The Condemnation of Blackness

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Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad observes in his book The Condemnation of Blackness that “to think and talk about African Americans as criminal is encoded deeply in our DNA.” In this 2012 Moyers Moment from Moyers & Company, Muhammad tells Bill how, during Reconstruction, former slaves were perceived to have a moral failing that made them different from white European immigrants. As a result, he explained, “immigrant communities got police reform. And black people got police repression.”

Watch Bill’s full interview with Khalil Gibran Muhammad.

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  • John Bailo

    This is idea of encoded responses to “others” is part of the Neanderthal Predation theory.

  • Anonymous

    A sad state of affairs exists in the black community..Thirteen % of our population is black. yet over 50% of all homicides are committed by blacks. Of that number 93% of them are black on black crimes. What can the black community do to change the social life among the folks.. Are they lacking community leadership?? The crime rate does not seem to improve no matter how much money is spent on curbing it. Are the churches failing; is the family not getting the job done; schools failing? Mr Muhammad make the point that folks sterotype the blacks.. I don’t feel this is our national view but it does not change the facts. It is sad that a nation that gives opportunity to the folks can not include more or are we just paying the folks to stay poor?? It’s a serious national problem which politicians talk about but as usual do not address it.other than throw money at it.

  • Kenneth Brown

    This interview was very enlightening. I am going out and buy the book.

  • Pat Thompson

    It’s more complicated than that. All humans everywhere and for all time unconsciously relate “black” to dark evil, danger, without light or irrational, the shadow-elements…

  • Joey

    Where did you get that crap?

  • Pat Thompson

    This is understood worldwide. If you will Google “psychology, black as dangerous, evil, mysterious” you’ll receive pages full of headings, for examples.

    This is what historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad meant by “encoded deeply in our DNA” and WHY people need to become *conscious*, to OVERRIDE the automatic, unconscious associations the human MIND makes and sets instinct into motion, to fight or to flee. Zimmerman went looking for a fight and Martin responded with the same.

    If the situation had been reversed and Martin had been on community watch, I believe Martin would have had sense enough to explain who he was and what he was doing. Zimmerman could not do that because he’d been told NOT to approach Martin. The only justice that was served by “the law” was for the special NRA “stand your ground” law which doesn’t work when the person standing HIS ground doesn’t have a gun. But Zimmerman’s life will be ruined if he lives in fear for the rest of his life. I’m guessing he’ll eventually envy Trayvon