Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Psychoanalysis and Whiteness: White Female/Black Male Reassurance

Psychoanalysis and Whiteness: White Female/Black Male Reassurance

By Kofi Forson

On the Good Ship Lollipop” was a song Shirley Temple made famous.

Growing up in Ghana, two Caucasian females made known to most familiar with pop culture and political icons were the aforementioned Shirley Temple and the Queen of England.

From a previous generation, might and merriment of post-colonial discourse ushered in popular figures like Twiggy and Dusty Springfield. A share of models, musicians and actresses from England were the fancy of men who had traveled abroad or were tuned in to BBC radio.

This was the redirect from political discourse of a country that had sought and gained independence. Reverberations of what was once a colonization of the black mind was maintained in the assertion of what was good literature, musical taste, encouragement of social reverence and all that was heralded in the continuous influence of white ideology in the minds of those who were cultured, disciplined by an African fascination.

Much as television shows featured programming from Europe, that notion of the idealized white female wasn't made present in the minds of those I grew up with. That element was prevalent in the minds of aunts and uncles who had traveled internationally. Whether it was a go go-dancing aunt who brought home ABBA records or my father and his earlier propensity for dating white women.

Regard for the white female was central to what was unattainable and when she became attainable there was always the tension behind what was the accord of black and white alliance and the known resistance.

The idea of the black student or journalist traveling to the West to set up a future was fashionable with all its idiosyncrasies of the black African discovering the white female. What grounds and merit he fought against to maintain familiarity with disillusionment of beauty; discovery of the cover girl or centerfold. Playboy magazine and other adult magazines as the broaching of what was sex between the African male and the white female.

It was with this cult of self-discovery that I was displaced from the notion of the black female student and impressionable black village girl who was seduced into city life for a better education with hopes of traveling to the West, to the awareness of white beauty in the paintings of prostitutes by Picasso and ballerinas by Monet.

My earlier discovery of what was blond hair and smell of white skin excelled to the presence of that very blond white girl in a setting void of the interruption of Ghanaian girls, exclusive in its Catholic impression with the African-American girl as voyeur, making this somewhat illicit and sub-cultural and problematic.

This was an exercise which reached proportions of a raping of the mind. The very criminalizing which took place when cable television pornography in the late 70's of public access adult programming ruined the minds forever of those displaced youth not ready for such display of vulgarity, behavior known only in the child-like truancy of a former life.

The black discovery of what is titillation in the sexualization of the white female is the referencing of black masculinity with white female submissiveness.

Such an intervention has always been actualized through sexual behavior. The black male discovery of the white female is usually evident through schooling, displacement or gentrification.

Initial suspicion is brought about in what is the known taboo, inter-racial copulation.

This fascination plays itself out in the masculinization of the black male. How he plays a part of the thoroughbred, willing to engage the white female in sexual misbehavior.

Lessening of such instinct is the processing of pedagogy, role of the teacher to the student. If prioritized through Christianity, in a Catholic school, element of a nun to student relationship takes on other proportions.

The method is then protracted in the accord of the white female and her superiority over the black male. This in a sense is a mothering of the emotions, both intellectual and rabid, in the black male.

In literary and cultural terms, she is seen as a savior, a heralded Christianized angel ready with answers to salvage the black male from victimization.

Element of slavery and the relationship coordinated between the white female and the black male has always been left up to suspicion. How did the white matron value the difference between the black male who worked in the fields and that of the slave visible in the everyday household discipline?

Chronology of the white female and black male relationship in history are relevant through slavery, colonial period, civil rights, jazz age, black renaissance, 70's blaxploitation, 80's rap and Neo-Expressionism movement, 90's gangsta. There's always the litigational representation of the black male, the black male as muse, lover, pop cultural figure, martyr. Recent victimization of black men by the police has increased the awareness by white women brought to these cases in protests and activism for justice.

Questions that ignite curiosity is what the white female seeks in the black male? What is the initial attraction?

Is it a sense of racialized guilt? Love of the black male identity? Self-denial of racism?

The motherly, superior, post-colonial agent, sex muse, taboo subject, lover, the black male finds in the white female is developed and underdeveloped with a totally different equation when the black male as patient seeks therapy and a psychoanalyzing of a diagnosis.

Attention must be given to the white male as psychoanalyst, and how he conducts therapy with the black male. In its origin, there's the institutionalization of the black male. Perception of him as criminal and rapist, is a conduct brought about in the initial investigation of the black patient's psyche. A broadening range is interpreted between the presumed excellence of the white male psychoanalyst and his disdain for a black male patient.

