Inspiration

Mental Slavery and The Black Race

Stereotypes are vastly widespread and extremely powerful.

Recently, within the media, there has been a surge of bizarre headlines surfacing the web accusing famous white celebrities such as Ariana Grande of ‘blackface‘ and ‘blaccent‘. She was accused of appropriating Black Culture in her interviews and music videos by presenting as more tanned than usual and putting on a stereotypical black accent – ‘blaccent’.

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Twitter discussion on Ariana Grande’s Blackface

The term ‘Blackface’ is a historical practice dating 200 years whereby white performers would purposely darken their faces with cork and polish to mock enslaved Africans in minstrel shows. Black people would be depicted as lazy, cowardly or hypersexual.

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Image credit: Wikipedia

Based on this horrendous practice, one can understand why some black people would feel a sense of injustice in observing a white person already in a position of vast influence meshed with their ascribed privilege, utilise stereotypes from a marginalised group to pick and choose what shade of colour they want to be for trend-setting and monetisation purposes.

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Kim Kardasian accused of cultural appropriation upon sporting these ‘fulani braids’.
Rachel Dolezal known for claiming to be black (trans-racial) despite being of European ancestry

I prefer to view society from a progressive standpoint. So playing devil’s advocate, I don’t believe Ariana Grande maliciously presented as overly-tanned in an attempt to mock black people, neither do I believe that she was speaking with a ‘blaccent‘ to depict black people as cowards or whatever other negative traits.

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Throughout history, there has been very real injustices of “Us vs. Them” which is still engraved in a lot of our subconscious mentalities. I believe that our current priority should be to unite and promote a message of black excellence which would reduce unneccessary sensitivities, comparisons and the dependency on validation from other communities. Prejudice and racism are by no means a thing of the past, but they have however taken a different form of oppression and have simply transformed as opposed to getting better.

Related imageBlack Panthers – Civil Rights Movement, USA (1966-1982)
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Black Panthers – Civil Rights Movement, USA (1966-1982)
Related image
Black Lives Matter demonstration sparked by racial profiling and police brutality towards black people USA 2013- present 2019

Slavery has had devastating effects on the overall psyche of black people, particularly African Americans who are direct descendants – Although these effects can also be felt by other black people in the diaspora and the black people living in the deprived economies of post-colonised Africa.

Negative and damaging stereotypes targeted towards the black community are even more apparent these days, with social media perpetuating heavily alongside television, the music industry, film and advertising. Adults and young people are under pressure to live up to an array of damaging images in order to be deemed ‘cool’ or live up to an unfortunate negatively projected standard.

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During my secondary school days, I was ironically picked on by other black students for supposedly acting and speaking ‘white’. As a young girl this would often trouble me, and I would naively go out of my way to use slangs which would hopefully be deemed ‘black’ enough for those students to accept me as one of them.

Unfortunately, in terms of ‘black stereotypes’, black people often are the ones glorifying their own degradation in the process. Burrell, in his book ‘Challenging The Myth of Black Inferiority’ asserts that racism isn’t the primary issue; but how we respond to media distortions and programmed self-hatred. He claims that the Black Inferiority campaign perpetuated by the media is the “greatest propaganda campaign of all time”.

His book goes into great detail about how black people have been subjected to mental enslavement via brainwashing and how the concept of ‘black inferiority’ through years of propaganda, media stereotypes and portrayals as well as social forces has kept us from becoming better people.

When one really thinks about it, it is such a sinister plan, that today, a lot of us have accepted it as reality and are actively perpetuating it – It takes just one look at American reality TV shows such as ‘Love and Hip Hop’ and media outlets like ‘TheShadeRoom‘, to see this in action.

From Burrell’s perspective, many of the problems plaguing black urban communities (i.e gun violence, corruption, overly sexual musical lyrics, dysfunctional families, undisciplined spending habits, high incarceration rates etc) have their roots in the legacy that was slavery.

