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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #10 of 54: Chad Republic | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #11 of 54: Comoros »

May 09, 2006

Interracial Relationships

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- Before we embark on this discourse on interracial relationship, we must first answer the question: Is there such a thing as different human races? We must first ascertain the existence of race as a fact before we can talk of interracial relationships.

If there are no such variables as different races, what then are we talking about by talking about interracial relationships?

In every day language, folks generally employ the term race to mean those who have different skin colors. In this light, they talk of the Caucasian race (pale-white), the Negro race (brown-black) and mongoloid race (Asian-yellow?).

East Indians and Polynesians are fitted into whatever race category the individual wants to fit them. Generally, East Indians see themselves as Aryans (whites) and Polynesians see themselves as a mix of Asians. In America both East Indians and Polynesians would probably be treated as black persons, but since to be black is to be at the bottom of the American social totem pole, these people, understandably, would not want to be called blacks?

Are there three or more human races? And if so, what constitutes a race? Is race characterized by skin color only?

Molecular biologists tell us that all human beings, regardless of their color, are genetically 99.9% the same. The .1 % difference in them account for such things as skin color, hair type and other apparent differences. That is to say that biologically, people from everywhere on planet earth are more similar than dissimilar.

All human beings belong to the same animal species. A species are animals that can reproduce with each other. Europeans can reproduce with Africans and Asians but cannot reproduce with gorillas, for though gorillas look like human beings they belong to a different species.

Biologically speaking, the term race is amorphous and is probably better not employed. However, socially and culturally speaking, clearly, there are differences in people.

Human beings evolved in different geographical locations in the world. Each geographical location had a different environment compelling animals that want to survive in it to evolve certain biological and cultural mechanisms. Human beings adapted to the peculiarities of their geography. Those who adapted to the cold, arctic region, like Eskimos, adapted differently than those who adapted to the tropical world of Africa, and those who adapted to the temperate world of Western Europe adapted differently from how Africans adapted to their hot milieu.

Culture is the sum of what a group of people does to adapt to the exigencies of their world and subsequently pass it to their children, to help them adapt to their world.

Every known human group has a somewhat different culture from other groups and socializes their children into internalizing their culture.

People generally behave according to their culture. Of course, there is individuality within the uniformizing world of culture.

There is, in aggregate terms, something that can be called a European culture (within which there are national cultures, such as English, French, German, Italian, etc and within which are even regional cultures); there is a broad category called African culture (within which are national and ethnic cultures); there is a collective approach to life that can be called Asian culture (within which are national cultures, such as Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean etc) and there is such a thing as American culture (within which are, broadly, Caucasian, African-American, Native-American, Latin-American and Asian- American sub cultures).

In America, there is a cultural, not biological, phenomenon called white, Black, Asian, Native and Latino peoples. These groups, to the average American, constitute different races. When Americans talk about interracial relationships, they mean people from these apparent different groups relating to one another. (I said social, not biological phenomenon, for a person could have white skin color but if he identifies with black America and talks like black Americans do, he would be treated as black Americans are treated in America, as second class citizens.)

In actual fact, however, when people talk about interracial relationships, they are probably talking about the problems people from different cultural backgrounds have in relating to each other?

In the not too distant past America, the so-called races were legally (not justly) separated and prevented from relating to each other. This apartheid was based on unproven assumptions made about each race.

White persons were placed at the apex of the American racial pecking order and black persons were placed at the bottom; the other groups were placed in-between. To be white in America was to be superior to other races and to be black in America was to be inferior to other races and to be Asian was to be in the middle of the assumed superior white and inferior black persons.

The various groups that constituted the American polity, obviously, internalized the social constructs of whom and what people were, and those assumptions affected their relationship with each other.

Until recently, many, if not, most black Americans were taught that they were inferior persons. Whereas most of them probably knew that that idea was wrong, nevertheless, they were socialized to it and internalized it in varying degrees.

The idea of superiority and inferiority affected Americans social relationship, with those who were socialized to believe that they were superior to others condescending towards those socialized to accept that they were inferior persons. White folks, particularly in the Southern states, behaved as if they were superior to black persons. Until recently, the typical white American had a neurosis, the illusion of his personal superiority to black persons; in fact, some had a psychosis, the delusion of being superior to blacks. Inferiority and superiority feeling are delusions, belief in what is not true as true, for the truth is that all people, men and women, black and white are the same and are equal.

(Neurotic persons wish to be superior to other persons but know that they are not superior to others; psychotic persons believe that they are superior to other persons, when, in fact, we are all the same and coequal. When an illusion is believed it becomes a delusion, which is a psychosis. The neurotic wishes for something, ideal, but knows that what he wishes for, his desired reality, is not real; he is still able to test reality and knows the difference between ideals, wishes and reality, fantasy and facts, generally the neurotic is unhappy with reality but resigns himself to it, while wishing for an ideal form of it. The psychotic, on the other hand, has lost the ability to test reality and takes his wishes and desires, his mentally constructed ideals and fantasies, as reality; he has escaped from our shared world and now lives in his own self constructed world, a world of fantasy where reality is whatever he makes of it, not what it is empirically is. See further reading.)

Each human being, beginning from the moment of birth, constructs a self-concept, an idea of who he thinks that he is. He employs his inherited biological given and social experiences as building blocks in constructing his self-concept.

Once constructed, the self-concept is translated into a self-image and seen in the individual’s mind.

The individual also constructs concepts of what he thinks that other people and things are. Generally, the individual sees himself as separated from other people; he sees himself as limited to his body, and sees his body as boundary separating him from other people. He sees himself as living in a world of space, time and matter. He believes himself weak, puny and vulnerable and could be hurt by other people and things and devotes his life to defending his life via food, medications, clothes, shelter etc. Our lives on earth are no more than defense of our bodies and our sense of selves, egos.