Initially this is ignorant and racist. The difference therefore between a psychoanalyst working in a community hospital and that of a private practice. The manner with which a black male patient seeks psychotherapy in a community hospital stems from one's psycho-social disability, dependence on government funding, or types of insurance.

There isn't much care given to the emotional and intellectual potential in the black individual. He is viewed as stubborn, criminal-minded and under-educated.

In a given session, the black male is treated with frustration. There isn't a commonality drawn between the psychoanalyst and the patient. Inter-balance of communication is a problem.

What is present in the attempt to intervene in the black male's life is the acceptance and respect with which the psychoanalyst, first, views him as human. The step to acquire a leveling of thought begins when the black male patient is given his due as a human person born into a world beyond his capability, with no proper resources for growth.

Given the potential for elitism, the psychoanalysis begins with ill-attempt at profiling the individual. Many approaches are taken from trying to gain a fleeting, momentary friendship to a laughable impression of what a black male psychoanalyst's behavior would be. What in this moment is the white psychoanalyst trying to be a black brother, uncle or father.

The psychical and mental frame white psychoanalysts have of black patients are usually formed from the societal conditioning of a typical black patient's life. This notion is grouped in the general understanding of how each patient should be treated.

Betterment for approaching each session is the dismissal of how the media portrays black men. Much has to be understood in the difference between how a medical doctor treats a black patient and how a psychoanalyst determines the mental capability of a black patient.

The greater challenge to determine, interpret, basically think in a Europeanized circumstance has more to do with family life, schooling and genetics. The black patient isn't given the trust and wherewithal for examining his or her very own conscience as vigilant or prophetic.

The notion of the thinker has been placed upon the minds of white male authors of the canon. Perception of thought in its origin based on African philosophy of thinkers, like Ptahhotep or pre-modern philosophy in North Africa, has been erased prominently from intellectual discourses.

Modernizing of African philosophy is based on the cycle of African students who travel to places in America and Europe, then return home to reflect on the terms of racial discrimination. That has been the manner for intellectual development in the African scholar. Such behavior of making that trip to the West for discovery; hence, referenced as thought-reflection and awareness, has roots in the modern intellectualizing of African thought.

It's with an astute reckoning that we state a claim on the perception of the black person as thinker, make known the history of language, shaping of the thinker, and with credit reward the African male's intellectual prowess.

Whereas the white male psychoanalyst perceives the black male patient as an enigma, the white female psychoanalyst draws a conclusion on the black male's patient's deficiencies from the original method of the psycho-sexual understanding of the black male ego.

This notion and process of the curiosity with which the white female and black male have curated a life through history brings about a sympathizing of the black male emotional content.

He is valued in a humanized form, or so is the set up. This misconception is the reality of the white female psychoanalyst not being able to empathize with the black male.

His aura, machismo can be perceived as arrogant.

The discipline the white female psychoanalyst uses to manage the determining of a black male patient's disability, as subtext, can be interpreted in all its relevance to the psycho-social history of black men.

At a community hospital, a psychoanalyst would base this concept circularly and not with humility in treating each patient as an individual.

The subtext, once again, is pragmatically basis for each session. The black male patient isn't honored as an individual, rather is stigmatized. The debasing of character disallows any attempt for upholding integrity or a one-up-man-ship.

The non-empathy of the white female psychoanalyst for the black male patient stresses the original depiction of the black male as case number.

The industrial prison complex and its animalizing of the black male is a system which disregards any potential for the black male to possess or show intellectual productivity.

Such is the frank and disheartening attitude present in the white psychoanalyst's devaluing of the black male patient.

The very practice of psychoanalyzing the black male prioritizes society's reluctance to come to terms with what is determined as a black future.

Black futurism as a map becomes the dizzying array of thought, images and color, the psychoanalyst wishes away, but is necessary to analyze the root of any malady.

A modernist of this variety, a black thinker, writer, artist, presents the analyst with utmost content for analysis.

Conceptualizing the form and figure of a human subject in art is credited to Euro/Americanized framing of the image.

This as a starting point redefines for the black artist the dimensions of the human figure. What Leonardo da Vinci depicted in the “Vitruvian Man” naturally shouldn't be the optimal physical form for every human figure.

