Black People : Semiotics in American media and the inference of Black inferiority/criminality

Blackbird

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As many of you are aware, I started a thread about the things hindering Black progress; however, I allowed it to disintegrate before I really got to my point of the thread. I wanted to show the incidents and events that were traumatic or potentially traumatic for Black people since being in America based on various historical periods and use these periods to illustrate why it is foolhardy to compare the development of Black people to any other ethnic or cultural group presently found in the United States.

The basis for this is due to something called historical or intergenerational trauma. Researchers have found that trauma can be passed on from one generation to the next. The children of Holocaust survivors up to the 2nd generation have been shown to exhibit effects of the trauma experienced by the survivors. Children of returning war veterans of PTSD were also shown to have traits originating from PTSD acquired from their parents. It seems that exposure to traumatic experiences can produce chemical changes in the brain which can be in turn passed on to succeeding generations.

So, many people experience traumatic events and it is not race-specific. This is correct but the magnitude and duration of trauma experienced by Black people as a collective has not been endured by any other group in recent memory. The Jewish Holocaust lasted less than a generation; whereas, the enslavement of Black people, and brutal environment that accompanied it, alone encompassed 12 successive generations. The violence and forced removal of NAs did not even happen in such an absolute and sustained way.

So when we see the various maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors present among Black folks today, it is extremely fair to look at the history of sustained trauma as possible origin and explanation for these thoughts and behaviors. The trauma has yet to cease even in today's society as we recently witnessed a non guilty verdict being rendered in a high profile and televised murder trial where many felt the defendant clearly went beyond what is generally deemed a normal and usual response to a threat. During the trial it almost felt as if the victim, a dead unarmed 17 year old Black male, was the one being tried as things about his background, which had no bearing on the night of his murder, were being brought up in the media. He was painted as drug using thug with disciplinary problems, but whether he was a thug or not did not contribute to his death. He was being followed and subsequently approached by an arm bearing civilian that disobeyed orders to initiate a confrontation. The outcome of this case signaled to many that Black life, in particular young Black life, is worth no more than it did when young Black people were being lynched over the theft or alleged theft of a pig. So Black people are continually going through a process of trauma and retraumatization.

Some have argued that trauma experienced over a 100 years ago, supposedly from slavery, is an invalid case today to explain the stagnation of the Black race, but as studies have shown and researchers have concluded, trauma is capable of leaving residual aftereffects. Thus, one can not casually brush aside trauma as a cause due to length of time especially when the incident of trauma is sustained and long lasting itself.

Elder Jamesfromphilly always says, "White supremacy will make you crazy." He is absolutely positively correct. The Black experience in America, as one of systemic oppression, violence and abuse, has caused Black people to internalize maladaptive ways of thinking, interacting, doing and living, that in terms of some may have began as survival tactics but with no current value, that have been to our detriment.

So I know some are thinking what does all this have to do with semiotics, the media and Black inferiority and criminality. It all coalesce as I will show in my next post.
 
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skuderjaymes

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Peace Blackbird,

You said:

"The Black experience in America, as one of systemic oppression, violence and abuse, has caused Black people to internalize maladaptive ways of thinking, interacting, doing and living, that in terms of some, may have began as survival tactics but, with no current value, that have been to our detriment."

Question(s): Do you mind giving some examples of these "maladaptive ways of thinking"?

And could you articulate how each of those "maladaptive ways of thinking" contributes to the detriment of the Black Community?
 

Blackbird

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Peace Blackbird,

You said:

"The Black experience in America, as one of systemic oppression, violence and abuse, has caused Black people to internalize maladaptive ways of thinking, interacting, doing and living, that in terms of some, may have began as survival tactics but, with no current value, that have been to our detriment."

Question(s): Do you mind giving some examples of these "maladaptive ways of thinking"?

And could you articulate how each of those "maladaptive ways of thinking" contributes to the detriment of the Black Community?
Peace Skuderjaymes,

Some of the maladaptive behaviors I am speaking of are:

1. Apathy
2. Self-blame
3. Fraticide tendencies
4. Impulsive behavior
5. Low frustration tolerance
6. Passive Aggressive tendencies
7. Emphasis to lack of planning

I can provide how these impact us, as a collective; however, I am short on time so I will take a couple of the less obvious.

What caused me to be on this particular cycle is a discussion recently held on Destee regarding what some say are the low academic performance indicators among Black youth in comparison to other youth, in particular 2nd generation minority groups. Various reasons were given to explain why this is the case such as the external effects of racism such as socioeconomic status, lack of adequate funding to urban, inner city schools, teacher and school administration biases. One participant didn't really buy those explanations as viable, since certain other minority groups experience similar circumstances or are faced with equally significant challenges, and leveled the reason for low performance on lack of parental involvement. An easy explanation and assessment for someone on the outside looking in. Educators, primarily white ones, claim Black parents appear to be less involved in their kids' education. The response from many Black parents have been racism, teacher stereotyping and cultural insensitivity as the reasons why they are not as involved. I considered all of this and can fully comprehend where the parents are coming from as a Black parent myself. I can relate but then I think back to my experiences with certain people who aren't involved just because they either don't see the benefit, understand the benefit or just have general apathy. This led me to really look at the Black experience in America as objectively as possible.

Slavery was such a traumatic experience that expanded so many generations. How can one expect that a people that experienced this would just come out fine as if nothing had even happened? This is the fallacy of America. The damage done to Black people during slavery and since can not be determined as resolved because of a some bureaucratic social programs and legislation. Policies do not heal human injury. The NFL is an example of this. Going on a tangent, it appears that the impact to human integrity has been politicized and injury is removed from flesh and bone to the abstract. America has still yet to own up to the responsibility it has in regards to Black people. It profited on treating Black people as animals, maintained a social, political and economic hegemony of race by denying Black people equal access and opportunities, and continues to further repress Black full expression of potential through subtle and seemingly innocuous attitudes and acts of prejudice.
 
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Blackbird

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Now I would like to get into signs and symbols and their use against Black people.

So just what is semiotics?

Semiotics is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication.
Let's do this as an narrative:

Both Black and white people, all people in America in general, are told that the first Black slaves and ancestors of today's African Americans


came to North America from Africa, also known as the "Dark Continent".


So the first slaves and the ancestors of African Americans were African.


Unfortunately, Africans sold other Africans
to European slavers who put them on slave ships
that took the Africans to slavery in the New World
.

The African slaves were packed on the ships
like sardines.


Once the ships reached the shores, the African slaves were auctioned
to the highest bidder
 
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Blackbird

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I don't know what your view of the above post was. Some may have found the above post vile, offensive, insulting or down right racist. Some may be asking what is really going on with you, Blackbird. This is an example of using signs and symbols.

What was your take? Any emotions, thoughts or feelings can to mind?
 
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