The self-concept/self image is the same as personality. Personality is the individual’s habitual pattern of behaving, of responding to other people and to the world in general. Generally, personality is formed by age six and set in stone by adolescence and subsequently is difficult to change (except through conversion to religion, to different philosophies of how to live ones life, and or from trauma to the brain that makes the individual to think differently).

Generally, people are at sixty who they were at sixteen. Where there is a personality disorder, such as conflicted pattern of relating to other people, it is apparent by adolescence. (See George Kelly, Personality as a Personal Construct. Also see American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, Section on Personality Disorders.)

People have different self-concepts and approach each other with those different concepts. Each person’s concepts is individualistic but is influenced by the idea of race.

As Alfred Adler pointed out, there are individuals in every group that feel superior to other persons, and there are those who feel inferior to other persons. There are those with positive self-esteem and those with negative self-esteem, those with high or low self-opinion of who they think that they are. Each human being has different opinion of his worth and value.

These feelings are exacerbated by race. A black person who, for any number of reasons, feels inferior will probably feel more inferior as a result of the racial situation in America. A white person who feels superior will probably feel more superior to blacks as a result of the racial situation in America.

Clearly, the past de jure and present de facto strictures against interracial mixing in America played a role, and probably still does so, in how people relate to each other across race lines. Consider dating. In America, until recently folks were encouraged to date and marry only persons from their race and were frowned upon, even punished should they date persons from a different race.

This disapproval of interracial dating was particularly serious for black Americans. Since, socially, white persons were deemed superior and black people inferior, for a black person to date a white person was discouraged. Black men who had white girl friends risked death. Indeed, until the 1960s such men could be lynched, hung on the nearest tree.

Thus, on the whole, there was little overt interracial dating. But this appearance is deceiving. It has been estimated that over 75% of black Americans had non-black genes. They must have come into being as a result of sexual relationship between white and black persons.

In past America, generally, folks had interracial sex in the hide, not in openness. White slave masters had sex with their black female slaves and had children with them (and disowned them, of course). In the cities it was the case that white men would go to black sections of town to have sex with black women and then go back to their white neighborhoods, to their white wives. This way, white men would have both white children and black children (the later disowned). The recently dead senator Thurman had black children whom he denied as his children, of course. While the man was fighting racial integration he was doing his best to integrate the races in the bedroom (under the cover of darkness).

Fear and cowardice pervades the interracial sexual situation in America; folks do one thing and talk about another, afraid to let the whole world know what they actually do least they be socially disapproved.

Since white men were in power in America, they could pretty much get away with this sexual charade but if blacks tried it, it could turn deadly. Black men who had white girl friends had to hide that fact. It could mean physical death in the hands of white mobs. Indeed, it could also mean social rejection by fellow blacks.

Black women particularly hated black men who had white girl friends, for the implication is that those men preferred white women to them. The “sisters” are known to ask such “brothers”: “what does that white bitch got that I don’t have? You like them white pussy, nigger?”

The least a black man gets for fooling around with a white woman is job insecurity. Many a black man has been fired from his job when his white boss found out that he had a white girl friend.

White men, generally, reject white women who date black men. As it were, they see such women, often called white trash, as bringing their race downwards, reducing it to the lowly level of “niggers’. There is a lot of pressure for white women to stay away from black men.

Nobody fully understands why people are attracted across racial lines, for despite the pressure to stay away from persons of other races, interracial dating manages to flourish in the land of the Americas. Some white women, like some white men, sneak into black ghettos to have sex with their black lovers. In the past, if these women became pregnant, they had abortion and if they had children they most likely gave them up for adoption rather than risk rejection by their fellow whites. These days, with relaxed social opposition to interracial dating, some of these women keep their children. Statistics show that interracial marriages are increasing, though it is still less than 1% in the USA.


SOCIAL PATHOLOGY

As far as biology is concerned, there is no such category as races. In so are that there are races, it is social and cultural construct, not a natural one.

The social strictures against interracial dating produced a whole lot of psychological issues for those involved. As noted, until recently, white men killed black men who dated white women. Therefore, a black man who, for whatever reason, dated a white woman must be cognizant of the fact that his life may be threatened. Some such black men tended to exhibit paranoid symptoms: they were suspicious, untrusting, and fearful that both whites and blacks could harm them.
Many black men with white girl friends exhibit social paranoia. Some call this phenomenon African Americans functional paranoia, for there was realistic grounds for them to be cautious of whites, for the later historically did kill “niggers” who stepped out of line, who did not know their place, as defined for them by their white masters, second class citizens.
However, it is difficult to ascertain the origin of this exaggerated fear of harm called paranoia, whether it is due to interracial fears or independent personality issues. We know that paranoid persons tend to have grandiose self-concepts, big egos. To have a big ego in itself produces fear of those one looks down on, for one literally attacks whomever one feels superior to. Having attacked those one feels superior to, one then fears that they could counter attack one, by feeling superior to one. Paranoid persons tend to be filled with hostility towards other people, project their hostility out and come to believe that other people are hostile towards them.
Paranoid persons generally believe that other people are dangerous and that they live in a hostile world and that they might as well protect themselves. They are generally very defensive, and are always guarded and scan their social environment to ascertain that no one is out to harm or kill them.
People who feel superior to other persons, as paranoid persons do, may resent being prevented from dating whomever they want. Thus, superior feeling black paranoid persons may resent whites for preventing them from dating white women. They then date whites out of defiance of white opposition. They date whites to seem, at least, equal to whites.

