Dr. Wright tells us that the answer to Blacks’ problems can be found in the works and lives of people like Shaka Zulu, Martin Delany, Marcus Garvey, H. Rap Brown, Malcolm X, Chancellor Williams and others. As those of you who frequent RBG Street Scholars Think Tank know, such an approach is at the core of our academic content and methods.
Recognized for his activism, he was a special guest on the Committee of Science and Technology at the Sixth Pan-African Congress held at Tanzania in 1974. As a social scientist, he sought an all-encompassing social theory for Black people and formulated the concept of mentacide. To paraphrase, he defined mentacide as “the planned and systematic destruction of a group’s mentality aimed at the destruction of the group.” Thus, Black folk alienated from their culture and history eventually lose their sense of purpose and direction, the symptoms of mentacide. Well aware of the implications of technical advances such as behavior modification and genetic engineering, he presented science as a tool serving greater ends (such as controlling the outcasts of white society), neither objective nor neutral. Being an uncompromising critic of Western society, he wrote the following on the relation of religion to prejudice from “The Psychopathic Racial Personality” in the Fall 1974 issue of Black Books Bulletin: Because of their lack of ethical or moral development, there is no conflict between the white’s religion and racial oppression. The white race had historically oppressed, exploited, and killed black people, all in the name of their god Jesus Christ and with the sanction of their churches. For example, it is generally overlooked that the Ku Klux Klan is primarily a religious organization. Also, blacks should never forget the Pope [Pius XI] blessing the Italian planes and pilots on their way to bombing Ethiopian men, women, and children who only had spears to defend themselves…Get Audio CDs from House of Nubian
Published by Haki R. Madhubuti
(Third World Press)
Haki Madhubuti describes esteemed ancestor Dr. Bobby Wright as “one of the few Black people who dared to ask the penetrating questions and demand answers and corrective actions to the racial situation in the United States and the world.” In these essays, psychologist Dr. Bobby Wright coins the term “mentacide” which he defines as the “deliberate and systematic destruction of a group’s minds with the ultimate objective being the extirpation of the group.” “Mentacide,” says Dr. Wright, is a worldwide phenomena being implemented against the entire Black race. “Therefore,” he says, “Blacks in Africa will begin to manifest the behavior of Blacks in the United States. Dr. Wright “was a thorn in the brain of Black men and women posing as leaders.” And his last words were a warning to his friends and associates, “Watch the leadership, especially those proclaiming their God-given answer to the problems of Black people.” “Dr. Bobby E. Wright was a “Black” psychologist, so labeled not just because he was both Black and a psychologist, but because he used his education, training, intellectual knowledge and skills always in the best interest of Black people all over the world.” Just as Brother Haki considered it an honor to publish Dr. Wright, it was an honor for me to study and draw lessons from this revolutionary and thought provoking work.
Dr. Wright poignantly begins the title essay, The Psychopathic Racial Personality, with the following narrative;
“In a bullfight, after being brutalized while making innumerable charges at the movement of a cape, there comes a time when the bull finally turns and faces his adversary with the only movement being his heaving bloody sides. It is believed that for the first time he really sees the matador. This final confrontation is known as “the moment of truth.” For the bull, this moment comes too late.” According to Dr. Wright, the experience of Black people all over the world presents an analogous situation. For hundreds of years, our European (white) matadors have been holding up the capes of democracy, capitalism, Marxism, religion and education and for hundreds of years we have been charging at the movement of these “capes.” Like the bull, we too are suffering from near fatal wounds and “indeed have arrived at our “moment of truth.”
Sisters and brothers, it is time for us to look at the matador and Dr. Wright tries to sharpen our vision. He defines a psychopath as “an individual who is constantly in conflict with other persons or groups. He is unable to experience guilt, he is completely selfish and callous, and he has a total disregard for the rights of others.” Dr. Wright says Black leaders are reluctant to measure psychopathic traits of the White race in their dealings with Blacks when there is a threat involved. “For example”, says Dr. Wright, “everywhere one finds Whites and Blacks in close proximity to each other, Whites are in control, whether it is Chicago or Zimbabwe.” And our leaders rarely question this “extraordinary universal phenomenon” which Dr. Wright says “defies every known statistical law of probability.” He also analyzes some of our so-called intellectual leaders and comments that, “Black intellectual enlightenment does not always lead to genuine insight and it can be very damaging to the intellect as reflected by the behavior and attitudes of many eminent Black scientists.” As a result of the confusion, Dr. Wright concludes that Blacks have become disoriented and the result is various inadequate and dangerous behavioral patterns. “Some have become catatonic and do not move at all but wait for divine intervention; others place their faith and energies in charismatic guides who are just as lost as they.” Dr. Wright tells us that the answer to Blacks’ problems can be found in the works and lives of people like Shaka Zulu, Martin Delany, Marcus Garvey, H. Rap Brown, Malcolm X, Chancellor Williams and others. For they all looked at the matador or psychopath for what he was and is and moved against him.” The “other essays”, deal with Black Suicide, Educating the Black Child and The Black Child: A Destiny in Jeopardy. These excellent essays reinforce the notions discussed in the title essay. Dr. Wright quotes the Afrikan proverb that warns the traveler of life, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” He says a social theory determines the destiny of a people by establishing guidelines of life and Blacks should therefore develop a “Black Social Theory.” He warns, however, the ultimate achievement of a Black social theory would be the recreation of Black culture and that is a very difficult task. Professor Jacob Carruthers (RIU), who reviewed the book said, “brainwashed Blacks who are awestruck by European theory and theorists cannot accomplish this task……and Bobby Wright’s concepts of the ‘psychopathic racial personality’ and ‘mentacide’ are major contributions to this culture recreation process.” Since its publication in 1984, The Psychopathic Racial Personality has proved to be a revolutionary, groundbreaking work on race relations. It is one of the works that should be read by serious minded Africans everywhere who are dedicated and committed to rebuilding the Afrikan world order.
“AND THE BEAT GOES ON” Wise Intelligent’s Globe Holders
More so today then in the past, we suffer from that same double consciousness that Dr. DuBois taught on all the way back in 1903. A twoness of mind that I call humanist-integrationist inbetweenity with a Black tongue. We talk Black (Afrikan) but are more committed to living White (European). This is the root cause of our ongoing mental, physical and cultural genocide.
Certainly if we don’t take the necessary risk and make the obligatory sacrifices required to be truly free it won’t be long before we to as Afrikan people will become museum displays–as in extinct. Something well on its way and in dynamic motion as we speak with the Black / New Afrikan male in Amerikkka.
Finally, to end on a more positive note and with a charge, we must remember that Afrikan education is rooted in the Afrikan worldview and conceptual framework (THAT MEANS CULTURE). The lifeblood of our pedagogy from man’s East Afrikan origins to Cush, Nubia, Nile Valley Civilizations to West Afrika is its maintenance of a cultural continuity rooted in the same Afrikan worldview (See Diop’s Cultural Unity of Black Africa). This cultural continuity has been maintained only because of Afrikan education’s foundational spirituality / Maatian Principles and Laws.
Never forget and allow the following caveat to be your motivating guide, “All history is current events and all current events are history.” It is We who are the present carriers of Afrikan culture and history, and nobody else is or will be responsible for making the “blue prints, floor plans and road maps” our elders and ancestors have blessed us with a continuation of this intergenerational propagation of the Afrikan worldview but us. Keeping the culture means advancing the culture in all its agencies and manifestations, the most of which is through education.
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