Amos Wilson: White Domination - Black Subordination

The following is an excerpt from "Blueprint for Black Power" by Amos Wilson. [MORE]

Manipulation as Power

Manipulation involves the attempt by the manipulator to elicit certain desired responses from his subject while concealing his efforts to do so. In this way the manipulator seeks to constrain, restrict, or prevent certain undesirable actions on the part of his subject and/or j to subtly direct his subject to behave in certain desired ways outside his subject's knowledge and awareness.

Manipulation, involves a more "efficient" exercise of power than force, coercion and influence because it is less likely to evoke resis­tance since the subject is unaware of the effort to influence him or- may think that the manipulator is exercising his influence to achieve an end desired by both the manipulator and the subject himself, when in actuality the subject is being influenced toward an end which may be detrimental to himself and beneficial only to his manipulator. Thus, the manipulated subject may be led to perceive his own re­sponses and behavior as expressions of his own free will and choice. Commonly, manipulation is achieved by skillfully presenting informa­tion, rewards and deprivations in ways which shape the consciousness and behavior of the subject and motivates him to freely '"choose" to act in ways compatible with the concealed intentions of his manipulator.

Wrong notes two important general forms where manipulation may occur:

First, the power holder may exercise concealed control over the power subject through symbolic communications designed to make veiled suggestions, to limit or determine selectively the power subjects' information supply, or to inculcate without appearing to do so certain positive or negative attitudes...

But an equally widespread kind of manipulation occurs where A alters B's environment in such a way as to evoke a desired response from B without interacting directly with B at all.

Wrong further notes that manipulation may involve the most dehumanized, and as far as we are concerned, perhaps the most dehumanizinging exercise of power of all because, unlike the exercise of obstructive physical force, visible coercive and authoritarian power where the intent of his adversaries and the sources of assault and frustration are known to the subject, manipulation "is a form of power that cannot be openly resisted by the power subject since he is unaware of the power holder's intent or even sometimes of his existence. There is no visible command for him to disobey, no identifiable adversary against whom to assert his freedom."

The manipulation of Afrikan American political and economic attitudes by the White ruling elite is designed to effectively secure, enhance and exercise power while not appearing to do so; while appearing to provide Blacks with power or options equal to that or those of Whites. The point of this type of manipulation is to win the acceptance by Blacks of the legitimacy of White power, its moral Integrity, its legitimating ideology, and the acceptance by Blacks of their obligation to obey the directive of White power while believing their obedience to be expressive of their own free and moral will. Only by basing their behavioral orientation on their own Afrikan history, culture, values, interests, consciousness and identity can Blacks prevent their behavioral manipulation by self-serving Whites and act under the influence, of their own self-generated enhanced power.

Summary; White Domination-Black Subordination

All of the forms of power we have discussed as well as those not discussed here when used by Whites to maintain their power over Blacks, add up to one overarching social power relation between Whites and Blacks — White domination, Black subordination.

Social domination occurs when the power of one person or group over another is exercised in a systematic manner at the expense of the dominated person or group. Wartenburg uses the term "domination'' to refer to:

the power that one social agent has over another in situations in which that power is exercised by the dominating social agent repeatedly, systematically, and to the detriment of the dominated agent. The concept of domination therefore refers to a specific manner of exercising power. Such an exercise of power must be one that conditions; the relationship between two agents in a longstandinging manner. "Domination" refers not to a single exercise of power but to a relationship between two social agents that is constituted by the existence of a power differential between them.

Our characterization of the White American-Black American power relationship as one of White domination of Blacks is based on the fact that in large part the White American power structure possesses and uses its ability to adversely affect the welfare of Blacks to further its own interests and to the detriment of those of Blacks.

The subordination of people of color is functional to the operation of American society as we know it and the color of one's skin is a primary determinant of people's position in the social [power] structure. Racism is a structural relationship based on the subordination of one racial group by another. Given this perspective, the determining feature, of race relations is not prejudice toward blacks, but rather the superior position of whites and the institutions — ideological as well as structural — which maintain it.

The power relationship between Blacks and Whites is an interactive one — where While power, to a significant extent, arises out of certain types of social interactions between Whites and Blacks where Blacks unwittingly play a very important role in constituting | and sustaining their powerlessness relative to Whites. White domination of Blacks in our current social context is primarily facilitated by the fact that Blacks think of themselves and of reality in terms created by the self-serving interests and perspectives imposed on them by Whites, and act on the basis of biased and false information provided them by Whites without realizing it. They therefore contribute to their powerlessness and domination by Whites simply by thinking about themselves and reality in a manner thai! allows them to be subjugated. Thus, White domination of Blacks is, to a significant degree, covered-over by ideology, beliefs which Blacks have been conditioned by Whites to unwittingly accept. To this degree, their domination and powerlessness is self-imposed. Blacks obscure their unnecessary domination by Whites and contribute to that domination by their own gullibility and too-ready acceptance of Eurocentric ideloogy and their obsequious willingness to think and act only within the confines of White-generated ideas, social definitions, relations and ethics (not often honored by Whites themselves). Hence, the minds of Blacks are Used to forge the links of their own mental chains,

When Afrikans in the Americas and the world-over choose to critically examine the "received" ideas and biased perceptions of "reality" imposed on them by Europeans and choose to know reality for what it is - to create themselves through gaining a thorough knowledge of self, knowledge of the world, and through studying and acquiring power — they will then have attained the keys to their own liberation.

Even a cursory review of the relations of the social domination of Blacks by Whites demonstrates its repeated, systematic and detri­mental nature. All of the types and forms of power we have so far discussed, as well as others not discussed, have been and are currently used by hegemonic Whites to maintain a system of social domination immensely beneficial to them as it is devastatingly" detrimental to Blacks.

The use of sheer, unadorned physical force as a means of dominat­ing Blacks has been used by Whites from the 18th century to the present moment. It has assumed many forms, from war, captivity, lynching, beating, torture, mob violence, police brutality and repres­sion, to martial law and the like. The threatened use of physical (police and military) force stands behind White power in all its deceptive metamorphoses. But more effective and deeply enduring than the use of physical force or the coercive threat to use it in maintaining the domination of White over Black, is the long-term use by Whites of harshly unrelenting psychic violence against the collective Black persona .For this violence more effectively neutralizes Black opposition to and possible overthrow of White domination than the preponderance of White military might. Psychic violence hobbles the most powerful of human weapons — the human mind and its productive creativity, ingenuity, innovativeness and vision. Moreover, it hobbies the human capacity to develop and press into service the social identity, social consciousness, unity and solidarity, and the cooperative social spirit which combined empower a race to overcome impossible odds posed by other hostile and apparently more powerful races of men.

Psychic violence makes the victimized individual or group vulnerable to the '"soft", yet ultimately more treacherous and effective forms of social domination — social coercion, influence, manipulation, allegedly legitimate and competent authority, and ideological hypnosis. Nothing less than the healing of the wounds occasioned by White-instigated psychic assaults against the collective Afrikan mind, body and spirit can enable Afrikan peoples to regain their liberation. A deep and fundamental transformation of the subordinated Afrikan psyche via the steadfast acquisition of an Afrikan-centered conscious­ness and identity will provide the social-psychological, and if need be, military power tools for breaking through the imprisoning wails of White supremacy.

However, in this liberating Afrikan centered consciousness and identity must be included an indomitable will to Afrikan Power! This will must be informed by a profound knowledge of the means of acquiring and of the excercising of power as well as a strategic and tactical knowledge of the enemy's power. To an examination of these factors we will now turn. [MORE]