How then does the black artist interpret the image of the nude white female? What psycho-erotic perceptions does he derive from seeing a naked white woman in print?

As a psycho-sexual subtext, how does the nude white female accentuate the black male's hunger for the black female.

Is it versed as literary, a hyper-text, that cancels the innate black male physical drive for the black female?

Whereas the African male student studying in the West comes to terms with defining and accentuating his perception of the white female, when does he absolve himself of any physical attraction to the white female, and uphold what is understood as decent and proper livelihood with the black female.

Circumstantially, when does this societal raping of the black male conscience reach a crescendo?

Pornographizing of black male death is mirrored in the obsessiveness of labeling beauty as best defined in the Euro-American female.

The subject of sex and death is present in the white female psychoanalyst and the black male patient.

However void and free it is of the actual, physical act of copulation, the conscientious imaging of sex is present.

Death is the interpretative space the analyst and patient work from to get to an equation.

The paradigm shift is the white female psychoanalyst freeing herself of any racialized concept of the black male patient. That very problem is the system used to evaluate or devalue the black male patient. He, in turn, must remove himself from the obsessing of the white female psychoanalyst as muse.

Given this complicated exercise, the white female psychoanalyst and the black male patient are able to reach a conclusion once they base the session on its end product.

How does the black male patient meet the need for his recovery? Does the white female psychoanalyst hyper-accentuate his vulnerability?

What is his experience with fraternizing of black masculinity? How does the unavailability of a black male psychoanalyst help or hinder his recovery?

Systematically, is a white female psychoanalyst problematic for the black male patient's discovery of self?

Order and pattern which the white female in society has based her theory on black male prowess, be it intellectual or rabid, has created a certain phenomena in the idolizing of a Tupac Shakur, Jean-Michel Basquiat...

Internet porn has hyper-accelerated the modernized inter-racial sexual ideology.

The rabid nature of a young black male is given a conduct for sexual release.

Seemingly his cult and masculine status is raised levels higher in how the white female perceives him.

This then is the post-modernizing of beauty and death.

Death of the black male as pornography.

The Karen-izing of the white female.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Psychoanalysis and Race: White Governance/Black Trust

Psychoanalysis and Race: White Governance/Black Trust

Kofi Forson

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.

What is comfort for the black person?

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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

ART PERSONA versus BLACK IDENTITY: Psychical Mirroring/White Conditioning/Afro-familiarizing

ART PERSONA versus BLACK IDENTITY: Psychical Mirroring/White Conditioning/Afro-familiarizing 

Kofi Forson

To look at myself in the mirror, I see a black person. To exist as this black person, I've been pulled into thoughts and consciences magnified through concepts of whiteness.

The black person within my body, who exists in the flesh, therefore struggles in this manufactured world to think and carry on as a black person.

Concepts of whiteness in pop culture, socio-politics, social circles, all keep a lid on the freedom to seek the essence of decolonization.

White supremacy as probable instigator that which fuels the powering of racial politics, labeling of white beauty, philosophical thought, art history, colonization, separates the culturally white-conditioned person of African origin to encourage a livable circumstance where the body and mind exists on one's Afro-familiar origin.

For me this came with displacement, whereas some experience this through education, employment or industry.

The transference from propelling one's Black African origin, once subjected to a white conditioning, plays upon the history of race, enslavement, white violence, black poverty, black death. The physical black self, the actual body becomes a vessel for encouraging the very discipline which destroys.

Issue of sadism and masochism becomes prevalent when the conscience consistently draws from the programmable principles that certify whiteness as priority.

Moment in my very life when I felt this happen for the first time was when in anger towards one particular black person, I experienced disdain towards certain black pop cultural figures I admired. It was short-lived, but in the moment I saw myself hating myself, not for being black, but because other black people I knew were not experiencing the dying of their black conscience.

In this act of self-denial, I had created a persona which was to keep me isolated among black people for life.

Afro-familiarizing is real in the acceptance from other black people within the black diaspora.

Afro-culturalization is a given.

In the greater world one must learn instinct and survival. This differentiates what it means to be accepted by other black people and the will to manage an organized social structure which creates a manifestation, outside the diaspora and black cultural niche.

Afro-familiarizing for me is rooted in family. That protective circle, original in its history and lineage, which created the very person I am. Hence is responsible for all my self-damage, as well.

Mirroring of my conscience came in the association with the very center of the problem. My social circles were full of white students, friends, love interests, muses, who determined my psychiatric evolution. All of which increased in its psychosis.

