Monday, October 29, 2007

Dr. Nathan Hare On the Family and the Mental Health Peer Group to Recover from White Supremacy

Dr. M.,

I want to make it clear when I said unity is best approached by working from inside out I wasn’t talking about from inside the individual so much as from the individual and his comrades out to others as they go rather than trying to gather untold masses like contemplating the climbing of a mountain instead of taking preliminary steps. In any case I wouldn’t want to turn the tables on the oppressed individual, because oppression is not first and foremost an individual thing; and if a problem is collective the solution must be collective.

I also would watch out and take pains not to turn the recovery from addiction to white supremacy into a family fight, or a place where the peer group becomes a situation for disgruntled self-righteous family members to meet and simply jack up an identified culprit, forgetting that the culprit is a peer, and no doubt made by the family albeit in collaboration with a mutual or common oppression. A peer group should be not only a gathering of people as peers, but a safe place to gather, and known to be so, not only free of physical violence but free from unwanted psychological and emotional assault; not a place to be berated because the berated might not like that; and long before young brothers started blowing one another away for “dissing” them, the literature on homicide had already revealed the high place loss of face is prone to play in acts of homicide, right up there with the presence of a gun.

However, I saw you and Suzette handle all this superbly well in the Black Reconstruction Group.

I also hope I don’t appear to be slipping onto a seesaw, or the everything-and-its- opposite-is-true kind of thing. Everybody’s just going to have to remember it’s not so much a discovery group as a recovery group – not to mention a diss-covery group, which blood can take and use to his or her advantage, though there’s been no keeping people from misusing everything, including the church and the White House, as you and Eldridge no doubt also discovered in The Black House, in the Sixties in the Fillmore.


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