The civic problems of Black America are obvious to anyone who's awake, and we, and others who may know these problems, have explanations of why Blacks suffer these problems: social, economical, political, etc. However, not much consideration has gone into what Blacks feel or emotionally consume because of these problems and if these feelings are contributing to more complicated ones.
For example, if a Black couple work hard and sacrifice for the purpose of buying a home and they go to apply for a loan only to be denied because of discrimination, how is this disappointment handled by the couple? Does it bring anger and frustration that could lead to resentment or even a stressful physical ailment? To some yes, others have learned to pray and look for better results in time.
According to psychologist, "emotions are feelings that generally have both physiological and cognitive elements and that influence behavior." Sometimes we can control how we react to certain situations after considering what we are feeling, and other times we may not be able to control our actions because we have yet to understand what we feel.
Because Blacks have suffered many physical acts of racism and even some subtle forms of discrimination, it is possible that a great number of Blacks are subconsciously suffering emotionally, which affects the way we react and think about many situations.
Individually, different people go through many changes, regardless of race, however, collectively, if a single race has suffered from traumatic experiences over a period of time, theoretically, that race of people could develop an overall cognitive perception of the society in which they live and determine how they collectively assimilate into that society.
For example, if a child attends school for the first time and has a bad experience, which fashions a negative perception of the school in the child's mind, that child could from then on draw from feelings of anger and reveal annoyance, contempt, jealousy, and hostility. Unless his experiences are turned toward a positive one, that child could carry those emotions throughout life.
Psychologists have identified a number of important functions that emotions play in our daily lives and a major role in influencing our behavior. Among the most important of those functions:
Preparing us for action - Emotions act as a link between events in the external environment and behavioral responses that an individual makes.
Shaping our future behavior - Emotions serve to promote learning of information that will assist us in making appropriate responses in the future.
Helping us to regulate social interaction - The emotions we experience are frequently obvious to observers, as they are communicated through our verbal and nonverbal behaviors. (Feldman, 2000)
In "preparing us for action," emotions within the soul of Blacks would determine how we react to experiences of racism and or neglect as compared to that of white's treatment of themselves. For example, when the suburban schools continually receive more funding and attention from the government than black schools, administrators deal with it according to their job function but may also harbor feelings of resentment against the authorities.
As a result, it "shapes our future behavior," whereas the next time the administrators seek funding they will try harder for that funding by seeking out more information on how to obtain that funding. They will also work harder on the teachers and students to meet certain qualifications or requirements to receive funding. This may place extra pressure on teachers to perform, which in turn places pressure on the children.
From there, functions of emotion "help us to regulate social interaction." This, in the example of the administrator, could bring about hostility toward suburban school whites and or government policies that regulate distribution of funds. After years of being second hand to government funding, that administrator as an individual could begin to harbor many negative feelings toward the society as a whole.
The effect trickles down to the teachers and to the students as individuals. Though they may not know or understand the cause of their feelings, the cycle has affected all through a channel of resentment, jealousy, and or frustration.
Though this analogy may not complete the total picture of how Blacks react to the society around them, (though it does have a lot to do with the environment of Black communities), and may not offer a solid picture as to why Blacks behave toward society the way they do, it lays the foundation of why Blacks could understandably harbor feelings of resentment toward the current system.
This concept of the emotional make-up of Black America could be applied to many areas of life, from the social to the economical, to the political. It also covers age cohorts, gender relations, and health issues. The elderly have an understanding of the way society has affected their inner feelings about American society and may be able to better handle their emotions and reactions; however, younger Blacks may have not yet understood why they feel the way they do and may react to the same situations differently than older Blacks.
Many people believe that the younger, current generation of Blacks is the most rebellious of any generation. They vent their frustrations through music, gang unity, teenage pregnancy and the need to be accepted and to show or receive love, and or through actions of resistance to the white culture, such as the need for education and entering the workforce.
Many Blacks feel the effort is not worth pursuing because the system is against them from the start so they do not even try to succeed but they only "get by." Others, who have grown and have experienced society's prejudices against Blacks and have grown tired of the treatment, may withdraw from society and into a state of anomie, where they result back to a lifestyle they once escaped.
This concept is not limited to the poor nor the successful but is scattered throughout the Black spectrum. Even successful Blacks have experienced letdowns in the work force; by being passed up a promotion given to a white coworker they may have trained. Also, Black business people who work for themselves may have been overlooked for contracts that were given to white contractors.
These experiences cause not only resentment toward the greater society, but influences how Blacks relate to whites and other races, whom they feel may be more favored by whites. It also affects the health of Black America in many ways. Doctors and studies show that stress and continued frustration leads to medical problems and overuse of certain drugs.
The emotional make-up of Black America has a lot to do with the way Blacks relate to others and how others relate to Blacks. A hostile, frustrated Black person will reveal that frustration when talking to whites. Their overall demeanor of possible jealousy, fear, worry, and many other negative emotions will surface at sometime during their lives.
However, there are also Blacks who are perfectly content with life and in control of their emotions, though not as many whom are frustrated. These Blacks have learned to show pride regardless of their experiences. They are resilient to negative treatment and have bounced back from many let downs of American racism.
Black America, overall, is a strong people who have withstood much adversity. We have maintained a life among a people who hate us and have the ability to live and relate to them even through all the hatred. We have learned to appeal to the conscience of whites in ways to gain what we need and deserve to have. In all our struggles, Black America, we must always, always, stay strong and in control.
© July 2017
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