Knowing that they are defying white society’s opposition to interracial dating, they may feel that whites are out to get them hence they become suspicious and exhibit paranoid symptoms.

Whatever is its origin, what is clear is that paranoid symptoms are often found in black men who date white women. Again, it is difficult to ascertain whether these paranoid ideations preceded such black men’s dating of white women or are a result of it? This is the usual chicken and egg question; which preceded which? Perhaps, the answer to this conundrum is that each caused the other? How about that?

White women who date black men have their own social psychological issues. They do what they do for a whole variety of issues. Some do it out of love (this is very few in number, for even in the so-called normal society very few date and marry for love). Others do it out of some unresolved neurotic issue (as is also the case in so-called normal society.

One such neurotic reason is the feeling that one is not respected by white men, and that black men would respect one. Black men are supposed to be inferior and, as such, ought to value and respect any white woman that condescends to associate with them. Apparently, these women want to be placed on a pedestal and feel that white men would not do so, and that black men would over value them and place them on a pedestal.
Others do it to feel superior to their black male lovers and in the process gratify their underlying neurotic desire to seem superior to somebody.

Again, it is really difficult to ascertain why people do what they do. What needs to be done is for the individual to ask himself or herself why he does what he does. Clearly, if his or her motivation is love, which means joining with the love object, and caring for the other, union, then that is a healthy motivation. But if the motivation is to obtain respect, when respect is deemed as lacking, or to seem superior to others, well, that is a neurotic, if not psychotic, basis for relationship, and such relationshiops will not work.
Some people have relationships based on sexual needs, only. There are men who just want to have sex with women, any woman, black or white; there are women who have similar motivations. If these people understand why they are doing what they are doing, and are honest and not deceptive about it, they harm no one. As long as they let their partners know what their goals are, they are not using any one. If two people just want to have sex and it is mutual and not exploitative that is their choice. Clearly, it is better if the two also loved one another (want to unify with one another: to love is to join, to connect, to unify with the person one loves and to care for one another, to return to a sense of oneness).

There was a view by psychoanalytic oriented persons that interracial marriages are substitute homosexual relationships. According to this view, those black men who date white women are latent homosexual men and paranoid. According to Sigmund Freund, paranoid persons are folks who repress their latent homosexuality, at least, so was the Judge Schreber case that he analyzed.
White women who date black men are latent probably lesbians. The idea is that the black man feels weak and allows a strong white woman to essentially marry and lord it over him, as a gay male would lord it over a weak male, and that the white woman is like a lesbian dike lording it over weak women, in this case, a weak black man. This view is fanciful, and like most psychoanalytic views, far fetched; nevertheless, there are some persons who believe it.

HOMOSEXUALITY

No talk on interracial relationships is complete without a word or two on homosexuality. So, let us talk homosexuality and possibly offend some persons. We currently live in a politically correct culture. In this atmosphere, the individual is expected to agree with whatever would please other people or else he is punished. The individual is discouraged by the gatekeepers of political correctness to express his opinion if it is contrary to prevailing socially approved opinions. One no longer dare hold views that challenge the views of vocal minorities such as homosexuals. The question is no longer what is right or wrong but who defends a position? If feminists, for example, believe that a point of view is detrimental to their position they would penalize men who express such point of view.
Political correctness has compelled several people to jump unto the “homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle” bandwagon. No one bothers talking about the rightness or wrongness of homosexual behaviors. My God, did one say wrongness? Who is the individual to talk about what is right or wrong? Who gives one the right to tell other people what is right or wrong, God? What God, does God exist; did not Nietzsche tell us that God is dead? Scientists, our latest high priests and arbiter of truth, have not demonstrated the existence of God.
Political correctness defines the individual’s role as merely to rubber stamp whatever is currently championed by powerful vocal persons who shape public opinion; the individual is not supposed to think for himself and ascertain what is correct or not. The human mind is dismissed as incapable of knowing the truth, except the truth told it by the gatekeepers of political correctness.

Homosexuality is sexual behavior that defies what seems the proper function of the male-female genitals. It would seem that the penis is meant for the vagina. But in gay sexual behavior, men stick their penis into other men’s mouths and anuses. Those organs do not seem to belong where gay men stick them. Homosexual behavior does not seem natural.
Who defines what is natural, gay men ask? They believe that they have the right to define what is natural for them.
As one sees it, homosexuality is an act of defiance against nature; it defies what is. It is oppositional defiant behavior; it is like the oppositional defiant behavior found in unruly teenagers. It seems a misguided effort to seem powerful, to seem like one created ones self and determines what is natural. It is an effort to seem like one is the author of reality. In this sense, it is unrealistic and childish, for, clearly, the individual did not create himself, did not create other people and did not create reality. The individual was produced by his parents; he did not produce himself. The rebellious adolescent may resent his parents for producing him, and wanting to produce himself, the fact is that his parents produced him, and that is the way it is despite his wishes for power to be his own creator.
Reality is what it is, we did not make it. Pretending that we made it is a delusion. I think that homosexuals are on a power trip; they are pretending that they can make reality what they want it to become.
Am I trying to change homosexuals, to get them to stop being homosexuals? I am not trying any such thing. They made a choice to be defiant and oppositional, an act of power, albeit childish power. If they are opposed by any one, they would redouble their efforts to be oppositional and seem powerful, and struggle to do their thing. Therefore, one does not oppose them. One simply leaves them alone to wallow in their, to me, absurd life style.
(Does one have the right to judge any behavior as absurd? Political correctness says no. Soon, thieves, pedophiles and other currently judged social deviants would gain political power and tell us that they do what they do because it is in their genes and, as such, that we should approve their behavior; why not?)
As long as Homosexuals do not try to impose their self abuse on one, the world is a large place; they are free to abuse their bodies in any which way they want. Their behavior is their choice and it is not for one to choose for them, provided that they do not choose for one.
We are thinking, cognitive, and mental human beings. We think, we ideate and we conceptualize what is or is not. We use our minds to make choices. We then deny that we made those choices and project them to our bodies and make it seem like our bodies made us do what we do.
Thus, these days, we are told that homosexuality is written in homosexual persons’ genes.
Genes, the information coded into our DNA, we shall ultimately find out were information systems written by some one. Genes are like software, computer program we store in our body hardware, information to enable us evolve bodies and bodies we need to live on earth.
Mind, that is, thinking, wrote the program in our genes. How this was done we do not yet understand.
In the meantime, it seems that homosexuals want to do what they do and wrote a program and place it in their body hardware and that program now seem to independently compel them to do what they do.
In fact, they wrote the program that seem to dispose them to do what they do; they programmed themselves to do what they do and are responsible for their behaviors.
Homosexual persons are responsible for their behaviors, just as murderers are responsible for their behaviors, even if they can demonstrate that they killed under the influence of mind-altering drugs. The criminal is responsible for what he does, as all of us are responsible for what we do.
In nature we do take the consequences of our behaviors. If one kills others, others could kill one. The principle of cause and effect, operative in this world, means that we are not passive agents unto whom bad things happen; we play active roles in what happens to us.
Homosexual men stick their penis into other men’s anus. Every time they do so, they risk infection by fungus, virus and bacteria. All things being equal, they must be sicker than heterosexual persons. They gave themselves their sicknesses and have no one to blame for them.

