The Promota Magazine

A mind revolution – undoing the BI brainwashing syndrome.

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BI stands for the myth of Black Inferiority. This is not my wording but the coinage of author Tom Burrell in his revolutionary book Brainwashed.

Tom Burrell, who created a very successful advertising agency aimed at the African American market, very boldly and courageously, wrote a masterpiece on how blacks have been brainwashed into believing that they are an inferior people.

Burrell fearlessly asks us to look at how this myth came about, tracing it back to slavery times. It is compelling reading to see how he draws parallels to the coping mechanisms that slaves created in order to endure their cruel ordeals, and how blacks today still use these coping mechanisms, at their detriment, in a society where they are now free to move and prosper, and where those mechanisms should be obsolete.

This inferiority myth has permeated all aspects of black people’s lives. I have been captivated, and immensely saddened too, to see how to this day, black people are still feeling the effects of their darkest hours on American soil, and how all of us, black and whites, have to this day not woken up from this subconscious and pernicious conditioning.

Burrell asks blacks why they are still unable to form strong family bonds; why they conform to sexual stereotypes; why they keep killing each other; why they neglect spirit, body and mind; why they cannot stop shopping; why they expect so little of each other – and themselves; why they can’t stick together and a few other very unsettling questions.

His own answers have really opened my mind on so many different levels. One could argue that what befalls African Americans does not apply to the European African population, or even Africans who never experienced slavery and its psychologically destructive aftermath, but I beg to differ. I can absolutely observe in the African community in the UK many of the symptoms that Burrell puts forward.

I was particularly taken by the chapter Why can’t we stick together?, a question that the Promota publisher has asked me so many times, I’ve lost count of it! Burrell quotes a paragraph from The Disputed Truth blog:  ‘There is a saying in the black community that blacks cannot improve as a people because, like crabs in a barrel, whenever one tries to climb out of the barrel, the other ones will pull him back in.”   And to all Africans and non-Africans acquainted with African culture and reading these words, I challenge you to dispute this statement! Because I have seen it myself countless times; it is a very sorry state of affair indeed, but it is the truth!

Burrell lists the dynamics of diss-unity as crabbin’: complaining of blacks who have moved ahead of you; backstabbin’: sabotaging successful blacks due to envy, jealousy, or hatred; lack of coalescence: refusal to support and unify with other blacks; exceptionalism: the belief that you are the exception to the ‘inferior black’ rule. And all of these 4 symptoms I have seen in action first hand, and the Promota publisher has been on the receiving end of all of them!

I understand how these dynamics came about in slavery times, as they were literally marketed by white people to keep a tight leash on their slaves. They needed to break down cultural ties, family and tribal unity, any rational thinking, any trust amongst slaves, any last vestiges of dignity and self-esteem to keep slaves divided and conquered. And this sick propaganda worked very well, so well in fact that it still affects black people to this day, and I would say worldwide! And whites have fallen for it just as badly!

But what about Africans who were born and bred on the African continent, who have migrated to the West as adults, and whose ancestors have never experienced slavery, you might ask? I certainly would not have a firm answer to such a question for sure. But Burrell puts forward a argument that might well be the answer. He quotes historian John Henry Clarke who examined the propaganda that was central to the European domination of the planet in the 15th and 16th centuries. In his book Africans at the Crossroads: Notes for a World African Revolution, Clarke surmises that ‘the greatest achievement was the conquest of the minds of most of the people of the world.’  And there we have it. A global European propaganda spanning centuries that has created the most destructive myth of all times: the inferiority of the black race, and I would venture other non-white races too.

However bleak it all sounds, this myth can be thoroughly exposed, and totally destroyed. But, as Burrell suggests, black people need first to become aware of what has happened to them, and decide to change their mind set to adopt new, healthy dynamics to replace the old outworn ones that have been their demise for centuries. At the end of his book, Burrell has compiled a list of extremely compelling resolutions that can be adopted by black people to turn the tables completely.  Being a marketer by profession, he urges black people to use all internet media avenues at their disposal to create a new social movement that will lead to a global shift in consciousness. He invites black people to create a new healthier propaganda that will promote the very best that black people have to offer, as a people, but also promote how they positively contribute to their families, communities and globally.

I cannot enthuse enough about this book. It has made me ponder deeply about many issues that I can see affect the black community in the UK too. To all my black friends, in all walks of life, I invite them to read Brainwashed, and to have the courage to look within candidly and honestly.

I also enjoyed reading the reviews of this book online, mostly from black people, who rate it so highly, because they can at last understand what has happened to them throughout the centuries.

Not in the least wanting to alienate myself from the black community, I will admit that I too, undoubtedly joined by most white people, have been a victim of this brainwashing, as I can recall a time when I too questioned many things about black people’s behaviour, but never really finding adequate answers. Burrell’s Brainwashed has certainly answered most of them.

So now I urge you: read the book, join the resolutions of the New B, (New Black) and create a revolution that will bring to the fore the very best of who black people really can be. It is time for them to claim their rightful place in this world. No one race has ever been superior to another. As a white person, I will do my part too, as we are all in this life together.

Isabelle Gravenstein
Editor, Promota Africa magazine

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