The 2016 American Presidential campaign season saw a lot of this concentrated mind-bomb explode once I was exposed to white anger, rage, paranoia and elitism. It upended what I had known as a black person living in a white world.

Difficulty then was re-identifying myself as a person, artist with a sense of placement. Given my displacement I had found an acceptance in white culture, Christianity, art and rock and roll. To experience a shift in the social-structuring of race as experienced in my social circles, it was difficult to originate as self-disciplined.

Who and what I had become was under self-questioning.

Coming up from a spiritual and intellectual manifestation and concentration on black literary history, virtual pockets of anti-racists, I have slowly seen my body give way quite naturally from a karmic and psychical evaluation. I am faced with an attraction to a newly defined understanding of the self in its blackness, not as a black person living in Ghana, but as someone who developed a conscience as a set up from white colonization of the black mind, broadened in social circles.

In the city of Ghana, I was born a boy to Ghanaian parents, with a lineage to other Ghanaians who have existed and passed on and those who continue to exist there, or have migrated to other countries, but exist as Ghanaians within the associations and inter-connectivity with people from other countries and races.

Life as a boy in Ghana consisted of my school days at the Royal Preparatory, where I first expressed talent as an artist. These drawings reflected my love for sports, consisting of drawings of football (soccer) players and equestrians at the race track.

Given the culture I was surrounded by the sentiment and notion of a modern city, Accra, buildings, compounds, cars, fashion, music, and indeed art. One piece of art I was familiar with was a painting from the Dagomba tribe of masked men wearing raffia skirts holding spears. The painting, multi-colored with dazzling brush strokes frightened me. Not sure what the subjectivity of violence within the painting was enough to affect my psychology.

There were men known as the Kakamotobe, who were similarly dressed, more so extravagantly, in costumes and standing on stilts, accompanied by musicians, who stormed into neighborhoods during the holiday season and danced and caused a raucous.

These were all parts of the themes and subject of art and psychology growing up as a boy in Ghana.

The warrior mentality seeped through the minds of young boys, whether playing football, challenging another boy for the love of a girl, or that of guarding and protecting personal possessions or warning against intrusion onto another person's territory.

My immediate family, cousins, aunts and uncles, outside of the roles of mother and brothers, my father was traveling most of the time, were more creative in the arts and not drawn ideologically towards machismo or body-sizing. That notion of manhood was visible at times when there was a get-together for a feast, when my uncles chased and slaughtered a goat or killed a live chicken to be prepared and cooked for a stew.

The Telfers, my mother's maiden name, were prone to psychosis. The Buckmans, my grandmother on my mother's side's maiden name, displayed talent for draftsmanship.

Combination of socio-psychology and the fine arts is relevant to the lineage on my mother's side. Much of this is rooted in my very own karma and psychiatric development.

Life as a Ghanaian boy was exemplary in the discipline of my African spirit and pride. I was a black boy among other disciplined black people, whether I had a crush on a Ghanaian girl or was raised by a series of young Ghanaian girls who had come into the city from villages in search of an education or a better life.

That liberty to live and think as a Ghanaian was gradually removed from my conscience once I was displaced to New York City, when my mother, me and my brothers, along with a maid, took a plane and came to join my father.

The process of my mind being conscientiously whitened took on manifestations when I discovered the white muse, as an example in centerfolds from adult magazines, models in my mother's fashion catalogs and the young white female students at a neighborhood Catholic grade school.

The white female muse is sold to Africa as a colonial heroine, either the Queen of England, or Hollywood celebrity, like Shirley Temple.

These two were my earlier notions of the white female. There was a particular evening when my grandmother welcomed onto her compound, members of the Peace Corps for a gathering.

It was the first time I had seen a white person. There was the unusual perspective of their white skin and locks of yellow-brownish hair.

Here in New York City, I was welcomed into the circumstance of studying with other students who were primarily white. For once, in their company I immediately felt myself losing my sense of blackness. Whatever means I had of being a black person slowly diminished among the company of mostly white students, but also Indian, Puerto Rican and Black American.

The feeling of having landed in a foreign country was evident that first day of school. Much as the students fawned over me and made me feel as comfortable as they could have made me feel, I was confused and isolated in my thinking.

Somehow I was received as Jesus' second coming or a rock star. These examples were made much clearer to me as I became orientated in American culture and the idea of worship. The Almighty God being the first, but also those found in pop culture.