We cannot blame our genes for we are not only bodies but also minds that can think and make decisions. Homosexuals choose to be who they are and to do what they do.
What this means in terms of relationships is that one can choose to relate to them or choose to avoid them.
Political correctness does not mean political foolishness; folks who are nihilistic and self destructive and court death (infestation of germs with every sexual act they engage in) are not to be seen as the saviors of mankind; the destroyers of mankind, may be.

It is now fashionable to equate the struggle by homosexuals for social acceptance with black folks struggle for social acceptance. This conflation of two unrelated struggles is an outrage against reason. African-Americans are persons born with black bodies. They cannot choose to not to have black bodies.
Homosexuality is a behavior, homosexuals can choose to engage or not engage in their behavior. These folks can choose to be heterosexual.
A black man cannot choose to be white; he must be black until he dies. It is therefore unacceptable to equate homosexual struggles for social acceptance with black folks struggle for social acceptance.
If you want to approve homosexuality, that is your choice, some of us choose not to approve it. We choose not to encourage nihilistic self hating persons to self destroy. These nihilists want us to collude with them and tell them that their self destructive, anti life behaviors is appropriate; they want us to become partners in their self destruction so as to share the blame with us. They want to say: see what you did, you encouraged us to harm ourselves. They are free to harm themselves, but other people, society, is not bound by any rational logic to help them do so. One will not aid a person bent on self destruction, for one affirms life, not death. If one wants to die, one has a right to do so, that is ones choice, not other people’s choice. One should not shift the responsibility for ones choice to other persons. Act and take the consequences of your action. (Unfortunately, other people also take the consequences for your action, hence must be interested in it; we are all paying to cure the HIV-AIDS sexually irresponsible persons brought unto the world. Only one man-one woman, in heterosexual marriage, is responsible and realistic sexuality, as far as I am concerned.)

Black color is a status; in the temporal world, the here and now reality, blacks do not have the capability to alter their color (although black persons chose to be born black before they were born on earth).
All men and women black and white are equal and must be treated as such.
Homosexuality is not equal with heterosexuality; aberration is not the same thing as reality, deviancy is not the same as normalcy.


RACE AND CULTURE

From where I am standing, there is no such thing as race. However, I see culture as extant social reality.
Culture is not natural, it is a social construct, it is man made and can be remade. We construct culture and can deconstruct and reconstruct it. The only acceptable culture is one that serves social interests.
Culture is man made and ought not be deified and reified just because it exists, it is a pragmatic instrument for adapting to the exigencies of this world and where it is maladaptive it is to be changed and made adaptive.
In America, racist culture separates people. This is not good. People are the same and equal; that is the dictate of nature.

People ought to try to relate to other people only from the perspective of love, not for any underlying neurotic reasons. But this is easier said than done. Every human being has some neurosis and that affects his behavior.
Okay, even if neurosis is the original motivator of the individual’s behavior, what brought folks from different races together, they could work to understand their motivations and learn to improve them.

SECULAR AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY

Psychotherapy could help any couple to love themselves. Good secular psychotherapists can help couples, interracial and intraracial, to care for one another.
Therapists help people to understand the realities of this world and cope with them in the most effective manner. Secular, scientific therapists, the types licensed by states, are empiricists; they understand the empirical, that is, the egos world we live in and help people to adapt to it, as well as they could.
Two adults, male and female, need to love and respect one another; they need to have satisfactory sexual life, if they are to stay married. Folks who want to be in harmonious relationship must therefore love, respect and care for one another; they must understand each others ego structure and accommodate it.

