Dr. Amos Wilson: “To Conquer a People You Must Destroy the Love They Have For One Another.” Rebuilding A Functional Black Psyche!
First, I will say that Dr. Amos Wilson was one of the most undervalued minds of our time. Like many before him and many of his contemporaries, his genius wasn’t recognized until his death.
What is impressive about the assessment outlined in this meme is the depths of its truth and the magnitude of the force therein.
So, how do you destroy the love that a race or group of people have for one another? It begins with eliminating the love everyone has for themselves. You do this by destroying their identity — by annihilating their sense of self-awareness — their self-concept. Once an individual lacks a clear understanding of identity, they begin to look outside of themselves for means by which they can define themselves. Dr. Amos Wilson was a staunch advocate of building a self-sustaining Black self-image in our youth.
When you don’t know who you are, you tend to look to the dominant society to define your existence. The less you can relate to the dominant culture; the more self-hate begins to manifest. As self-hatred grows internally, the hatred of those you relate to grows externally. Mentally and emotionally, the goal is to achieve the approbation and acceptance of the dominant class.
IN HIS EARLY WORK, Joseph A. Baldwin (1979) held that Black self-hatred was a vicious Euro-centric construct. The Black person faces a constant bombardment of notions centered on the Eurocentric idea of what is… What is beautiful, what is classy, what is professional, etc. There is no room in the Eurocentric social construct for the natural expression of Blackness. Blacks are only tolerated to the level at which they acclimate themselves into the White social construct. The force behind this thrust to become someone you are not transcends the reality present in the modern-day United States. The impetus can be observed around the world, where the toxic outcomes of colonialism still manifest themselves.
To understand the power of robbing people of their inherent identity, you must understand the natural dynamic of intrinsic power. As Black people, we have unique qualities that are inherent to our design. The problem is when you attempt to navigate life outside of the fundamental functionality of your design, you reduce your capacity to express your optimal power — rendering yourself ineffective or inadequate. The more you experience this ineffectiveness, the more you are driven to be like those you see experiencing a high level of success.
Over time, the belief in your inferiority drives the hatred you have for yourself and your disdain for those you relate to in society. As a closed society, the problem with Blacks is we have been conditioned to see the worse in ourselves and one another. We invest a mastodonic amount of effort in forcing other Blacks into compliance with the Eurocentric idea of what is.
Lost in all this hatred is the love we must hold for one another if we can ever operate as a communal entity.
Instead of aspiring to achieve White acceptance, we must learn to embrace who we are and not only accept it as our reality but learn to love and embrace it as the unique source of our power. We can never thrive in a system that was not created by or for us. We must learn to love and trust our uniqueness in this world. We must appreciate its value and value it on our brothers and sisters.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made it very clear that he viewed the Black Panther Party as the greatest threat to national security. Why? Because the Panthers represented the most significant expression of Black unity. Hoover understood that Black self-love would lead to Black love throughout the Black enclaves in the nation. A race of people who loved themselves would not surrender to forced compliance in situations where compliance would not serve their values, interests, and principles.
How do we escape the proclivity to see ourselves through the lens of a White racial caste system? It begins with the systematic racial socialization of our youth to be proud of who they are. The knowledge of their brilliance must be inculcated into the psyche of each Black child and protected until the seeds can take root.
We must develop a lucid perspicacity of our history and heritage. It is imperative that we teach our youth and the masses that our history did not start with slavery; it was interrupted by it. In my books, Born in Captivity: Psychopathology As a Legacy of Slavery and The Undoing of the African American Mind, I go to great lengths to explore the damage done by chattel slavery and the subsequent traumatic reinjuries experienced after 1865. I also point to the fact that our salvation must be an endogenous endeavor. We must raise ourselves out of the pit of poverty and social despair. We must escape the need to define ourselves based on a Eurocentric proposition. Simply saying that our children are our future will not suffice. We must treat them as if they are our future. Our children must be adequately prepared to meet the challenges they will face with confidence. We must prepare, empower, and protect our youth as if our very survival is dependent upon it — because it is.
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Baldwin, J. A., Brown, R., & Hopkins, R. (1991). The black self-hatred paradigm revisited: An Afrocentric analysis. American Psychological Association, (pp. 141–165).
Baloyi, M. E. (2020). Black self-hatred: Regaining self-worth – From decolonisation towards reconciliation in South Africa – A practical theological appraisal. Theologia Viatorum, Theologia Viatorum 44(1) DOI:10.4102/TV.v44i1.33.
Stevenson, H. C. (2006). Parents’ Ethnic-Racial Socialization Practices: A Review of Research and Directions for Future Study. American Psychological Association, 1-24.
Stevenson, H. C. (2015). Development of the Teenager Experience of Racial Socialization Scale: Correlates of Race-Related Socialization Frequency from the Perspective of Black Youth. The Journal of Black Psychology.
Wallace, D. (2007). Black Male Gender Role Socialization and the Performance of Masulinity in Love Relationships. Department of AFrican American Studies at Temple University.
Wallace, R. (2015). Collective Cognitive-bias Reality Syndrome. The Odyssey Project.
Wallace, R. (2017). Born in Captivity: Psychopathology As a Legacy of Slavery. Houston, TX: Odyssey Media Group & Publishing.
Wallace, R. (2020). The Undoing of the African American Mind. Houston: Odyssey Media Group & Publishing.
 Baldwin, J. A., Brown, R., & Hopkins, R. (1991). The black self-hatred paradigm revisited: An Afrocentric analysis. In R. L. Jones (Ed.), Black psychology (pp. 141–165). Cobb & Henry Publishers.
 Baloyi, Magezi. (2020). Black self-hatred: Regaining self-worth – From decolonization towards reconciliation in South Africa – A practical theological appraisal. Theologia Viatorum. 44. 10.4102/TV.v44i1.33.
 (Stevenson, Development of the Teenager Experience of Racial Socialization Scale: Correlates of Race-Related Socialization Frequency from the Perspective of Black Youth, 2015)