From Dr. Amos Wilson [HERE] SOCIOPATHOLOGY PRECEDES PSYCHOPATHOLOGY. Collective pathology precedes individual pathology. That is, diseased social interactions between groups generate diseased social interac¬tions within groups, and furthermore, diseased social interac¬tions within groups generate diseased psychological interactions within individuals who are their constituents. The discontents of individuals reflect the discontents of groups; and these, the discontents of the societies and cultures they constitute. The Great Chain of Discontents inextricably binds together individ¬ual, group, society, and culture.
The character and conduct of groups and individuals however labeled and categorized, whether judged to be good or evil, superior or inferior, are the products of historic intergroup, intragroup, and interpersonal relations, and can only be meaningfully understood in terms of these relations. The character and behavior of Afrikan American individuals, whether labeled "normal" or "abnormal," can only be fully and accurately comprehended, along with the process and purpose of labeling itself, in terms of the historic power relations between dominant European-American and subordinate Afrikan-American groups.
White domination and Black subordination involve special types of social power relations constructed predominantly by Whites in order that they might receive certain material and non-material benefits thereby. These social power relations involve social practices and processes which mediate the White American socioeconomic, sociopolitical, sociopsychological manipulation and construction of Black consciousness and behavior. Under White supremacy Black consciousness and behavior are socially manufactured, labeled, and judged by Whites in ways consonant with their social control and expropriation of Black natural and acquired human resources. The "normality" or "abnormality" of Black consciousness and behavior are so classified with reference to the degree to which they support or oppose to the continuity of White supremacy. "Normal" Black consciousness and behavior under the various regimes of White domination are characterized by habitual thought patterns and behavioral tendencies which render them pliable to White authoritarian/authoritative social control with minimal resistance; which induce Blacks to accept their subordinate status as natural, perhaps actually to misperceive their oppression as freedom. "Abnormal" Black consciousness arid behavior under White supremacy involve habitual thought patterns and behavioral tendencies in Blacks which make their social control by Whites intolerably difficult or ineffective; which induces them to protest, resist and reject their subordinate status as destined or natural, to perceive their oppression as unfreedom.
From the vantage point of the continuity of White supremacy, the basis for the labeling of Black consciousness and behavior by Whites as normal or abnormal depends not on the discovery by Whites of discrete states of consciousness and their correlat¬ed behavioral tendencies in Blacks, but on the discovery of the degree to which Black consciousness/behavioral tendencies are perceived as serving or dis-serving their hegemonic interests.
Disturbances of thought, emotions, motivational and values priorities, and psychological processes in Blacks are the unavoidable outcomes of their oppression by Whites. To be oppressed is by definition to have one's thought processes disturbed; emotions impaired; motives and values inverted; and one's body functions imbalanced. There can be no "normal¬ity" of consciousness and conduct for Blacks as long as they remain dominated by Whites — merely socially acceptable or unacceptable adjustments to the ever-changing demand characteristics of White supremacy. The normality of Blacks under White domination is by that circumstance, above all, a "pathological normalcy" — disturbances in Black consciousness and behavior which are deemed serviceable and beneficial to the needs of their White oppressors.
The alleged normality or abnormality of Black consciousness under White supremacy requires that Blacks involuntarily and obsessively deceive themselves. This collective self-deception which is the benchmark of oppressed Black consciousness is the mam product of White-Black social power relations motivated by anxiety and ignorance, founded on the denial and distortion of reality. Both the normality and abnormality of Black consciousness and behavior as reproduced by the power relations of White supremacy, also require that they operate against their own best interests in the interests of their White oppressors; that they be self-denying, self-defeating, and oft-times self-destructing, while convincing themselves that the opposite is true.
Normality is as much a political-economic concept as a psychological-social concept. As a political/economic construct it is the result, in large part, of the interplay of inter group, intragroup and primary group social-economic power relations and practices which have been exercised on the bodies of persons. Normality is born of fairly systemic methods of rewarding and punishing behavior, ritual practices and indoctri¬nation, training, correction, supervision, and constraint. As societies change so do their fields of power relations, methods of socialization, and concepts of normalcy. To paraphrase Foucault,5 the "normality" which inhabits a person and brings him into existence is itself a factor in the mastery that those in power exercise over that person's consciousness and behavior. Normality as a functional state of being, as a circumscribed set of states of consciousness and their correlated behavioral tendencies, is the effect and instrument of dynamic political-economic relations. The "norm" is in essence a principle of coercion; a constraint on behavior; a rule to be followed. It involves the establishment of a set of values or standards, a range of behaviors to be respected which must be achieved through conformity, reinforced by social sanctions, rewards, and punishments. Normalization, the process of using the values of the norm to compare, differentiate, hierarchize, homogenize; to determine the level and value of abilities and the "nature" of persons and groups; to exclude; to mark the frontier of the abnormal — and thereby ration power, privilege and favor — is one of the great instruments of power wielded by those who rule and dominate others. Hence, under White supremacy the "normality" of Blacks is to a significant extent both the effect and the instrument of White power. For the subordinated Afrikan, "normality" is the prison of his mind and body. [MORE]