Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Parable of Witch Doctors

Parable of the Witch Doctors

Witch doctors from around the world are in Oakland for the 40th anniversary of the Association of Black Psychologists at the Marriott. As in the case of Harry Belafonte’s Gathering a few months ago, hardly anyone in Oakland knows of the event. I was able to attend as a journalist for the Oakland Post, even though I must be considered a lay psychologist with the publication of my manual for a Pan African Mental Health Peer Group: How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. I am truly horrified that as an artist I was compelled to write a manual on Pan African Psychology when we have an association of 1,500 Afro-centric psychologists. But it was declared by one of the young Turks on a panel that not only are we a “fucked up people,” but our so-called healers write in a language the people cannot understand. And it is not only the academic gobbledygook but add in a fair measure of Yoruba, Fon, Bantu and Swahili. This psycholinguistic crisis only adds to the trauma and the treatment thereof when said psychologists attempt to address the myriad problems of their community or family as they prefer to designate our people.

But the academic gobbledygook is what is required for acceptance in the circle of Eurocentric psychology of which most of our African psychologists are beholden for paychecks and academic proficiency. I asked one African psychologist doesn’t this make you schizophrenic? No, he said, it makes us culturally diverse. But he was bullshitting and in denial as are the entire group except the Young Turks who see through the bullshit and are attempting to face the cold reality that we are “a fucked up people..” Stop talking about our glorious past, about the glories of King Tut—we won’t be able to match the accomplishments of King Tut in ten thousand years! See my poem King Tut Was A Black Nigguh.

Before I go forward on the negative, let me state the positive of the Association of Black Psychologists. The stress on psychology as truly and essentially dealing with the soul or Spirit is solid. And this is what distinguishes the African healers from the Europeans who refuse to deal holistically with the human and his essential spirituality.

But the young Turk or was it the elder Na’im Akbar who asked the question are we to be remembered for getting paid or receiving the love of our people for doing the needed work toward their salvation?

The topic of one session was black fathers. Black males do not automatically enter the realm of black manhood. How does a father advance from male to manhood. Take responsibility for the young warriors he has sired. Guide and teach them, otherwise known as manhood training. Take them to the jungle and confront them with terrible creatures who will defile them, frighten them and abuse them into manhood. These terrible creatures with masks will help them learn the ways of the tribe, how to have sex with young girls without cuming inside them, but they will learn how to discipline themselves so they do not impregnate. The young men will go into the jungle to learn how to kill the lion and bring him back on their backs. They will learn how to build a house without nails, as in the Yoruba tradition of manhood training.

They will gain knowledge of anger management and knowledge that women are not chattel property as in the Western patriarchal tradition. They will learn how to understand the feminine principle, the yen and yang of life, the sun and moon concept, how to combine the Sky god with the Earth Mother concept, thus they will become full blooded men with wisdom of fatherhood and motherhood.

Dr. Lionel Mandy, a student of mine throug biblo-therapy--he's studied my writings since the 1960’s, said we cannot consider the father without the mother, the relatives, the community, in other words, a holistic approach to fatherhood. The father is thus not an isolated phenomenon but part of a social unit that cannot be separated.

The session on African Traditional Healers had persons leaving with desire for a strong drink, as the session was a head twister. One departed the auditorium wondering how we will ever heal when the doctors are themselves in urgent need of healing, caught in a matrix of Afrocentrism and Eurocentrism otherwise known as psychotherapy.

The Association of Black Psychologists convened an international panel of healers to address the topic of how we can use traditional healing methods to restore the mental health of our community. Of course psychotherapy must be abandoned because it is not holistic and thus cannot heal the myriad issues of black mental health which transcend the personal to the communal, the economic, the physical, the political, the social relations that have severed causing the black nation in North America to avoid eye contact, to subsist on garbage food prolonging the agony of fear and the ever present trauma of life in a hostile society.

Facilitator Dr. Wade Nobles said the paradigm was to seek recovery, rather than a shift. The first slavery is gone but the second slavery has arrived, it being caused by the end of labor as we know it in the age of high technology, along with slave wages. Thus the idea of white supremacy is to confine the African population, no matter if such confinement is at San Quentin prison or Stanford University, at which one can receive an excellent white supremacy education, permitting our children to come home hating us and everything we’re about, when they don’t understand what it is that we're about, as Amiri Baraka has noted. Thus they suffer imprisonment of the mind, the spirit--mis-education, in short.

Spirit was the locus of discussion with the African traditional healers.

Nobles asked them how was it possible for us to be in tune with the ancestors, the gods, the living and the yet unborn, yet find ourselves victims of the holocaust?

The African healers, Oulimata Dioup of Senegal , Kia Museki of Kongo, said many things that were true but never answered the question. And the North American African healers fared no better. They suggested lack of humility or what we in drama call the tragic flaw of pride or hubris as a factor in our fall...

One Sister psychologist suggested we were victims of the cycle of history, which sounded like the Sisyphus syndrome DuBois and Baraka have described as the knot we’ve been caught in. Healer Museki of Kongo illustrated with a rope how we tied the knot around ourselves, and he said we were caught in external knots as well, such as slavery and colonialism. He said it will not be until we reintegrate with the seed of a seed from a seed until we reach harmony with that first seed of seven million years ago that we will be healed. The knowledge is outside of us, but we are living computers who have the power to store data. The Kongo healer noted we are a sick people; even with one, two, and three PhD’s some of us possess, but we have the power if we plug into the seed of the seed from the seed

As I said, none of the above answered Nobles’ question. He became very frustrated and agitated with his panelists, even claimed that the Yoruba god of thunder, Shango, was in the house. At this point Nobles should have turned to the audience for answers—when the leaders don’t know, why not turn to the people, why persist in an inordinancy of ignorance. To continue questioning the panel for answers only revealed the lack of humility or arrogance that caused us to fall.

The discussion changed to the need for ritual. At this point I became agitated, frustrated with the panel, and I learned many in the audience felt the same. Yes, there is a need for healing rituals. The African healers mentioned rituals that are done to heal community, which was Nobles’ desire, to find ways to heal community, not individuals.

But rituals begin with myth or the story. And when it comes to our myth, our story, our narrative, we must turn to our mythologists, our indigenous healers, but no, the arrogant North American African, as Dr. Hare notes, is persistently seeking answers from other worlds, anywhere but here, thus we seek the African Healers who obviously cannot heal Africa, or the Arab Muslim imams who can do nothing to liberate Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Palestine, Jordan, or the Gulf states.

I found it interesting when the sister psychologist mentioned cycles of history. Elijah Muhammad, in his mythology, told us history was written every twenty-five thousand years. Isn’t it strange the white man in the documentary Zeit Geist mentions the twenty-five thousand year cycle of history we’re in? Elijah told you about a mother ship with dimensions a half mile by a half mile, yet you called it poppycock. But when white people claimed they saw a space ship with the same dimensions you accept it. Elijah told you the myth of Yacoub and how he genetically engineered the white man, you said he was a racist nut. But when the white man speaks of cloning a man you are fascinated.

Elijah said you are the manifestation of the living God, but you rejected this. But when Ernest Holmes tells you in Science of Mind you are God, you knock down the Science of Mind church doors. This behavior reveals your absolute and total addiction to white supremacy. Yes, you are victims of white witchcraft, sometimes in black face.

--Dr. M/Marvin X

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