Psychoanalysis and Race: White Governance/Black Trust
“I'm illin'” is a term used by mostly ethnic people to suggest someone is losing their sense of control, usually dependent on a drug binge or need to act upon violence.
"Going crazy" is a reference point for many rock and rollers. A sentiment often echoed at time of party or heavy drug use.
I think of known rock and roll musicians. How the sense of “craziness” was highly glamorized. Whether it was Iggy Pop on stage or Ozzy Osbourne allegedly biting off the head of a bat.
It is never given the thought for mental health-self-care or psychoanalysis. This is so because the opposing view of losing one's mind is hyper-aligned with a stigma.
What is celebrated is the cult persona of someone who is jeered and cheered for being "hardcore". Yet when the person is of a differing level of class and social status, perhaps homeless and on the streets, the perception of this person is that of a crazy person.
Growing up in the city of Accra, I knew of such a person as a derelict from the streets, helplessly and hopelessly deranged, talking to himself. Much of this behavior didn't stem from recreational drugs so much as it was a debilitating breakdown in one's mental and emotional faculties.
Quite clear, the perception of mentally deficient people back then when I lived in Accra, was that they were best left alone to wander the streets, fend for themselves. I had no notion of therapy or hospitalization. Although there was always gossip about an asylum where people were brought in from the streets.
My first experience with the strange, bizarre and phantasmagorical was back at the Airport Residential flats in Ghana, where I lived with my mother, brothers and a series of maids. My father was traveling most of the time.
Basis for this was accessibility of the television and shows I watched, elements in arts and crafts and night of a memorial service for a neighbor who had died. Shows that were featured on television included "Koliko", a show about marionettes, the popular comedian Super O.D., and the scary "Ghost Town".
"Koliko" was a childhood favorite because these marionettes portrayed characters that told stories relative to life experiences. The startled look and impression of their faces and how they were maneuvered with strings brought a slight chill to the notion of what was imagined as a caricature. Somehow these characters brought a warped feeling to the mind.
Super O.D. as a comedian was very theatrical. He was dynamic in his behavior and his act was full of exaggerations and sarcasm. The sight of him on stage was an example of someone who was pulling at the edges of all possible human derangements.
The theme of the show "Ghost Town" was explanatory. It was a drama that revolved around soap operatic narratives that included interjections of phantoms and occasional screams.
Presence of psychical threat and interpretative fears were present in the depiction of arts and crafts, sculptures and paintings.
As a child these fears pervaded my conscience, whether listening to music, sound of the flute or other instruments meant to evoke a feeling of dread or death. When I heard the melancholy in the song, "A Rose in Spanish Harlem" I cried. Also a painting from a Ghanaian Northern tribe, Dagomba, scared me. The painting featured men in raffia skirts, wearing masks and holding spears.
Objects such as the typical African sculpture of the naked woman with a vase positioned on her head, or generally the concept of the African person's suffering and pain ingrained in the conscience seeped into the rather sensitive mind as a child.
These fears were heightened culturally in the example of the Kakamotobe, a group of men dressed in hilarious colors accompanied by musicians. They wandered into communities during the holiday season. Their purpose was to alert people to the celebrations of the upcoming season. And yet their costumes, towering figures standing on stilts and wearing huge masks, as the musicians rattled off instruments and beat on drums, all made children in the many neighborhoods afraid. When the sound of the Kakamotobe was evident from miles away, children would run and hide.
Death and culture was the most present at memorial services and funerals, or in the worship and believability in the fetish priest.
Blackness is symptomatically connected to death. Not in the celebrated and general appeal of blackness as revolt, fight for independence or even notion of blackness as beautiful. Torture of black pain and need to overcome is what delivers one from that downturn into an elevated plight of victory.
Psyche of the black person lends itself to histories of enslavement, colonialism, imperialism. The meeting point is the role of the white person in dismantling all that has been developed and managed within black cultures.
This psychical space is full of fury, deception, conspiracy, truths, hate, anger, lust... It can be imagined as an emotional environment where there's no probable climb to success. One, knowing of their internal grip of their blackness is fueled by that outside notion of white rage, white violence, Euro/American concept of art, philosophy and culture.
Overwhelmingly, defeat of such damning thinking present in the colonization of the black mind, refuted through decolonization, excites the power of the black mind once the black person draws a conclusion.
To uphold knowledge of ultimate black thinking one must be aware of white defiance. That the black person is working towards something. This is when black success meets white rage.
Post-Obama and the recent American presidency from 2016, there's a cult and resounding push back from black societies from the "in plain sight" attempt to elevate whiteness.
What then is the merit of whiteness?
One must then be made aware of rise of anti-racist activists internationally, the Black Lives Matter movement, or even the critical investigation of whiteness, as seen in the research work of Leeds, England's educator and speaker, Shona Hunter, on identity, power, privilege, and oppression.
Identifying the incessant display of white rage is a counter response to the self-delivery and black cultural awareness of our responsibility to find fortune in our awakening and "woke" discipline.
This is our level of self-care; a mental health responsibility to meet our advantage given weakness and inability to always demand our personal fight and outwardly gather in numbers. What becomes of a protest or policy making expected of leaders who are voted into office.
To then refer to the themes of death; the mental breakdown in the black individual, it is clear to note, the black self is defenseless and without help, if not for the commonality and acceptance of the skin color as black, with regard for other black people. What is found in the diaspora, communities and new magnitude of the "black struggle" as blueprint for all struggle.
What is the identity of the black person with regard to the racial structure, diminishing of self involvement whether education, employment or social standing?
One must look to the status of each black person with regard to history, lineage, cultural representation, place of birth, immigration and/or citizenship.
