Frantz Fanon author of Black Skin White Masks
On 15 December 2017 the Star newspaper published an article under the headline “Steinhoff Saga shows venality has no race” by Professor Steven Friedman which first appeared in a journal called Conversations. Conversations is a publication for scholars.
In his 1952 book Black Skin White Masks which must be required reading in schools, Frantz Fanon writes that he has not heard of a single black South African in South Africa who thinks he was superior to white people but all white people think they were superior to black people.
How many white South Africans and Europeans today, 65 years after Fanon’s book was published, honestly believe as Fanon, Robert Sobukwe, Dr Cheikh Anta Diop, Dr Frances Cress Welsing, Stephen Bantu Biko and many others correctly pointed out that racial superiority is a myth and that no race is superior to any other? Sobukwe went on to say there is only one race, that is, the human race and that the physical differences among different groups of people were a result of the environment or geographic location. Dr Diop said at the genotypical level human beings are the same but differ at the phenotypical level. Genotype refers to the genes while phenotype refers to physical appearance. Sobukwe and Diop were saying the same thing unbeknownst to each other.
CONSCIOUS OR SUBCONSCIOUS RACISM AND RACIAL STEREOTYPING
I can’t believe, for the life of me, that 65 years after the publication of Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks I can read an article such as Professor Steven Friedman’s published in the Star of 15 December, (Steinhoff Saga shows venality has no Race), which consciously or subconsciously reinforces racial stereotypes and sending out subliminal messages buttressing racial superiority.
Friedman’s opening paragraph reads, “South Africans are fond of debating whether public or private sector failings are a bigger problem. It does not take too long to realise they are really talking about race”. I would like to hear from Friedman and his ilk if this debate existed during the apartheid era or it suddenly became an issue since 1994. And if it was not there why not since the public and private sector were more corrupt than now since Europeans arrived in South Africa having usurped the indigenous people’s country, excluded them from the economic and political system, subjected them to cheap labour, detained them at will and exposed them to extra-judicial executions? The ANC government has its share of extra-judicial murders but plays a poor second to colonialist and settler colonialist governments.
Friedman continued, “Apartheid was underpinned by strong beliefs in white superiority – these don’t simply melt away because political rules change. People are used to seeing one racial group in skilled jobs, giving orders to the other: inevitably, this becomes natural and so being white is associated with merit, being black with lacking it”.
Friedman can’t write objectionable statements such as those without emphatically qualifying them with rebuttals that white superiority is a myth and therefore wrong and even go further like Sobukwe and say that white supremacy must be destroyed. Those ‘strong beliefs in white superiority don’t simply melt away because political rules change’ because the ANC government doesn’t know how to deal with white supremacy decisively. Which people are used to seeing one racial group in skilled jobs, giving orders to the other? And to whom does this anomaly become natural and associating merit with white people and lack thereof with black people? And does it make it right though? And who created that abnormal situation? What Friedman describes came about as a result of colonialism and settler colonialism. White people are here because of colonialism and settler colonialism. And colonialism is a brutal form of oppression which doesn’t end up with physical oppression but also mental and cultural oppression. Not condemning these patently racist tendencies is tantamount to justifying colonialism.
Friedman writes that government departments are almost always associated with waiting in long queues. I don’t know where Friedman and those in the suburbs who associate long queues with the current government were during apartheid. There were long queues during apartheid and what was annoying was that white people were shunted in front of those long queues. They never followed queues at the banks, post offices and all government departments. White people are now frustrated that they have to follow queues like everybody else.
Friedman is trying to say that corruption and mismanagement have nothing to do with race and that people should watch as carefully over private companies as they do over government departments. If white supremacy is a myth and if there is no race that is superior to any other and also doing away with racial stereotypes, what Friedman tries to prove is a moot point.
He went on to write, “But given how entrenched racial attitudes are, it is more likely that it will be dismissed as a once-off freak by those who assume that white-led business is always competent and as further evidence of white prejudice by black people reacting to the label often stuck to them”.
Some psychologists argue that attitudes are much more complex cognitive structures than simple judgements regarding an object of thought and downplays the complexity within people’s belief systems. Friedman’s use of the phrase ‘racial attitudes’ obfuscates the fact that white people’s racism is much more than attitudes and forms their belief system.
