University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Black Rage-Book Report
The pages of human history daubed in bloodshed and thickly coated with ethnic, racial conflicts ask a crying question. How to make this Planet Earth heaven -like? The answer is simple and direct. Eyes full of understanding, heart full of love and the life that refuses conflicts—these alone are enough! When an individual or a people of a particular race are constantly nagged and abused, condemned and ostracized by the society, they become bitter and cynical individuals. Heartfelt care and concern, an understanding approach and tender regard for their feelings are necessary pre-requisites to heal their inner wounds.
Adequate opportunities need to be created for their ‘reformation’ and ‘rehabilitation’ into the mainstream of the society. The authors feel that it is not an easy task. Each and every molecule of the Negro race is surcharged with the hidden grudge as for the inhuman treatment meted out to them in all walks of life, from the cradle to the grave and from the womb to the tomb and this process continued for centuries. They were branded from birth as ‘niggers. ’ This insult on their personality is difficult to condone. Brief summary of the book: This is a classic work on black identity.
This is also criticized as one of the sexiest books. Slavery is no ordinary crime against humanity. The book explains the race relations and its dynamics in the day to day living of the blacks vs. whites. How at each step of the ladder the blacks were pulled down, how they were made to stumble at deliberately created hurdles by the whites, how slavery dynamics deeply impact the cross-racial sexual relationships etc. It is one thing to have freedom and protection for the essential human dignity of the individual legally. It is good to have uniform constitutional rights for whites and blacks.
But what mattes is the interpretation of the laws and their applicability to the ground level situations, concerning the blacks. The book is an authentic source of inspiration to the educated younger generation of blacks, and for the African psychologists of the day. The book cites case studies and they are properly dealt with. The point by point analysis of the “intra-psychic” dynamics of Black life in every day America is extremely informative and an eye-opener. Blacks, in many parts of the world where the whites were the dominating community, suffered, and in USA they suffered intensely.
The authors are psychiatrists by profession and they are eminently suited to treat this subject. The inner conflicts and the desperation of back life, how they carry on with their back to the wall existence—all these have been highlighted, with the zeal of pursuing the truth. As the black race is exposed to various social situations related to the individual growth through education, employment, achievement of status in life, the intra-racial problems have begun to crop up with great intensity. The authors cite the case of an educated school teacher, marrying a laborer. They explain: “…She was embarrassed by his poor education.
He felt that she and her friends were “phony” and that she was preoccupied with maintaining senseless appearances. Their mutual hostility led to verbal and later physical assaults. Divorce was the result. This pattern is so common in Negro marriages that it deserves special study, which might shed light on the broader problems of how in America choice of mate and marriage in general is influenced by a person’s blackness. ”(p. 75) The authors put forth strong arguments that black people living in a racist, white dominated society have suffered and are suffering psychological pressure by the effects of racist oppression.
This sometimes, has the telling effect in on the day to day disposition and black people act in unpredictable manner. The thesis of the book: Will the country ever awake in to that heaven of freedom, and when it will be free from the division of narrow domestic walls created by race prejudices? What you do to mitigate the mental barrier of racial discrimination on so many counts is not important. How you do, what you do is indeed important. More acts and legislations have helped to create a stir in the minds of whites and blacks. But the problem eludes permanent solution.
This is so, because the feeling of superiority within the minds of the whites has to change. When the thought process will change, the action process will also change! When the thoughts are changed, the mind is changed; when the mind is changed, the man is changed; when the man is changed, the society is changed; when the society is changed, the Nation is changed. Then only we can way that plenty and prosperity engulfs USA, not otherwise! The contents and arguments in the book contain too much sex, much more than required by the literary standards.
But some times, these issues are beyond the control of the authors. Firstly the book must sell. This is the prime objective of the publisher. Fortunately or unfortunately, sex sells. If it is handled well, it sells well. This could be one of the reasons for the extra dose of sex in the book—this may not be as well! This book has about 230 pages with 10 chapters, Who’s angry, the shadow of the past, achieving womanhood, acquiring manhood, marriage and love, character traits, the “Promise” of education, mental illness and treatment, and how come there’s so much hate and black rage.
