Book Review: The Sovereign Psyche

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A friend recommended this book as a reflection on the state of racism in America. My first thoughts this book was going to be just another long list of injustices committed on African Americans by European Americans. The book goes deeper than that, fleshing out a systemic racism that many European and African Americans may not realize.


The author, Ezrah Aharone, brings up interesting points of American and world history to show the imbalance of power. He compared the 1873 Treaty of Paris, the document that formally recognized the 13 colonies as separate from Great Britain to the 1865 13th amendment to the American constitution, the document that ended slavery. The former document was 2000 words long and was negotiated and signed by the leaders of Great Britain, the new United States, and France. The latter document was 50 words long, and no African Americans were significant players in the creation of this document. It was not a negotiation between two sovereign people, but a gift bestowed by Euro-Americans to Africa Americans, almost as if slavery had been a rightful act. 


Not only that, a significant part of 13th amendment allowed governments to put people into slavery for criminal offences. The American South took advantage of that clause to round up African Americans on minor criminal charges and put them on the chain gangs, a practice which continued for almost 100 years. The goal of such actions was not, according to the author, punishment for crime, but rather to keep an African American community fearful of white authorities and militia. Thus these communities were both overtly and subtly traumatized.  


When a community is so traumatized, it is not sovereign in its own right. It gains a feeling of worthlessness and powerlessness, and it cannot make effective decisions for itself. In this psyche, it cannot rise to its potential. Without coming to its potential, the cycle repeats itself—and African American communities are still feeling the effects of slavery even though they have nominally been free for five generations.


The author states the end of racism did not stop with African Americans being allowed in the front of the bus or be elected to the president of the United States. Like any traumatized person, most African Americans are not sovereign in their own minds.


This book proffers many more perspectives of American history. The reader will discover historical facts that seldom get much attention in the mass media and education system, which leads to a better understanding of racism today in America. This book is full of contradictions between the stated liberty of historical American documents and the domination/subjugation relationship of the two races.  I, as a white person, now have a better understanding of Black Lives Matter and the silent protest at American national anthems.


While Aharone is critical of institutions that subtly keep a certain degree of white privilege, he calls on African American to take charge of their own affairs. He calls for better understanding their history, then building their own institutions that will truly advance their cause, such as better schools in African American communities.


The true battleground, he says, is not in the streets or in politics, but in the minds of African Americans. There are societal forces to keep African Americans in their current mindset. But it will be up to African Americans to drive these subtle forces out. Then Africans Americans will be truly sovereign in their own country.    


