November 14, 2004

Knowlege, Belief and Trust.

How much do we actually know and what does it mean to “know”. Whatever the definition of knowing is, there is a distinction and difference between the concept and the concept of “belief”. In fact, most of our understanding are beliefs that we have accepted without independently being able to prove or bare witness to it as fact. Religion is a good example of that which we believe,but cannot bare witness to because the creator did not give us the knowledge directly, but through the conduit of other humans, which opens the door for human sinful nature to potentially alter God's intentions.

In light of this, most of what we think we know, we actually only believe. Beliefs being things that we accept as true but cannot independently prove as such. Most things that we believe are primarily dependant upon whom we trust. Therefore, the people and institutions that have proved the most loyal in protecting our well being and survival are the primary sources of our trust and hence, the primary instruments of shaping our beliefs. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Much of what we believe, therefore, is ingrained in us from an early age through the conduit of our parents, because we trust them so, and those who our parents say is ok for us to trust or from those who endear our trust through deeds. These teachings or information thus become ingrained beliefs in our subconscious, if not conscious, until we can bare witness to the invalidity of those beliefs, if our minds are open for revision…which they often are not. The thing about beliefs is that many are protected by investments of emotions, which compels people to hold onto them even against factual and logical contradictions of those beliefs.

Trust and faith is the root of all things that we believe and most things we think that we know, which cannot be independently proven or bared witness to. Information coming from individuals or institution that are not trusted, likely due to the history of their deeds impacting negatively upon a soul or people, will fail to inspire trust and faith and hence inspire disbelief and skepticism. Our beliefs, therefore, is simply linked to our survival biological directives through the conduit of trusting those have facilitated our survival.

One can obviously see, based upon what has been presented thus far, why the masses of black people often differ from whites. Take the proclamation from the President saying that Iraq has Weapons of mass destruction. The institution of the Presidency of the United States inspires much more trust to the white masses than to the black masses. The reason being is that the United States was the savior for white Europeans who fled other lands for a better life in America, which gave a premium and privilege to whites. Blacks on the other hand, have a quite different history, which includes their oppression by for at least 90% of the time their people have been in this land. Thus, there is a loss of trust and hence a loss of credulous.

If one understands that every action creates a reaction, then seeks to understand the various reactions to centuries of black oppression, the loss of trust of whites in general, should be an obvious one. Thus, when Southern whites, the most notorious white racist throughout this nations history, become republicans in the Dixicrats revolt to civil rights, the Republican party lost the trust of black people and hence, the belief in their platforms. They fact that some people have a problem understanding why the masses of black people vote democratic is a fact born from sheer ignorance of human nature and instincts for survival. Blacks fundamentally have a history of distrusting groups that have oppressed them. Yet, people expect blacks stick there hands in the same fire that burnt them in the past…which means that such critics have a low expectation of black pattern recognition skills and or intelligence.

Many people would like to pretend that history never manifested and that we can now all just move forward and forget the past. In fact, many white people actually adopt this as a strategy, so much so that that seem stunned when other people, mostly black, do not pretend along with them. They want for blacks to be able to trust whites and thus remove the stigma and stain upon white history. What they want is for white actions of the past to not have a negative reaction upon whites of the present, but mostly upon themselves personally. However, white of the past earned their distrust through their deeds, while whites of the present are not willing to offer deeds to earn black trust, as they are against all programs designed to undo the effects of white racism of the past.

Some white people are in such a state of make believe that they actually see blacks natural reaction to the history of white racism as being a cause of continued white racism. It is akin to stabbing someone then rationalize stabbing them again because they got blood on you or reacted with anger in return. They expect blacks to not only have no reaction, but to forgive and forget and when they find blacks who fail to do this, they become unsettled, angry and use these individual to rationalize why whites have problem with blacks.

In conclusion, most of what we think we know is actually only that which we believe. In turn, that which we believe is mainly the information that we have been given and have accepted by those whom we trust, by virtue of their positive contribution to our survival and needs. Given the history of America and the different histories and paths of the people in it, it will be a long time, if ever, before blacks will have the same beliefs as white people on a wide range of issues, due to a fundamental absence of the deeds of this nation to instill a trust equal to that which it has instilled in the white masses whom it have favored for centuries.


At 11:07 AM, Blogger EG said...

I do not believe the issue of American slavery in the 1800s is the issue between American blacks and whites today. Although both groups realize the stigma placed on America from the atrocity, most blacks looks to more recent history to ascertain their beliefs.

Your example of WMDs associated with the White House is not correct. The association of WMDs is with the person in the White House, not the position of President. Bush got 9% of the black vote in 2000, the lowest level for a Republican candidate since Goldwater and Reagan in 1980. Bush’s history as Governor of Texas preceded him to office. Blacks believed that Bush would not be an advocate of policies for Blacks. Blacks warmly embraced Clinton when he held of Office of President and believed him most of the time. A poll done in 2000 (Clinton) and 2002 (Bush) on job rating, 42% of Blacks gave Clinton an ‘excellent’ rating compared with Bush’s 14%. And the 42% for Clinton was after the Lewinsky affair.

