the Viet Nam War on April 4, 1967 at New York’s Riverside Church.

Dr. King said in part, "Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the Black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem."

Finally, Dr. King reminded America that he could "never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today; my own government."

I think far too many African people in America have forgotten who we are; how we got here; what happened to us; and what continues to happen to us. Far too many of our people want to be so American that they reflect the mentality of the white people in this country that have been so devastating to us and so many people around the world. We need to revisit Dr. Wright and Dr. King immediately before the war talk drives many of our people "insane!"

National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)

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