Understanding of nation and country defines the honor with which each black person moves forward, thrives. That life is ongoing. What merits instinct and survival is day to day.
The supposition of a Black Republican as better advanced than a Black Democrat is fiction.
Therein lies power granted to the hustler, or those involved in the street game. Three cult personas of the black person are the pimp, gangsta and savage.
These facets play themselves out in how the black person finds love, gets what he or she wants by all means and how they are defensive of what they have.
In other words, the black person is of his or her optimal figure or self once they form a basis for their political or hyper-politicized self.
Discussion must then be brought to the focus of the mindset of the black person. What does he or she do to protect the structural damage done to the conscience, given our role in history and its evolutionary period and counter-protest.
We are led to believe in a higher power. We suppose that to be God and the basis for worship in a church. The God representation can be found in self as conquering, availability of a loan shark, drug dealer, prostitute. That is the root of the street ideology. How one takes drastic measures in an ordered high-strung level of existence. Furthermore God's existence is relevant only in its religious interpretation as the "street game" is religion. The posse defines who or what manages threat and response. Observation of what is life is expectation to survive to make it to another day.
Further explored, what happens when the mental breakdown can't be repaired or solved with drugs, sex and violence?
When does the black person seek therapy? How does the black person manage trust in a family member, priest or counselor? What are the probable steps a black person can take to get on the "right track"?
Divisions for recovery from a mental breakdown in the black person begins with social status, education and/or family representation.
Truthfully, the black family rules against psycho-therapy of any sort. More so psychoanalysis brought into the black identity is often rejected.
Much of this stems from the suspicion of a "white" doctor trying to fix a "black patient". The mistrust of a psycho-therapist exploring the mind of a black patient draws back to extreme measures rendered in psycho-therapy throughout history, like electro-shock therapy for example.
Other steps are taken as in the mother/son relationship. At least the son has the mother. More often the black daughter turns to the world outside to fend for herself, where she meets danger in so many different ways.
Within a middle to upper class black family there are many reasons for concern and immediacy with which to curtail further debilitating circumstances. Given schooling and education, perhaps there is a counselor. Once again the level of trust is an issue. Trust among members of the same race is an issue. Supposing trust in a superior person of the opposite race is even more troubling.
What can be brought into the social dynamic and vision or picture for racially psychical interpretation of inter-connectivity in the living process in a modern world is belief in an order beyond the human order. There are systems beyond our control. Those found in the spiritual world. For a black person of pragmatic means such thinking is incomprehensible.
The black body has shape and trappings of terror. The person existing within this body is defiant. Call it a warrior's mentality, a soldier at war, a gang member protecting his territory.
Psychoanalysis and race begins where we form a bond between therapy and medicine and vulnerability and acceptance of one's diagnosis.
Subjectively, the "white" doctor analyzing the "black" patient is where we have our differences. It begins there. How then can we meet the great divide where if it is made presentable that the black patient seeks therapy in a black doctor.
The problem is stigmatizing of a psychiatric diagnosis and the eventual refusal of therapy.
Progressively a lot is being done to introduce the probability of success from psychoanalysis in the black activism from a Hollywood actress, like Taraji P. Henson and the television therapist Iyanla Vanzant.
Outside of the Hollywoodizing of therapy, there is stress in the everyday. The reality of what to do when a person is struggling with a psychosis. Given the high-wired tension in the moment who does one trust?
It brings about the high profiled cases of the police and their mishandling of black people having a mental crisis.
What is the cultural language in the moment between a white police officer and a black patient having a panic attack?
The obvious reaction is that the police officer treats this case much like any other case of tension and potential danger. Initial cultural fear or hate of the black person is officially present. This suggested opinion is different with each officer. But racially that is the purpose for each and every call whereby a white police officer has to determine how safe he can be in the presence of a black person in crisis.
That is the problem.
Our standard for living between the races is an ongoing problem where we as black people have to determine who and when we can trust a white person with an official status.
Psychoanalysis is made more difficult because the robbing of black person's mind is colonial. Histories of enslavement before then is critical to upholding a belief in Europeanized methods for recovery.
With education and philosophy one would be introduced to Freud or Jung. On the issue of psychoanalysis and race Franz Fanon investigates the determining of the black mind under governance by a white standard.
We can suppose psychoanalysis or lack thereof in how the fetish priest deals with a visitor in the country of Ghana. How is that different in the trust between a Ghanaian immigrant seeking therapy in the country of England or America? What would the deficiencies be in a Black American without probability of therapy or medication?
In a developed country there are many means with which to seek therapy. There shouldn't be a theory as to what works and what doesn't based on race alone.
As with everything in life, it's up to the individual and how he or she meets his or her fate to reclaim the defeated self.
Greater problems include treatment of the diseased homeless person. How prisons are used as places of confinement for those needing therapy, with disregard for psychiatric institutions.
What would then be outpatient treatment?
In a given situation where a person is brought into emergency for psychiatric treatment, he or she is eventually transferred onto a psychiatric ward. After time spent being evaluated, whether days, weeks, months or even years, they are released. They then continue treatment on an outpatient basis.
The black person looks at him or herself in the mirror and sees a black person.
If for a moment they see the world in the face within the mirror, it would be a step to encouraging progressive living, and an adventurous undertaking.
It begins with trust and faith. If not in a God then whom?
The plight of a person accepting nothingness as a life product. We begin there. To be something, you have to be nothing.
The black person has been robbed of so much. To be nothing means death.
Death of the mind is close to that. To "die" oneself is the beginning of a new life. That death prospect is what we deliver onto ourselves. Psychoanalysis is a different form of death and rebirth.
It's mirroring. How a black person can look at a white person and see him or herself. The same for a black person looking at another black person.
Truth is the world is black and white.