Secular psychotherapy does not attempt to transcend the world, as it is, but to adapt to it. That is fine.
It so happens that human beings are more than their bodies; they are spirits having physical experience.
If individuals want to transcend the empirical world, they can avail themselves of the services of spiritual psychotherapists.
Spiritual psychotherapy, aka metaphysics, such as is found in A Course in Miracles, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, and Unity Church etc enables people to appreciate that they are spirit pretending to be physical beings.
According to A Course in Miracles, body does not even exist. Space, time and matter do not exist in reality. They seem to exist in a dream world. Our truth is unified spirit. While in unified spirit, aka God and his heaven, we wished to experience its opposite, separated selves housed in bodies. We could not satisfy our wishes in reality, in spirit, in God, in heave, and did so, or seem to do so in our world, a world that opposes the will of heaven.
We wished for separation and see ourselves in a seeming separated world, a world of separation, space, time and matter.
Separation between minds produced physical space, time and matter. Space, time and matter, our bodies, exist only in the dream of separation but do not in the unified world of God.
A Course in Miracles, like Hinduism and Buddhism, urges people to seek to experience their real self, which is said to be unified spirit self. They are told to do so through forgiveness and love. To forgive other people is to overlook what they do to each other in the dream of separation.
Other people do attack you, as you do attack them, for the world is a place of mutual attacks and defenses. A Course in Miracles asks you to overlook their attack, that is, to forgive them. It says that in forgiving other people’s attacks on you, in overlooking what other people did to hurt you, you forgive and overlook what you yourself did to hurt other people. Forgive others means forgive you.
It further says that when we forgive other people, hence forgive ourselves, we reawaken to the feeling of oneness with them. To forgive is to return to love, and love is union, hence to forgive is to return to the awareness of our underlying oneness.
Only the formless can join; the form must separate, body, form separates rather than unify. Indeed, matter, body, space and time were deliberately designed to enable those, us, who wish to seem separated, seem so.
In spirit, we are the same and coequal. Differences and inequality is only possible in the world of forms, the temporal world of matter, space, time and matter, the world that is the opposite of the world of God.

Spiritual psychologists can help people to affirm their spiritual self while they are still living in the world of matter, space and time. There are spiritual psychologists out there that could help couples recognize and validate their unified spirit self.
In the meantime, we live in the world of space-time and matter; that world has its requirements to adapt to it. We all need food, medications, clothing, shelter etc to adapt to the exigencies of this world.
To obtain what this world requires for our survival, we have to work for them. Affirming ones divinity, as religions do, does not mean negating the realities of this world.
Buddhists say: seek the experience of nirvana in meditation (oneness) but thereafter go chop wood and fetch water, that is, do what you have to do to cope with the realities of this world.
Go train for a job, secure a job, get along with other people and feed yourself and your partner. That is the reality of this world. Manna does not fall from the sky to feed us.
Secular psychology enables us to do what we have to do to adapt to the realities of this world, while spiritual psychology helps us to understand that there is another world, a spirit world, and that reassures us and gives us peace of mind.
Spiritual psychology gives us the understanding that this world is transient, ephemeral, impermanent and changeable. We are born, age and die. All living things must expire. Such is life, cest la vie. Do not cry over spilled milk; accept the world as it is, live with stoicism and equanimity; do not complain about the world’s apparent ugliness; act with courage what has to be done to survive in this world; tolerate the fact that life is pain and then we die. Die and move on to other realms of being.
On the other hand, there is a permanent world of spirit; the world of union, sameness and equality that remains the same forever and ever. Belief in that spirit world helps folks to cope with the transitory nature of things of this earth.
In my view, human beings need both secular and spiritual psychology to live balanced lives on earth, not either or, but both.
I pay close attention to behavioral psychology and neuroscience; I study the human body; yet I study spiritual science/mind science. Thinking influences behavior and I want to understand how my thinking affects my behavior. Simply stated, I study both secular and spiritual science for I think that human beings are both body and spirit and that those two aspects of them must be fully understood and taken care of, for them to be happy and peaceful.




NORMAL PSYCHOLOGY

We have talked about some putative abnormal psychologies that possibly influence interracial relationship. However, human begins are not only sick but they are also healthy. What are the healthy motivations that could possibly bring people from different races together?

CURIOUSITY

Some human beings are very curious. They want to know who other people are. Some children want to play with children who look different from them. These types of people actively seek out those who seem different from them to relate to them. They feel more at home when they are relating to people from diverse backgrounds.
Whereas some persons comfort zone is to be with those who are like them, some persons find comfort in being with seeming different persons. This observer, for example, growing up at Lagos, beginning around age six, preferred to be with children from other tribes and so-called races. He had children from different Nigerian tribes, Lebanon and England as his friends. He found it boring to be with those who were only from his Igbo background. As an adult, he prefers to have friends from all over the world: White, Chinese, Japanese, East Indian and so on.
The relevant point is that there are human beings who have insatiable curiosity about other people. Some of these probably marry from outside their so-called race because of their love of diversity.
A variegated rose garden is more beautiful than a rose garden with only one color. Nature is wise in making people come in different colors and shapes.

RISK TAKERS

Many persons do not take risks, certainly not big risks like trying to relate to folks from outside their race. Having friends from outside ones race is certainly stepping into an unknown world where one may not have the cultural skills to navigate that more complicated world. Most people have social skills to cope with stimuli emanating from their in-group members but are at a loss relating to cues from outside their group.

Some persons take risk and deal with that which is different from them. They thrive in risk taking.

Ordinarily, if you attempt to make friends from members of your own group you risk being rejected. Many persons fear social rejection so much so…to be rejected makes ones ego feel belittled…that to retain their false pride they do not take the initiative to talk to other people. This problem is compounded when it involves relating to those from outside ones race. A black man trying to make friends with a white persons risks being rejected by the later and vice versa. To avoid social rejection and thus retain his vanity, his sense of importance, he could avoid reaching out to other people to be his friends.

It takes extraordinary sense of security and positive self esteem for the individual to not care whether other people liked or did not like him, accepted or rejected him. Very secure persons with positive opinions of themselves reach out to all people for friendship, and in the nature of things risk being rejected by some. As they say, you win some and you lose some; you cannot win them all. If you approach five people for friendship, perhaps, four will probably reject you. You take that rejection in stride and move on and not permit it to deter you from reaching out to all people.
It is egoism, fear and cowardice to permit social rejection to lead one to withdraw from other people. The human ego leads to isolation.


