I began photographing American race-relations in the 70's. Black median income has since
fallen from 61% to 56% of whites. Segregation in society is again growing just
as the gap between white and black speech and behavior patterns grows again.
More blacks are today ghettoized than then and live in all
black neighborhoods against their own choice. As a
result whites get richer and richer. When I first came to
America every white had 6 times as much in financial assets
as every black. Today whites are 8 times as rich!
Black enrollment in universities was falling (even before the
white attacks on affirmative action in 1995) thereby rapidly increasing black
enrollment in prisons. When I first came to America there were more blacks in
college than in prison. Today it is the other way around.
Black music's search for love and acceptance (as in the song
above) has today been replaced
by angry anti-white rap music.
And still many whites believe that "racism is lessening"!
As the hopes of the 70's faded, I saw many blacks (such
as Wilma in 1992) just like whites beginning to
blame the victims themselves for their increasing misery. This is normal in all
oppression and I will deal more with it in Part Two.
Blatant "Jim Crow" discrimination has disappeared making
oppression more difficult to identify.
And so "internalized racism" among blacks has reached new
heights. It now takes less and less effort and awareness to keep our pot
boiling for us outside white oppressors (now joined by millions of immigrants).
Most damage in all oppression is done by its internalized forms.
Linda above did not then show the symptoms of internalized oppression -
the self- invalidation, hopelessness and anger - that is virtually eating up
most other black children her age. (See in Part Two what later happened to her).
That we can feel love and affection for Linda shows our deep
longing to become more human, and to break out of the distress patterns which
inhibit us from acting more compassionately towards others.
Yes, this presentation is a long and difficult journey through much of
the pain which has shaped us and divided our nation. We may live, sit and think
segregated in our college, church or home where you read this, but let us not forget how close we
Black and white travelers from the U.S. (or European whites and
their ghettoized immigrants) who meet in foreign
countries are usually amazed when they realize their deep common bond in the
midst of alien cultures. Oh, what a love we can feel for each other when outside
our own oppressive environment!
In most forms of oppression we have been stuck in our roles for
so long that we do not even realize we have a problem. If you, when going
through this little online presentation, feel you have been "very sheltered" in
your upbringing, do not feel ashamed or guilty. Guilt - the worst aspect of our
racism - will make some of you viewers so "drained" that you feel tempted to escape
before Part Two.
But those who went through the greatest difficulties during my
presentation are among the many who later stated that they got
the most out of the show, book or online presentation. So I urge you to "force yourself" to stay and
endure even more "oppression" after a short little coffee break here.
Before I start dealing with your individual responsibility in
all this oppression in Part Two - in the segregated urban world's of America and
Europe of today - I urge you to have a break, talk, laugh and cry together and enjoy
all the things that makes us - after all - human!
Come back and see me again when your are ready for Part Two!