Also, there are polls indicating that younger blacks (18-24) affiliation to the Democratic party has slipped from 64% (1996) to 54% (2002). The 10% difference did not go to the Republican party but are blacks who identify themselves as independents.

What will be interesting is the 2006 Senate elections, in particular Trent Lott. He is up for re-election and his missteps in 2002 may cost him his seat if the right Democratic candidate is selected. Mississippi has 36% minority population and Lott garnered a scant 5% of their vote in 2000. Lott remains a popular figure among the whites in Mississippi (he brings home the ‘bacon’). However, whites also realize that Lott is a very polarizing figure and may wish to remove him from office. We’ll have to watch and see.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger brainhell said...

Interesting blog.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Len said...

It's a very interesting Blog...I wholeheartenly agree with this commentary.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

EG, where is the essay is it stated that Slavery in the 1800s is the issue between blacks and whites today? No where have I proposed that. However, the root if the divergence between blacks and whites of today is most certainly slavery. Why? The reason being is that the present is the summation and creation of the past, which started with slavery in this nation.

Black people, relative to white people, have a fundamental distrust of government authority from the institution of the presidency on down the police officers. Why, again, one simply has to look at history. Also, one also must remember that what we believe is passed down to us from the people we trust. In my own example, this was exemplified by parents born and reared as share croppers in the Mississippi Delta instilling in me the lesson they learned from white peoples. My Father shared his belief with me that the white man was the devil. I have not been able to bare witness to this fact, however, I have bared witness to white behavior towards blacks that was devil like…when we as a people have never done anything to white people to warrant such scorn…but seek our freedom and equality. Thus, the experience of our fathers and mothers are passed down generations, like a baton is passed in a relay race. When we can bare witness that their information is untrue, then our beliefs change.

In light of this, when the President of the United States comes out and says that we have to attack another country, that is NOT WHITE, the history of the black experience kicks in. We understand that America is not the morally superior people that white people like to fantasize that we are. The acceptance of things that we cannot bare witness to from the government is the general rule for most whites, because they fundamentally live under that America and Americans are a just and moral people who would not fabricate or prevaricate. This is strange because most whites accept that most politicians are liars…go figure. Anyway, black people have been so victimized by America, that we do not have this false belief in the righteousness of America and its people…because our people know first hand this is not true, as well as does the native Americans.

Now, blacks will put more trust in the liberal party because that party has traditionally performed deeds that benefited the poor and people that were not whites, more so than the conservative party. As I said in the essay, what we believe is a matter of whom we trust and whom we trust is a matter of deeds.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger EG said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger EG said...

I mistakenly read into the essay that it was referring to slavery in the United States. My apologies.

I agree with you that minorities that have been victims of a system are less inclined to support it and to believe in its policies. The Japanese-Americans who endured the intern camps in the 1940s didn't forget the incident. But they didn't wallow in it years later either.

Am I correct in inferring from the essay that you are against the Iraqi War? Are you also against the war in Afghanistan? Would you have been against war with Japan after Pearl Harbor? All of these countries are non-white.

I personally refuse to place my hope in any political party. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. Both parties have a history of playing racial politics. I need not give the ‘Black Americans should vote Republican so the Democrats will not ignore our needs.’ To paraphrase a Democrat, all politics are local. Each candidate should be judged on their particular policy and how that policy supports voters.

I am very sorry that you were taught that the 'white' man was the devil. I grew up in Michigan (not Detroit) and my parents taught me that if I worked hard, I could achieve anything. They also taught me that it might be harder for me to get my achievements because of my color but I could obtain success with effort.

I have learned that the 'devil' comes in all colors, ages and in both genders and political parties. I have encountered racism from whites, oriental and blacks, both in America and abroad in Europe and in the Middle East.

The devil warps all religions to cause hatred and bigotry between people. All religious sects have had wars based on their 'belief', using their holy scripture to fan the flames of hate.

You are obviously an intelligent person and know that some things you were taught by your parents may not be always true or that other events make that belief false.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

EG, you might not mean to, but you have fundamentally disrespected the black historical experience in America, by having the audacity to juxtapose it with Japanese internment. That decade of mistreatment was not comparable in degree or kind to the black experience in America. Not only that, you are comparing something that lasted a couple of decades at most, with something that lasted over 3 centuries. I do not understand what could have compelled you to make that point…but it was totally void of respect for the black experience in America. Furthermore, black people are not wallowing, as you allude. Are you suggesting that the black reaction to centuries of racial oppression somehow interferer to “normal” human response? All the time what I hear from critics of blacks is that some other group experience what black experiences by was able to get past it and move on to productive successful lives. However, if a group of people who claim to have had an equal experience in degree, if not kind, have moved on and achieved success, then either they are somehow genetically superior as a people or their situation did not map to parallel the black struggle in degree or kind. Usually it is the latter. Black people are still living in the lands of our oppression, while most oppressed groups who “got over it” and elevated themselves are not.

