Earlier today, we received a letter confirming an “occupational therapy” appointment, and apparently, we should be delighted, and yet, far from it, we are not, as it is simply another example of “professionals” operating through racist thought, however, what do we mean by racist thought? Away from typical, traditional, historically racialised narratives, we see racist thought as that which exploits and plays on themes of hierarchy & domination; of silence and subordination; of denial and degradation; or property and ownership. Although the concept of racist practice has become characterised by the term “nigger”, we simply put this phrase into perspective and note that the term has no “definition” (cf Fuller). It simply denotes something “non-white”, or better, “other.” At the same time, if we merely use the term “other”, it implies that this “subject” is an alternative, or a variation, when really, this “other” is associated with being an “object”, of being a “lesser.” This “lesser” is really, a “non-entity.” It is a sub-species. It is a freak; it is an anomaly. It is a “blight”, an “error”, a mistake – something that should be, and needs to be corrected; a matter of dirt requiring “sanitary” practice, and “good” hygiene. It is to be removed – it should NOT be here.
In this way, we are not converging, but rather, diverging. We are expanding this concept of a nigger; we are utilising it as an analytical tool and a model through which we might make sense out of degradation. Used in a broader sense, and applied elsewhere, we might come to codify the key concepts underlying this violence (separation.) This “nigger” is not black – even if “blacks”, are encouraged to adopt it – it is a “universal” sub-category. It is a tool; it is a political strategy; it is a technique of terror and a mode of manipulative malpractice. At the same time, just as it might be easier to explain what the Almighty is not, it can better serve our goals if we try to make sense of this concept by coming from another angle. Ultimately, we gain more clarity if we review the manifestations of this racist thought and then realise their function, as the “nigger” is a case of a cause we shall know through its effects, which, in the case of niggerisation, have been for the purposes of “subordination.” Our journey then, must begin with three key texts which examine the modes of domination: Martin Hoyles “The Politics of Childhood”, Jan Pieterse “White On Black”, Marimba Ani “Yurugu.”
We would, however, also gain much from appraising Szasz’s classic, “The Myth of Mental Illness”, and alongside this, Amos Wilson, “Falsification…” as together, these texts enabled us to make sense of “nigger,” and yet, there are few better ways to begin than with Fanon’s “The Wretch Of The Earth”, who outlines a peculiar “character assassinating” profile of of the demonised “Algerians” [Arabs?] during the time of French rule (mode 1 “white supremacy”) in Algeria. At length, we quote:
5. Colonial War and Mental Disorders…[there are] difficulties that arise when seeking to ‘cure’ a native properly, that is to say, when seeking to make him thoroughly a part of a social background of the colonial type. Because it is a systematic negation of the other person and a furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity, colonialism forces the people it dominates to ask themselves the question constantly: ‘in reality, who am I?’ […] a colonized people is not only simply a dominated people…there is …
In the period of colonization when it is not contested by armed resistance, when the sum total of harmful nervous stimuli overstep a certain threshold, the defensive attitudes of the natives give way and they then find themselves crowding the mental hospitals. There is thus during this calm period of successful colonisation a regular and important mental pathology which is the direct product of oppression […] firstly, as a general rule, clinical psychiatry classified the different disturbances shown by our patients under the heading ‘reactionary psychoses.’ In doing this, prominence is given to the event which has given rise to the disorder… [p 201]
…it is true that…[there are] cases where the whole of the personality is disrupted definitely. It seems to us that here the rule is rather the frequent malignancy of these pathological processes. These are disorders which persist for months on end, making a mass attack against the ego, and practically always leaving as their sequel a weakness which is almost visible to the naked eye. According to all available evidence, the future of such patients is mortgaged.
[…] We propose here to repeat this official theory, and to recall to mind the concrete bases and the scientific arguments used to create it …
The Algerian frequently kills other men
The Algerian kills savagely… certain magistrates wonder if the Algerian has not an inner need for the sight of blood…the savagery of the Algerian shows itself especially in the number of wounds he inflicts, some of these being unnecessary once the victim has been killed
The Algerian kills for no reason
[…] they even added ‘it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s been scientifically established.’