AMBIGUITY

Many persons like the known and predictable world; very few persons like ambiguities and uncertainties. The few who like ambiguities gravitate to relating to those who are different from them. Trying to figure out how to relate to different persons and their culture gives them a sense of satisfaction.

ALONENESS ISSUES

Human beings are creatures that individually feel all alone in this world. Aloneness feeling is not a pleasant feeling. Thus, human beings struggle to feel connected to each other. In in-groups where people feel joined to one another folks tend to feel happy.
Generally, people have easy sense of connectedness with members of their own group. One has to make efforts to relate to those from outside ones group. Imagine an African trying to relate to a German or a German trying to relate to a Chinese, it is difficult for them to form a sense of oneness, given their color and cultural divides.
Very few human beings can tolerate a sense of aloneness for long. The human ego feels primordial anxiety, fear and depression if it feels alone. It reduces its existential sense of aloneness and fear by joining other people. Human beings will join with anybody that offers them a feeling of association and fellowship hence reduces their intolerable sense of aloneness.
Helen Schucman believes that our fear of aloneness is rooted in the fact that originally, in spirit, aka God, we are unified. As she sees it, our true nature is union with all creation and our creator, God. We are, therefore, happiest when we are in union with all people.
As she also sees it, the ontology of the temporary universe lay in our wish to be separate from our creator and from each other. As it were, we wished to experience the opposite of our true nature. We are unified and wish to experience separateness; we are spirit and wish to experience body; we are immortal and wish to experience mortality; we are changeless and wish to experience change; we are all knowing and wish to experience not knowing; we are in heaven and wish to experience non-heavenly life on earth. We came to the earth to experience our opposite nature.
But while on earth, we feel like aliens, for the earth is not our true home. We vaguely remember that our nature is unified, and at any rate we feel happy and peaceful only when unified with all.
Thus, on earth while we came to be separate from each other, we inevitably seek union. Consequently, we have two concurrent opposing trends in our minds: desire for union and desire for separation. These two contradicting wishes create conflict in our minds.
We want to be with other people and we want to run away from other people; we cannot quite make up our minds for one or the other desire.
Actually, we cannot completely avoid other people, for complete separation from other people would result in our death; we are always connected with people but may not actively affirm it.

For our present purposes, some people seek connection mostly with those who look like them, their so-called race, and fear the sense of aloneness they feel when around those not like them.
On the other hand, some people seek out the company of those not like them and in connecting with these seeming strangers feel more joined and peaceful.
This observer certainly feels more at home, peaceful and happy when he is with folks from diverse races. If he finds himself in a room with whites, blacks, Chinese etc he feels very comfortable, but if he is in a room with folks that all look like him, he feels bored and antsy and gets out. He needs all humanity to feel truly joined, unified and complete hence peaceful and happy.
Our completion and perfection lies in union with all humanity and with the creator of humanity, a nameless spirit force the various religions of mankind call God. Apart from each other and from God we feel incomplete, imperfect and unhappy; with each other we feel happy.

UNIVERSALISTIC VERSUS PARTICULARISTIC TRIBAL IDENTIFICATION

The run of humanity identify with those like them in color and culture. It is easier to relate to those who look like one. The majority of mankind feels comfortable with, as they say, “their kind”.
On the other hand, there are those who see “all human beings as their kind”. There are children who see children from all races as members of the same human family (some children have to be trained to reach this level of identification, if at all).
For any number of reasons, some known and others unknown, some human beings prefer fellowship with all human beings irrespective of their place of origin. This observer remembers as a college student traveling all over Europe and North America. He felt at home wherever he went. Even in the blondest Scandinavia he felt that the people were part of his people. In the Southern United States he felt kindred spirit with both blacks and whites (even though there was still racial segregation…he ignored those and made friends across the racial divide). The concept of race was anathema to him; as far he was concerned, there is only one race, the human race. As he sees it, all people are children of one family, God’s family. Any talk of racial separation is unacceptable to him.


GENERAL RULES OF INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Every university offers courses on interpersonal relationships (also called interpersonal communications or social skills/life skills development). The reader should take such courses and or read books on how to improve his or her interpersonal relationships.
This essay is not a substitute for the more comprehensive information taught in college courses on interpersonal relationship. My goal here is to express my own opinion on the subject of interracial relationship. An essay is supposed to be a reasoned subjective point of view but not necessarily objective and necessarily scientific. (Did I say anything here that is not verifiable in the empirical world? I try to employ both inductive and deductive logic in my essays.)

In courses on interpersonal relationships, folks are taught that to make friends that one must be friendly.
So you want to have other people to become friendly rewards you, eh? Good idea. You have to do one thing: become friendly towards other people.

Do you want to be loved and respected by other people? What did Jesus Christ say on this subject? (See the four gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.) He said: do unto other people as you want them to do to you. He also said that all the laws and prophesies can be summarized to one word: love.
If you want other people to love and respect you, then love and respect other people, for as you do unto others they are more likely to do to you. If you love other people, the chances are that they would love and respect you in return, and if you hate other people, the chances are that they would hate you in return.
Giving is receiving; what you give is what is given to you. Love begets love and hate begets hate.
As far as human experience is our guide, most normal human beings desire to be treated as dignified by their fellow human beings. Deep down most people feel unimportant and want their fellow human beings to treat them as if they are important. Only a few persons feel unimportant enough not to demand importance from their fellow human beings.
Only the masochist who enjoys pain desires to be humiliated by other persons. Do you want other people to see you as respect worthy? If so then treat them in a respectable and dignified manner.
Do you want other people to care for you? If so care for other people. Do you want other people to be kind, gentle and warm to you? If so be kind and warm and gentle towards other people.