I prioritized the white muse in art when I started illustrating centerfolds. Several summers when I studied at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was introduced to the female nude. During this time I voyeuristically watched adult programming on cable television.

Subject of art and pornography seeped into my conscience. It was also early on when I experienced abnormal behavior, like an eating disorder, which set the tone for future disorders.

The art persona which suits my chronic development was revealed much later when I read Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's "Venus in Furs". Along with Marquis de Sade and the development of sadomasochism, I had found a psychological patterning of an ideology relative to my thinking.

How art and sexuality overshadowed one's social interaction. Cult of which was the understanding of one's growth as thinker and social pathology. Moment when I discovered Roland Barthes, George Battaile and Jean Baudrillard in a humanities class at the School of Visual Arts.

During the course of my existence in New York City, I have also existed as muse to those within white circles, whether from boroughs of New York or other cities within the United States or white Europeans who had moved to New York City. 

Indeed I have been a tragic figure, whether reminiscent of Jean-Michel Basquiat or Kurt Cobain.

Uniqueness of my persona as an artist with an international status served me well when I moved into transitional living and was confronted with examples of black men, different from the ones I had known or imagined. Worse yet they existed as examples of my greatest fear.

This has been my notion of blackness, not the hip hop artist, or well-to-do businessman or politician and even sports figure and Hollywood celebrity.

My experience with blackness has come later in life in a world where I had to fend for my life on a daily basis, when I lived among diseased, drugged men addicted to elements of troubled living and lifestyles. That environment opened my eyes to prioritizing instinct and safety.

Notion of one's individuality, either art-driven or God-blessed is enough to carry the person through any difficult circumstance. My survival is only valid because I was able to be myself, and draw from my background in schooling, family, social communities.

For years I balanced extremes of street culture with philosophical theorizing with a group of British artists within the virtual sphere and partying alongside artists from the New York City art world.

My art persona was always disassociated from the self-willed privileged authority present in most artists within the art circles. The very persona was also different from the world of emotionally violent dystopia I inhabited.

In essence I've had to mastermind a life whereby I fit in. As if I was a master of my very own psychosis.

Post-trauma and post-shock, and given the promoting of hyper-awareness of blackness, for the first time I've had to look at myself as a black person. I've always existed as a person who was black without prioritizing my blackness.

That was understood in my life as Ghanaian.

Blackness as viewed in the black diaspora is sometimes different for every person. We don't always claim a unified blackness. The perception is that we all love Bob Marley, Tupac and Barack Obama.

Whereas black self-governance, independent of spirit is a work load we all carry, the black spirit is central to each and every black person no matter where he or she comes from. We are in agreement of black pain and black success. How we experience these matters is relative to the individual.

At least this is what I believe to be true. The black person finds respect in the origin of our differences more than the similarities we share. Perhaps we all began from a given point in our histories. How we develop is a personal struggle. A struggle we have to conquer on our own, rather than seek blessings from each other.

The noise is outside.

In the greater and bigger world everyone is different.

Having endured the American presidency of a would be authoritarian, and experienced my share of eye-opening and mind-bending examples of white privilege, the very supremacist ideology that had influenced my upbringing and education and socializing, for the first time I questioned.

It created a self-paranoia of who my real friends were. Especially within some of the circles I had evolved from, there were examples of growing racism, or at least perceptions of white authority which reflected upon renewed changes in political and cultural placement.

I've had to associate art and blackness with racism. Something I never did before. The perception of living a white-oriented life was no longer safe. If not just as a socially conscientious entity but as a community of thinkers and talented people, I felt the terror of a personal history where I was not accepted as a person, but as fiction. Further accentuating the notion of whimsy and fantasy prevalent in the artist. As if to say by being an artist, one is an idea of a person, minimalist or abstract-expressionist. I thought to be black and be an example of this, one is totally obscure and living a faux self.

I found it difficult to exist both as an artist and as a black person. Conceptually, my artist self was driven by white principles. The black self more reliant on family circles. I found it difficult to bring the idea of family into my art. In other words there was no prioritizing of black-centeredness in my world outside of family. In a post-sensibility of decolonization, that is changing gradually. I have accentuated my virtual self profoundly as intellectual. In doing so I now attract like-minded people of color. Or at least those who promote black themes.

I have never questioned my identity. 

Awareness made relevant in today's culture allows for that. The very need for manifestation in order to fit in the juxtaposing of the art persona with black identity.

One has to understand the origin of the black identity.

