Description: TV SHOW, BLACK JOURNAL, WITH HOST LOU HOUSE, COVERAGE OF ISSUES CONCERNING BLACK AUDIENCE Initial Broadcast Date: December 21, 1971 30 minutes – Color Continuing its analysis of institutional racism, Black Journal invites Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Dan Watts, and Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) to discuss racism in terms of psychological development, culture and colonialism. Dr. Poussaint, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of the forthcoming book “Why Blacks Kill Blacks,” sees white racism as a mental illness. For that reason he questions “whether black people … can find themselves and have self-determination or find their cultural self within the confines of American shores.” According to him there are a tremendous number of psychological problems to be overcome, both for whites and for blacks. He feels that too often psychiatrists talk about racism only in terms of its negative effects on black people, which “makes black people feel that somehow they’re mentally deranged.” He says, “The self-hate concept is overplayed and exaggerated. We never talk about the self-love that has helped black people to survive in this society and to grow.” He sees a white paranoia underlying racism – “a fear or a delusion that black people are somehow going to destroy and hurt the white man” – which prevents whites from full maturity and instills a chronic anxiety and guilt. Ultimately, Dr. Poussaint perceives the problems of white racism not in individual psychological terms, but from a sociological standpoint – the potential genocide of the black community by the white community. Watts, editor and publisher of Liberated magazine and a faculty member of Fordham University, sees racism as “a minor issue … a minor byproduct of white power” and white power as the power of “the dominant group, which happens to be white.” He adds “I think it’s a universal trait of all dominant groups to impose their culture, their value systems on a minority group wherever you go in the world.” According to him one of the black community’s major problems is its failure to see racism as a “majority people exercising power … an overwhelming power militarily speaking, economically speaking, and politically speaking.” Baraka, a member of the executive council of the Congress of African People, head of the Committee for a Unified Newark, and noted playwright, poet and political activist, points out that “You cannot combat power unless you create an entity which is an alternative to the power.” For Baraka, the alternative is Pan Africanism – “the establishment of an African independent unified Africa (and) … at the same time bringing self-determination to Africans and people of African descent wherever they are in the world.” He maintains that this can be accomplished once the black community accepts the African culture (“a total value system”) and sets up institutions which will house this new system. Watts, however, believes that the cultural system will develop only out of the struggle for power as it occurred historically in the nation states of Europe. But Baraka finds fault in this suggestion, noting the “disadvantage in consistently defining ourselves through the European experience.” “Black Journal,” a production of NET Division, Educational Broadcasting Corporation Executive producer: Tony Brown
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