Friday, June 23, 2006

Black Folks' Dirty Laundry: Shout It Out

My Wednesday column of June 21 elicited this response (and a book suggestion) from an intellectual observer:

Ms John-Hall:
I read your column of 6-21 (Stop Coddling...) with great interest because it coincides with research interests I am pursuing.

Your observation that "Historically... black folks march in lockstep when it comes to public opinion...racist treatment...compassion..." is entirely correct, based on my reading of the subject.

There is extensive literature on this general topic, including the following book edited by Toni Morrison, who contributes the first chapter.

Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality

The thesis that Toni Morrison and the contributors explore is subordination of African American women (the treatment of Anita Hill by the Senate Judiciary committee and by the African American community) and the theme of racial solidarity (pride in Clarence Thomas as an African American man and his nomination to the Supreme Court).

My own research encompasses more than a willingness to be tolerant of "celebrity" misdeeds but extends to everyday actions in the community. This is the case with subjects that are not spoken of openly because they might reflect unfavorably on the African American community when viewed by outside observers. The specific subject matter of my own research is the mistreatment or abuse, in the form of violence or street harassment, of women by African American males. As long as the community remains silent, there are negative consequences that remain unaddressed by potentially effective intervention strategies. (Other similar "taboo" subjects include males "on the down low" and HIV/AIDS, and abusive child-rearing practices.)

Keep up the good work by calling attention to social patterns that have long-term negative consequences for the African American community.

Donald B. Wallace, PhD


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