It is like the same tired ‘race and intelligence’ discussion popular with the 1800’s Eugenics movement of the likes of Bertrand Russell that was rekindled towards the close of the last century which took place in Europe and North America and Malthusianism which preceded it which propounded by Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus who wrote “Essay on the Principle of Population” (1798), which Darwin read and was inspired by. The central theme of Malthus’ work was that population growth would always overpower food supply growth, creating perpetual states of hunger, disease, and struggle. The book An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798, but the author was soon identified as Thomas Robert Malthus.
Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply is linear. It derives from the political and economic thought of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, as laid out in his 1798 writings, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus believed there were two types of “checks” that in all times and places kept population growth in line with the growth of the food supply: “preventive checks”, such as moral restraints (abstinence, delayed marriage until finances become balanced), and restricting marriage against persons suffering poverty or perceived as defective, and “positive checks”, which lead to premature death: disease, starvation, war, resulting in what is called a Malthusian catastrophe. The catastrophe would return population to a lower, more “sustainable”, level. Malthusianism has been linked to a variety of political and social movements, but almost always refers to advocates of population control.
In 1994 I wrote in Louis Farrakhan’s The Nation of Islam’s publication Final Call There that there is the cruel lie making rounds in the white-owned media that Africa is poor and overpopulated. Let us get some facts straight here. Who is fooling who?
Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop demonstrated in his “Black Africa” that Africa is the richest continent in the world. Zears Miles has also established this fact. Compared to Africa, Europe is like an empty cupboard. Edem Kodjo provided these statistics: Africa’s death rate is 20.8 per 1,000; Latin America 10.6 per 1,000; Europe and North America 9 per 1,000; Asia 17 per 1,000.
Africa’s population density is 15 per square kilometre: Europe’s is 89 per square kilometre (this is where overpopulation is the problem not Africa): Asia’s is 52 per square kilometre: America’s is 16 per square kilometre.
Africa’s population constitutes 10 percent of the world’s population. She occupies the fourth place behind Asia with 59 percent; Europe with 16 percent and America with 14 percent. It is clear that Europe is more overpopulated than Africa and America.
Africa needs to be repopulated. Africans and people of African descent all over the world should be prepared to fight and shed blood like the Somalis did to defend the African continent, its people and resources.
What are the implications of the lessening of population in Africa and what is the intention of the Global 2000 Report? The destruction of Africa’s population destroys Africa’s economic base. The intention of the Global 2000 Report is to reduce the African population thereby reducing the potential consumer base which is the key ingredient of economic growth. If Africa does not have its large and sustainable population and a big population growth rate, that will stultify the efforts of evolving our own continental integrated economic system devoid of the manipulations and false evaluations that have been characteristic of our relationship with Europeans and Euro-Americans.
Look at China today. It is the fastest growing economy because of its population of 2 billion people. It is an emerging economic and military power and does not take silly orders from white Americans and Europeans.
Africa should also have its own specific political personality. She must be an end in herself. She shouldn’t be lowed as a vessel by any other state, government or bloc and entertain relations with all other countries on a perfectly equal-footing, as Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop correctly pointed out.
A brief examination of the Eugenics movement through the writings of their leading spokesman Bertrand Russell, “Gradually by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species.
“A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organised insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton”.
It has been recorded that Herbert George Wells, Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russell and hundreds of other Eugenicists constantly bragged about how the establishment believed themselves to be a separate, more advanced species than the common man.
The Eugenicists were bold enough to admit their real goal was not improving the heredity of the commoner but to further dumb the down so that they could be more manageable.
Noble Prize winner Bertrand Russell wrote at length about how vaccinations filled with mercury and other brain damaging compounds would induce partial chemical lobotomies and develop a servile zombie populations.
Proponents of these white supremacist concepts would always concoct theories to attempt to justify and support those baseless and unfounded doctrines. They would claim to be racially and intellectually superior.
RACE AND INTELLIGENCE
When I hear or see the words ‘race and intelligence, what immediately comes to my mind is, ‘nonsense’.
There was a proliferation of studies on race and intelligence in Europe and North America in recent times than anywhere else in the world that I am aware of. Those who lived in Asia, South and Central America and other parts of the African continent may enlighten us if there ever was such studies in those parts of the world.
In South Africa we know what white people used to think and still think about race and intelligence and colonialism. Bantu Education was designed for Africans because white people thought Africans were “intellectually inferior” to receive an education with the same standard as that given to whites and other groups of people. Their leading spokesman, H F Verwoerd articulated the views of white people on that subject. Prior to Verwoerd in the late 1920’s Jan Smuts, a graduate of Cambridge University also expressed a similar view. Verwoerd was also educated in Europe and America.