The question is not whether or not I am for or against the Iraqi war. The question, again, is one of trust and beliefs. How can one be for or against something without being able to bare witness to the truth of why we went to war? What I tend to look for is Motive, Means and Opportunities. Things that the USA can benefit from, such as controlling the Iraqi Oil reserves directly or via proxy from a new puppet Iraqi government, makes me suspicious and skeptical of the pretext given for this war. We all know the Oil is the life blood of economies and that Saddam was using his control of Oil politically, which was his right as the ruler of a nation. Thus, the USA had much to benefit by toppling the Iraqi government that had nothing to do with terrorism or WMD. Certainly the USA has the Means (technology and military) to carry the objective forward, but in a democracy one does not get the opportunity to do that without compelling the people. Thus, a pretext must be created to sway the public and what better pretext than fear of an evil boogie man just waiting to get them, unless we get him first. If the USA had nothing to gain in regards to resources, then I would have been less skeptical. But the resource motive is one of the most powerful historical motives for conquest and invasion empirically. I was not around when Japan attacked pearl Harbor, but given that Japan never had a great supply of resources that we coveted, I think the USA would not have a motive to lie about why we were going to war.

In regards to can say "mission accomplished", because they have acheieved the supremacy of econonomic condition which was at the heart of their reason for commiting the evils against blacks, Native Americans and others. Thus, I cannot say with confidence that whites are fundementally any differnt today than say...100 years ago. That is because the test of true character only manifest under stress and in this case economic stresses. Hence, when times are good and plentiful, there is much less temptation or need for evil or treating blacks evil. Its akin to a person going to jail and claiming that they are a changed person. However, when they get back in the world and stress and temptation returns, they revert back to their old behavior most of the time.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Also EG, I grew up in Michigan also. My parents also told me that I had to work twice as hard as whites just to get equal what what folks got. Thus, I think that trumps what your parents taught you because the ethic of work was doubly stressed. I am sure that you parents did not tell you that you had to work twice as hard as black folks. Besides, black people know that such is simply BS, because we have worked hard for centuries, only to have our dreams deffered by white bigotry and discrimination.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger EG said...

You don't have to be Black to agree with your premise of the Iraq war. That is why so many Europeans and others hate Bush. They see it as a grab for cheap oil for America for the next decades.

What do you suggest American Blacks do about white oppression? Looking back on previous posts, I believe you would not suggest a new Garvey movement. If white people are inherently evil and they control this country, what do you tell Blacks that live in America?

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

Not only is EG comparing the Black experience in America with Japanese interment disrespectful be it intentional or not it lacks the merits to be a comparable comparison. The interment of Japanese happened over a three and half year period and it only affected an estimated one hundred and twenty thousand Japanese men, women and children. They were moved from there mostly west coast homes and were not subjected to chattel slavery, lynching, rape, nor were they robbed of their identity, forced to accept a religion not there own and I am certain they never had to deal with anything like Jim Crow, Black Codes or Red Lining.

EG, I would be interested in knowing the kind of racism you experienced from Black men and women. Are you talking about name calling, being put down or you an anomaly of some kind that has experienced racism from a Black person in the form of being denied a home loan because you are Black, maybe a Black person did not hire you because you are Black, it very well could be that you received a higher interest rate on a car loan from a Black person because you are Black, however I am willing to bet anything this is not the kind of racism you are referring to when you say you have encountered racism from Black folk. I hope EG you are not equating racism that effect Black men and women in politics, banking, home loans, education, employment etc with being called a name by a Black person. I am really interested in hearing about this racism you encountered from Black people that effected your life in the way that white racism affect the lives of Black men and women all over this country.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

Eg, what kind of game are you playing Bruh?

"What do you suggest American Blacks do about white oppression?"

Before we suggest anything to Black men and women we must first agree that "white oppression" exists. If we agree that it does exist we then search out the cause of it and destroy it at its root. However, asking a blanket question like "what do you suggest American Blacks do about white oppression" in my eyes is asking a question with a sense of hopelessness in it and is definitely not the proper question to ask if you are truly looking for solutions and means for Black men and women to stop "white oppression".

"White Oppression" is a term that means absolutely nothing if it is not defined where the oppression is happening at and the means by which it is being carried out; once these things are established along with the cause it will be real easy to suggest what Black men and women should do as well as what white folk can do stop "white oppression". Racism is a problem for Black men and women it is not our Problem. To make that simpler, Racism is a White problem not a Black problem.


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