Academicizing of this origin is a fortune.

The black artist void of the academic relevance either lives in an art dystopia of false examining of self or he creates an environment where he articulates the notion of blackness, be it reserved in self-definition of blackness or meeting a regard for a diasporaic standard.

The post-post realm has encouraged a post-post-post realm given the reality of the world's Covid-19 quarantine.

The world and its life to come would have reorganized the notion of race, broadened the awareness of black reorienting through white circles and vice-versa.

The person I am and have become is an ongoing experiment governed by a spiritual God.

The glamorized and idolized gods who have come before are now part of a history that had to overcome, be born again, "die itself", to be true to its nature as human, self-willed.

To move further into other renewed circles, I have to trust and realize, mirroring is not a matter of race.

Mirroring is the psyche attracting another psyche, and of its mind and body, one is made situated.

This is the ultimate form of placement.

For a displaced person, it is everything.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

SISTER ACADEMIA (for Shona and Jo)

Sister Academia
For Shona and Jo

At Uni – they placate young heads from getting washed away upstream
River runs deep within The Cities; rivers of blood shed from knife's gleam
The barriers; what gates have kept us from knowing ourselves: what gates
These worlds we come from, land on which we soil, birthed with no shame

I call myself Bartholomew; I identify you as Bethesda, but we are not that
Childhood traumas we endured, brought us to this pedagogical kingdom
Self-prompted from ideology; histories where his story, her story conflict
We don't separate Indira Gandhi and India Arie, Jomo Kenyatta, Kid Capri

Large rooms where brooms sweep each student under desk; they uproot
Denounce colonial conduct perpetrated by order, supremacy, entitlement
This rebel theater: Shakespeare rewritten, where the lauded dream down
Robespierres among us, we look to other cannons for determining the truth

Sisters adjoined among academia's patricians, their speech riot is message
With these words, they rake the commons of idiomatic hate, stained walls
Without which cycles repeat, rivers run deep waters over students of color
Sisters, for us, each a rose, undoing damage, upholding right to be human

Friday, April 05, 2019

Tweeting/Self-Authorship - Writing as more Profitable Human Dialogue Than Sex and (Romance)

By Kofi Fosu Forson

Love binds – it is our greatest means for survival.

Sex and romance as human equation is sub-par when compared to (thought and text) – act of committing to writing a (tweet); a more profitable human dialogue, than sex and romance.

Recent reports have revealed decline in sex partnership among the younger generation; greater percentage of whom spend time online; zombie-like fascination of walking while checking information on timelines of most social media accounts.

Inter-personally, there are those who do the very thing of texting while at dinner with other people, or even taking turns examining their smartphones during sex, given variety of sex positions.

These are all bizarre accusations of deeming human beings part of a “walking dead”.

Primarily, inception of life online was to enhance engagement of intercommunication between lost souls, (friends); ambiguity of the word made more pathetic as in “followers”.

Detriment in time allotted for online activity when governed by perverse nature of humanizing online friends (followers), virtual spirits with profiles, is suspension of human activity as transcendence into otherworldliness.

“Otherworldliness” – supernatural manifestation borne out of a metamorphosis; human ascension experienced as god or demon rendering of (bright) or (black) light fueled by the inter-relatability between humans or within nature, resulting in psychosis or transformation; deliverance from supposes super-human subjectivity or status which inspires all forms of (human) life or otherwise surrounding.

The idea of fooling ones-self into thinking they possess a god-like status by being online takes away from actual process by which one acquires or achieves greatness.

“Greatness” – ability to seduce (an assumption separate from love); determinable as form of conviction and power which is interpreted not by worth in an individual but scheme with which an act proliferates.

In online “speak” – it goes viral.

For something to go viral, what resonates takes root in the post and its fascination, not in the individual who posted it.

This then begets the fancy of attempting to go viral; shot in the dark, pebble thrown into pool of the virtual, hoping it makes a thousand or more ripples.

Claiming of one’s worth online supposes tomfoolery which many see as way to pass time; an alternative to the seriousness of assuming the role of a human person, committed to living.

What is problematic is how people do view themselves as humans, and not virtual spirits. The availability of having and being given space to experiment; one would think people would create aforementioned supernatural profiles; wherewithal to be spectacular.

Counter-intuitively, most people express boredom. That circumstance for living is indeed boring, not much happens. As a matter of fact when one surfs most timelines on various accounts, not much is learned.