In 1994 I also in The Final Call on the subject of Race and Intelligence following the publication in the US of The Bell Curve by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein in which they claimed that Africans (this includes African Americans) had a lower IQ than Asians and Europeans (this includes white Americans). I also responded to a white British born Canadian Professor of Psychology Phillipe Rushton who wrote nonsense on the same subject. However, Canadian newspapers never published my responses to Rushton. I understand he died in 2012, I guess still spewing that gobbledygook.
In that Final Call article which I no longer have in my possession and hope my America friends will help get it for me – I invoked the intelligent words of an erudite scholar and the finest scientist Africa ever produced – Dr Cheikh Anta Diop who said thinking that race determines intelligence is like confusing rectal temperature with good health. I think Smuts, Verwoerd and all those who think race determines intelligence confused rectal temperature with good health.
Dr Diop also said there is no hierarchisation of intelligence among the races.
Intelligence in the West and perhaps in South Africa, since the status quo is still in place, is measured through what is known as Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
An intelligence quotient is a total score derived from several standardised tests designed to assess human intelligence. The abbreviation “IQ” was coined by the psychologist William Stern for the German term Intelligenz quotient, his term for a scoring method for intelligence tests at University of Breslau he advocated in a 1912 book. Historically, IQ is a score obtained by dividing a person’s mental age score, obtained by administering an intelligence test, by the person’s chronological age, both expressed in terms of years and months. The resulting fraction is multiplied by 100 to obtain the IQ score. That is the explanation of how intelligence is measured.
Does this method of determining intelligence have shortcomings? Yes of course. The same source answers that question thus:
Scores from intelligence tests are estimates of intelligence. Unlike, for example, distance and mass, a concrete measure of intelligence cannot be achieved given the abstract nature of the concept of “intelligence”. IQ scores have been shown to be associated with such factors as morbidity and mortality, parental social status, and, to a substantial degree, biological parental IQ. While the heritability of IQ has been investigated for nearly a century, there is still debate about the significance of heritability estimates and the mechanisms of inheritance.
Parental social status, morbidity and mortality have nothing to do with a person’s intelligence let alone their race. Heritability is an individual factor not a racial one. Intelligence is an individual trait and not a racial trait.
Heritability has to do with genes and genetics. Is intelligence determined by genetics? Studies have shown that like most aspects of human behaviour and cognition, intelligence is a complex trait that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. If that is the case, why do the proponents of race and intelligence ignore environmental factors?
Genetics is the study of heredity or the study of how traits are passed from parents to offspring. This study is largely based on genes. Genes are structures found in every single cell that contain information about traits that an organism has or carries.
Researchers have conducted many studies to look for genes that influence intelligence. Many of these studies have focused on similarities and differences in IQ within families, particularly looking at adopted children and twins. These studies suggest that genetic factors underlie about 50 percent of the difference in intelligence among individuals. Other studies have examined variations across the entire genomes of many people (an approach called genome-wide association studies or GWAS) to determine whether any specific areas of the genome are associated with IQ. These studies have not conclusively identified any genes that underlie differences in intelligence. It is likely that a large number of genes are involved, each of which makes only a small contribution to a person’s intelligence.
Intelligence is also strongly influenced by the environment. Factors related to a child’s home environment and parenting, education and availability of learning resources, and nutrition, among others, all contribute to intelligence. A person’s environment and genes influence each other, and it can be challenging to tease apart the effects of the environment from those of genetics. For example, if a child’s IQ is similar to that of his or her parents, is that similarity due to genetic factors passed down from parent to child, to shared environmental factors, or (most likely) to a combination of both? It is clear that both environmental and genetic factors play a part in determining intelligence.
These studies, as the readers read for themselves, do not touch on different racial groups. They refer to individuals even within the same family as well as strangers.
Is it not interesting that these studies were conducted in Europe and North America, the usual white supremacist suspects and were focused on their daily bread, Africans and people of African descent? In all their studies there is nowhere Africans come out tops. Worse still, these IQ tests are conducted in European languages, are culturally loaded and standardised.
In conclusion, the denigration of the entire race of African people is ideological, it is not science. And once science is used as ideology, it is no longer science but something else as Dr Diop taught us.
There is no race that is superior or inferior to any other.
P/S. These are some of the issues to consider when adopting a new philosophy of education of “changing’ the curriculum”.