In a nutshell, the contents of the book discuss and analyze the bitter past of slavery in USA, the tension-ridden race relations in USA today, and the future of black and white race relations which have the possibilities to turn worst, on the slightest provocation, when the black race is making its presence felt strongly, in political, social, and economic spheres. In sports, blacks are dominating! The blacks accepted the domination of the white race-will the whites accept the domination of the black race in times to come? Will the law of divine retribution work in this context?
Identify the evidence used by the author to support his/ her thesis That which is evident requires no introduction, elaboration, or appreciation. Light is bright and it is evident. Milk is white and it is evident. Simply say black race in America, and everything is evident. The saga of suffering of the Negro race, the era of slavery, violence and cruelty to subdue their legitimate aspirations rotates on the curtain of one’s mind. The authors of Black Rage do not mince words when it comes to condemning the atrocities committed on the black race.
“The voice of black America has been heard in the explosions of Watts, Newark, and Detroit,” they warn. (p. 3) They assert their aspiration in strongest terms. “Black people continue to revolt against laws and customs that are deadly and humiliating…Aggression leaps from wounds inflicted and ambitions spiked. It grows out of oppression and capricious cruelty. ”(p. 3). The younger generation of Negroes is not willing to wait and accept ‘the tactful handling of the situation’ by the whites when their interests matter.
The white race is not willing to travel in the boat where the rudder is controlled by the black. The blacks are aware, by their bitter past experiences that the whites will go to any extent when their own interests matter. This causes more frustration and apprehension in the black community and adversely affects their psyche. The example cited in the text is that of Jimmy, a twelve year old boy. “His face was jet-black, and his expressions ranged from somber to sad. Whether relating stories of home, school, or the streets, he disguised his true feelings.
At twelve he had learned one of his first lessons–always play it cool. As much as possible, he worked to hide his inner life. One day he stared long and hard at his fist and said: “I want to hit a white man. ”(p. 59) State your own opinion and ideas about this book. The book contains tough opinions about the white race. To tell a black youngster to forget the past, say that he is constitutionally protected and enjoys equal rights as applicable to whites or any ethnic group is as good as telling him a story.
The suffering of the Negro race is something very special and closely linked to the destiny of America. The black can condone the past; they can not ignore or forget it. The whites are not obliging the blacks by the present stance of understanding them. They have no other alternative. They must accept their newfound social position—equal in every respect as compared to the black people and it is their duty to say that the black-brother is first among the equal. They must attempt and secure the transformation within. The writers put it crisply and authoritatively.
“After all, the thoughts begin, the Negro is also an American and if he is different it is only matter of degree. Cliches are brought forth and there is a lengthy recitation of the names of famous Negroes. Long association has bred feelings of familiarity which masquerade as knowledge. But there remain puzzles about black people; all is not understood; something is missing. ”(p. 23) “It is better to have a world united than a world divided; but it is better to have a world divided, than a world destroyed,” said Sir Winston Churchill at the time of II World War.
Presently, does this quote apply to the solution for the race problem in USA? USA will never be divided in geographical terms, the Constitution of USA is strong enough, the political leaders have enough foresight, but the example given in the book is shocking and is the definite pointer, how the division of the hearts is complete. How Come There’s So Much Hate? “When the man died, his wife of forty years was pitied by her friends. The widow was a stern New Englander; her dead husband was a black. In spite of strong social disapproval of their marriage, they had raised children and prospered.
There had been some discord between them, but they handled it discreetly and the children had never heard them comment on racial matters. Even when a racial incident was prominent in the news, not a word was said about it. The children assumed that their mother had long since accepted the realities of marriage to a black man. They were completely unprepared for her words when her husband died: “Thank God that nigger is gone! “(p. 181) Spirituality, not religion, seems to be the only answer to this vexed problem of race relations. Once a human being crosses the mind barrier, all differences all tensions, cease!
Mind is a bundle of negative and positive thoughts. The usual methods of suppressing the thoughts and emotions are not going to bring permanent peace. If the Negro race has to surrender at any point, it has got to be the dynamic surrender, of a supreme and brave human being. They should not accept the supremacy of the white race, nor demand the pound of flesh for the historical misdeeds of the whites. If the revengeful attitude persists, it will take them and the Nation nowhere. If the Nation does not survive how will the black and white races survive?