The zombie-like trance happens time and time again.

Proto-functionability coordinated between online particulars revealed a community of those who sought out thought from similar minds or others taking from the vacuous space, ideas, behavior, relevant to the moment, time and space.

Introduction to gender and sexual politics, post-post feminism, sexual neologisms of the pre-post W. Bush years infiltrated the conscience of many in the assumption of what became post-consciousness.

Decade of the 90s and its relevance to Clintonian politics, fetishism, grunge music/culture, reality show, heroin chic, post-Neo Expressionism, theater of the avant garde… (Mockumentaries) –

Exploded into welcoming of a new century…

This is what became of us; our programmable lives fashioned after theory that life was happening somewhere else and not where you were.

Eventually our ready-made-to-order lives were transported onto a computer screen where we sought to communicate with other people in hope of achieving an orgasmic charge, whether in the adjoining of coital circumstances; “international hook-ups”, virtual sex, “poking”…

We co-existed, inter-related and masterminded an undertaking; early attempts at “going live”, exploring the Barthes-ian philosophy of seducing the language; pre-emoji, “Lol” ridiculousness.

Origin for the self-obsession, subtle narcissism of the online user/abuser all stemmed from an acute neuroticism of the artist, dating as far back in time.

The selfie is an art-abstracticizing of the ego; Picasso’s many ways to look at himself through the Cubistic images of Dora Maar, Mapplethorpe’s fascination with processing his sexual prowess, Cindy Sherman’s film stills.

Self-obsession counter-balanced with an art neurosis was pragmatically the profile for every user/abuser with an online account.

Circumstantially, one was an actual artist and chose the online account as way of furthering the marketing of their talent and worth.

In doing so – the work is posted as would be in a gallery. Instead of unheard small talk made about the work or what would be written in a book left at the door, thread conversations revealed actual thought and opinion of the work.

Thread conversations were what became of the Kofi Fosu Forson/Dianne Bowen art project, Dismember the Night; where they took turns writing poetry as a thread, took themed selfies; these as a project was a first, which later premiered at Tribes Gallery, NYC.

The common online friend or follower does not have knack and ability to suppose the art profile of a professional; worth of thought in musings is more than a fib or faux pretense.

Exacting of a faux persona was and is the online ridicule.

This has resulted in mass exit from Facebook, not so much in its misuse, but evolution of posting, relatively from thought to image.

Instagram is newer processing of thought.

Taken from themes in title of Barthes’ Image/Music/Text – the image prioritizes the ego more than thought.

What then is dynamic behind Twitter – obsessiveness in the knee-jerk reaction of tweeting?

Where does one go when one forms an opinion - ? The op-ed pages have always been crucial in furthering of thought in the public frame.

More or less, talking heads on most cable news programs have origins as those who form opinions and via the wider more commercial venue; they are interviewed.

Pre-Facebook and Twitter, one blogged; this, a lost art form, was basis for the opinion-driven posts on most social media accounts and is now the cult of Twitter and tweeting.

Tweeting is the writer sans the pen or typewriter; a rabble-rouser at a bar, wit at cocktail party.

This is the assertion and yes, opinion of what most people have of Twitter, and perhaps it is that very thing.

Given the happenings and going-ons in the media and news cycle, topics that ”trend” receive a rigorous evaluation, over-evaluation and interpretation in tweets; the very purpose for tweeting; to urgently speak when one has no place for such activity.

Overwhelming aspect of Twitter and power in the tweet certifies manifestation of thought in its origin and how the world-wide-web reacts to it.

The thinker/academic/cum –interpreter of thought, values Twitter as a place for additional pedagogy.

Perhaps not forum for intuitively subjecting one to process thought as administered in a university setting; but the rhythm with which one tweets in its collectedness and recycling, wears on the conscience, forming a greater opinion in how one masters the written word or researches information.

What then is self-authorship?

The selfie reveals peculiarity with which one observes changes in the countenance, ordering of a facial diary.

Self-authorship gives credit to originating of thought from its base, as in a graffiti artist’s tag or painter’s self-portrait.

Self-authorship is the writer’s self-ownership; not warranted in copyright but addressed as opinion given respect and title.

Officializing one’s thought mainly under the guise of a tweet – gives merit to authorship.

Professional writers aren’t always proficient at tweeting – if as a way of fleshing out an original thought from its philosophical mode.

Rarely does one value the tweet of a professional writer as quotable within margins of quotes by acclaimed writers in history.

