By Dr. E. Faye Williams | Trice Edney Wire
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – I admit that I enjoy movies. I’ve always enjoyed movies and, when time permits, I will opt for a few moments of escape in a movie theater. I can find interest in any genre, especially movies that provoke thought and a broader than normal consideration of social circumstance and events.
Somewhat out of character, I sometimes enjoy movies of the horror genre. In the more “serious” horror films, beyond the theme of raw fright, film writers will often question the motivation for the inhumane treatment humans inflict upon each other, or about the challenges to the human ability/inability to maintain acceptable mental health when battling one’s own or other raging Ids.
Since my youth, one thought provoking movie I’ve seen in several iterations is The Invisible Man. Though impossible in real life, some of the emotional gymnastics that writers impose upon the title character have, I believe, tangible connection to real human stories. In most iterations of The Invisible Man, central among his conflicts are his immersion into the depths of self-loathing, desperation, hatred, and violence after reaching the unacceptable conclusion that his invisibility renders him a non-person to all.
Sadly, I see a common thread between the fictional, horror genre and the realities of lived experiences and personal/emotional histories of too many African Americans. These individuals, despite their age, education, or character, are denied the individual recognition that promotes self-affirmation or the personal acknowledgment which supports the process of self-actualization. Among the maladies associated with being ignored, the February 2021 edition of Psychology Today lists self-esteem doubts, the feeling of a lack of control, and the sense of not being worthy of attention. This assessment squares with the many studies that analyze the emotional damage done during and because of COVID-19 isolation.
Worse than the movies and isolation is a renewal of the full-scale, attempted imposition of invisibility upon the African American community. For those who have not been paying attention, we currently face an insidious attempt to erase and/or sanitize the history of African Americans in this nation. In multiple school districts and jurisdictions, we hear the complaint that the re-telling of the treatment of African Americans from 1619 to the present makes white children (people) uncomfortable and distressed. Calls for the “white-washing or elimination of Black History is justified by the complaint that it “makes” whites assume blame for the atrocities of their fore-bearers or those with whom they identify/resemble. And adding a new twist to “Victim Blame,” proponents of this restricted education present the ludicrous claim that, while causing white guilt and blame, the TRUTH of our history creates a sense of inferiority among Black children.
Never fear, they have a remedy! Laws are being proposed/passed to restrict the instruction of history which causes discomfort or suggests blame. Of course, we speak of white discomfort and white self-blame.
While whites overtly promote the historical invisibility of African Americans, many of them are less obvious about the intent of the current epidemic of voter restriction laws. They too, have the intent of imposing invisibility upon the African American community. The vote is YOUR voice and without a vote YOU HAVE NO VOICE! You become invisible to all who oppose your interests or would turn back the clock to a time when you were politically and socially emasculated.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History, notably said, “The oppressor has always indoctrinated the weak with his interpretation of the crimes of the strong.” Our strength rests in our understanding and acknowledgment of ourselves. We cannot allow them to be stolen from us.