Estimated reading time: 11 minute(s)
Originally published 8.13.09
Derrick Muhammad: Thank you for allowing us to sit down with you two brilliant scholars. First, weâ€™d like to ask how did you determine that A Black Life = Collective Power + Individual Impact?
Dr. Janice Anderson: Sure, thank you. Weâ€™ve done extensive research over the years. But we realized that no one has really calculated how much a life was worth nominally, especially a Black life. We began to conduct studies and realized that although Oprah, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and now we can add Professor Gates all had contributed enormously individually. Their lives were still not as valuable as a middle class white person â€“ because they belonged to a powerless collective group.
So in other words, a poorer White could falsely accuse Michael Jordan of theft, rape, or any crime â€“ and even in a society that uses economic status as a sign of social acceptance â€“ the dominant culture would still side with the poorer White individual. That means that there would be a 99% chance that a police officer would arrest and then ask questions later regardless of the economic power that Michael Jordan had. And that is essentially because Michael Jordan belongs to the most powerless collective group on the planet.
Now letâ€™s take a reverse scenario that a White person who has made significant impact â€“ letâ€™s use Barbara Walters as an example â€“ and letâ€™s just say that another White person of a lower class and socio-economic group accused her of a crime or an offense, the police would more than likely support Barbara Walters because of her higher economic status. And, letâ€™s not even throw in a Black individual accusing another White person in power of anything. So we definitely need to evaluate that equation closely and apply it to our own individual lives and local communities.
Dr. William Sommers: And what good is it if you have all this money or a higher educational status if you are still violated? And we tell our readers: You belong to a powerless group and you donâ€™t understand power. Thatâ€™s why you are still being violated. We also tell them how to obtain that power.
Derrick Muhammad: You two said that essentially Blacks were afraid of power. What did you mean by that?
Dr. William Sommers: We mean that Blacks are afraid that they will have to do something destructive to regain power. All Blacks wanted historically, after slavery, was the right to live without being raped, beaten or hung. Blacks never talked about real power. After slavery, Black power really meant â€“ Black cooperation. And black cooperation was the ability to live in society without harm. Weâ€™ve lived in a society that has used such brute and savage tactics to gain power, that at the core of it all, Blacks donâ€™t want to talk about winning in that power struggle because they believe that they would have to use those same cruel tactics. And weâ€™re revealing that we donâ€™t have to use cruel tactics to regain power.
Itâ€™s absolutely wrong and insane to not want to have power over your own person. Every other culture group isnâ€™t afraid to attain power. The Jewish community isnâ€™t afraid. The Asian community isnâ€™t afraid. The Arabic community isnâ€™t afraid. The Mexican community isnâ€™t afraid. So we show tactics and strategies that ensure that we regain our power, without compromising who we are as a community.
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