Generally, the normal human being does not like it if other people exploit and or manipulate him, use him to get what they want and then discard him. If the individual feels used, he feels angry, and wants to attack, even kill the person who he perceives as using him against his will.
Given this truth, do unto others as you want them to do to you. Do not ever use, manipulate or exploit other people to get what you want and then discard them as scrap iron. (Persons with personality disorders, such as those with narcissistic, and or histrionic, borderline and antisocial personality disorders often feel a sense of entitlement; they feel that they are special and superior to other people and justify using other people, those they deem as inferior to them, to get what they want and discard them; those they use resent them. This way, persons with personality disorders tend to generate interpersonal conflicts.)

It is necessary for you to always treat people in a positive manner if you so want to be positively treated. Why do I need to repeat this truism? It is because human beings are free agents and as such can make choices and behave accordingly. You can choose to see other people as shit and treat them as such.
Human value is a social construct. As American racists and Adolf Hitler demonstrated, you can choose to devalue other people, to see them, as worthless and valueless and useless and treat them as such. If you choose to, law or no law, you can harm even kill other people? In the past, white Americans chose, cowardly I might say, to exploit black people, to use them as salves. The great cowards knew that they were technologically more advanced than blacks and instead of using that technology to help their fellow human beings, chose to use it to exploit them.
The relevant point is that in this world of ours, any human being can choose to do to others as he pleases and, by and large, get away with it. (Although he will eventually be repaid in kind, for what goes around comes around. If you exploit others, others will exploit you.)
If you have been a parent you recognize how weak, vulnerable and dependent children are and you can choose to take advantage of them. We do not do so because we have love for all them. We care for those we love, even if they are weak.
Criminals take advantage of the weak and vulnerable. These cowards abuse children, physically and sexually. Men who are physically stronger than women, like cowardly criminals, impose their sexual will on women. Rape is a power and control motivated behavior.
The salient point is that in the real world we all have the capacity to harm other people, if we choose to. We also have the capacity to help and love other people, if we choose to. The critical variable here is choice: to do good or evil? This is the question always facing human beings.
(Recently, a bunch of criminal oriented Nigerian chose to exploit me and I turned my knowledge of the world on them; I sought to punish them in the severest manner. I have exhaustive understanding of human psychology and that led me to appreciate that they are personality disordered creatures who thought that my civility is a sign of weakness. I chose to love and forgive them while insisting that they do the right thing. Forgiveness does not mean that one should condone evil. I will not hesitate putting any one into jail if he did antisocial things. However, in jail I will do my best to teach him prosocial behaviors. When my cousin’s husband beat her up, I worked to have him jailed, but while in jail insisted that he take domestic violence, anger management treatment. He had to understand his paranoid jealousy and work to improve it, for as long as he retained that malady he was a danger to women and children. I insist on psychotherapy for the personality disordered.)

Always choose to help and to love. Always ask: how can I help my fellow human beings? It is in service to humanity that we find our salvation and certainly find peace and joy.
Whoever thinks that he can exploit other people and find peace and happiness is a fool? Love and be happy; hate and be unhappy.

I will not write a treatise on how to relate to other people, for you can read that in many books and or take courses on them. All I will say is that love, respect and serve all people and you will not do any better than that.
Do not just talk about lover and social service, do it. Start right now. Love and help the person next to you.
Do it and do it now, not tomorrow. If you do it, love and serve all, you will know the peace and joy that Paul tells us passes human (ego) understanding.



THE FUTURE

Until recently, most people did not even know about other people, Africans, for example, had no contacts with Europeans and Asians.
People lived in particular parts of the world and adapted to the exigencies of their world. They evolved particularistic cultures that enabled them to cope with the demands of their world. (Culture enables people to adapt to their world.)
People who adapted to the temperate world of Europe had a particular culture; those who adapted to the tropical world of Africa evolved a particular culture and so on.
Culture is a living thing, it changes to adapt to changed environments. Today’s culture is from yesterday’s adaptation to the physical and social environment hence is already dated and ought to be updated with information from our current experiences.
These days, as cultures confront each other and are in an existential fight to die or live, some misguided persons see their culture as static and defend it at all times. They cling to what they call their (past) culture, unaware that that culture is supposed to change the moment it confronts different environments. A culture that is not dynamic does not enable the people to survive but, in fact, may aid them to die out.
A temporary expedient alternative to this misguided behavior is what folks now call multiculturalism. This view believes that all cultures are the same and that the truth is relative to the culture one came from. In this light, the culture of Hinduism that burned widows with their dead husbands’ bodies is seen as the same as the same as the Christian culture that respects all life.
Culture is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In time, all this cultural relativism nonsense will come to pass; human beings will let go of their past and evolve a present universalistic culture that adapts to the real world.