Rule of Twitter is a game – uplifting of one’s ego, with number of likes or retweets suggesting fame or popularity.

The acclaimed writer/celebrity is able to exchange ideas with a fan base.

How then is writing a more profitable human dialogue than sex or romance?

Sex, first, is an exaggerated act – meeting a nonsensical conclusion.

“Lovemaking for all its pleasures alone is stupid. Nothing comes of it” - Umberto Eco.

One has to think of it in terms of hyper-sexuality and perversion; resolve one draws from masturbation, BDSM, group sex, virtual sex, talking dirty, (sexting), phone sex /rape - sodomy.

Then think of the mind and body in its puritanical state.

Hopelessness of both extremes emphasizes discipline one must muster to achieve self-control, refrain from indulging the senses in behavior held in question, suggestive of the carnal, obsequious or extremism.

Sex is hot air one breathes.

What one does to meet that need is purely speculative and in modernistic terms need not be understood as circumstance for promoting the sex act.

Process for this summation is evolution of gender and sexual theorizing within manner and exercising of male dominance and control in the official standard with which male and female behavioral patterns are met.

To think and write, as in a tweet; the graffiti artist’s tag, is all preemptive to turf war, bodily harm, sex-threat.

Perhaps questionable as means of directing policy – a tweet possesses possibility of counteracting fury displayed out-rightly in street body-sizing, corporate positioning, familial stress.

If - a more profitable dialogue than sex and romance; what accounts for advertism?

We are rendered human at birth; our governance, be it; of and by government, parental discipline, religious and spiritual intervention is based on a knowingness that we can overcome; our supposed superhuman potential.

Post-conscientiously, we have become virtual; android in our thinking and behavior.

What constitutes a human variety of behavior is rooted in the self; how one chooses to prolong and add to involvement of human participation is without judgment or conduct.

One can then draw back to theory of love; how it binds –

Conclusion therefore revolves around theory of the circle.

I would assume squared circle or an offerable grid and its systems is how we operate.

Advertism prolongs continuance; pluralism of thought, generations, populations, growth.

80s single-women-fad of making babies as an accessory – is marked in 90s faux lesbianism, suicide girl, internet-porn vixen, post-post feminist… (political nudists)

Commercialization of sex, and its modern romance-television reality shows, romantic comedies, celebrity gossip, centrally normalizes functionability of human evolution process.

Who and what are we; what do we become?

Theorizing of existentialism has met its surrender in the virtual world.

The great writer forms thought, makes space for the thought; proceeds in fleshing out the thought as fragment, sentence, book or volume.

The tweet makes that possible for those marginalized as pretenders.

Much as art is promulgated around pretense, the tweet limits preponderance of thought with its restricted number of characters; continuing the ongoing Kafka-esque trap we found ourselves in.

Writing (relevant) as tweet is more profitable human dialogue than sex and romance only in that we are sub-human or alternatively more-human.

One can make this definitive in the gender war / #metoo / pre-post carnal sexual ideologies /proliferation of sexual neologisms / tinder and match.coms-dating online…

The artist was once sought after, until posthumous sales of art became a reality; perhaps not cancelable in how the artist ultimately creates. The acclaimed author once had political merit; that notion is in question since the poet and poetry in general underwent a socio-political transformation; misunderstood interpretation of role of the public speaker, author and poet.

Follower on Twitter generates the strategy of the artist, author and poet – in some cases he is an artist, author and poet.

Language once shaped by diction, has been debased into a generational vernacular.

We are far from the writers in history who prioritized language – made use of thought as principle way of communicating.

Thought is elixir of semiotics.

Notion for communicating in modern terms is a form of id-orientation.

The tweet makes this possible.

Overall, social media has broadened meaning of self-governance.

World we inhabit has its priorities we incorporate into means for survival.

Desire is drawn as conclusion from problems that arise.

How we feed or commit to extraneous matters in our need to meet an end, results in the human person, conditioned to function as human, determined by the original functionality of love binding all that we are and what we do, to a more subtracted persona of –

The thought- animal –

Once isolated, imprisoned or self-imprisoned we think.

Placement for our thought is Twitter.

The human person is born to live, give birth, grow old, die – live on through other means.

The virtual spirit, “friend” – follower – meets an end with a post.

With a tweet, the world beckons.

It’s either power of a ruler speaking before an assembled audience, or a loner with a phone.

Photographs by Fabienne Perrier