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Love and Hip Hop Reality TV show
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The Shade Room

Acknowledging that these problems are not solely confined to the black community; they are particularly destructive to its perception and advancement. Whilst many challenges facing many black communities are in large part due to systemic and insititutional racism, it can only be overcome once the black communities unify around a common vision for change. One way to do this as suggested by Burrell is to:

‘Question, Analyse, Rethink and Reprogram’


Pan-Africanism is a movement that aims to connect and understand the injustices of black people within the diaspora. It acknowledges the previously mentioned challenges of black stereotypes and the media portrayals of black people. However another challenge which they have encountered is the lack of understanding of race relations and that of black people who do not identify as persons of African descent. Nevertheless, the aim of this movement is that of continued mobilisation for global, black solidarity and consolidation.

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What are your thoughts on this topic:

Do you believe black stereotypes are real?

Have you been challenged for not behaving according to your racial stereotype?

What are your thoughts on white people and the new phenomenom of blackface?

Do you think it is in the hands of black people to challenge the black inferiority complex?

As a white person.. are you brave enough to voice your thoughts?

If you are interested in reading more or know anyone who could benefit from this topic, Burrell’s ‘Brainwashed – Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority‘ is an easy-read which discusses more in depth about the deep rooted causes of this phenomenon.

You can purchase the book using my affiliate link:

https://amzn.to/2V4H97J

Thank you for reading!

Yours Truly,

🌹V.O.L

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8 thoughts on “Mental Slavery and The Black Race

  1. You did a really good job writing this out mixing historical fact with modern day issues. It’s an important topic with an issue that sadly, I feel has perhaps many more years before we have an actual resolution. The reality of our world is that racial stereotypes (really regardless of race) are real because people play into them. Despite being white myself, I do have a racial rainbow of a family and have seen this in many forms throughout the years. It’s like people (whether subconsciously or purposefully) play into the part of these awful stereotypes that a clearly mentally disturbed society years ago deemed appropriate for whatever reason based on the colors of skin.

    Personally I feel part of the issue of uniting and moving forward is that instead of focusing to create movements that can break a race away from negative stereotypes, all too often we see movements created where races own their own negative stereotypes as if they were a good thing.

    I’m definitely going to have to check out that book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane.. thank you for sharing your thoughts. Race relations has unfortunately been an ongoing topic for decades and decades. It’s unfortunate that to this day people still play into their racial stereotypes. Thank you for reading and definitely check out the book 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very thought provoking post! This is why I hate when black women in particular are silenced when non blacks use racial stereotypes about BW and are able to monetize from it. Black bodies continue to get exploited by almost all communities. Some may not have bad intentions as you mentioned, like Ariana Grande but she’s participating in structural racism which operates at the expense of blacks.

    To answer one of your questions, I think black people are largely responsible to creating/ changing the narrative that we hold about ourselves. I think our focus has to be less on what others think about us but on creating narratives that empower & uplift our communities.

    Thank you for bringing light to this issue. It’s a very important topic 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ash.. thank you for your thoughts! Yes I agree that black bodies continue to be exploited.. but as you rightly said, we should attempt to shift our focus towards changing the narrative we hold for ourselves first. Also perceptions of what the ‘right’ body image isn’t a fixed notion.

      There’s a saying that goes along the lines of “When you react, you give others the power to control you”. We should definitely initially focus on our own empowerment, because only when we are united can we then change the perception of others. Unfortunately, until the former is done.. I don’t see any hopes with the latter. I have a good feeling that the next generation will grow up with lots of black and positive empowerment.. which should hopefully change racial relations for generations to come. It’s also a good thing that as a society, we are a lot more interconnected and globalised. Thankfully there is a glimpse of hope..

      Thank you for reading !! 🌹

      Like

  3. Mental slavery is just as bad if not worst than physical slavery
    Very interesting topic and made me think alot.
    One thing to remember being black is what you are, not what you trying to be. There is no slang word, dressing a certain way, eating certain types of food to determine your nationality.
    Sterotypes is real and what divides black people.
    Not only black people are judged by white people but black people judged by other black people.
    In order to change as a whole, we first have to address the issues within the black commuinty then we have to work together to solve them.
    I feel like on social media especially black people talk about how we should stick together and black are underrated and black women are beautiful but in reality we just all talk, we are not backing these statements up with actions
    Malcolm X said that the black women is the most diresepected person in this country and this is so true. Black women are judged the harshest. One thing we must do as black men is do a better job protecting black women by using actions and demonstrating how important they are instead of talking about it.
    This post is powerful. I could add more but I leave it here.
    Good job on this

    Like

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