Autumn Cote Added Sep 29, 2017 - 5:15am
First and foremost, many thanks for your participation with Writer Beat.  Because you comment on the work of others, you’re very deserving of my promotional services.  However, I’ve been doing this for four years and there are certain types of articles that are a very difficult to promote and book reviews are one of them.  So my apologies, but I will not be promoting this article.  I will be sure to keep my eye on your submissions and look to make it up to you in the future. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 29, 2017 - 9:22am
Dave V., this is a minor error but if a reader that did not know the Revolutionary War time line he would think is was correct. The Treaty of Paris occurred in 1773. That would create confusion. 
The 13th amendment was a dam expensive gift in human life and treasure from Euro-Americans. 
Prisons existed long before 1800 around the world. so the connection is a pure fabrication. La Miserable is about the French prison system and Tale of Two Cities about work houses, prisons. The Spanish and English had slaves and the first slaves to come to America 130 years before the revolution were on English ships.
I agree that African Americans are not sovereign in their own minds today. I know that in Dr Martin Luthers day 1960's that generation was sovereign. The people that marched with King were bible readers, church goers, two parent families, boys that had fathers teaching them responsibility. The divorce rate of African Americans was lower then Euro-Americans and the youth employment about equal. The author is spinning a web to catch who?
The education system in America run by socialist actually teaches student that they are part of a class society and tells them which class they are in. And why would the product of that education system that believes what they were taught give it any attention?
Thomas Sowell a black PHD economist should speak, "But if black lives really matter, as they should matter like all other lives, then it is hard to see any racial issue that matters as much as education.
The government could double the amount of money it spends on food stamps or triple the amount it spends on housing subsidies, and it will mean very little if the next generation of young blacks goes out into the world as adults without a decent education.
Many things that are supposed to help blacks actually have a track record of making things worse. Minimum wage laws have had a devastating effect in making black teenage unemployment several times higher than it once was.
In my own life, I was very fortunate when I left home in 1948, at age 17 -- a high school dropout with no skills or experience. At that time, the unemployment rate of black 16- and 17-year-old males was 9.4%. For white males the same ages, it was 10.2%.
. . . The relations between the police and the black community are another issue that has gotten a lot of attention, and produced counterproductive results. After all the rhetoric and all the efforts towards more tightly restraining the police, the net result has been that murder rates have soared in cities where that policy has been followed -- and most of the people killed have been black.
None of the most popular political panaceas for helping black communities has a track record of making things better, and some have made things much worse.
The one bright spot in black ghettos around the country are the schools that parents are free to choose for their own children. Some are Catholic schools, some are secular private schools and some are charter schools financed by public school systems but operating without the suffocating rules that apply to other public schools.
Not all of these kinds of schools are successes. But where there are academic successes in black ghettos, they come disproportionately from schools outside the iron grip of the education establishment and the teachers' unions.
. . . What is even more astonishing is that charter schools are being opposed, not only by teachers' unions who think that schools exist to provide guaranteed jobs for their members, but also by politicians, including black politicians who loudly proclaim that "black lives matter."
Apparently these black children's futures do not matter enough for black politicians -- including the President of the United States -- to stand up to the teachers' unions. The teachers' unions produce big bucks in campaign contributions and big voter turnout on election day.
Any politician, of any race or party, who fights against charter schools that give many black youngsters their one shot at a decent life does not deserve the vote of anybody who really believes that black lives matter."
Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, published 9/12/2016
I agree with the author, Dave V., "The true battleground, he says, is not in the streets or in politics, but in the minds of African Americans. There are societal forces to keep African Americans in their current mindset," but that force is driven by the Democratic party. I have sited the works of other try reading :
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 29, 2017 - 9:25am
I agree with the author, Dave V., "The true battleground, he says, is not in the streets or in politics, but in the minds of African Americans. There are societal forces to keep African Americans in their current mindset," but that force is driven by the Democratic party. I have sited the works of other try reading :
Dave Volek Added Sep 29, 2017 - 9:43am
I checked Wikipedia and the Treaty of Paris did occur in 1783. We can't assume Wikipedia is always right, but logic says this treaty had to happen after the Declaration of Independence.
All your other comments are worthy of further discussion.
If I read between the lines correctly, the author uses taking control of education as the means for African American communities to regain their sovereign psyche.
The author would disagree with you that there was a golden age for African American communities. I think the irresponsibility you are describing is the liberation of sexual morals around 1965 which affected all demographics in the west.  
Dave Volek Added Sep 29, 2017 - 9:48am
If the Democratic Party was guilty of taking the virtue of work from the African American community, then I would say that the Republican Party is guilty of keeping African Americans in occupations the Euro-Americans really did not want to do. 
And this can lead back to the education again.
Bill Kamps Added Sep 29, 2017 - 10:33am
Education is a key for upward mobility in the black community.  Small successes like the Harlem Children's Zone, and East Lake Atlanta, have shown that when schools are run correctly, a very high percentage of minority students will successfully go to college.  At the same time high school drop out rates are very small at these schools.  There is no reason that generation after generation of minorities in the inner city should be condemned to poverty with little hope of escape.
Having said that, these schools have also shown that they need to meet the students at least half way, and by that I mean they need to give a leg up to help students get past some of the shortcomings in their home life. 
What too many fail to understand is that when we help the children in the inner city we help us all.  If students get educated and go on to be productive members of society, they will buy things, and pay taxes, instead of being an economic drag on society.  Right now the high school drop out rate runs close to 20% nationally, with most of that concentrated in poorer neighborhoods.  This is simply too great of an economic loss for us to bare.
Dave Volek Added Sep 29, 2017 - 1:54pm
You said it very well. Inner city schools need a little more cash, some dedicated teachers and administrators, and more parental involvement. And in some cases, old models of education have to be chased out of the building.
I hate to rain on your parade. But I don't think WB is going to help me that much. 
I am currently preparing my fourth version of the TDG, and it is going to be in e-book format. I would be surprised if I could convince 10 people from WB to buy it. From a business perspective, I am wasting my time here. But it's a good forum to hone a few skills that might be useful later.  

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