The North African is a criminal; his predatory instinct is well known; his intense aggressivity is visible to the naked eye. The North African likes extremes, so we can never entirely trust him. Today he is the best of friends, tomorrow the worst of enemies. He is insensible to shades of meaning, and Cartesianism in fundamentally foreign to him; the sense of balance, the weighing and pondering of opinion or action clashes with his most intimate nature. The North African is a violent person, of a hereditary violence. We find him incapable of self-discipline, or a canalizing his impulses.
[…] The Algerian is strongly marked by metal debility… he is incapable of grasping detail …his congenital aggressivity finds way of expressing itself on the slightest pretext. It is a state of aggressivity in its purest form. (p 242)
[…] So it was that unusual behaviour – the African’s frequent criminality, the triviality of his motives, the murderous and always very bloody nature of brawls – raised a problem in the observer’s minds. The proposed explanation, which has come to be taught as a subject in the universities, seems in the last analysis to be the following: the lay-out of the cerebral structures of the North African are responsible both for the native’s laziness, for his intellectual and social inaptitude and for his almost animal impulsivity…the lack of integration of the frontal lobes in the cerebral dynamic is the explanation of the African’s laziness, of his crimes, his robberies, his rapes and his lies…’we must counter these natural creatures…who obey the laws of their nature blindly, with a strict, relentless ruling class. We must tame nature, not convince it.’ Discipline, training, mastering and today pacifying are the words most frequently used by the colonialists in occupied territories.’ (p 245)
Key themes are contained throughout this caricature, and surprisingly, this body of thoughts, aimed at Algerians – who for this purposes, are classified as non-Europeans – is remarkably similar to the characterisation of the black male rapists, and the black female mistress. Essentially, these “images” convey the message, and give the impression, that there is something inherently flawed in the genetic make-up of the nigger, and that, for this reason, this reckless, hopelessly and irreconcilably irresponsible non-adult, must be supervised through various means of surveillance, so as to ensure they are restrained, rather than rampaging. (“The Black Image In the White Mind” explores this ritual defamation in much more depth”). We cannot, however, get absorbed in the contents of these attacks, for the importance is their function. They serve the purpose of engendering the non-entity as something that must be tamed; it implies that the nigger is inherently dangerous, and thereby, necessarily threatening. It suggests that the nigger, unlike responsible, adults, cannot curb its impulses, but rather, has an insatiable desires which accompany a base hunger, and raging appetite.
It suggests that this creature is “irrational” and, not malleable to reason, or thinking, only responds to force and coercion, and yet, through some white logic, it might simultaneously claim that this impulsive (sub)being is so savage that the only time it recruits the use of its otherwise absent and distorted mental faculties, is for deceiving, manipulating and ultimately cheating the vulnerable and exposed European, who, for some fair reason, is particularly susceptible to being duped by the beguiling brute who plays on this white charity, clemency and mercy, to extort the European and their resources. Eventually, this argument goes into justifying the with-holding of resources which might be exploited by these wild-beats of burden, who, perhaps, are attempting to devise evil, excessively diabolical schemes to subvert the order and harmony which are, standard signs of European superiority and accomplishment. In this way, the criminal class and dominant group, which has subverted reality by capturing the resources, depicts themselves to be victims at the mercy of the animals who they happen to be in charge of, somewhat dictating that it would be dangerous to cede to the irritating demands of this criminal “other”, who, refusing to belong to civilisation, and reluctant to contribute to the existing order, it only devoted to destroying everything held dear, running riot, erupting into chaos, and unleashing anarchy in the peaceful communes.
It is exactly at this point where we become ready to make sense of the work and scholarship of Miranda Fricker and Gail Hornstein (rather than Michel Foucault’s “Madness and Civilisation: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason”) who seem to explore the modes of repression, for, racist thought, rooted in notions of superiority, and eventually elevating itself to the position of supremacy, essentially, dictates that people must be denied access, which includes access to their very voices. With Gail Hornstein, we learn about how people are dispossessed, whilst, through Miranda Fricker, we are provided with a model through which to interpret the way people are subject to defamation. Under the present regime, nonwhites must have very little credibility meaning, they are forbidden from being serious. The word is repression …
“…dont deprive me of anything and say you must go to college before you gain access to x,y,x”
Stokely Carmichael (1966)