Improvements in transportation and communication technologies have made it now possible for individuals to travel all over the world. The individual can be in three or four continents in as many days. This observer has been in North America, flown to Europe and then Africa, all within two days. This means that the cultures of the world are now in close contact.
Proximity leads to cultural diffusion, which is taking place at a greater speed than at any other time in human history.
In the future, it is clear that there will emerge a universal culture that is not anything like today’s particularistic cultures.
The United States of America is already a veritable United Nations with folks from all over the world living in it, their cultures mixing into a universalistic culture. The diversity of America is her strength and if that diversity is meld into one universal American culture, rather than encourage folks to live in their particular enclaves, the United States will remain the greatest nation on planet earth, at least for the foreseeable future.
Homogeneous societies like China cannot compete with heterogeneous societies like the United States of America. If racism ends in America and the country fully utilizes the talents of all her peoples, no country on earth can compete with her.
If China, the much lauded empire of the twenty first century, wants to rival America’s economic and cultural strength, it has to go to Africa and import millions of Africans to give its culture the dynamism Africans have given to the Americas. Just think of what Africans have contributed to America’s culture, music, for example. Can Russia compete with America in the world of popular music? If and when America finally incorporated African Americans into its mainstream and stops discriminating and marginalizing them it would unleash talents that would make it second to none in the world. No one else can compete with America that has Africans as the equal partners of Europeans, nobody. Though shunted to the margins of America, look at what African Americans have contributed to America; just imagine what they would do when they are respected? God, a creative force, the like of which the world has not seen before, would be unleashed in the world.
America’s cultural imperialism is inevitable because of the fact that it is a culture that unified many cultures.

CONCLUSION

To cope with the exigencies of a multicultural world, we all have to learn to understand each other’s cultures; additionally, we have to learn to feel comfortable around each other.
Whether we like it or not, a universal human being is emerging. Even the color of that human being would be different from the skin colors of present human beings. If you use the computer to simulate what the future man would look like, mix all the colors of the peoples of the world, what would emerge is a brown race, like contemporary Brazilians.
Brown is the future of mankind. The future world is one people with one culture and we might as well deal with that fact and stop wasting every ones time by fighting the inevitable. We ought to make sure that all children born in this world go to school and study science. No child should have less than university level education in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics). This education must be free and available to all children. This is the only way to guarantee the evolution of mankind to higher levels.
Reality is what it is; it is not for us to determine it; our role is to adapt to it. We are one human race and must live with one another, as loving and forgivingly as is humanly possible.
It is in love and forgiveness that peace and joy lies. Forward, ever; backward, never.




* For books on the effect of racism on black Americans see Akron, The Negro Personality; Gardiner and Overstay, The Mark of Oppression; Thomas Pettigrew, A Profile of the Negro American; Franklin Frazier, The Negro Middle Class; Franz Fanon, Black Skin White mask; Albert Mimi, The Colonizer and the Colonized; Moaning, Prospero and Cali ban, the Psychology of Colonized Persons, Gunnar Myrdal, The American Dilemma and Kenneth Clark’s studies showing black children choosing white dolls over black ones thus indicating self hatred.


__________________
FOR FURTHER READING

Adler, Alfred (1999) The Neurotic Constitution. New York: International Library of Psychology, Routledge.

Allport, Gordon. Pattern and Growth in Personality. Also see his The Nature of Prejudice.

American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, (1994) Washington, DC. American Psychiatric Press.

Ansbacher, H.L. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler.

Ayer, A.J. (1968) The Origins of Pragmatism. London: Macmillan.

Beck, Aaron. (1990) Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Camus, Albert, (2003) The Stranger. New York: Sparks Publishing Group.

Ellis, Albert. (2004) Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. New York: Prometheus Book Publishers.

Eriksson, Erik. (1993) Childhood and Society. New York: W.W. Norton.

Freud, Anna. The Ego and its Mechanisms of Defense.

Freud, Sigmund. (1961) The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud, Ed Ernest Jones. New York: Lionel Trilling and Steven.

Fromm, Eric. (1947) Escape from Freedom. New York: Routledge.

Horney, Karen. (1991) Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: W.W. Norton.

Jung, Carl G. Basic Writings of C.G. Jung. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Kelly, George. (1955) The Psychology of Personal Constructs. New York: W.W. Norton.

Laing, R.D. (1960) The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness. New York: Penguin.
(1961) Self and Others. New York: Penguin.
(1964) The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise. New York: Penguin.

Maslow, Abraham. (1998) Maslow on Management. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

(1970) Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper.

Meissner, William W. (1994) Psychotherapy and the Paranoid Process. New York: Aronson, Jason Publishers. Also see his Paranoid Process.

Pierce, C. S. (1955) Philosophical Writings of Pierce, Ed Buchier, J. New York: Dover.

Popper, Karl. (1963) Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge. London: Routledge. and Kegan Paul.

Rogers, Carl. Client Centered Therapy. (Many editions)

Ross, Elizabeth Kubla. On Death and Dying. (Many editions.)

Sartre, Jean Paul. (2003) The Philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre. New York: Knopf Publishing Group.

Schopenahuer, Arthur. The World as Will and Idea. (Many editions.)

Schucman, Helen. (1976) A Course in Miracles. Tiburon, CA. Foundation for Inner Peace.

Shapiro, David. (1999) Autonomy and the Rigid Character. New York: Basic Books.
----------------- (1999) Neurotic Styles. New York: Basic Books.

Skinner, B.F. (2002) Beyond Freedom and Dignity. New York: Hackett Publishing.


Sullivan, Harry Stack. (1953) The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry. New York: W.W. Norton.

Swanson, David et al. (1970) The Paranoid. Boston: Houghlin, Mifflin.

Tsaz, Thomas. The Myth of Mental Illness. (Many Editions)

Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism. (Many editions)

Vaihinger, H. (1935) The Philosophy of “As If.” London: Kegan Paul Publishers.

Wittgenstein, L. (1969) Zettel. Oxford Blackwell.

Zimbado, Phillip. Shyness.


Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

April 30, 2006


This essay was hurriedly (yesterday) written for M. Isaac; she had requested it a few days ago, during the week, and I had promised to put it together on Saturday. As with my other essays, I will eventually edit and publish it. Since I write very fast but do not like the drudgery of editing, the editing may have to wait for a while. Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

Posted by Administrator at May 9, 2006 08:24 AM

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