Report:The Pan African Mental Health Peer Group Meeting
Date: December 15, 2007
Scheduled meeting time: 4pm
Actual Starting time: 4:10
Place: In the Upper Room,
Black Repertory Group Theatre,
Order of Session:
1. Prayer, Read Step 7
2. Check In
3. Read 13 Steps
4. White Supremacy Defined
5. Detoxification from White Supremacy
6. Read Step One, Fear
9. Next Meeting Date: Saturday, January 12, 2008, 4pm, Upper Room, Black Rep. Theatre, Berkeley
The meeting was a success, for one reason because it began only ten minutes after the scheduled time. This is revolutionary for North American Africans. Secondly, it was a success by the fact that ten people came together on a Saturday afternoon during the holiday season to begin the healing process from their addiction to white supremacy. This is revolutionary. We met to heal ourselves by ourselves, without any leader, although Dr. M and his associates were there to facilitate, and they did. PhD candidate and long time associate of Dr. M, Ayodele Nzinga, did an excellent job keeping people on the agenda, summing items and explaining concepts. Ptah Allah El, author of the afterword to M's How to Recover from White Supremacy, was also on hand to help facilitate and contribute. .
Who came to the meeting? Sick people in search of healing. Why would anyone come in denial they are addicted to white supremacy, level II (the oppressed), as Dr. Nathan Hare explained in his foreword to Dr. M’s book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY. Level 1 is the oppressor’s addiction to White Supremacy.
From the check in it was clear everyone was in a state of Black Rage, the women and the men. The rage was like a teapot boiling and steaming, about to explode. The meeting was successful because it gave people an opportunity to release rage in a constructive manner, although people told of their desire to be destructive and attack the perceived source of their rage and anger, the oppressor.
White supremacy was defined as a system of oppression and domination. It was said that the solution is coming together in the circle to begin the healing process. We suffer because we are disconnected, thus the simple solution is to connect, come together. Sister Ayo remarked how good it felt just being in the room with a group of people coming together to consciously begin to heal themselves. And we must concur, it did feel good being in the room with people aware of their problems and about the business of finding the solution. Yes, everyone in the room was sick, to one degree or another, but the hope is in the fact they made it to the meeting. One severely disturbed person came up the stairs, looked around at the people in the circle, acknowledged to all that he had played basketball with Dr. M, but he had to leave, so he departed. But even he must be congratulated for making it up the stairs—at least he made the effort in his pitiful condition, so how can we dismiss him. Maybe the next time he will find the energy to remain, so let us not lose hope. Our sickness is only a matter of degree, but by degrees we are raised to perfection. Again, the meeting was a success because people came to make the initial step.
Dr. M told them his book is not written in stone, it can be revised, just as he revised the traditional 12 step model to adjust it for the addiction to white supremacy. He does not expect every one to agree with his remarks in the book, but he would like this group to serve as a model for others who desire to use the peer group approach, especially since, as Dr. Hare noted, there simply are not enough mental health workers to serve the critical needs of our people. Dr. Hare has indicated he will make himself present when time allows. He did not attend, but we are honored to have his unqualified support as our elder and specialist in the field of liberation psychology. We informed the group that they should seek out the writings of others in the field.
When it came to the subject of detoxification, Brother Ptah, who wrote the afterword to Dr. M’s book, noted how he detoxed by listening to the tapes of Dr. Clarke, Dr. Ben, Dr. Wesling, Dr. Khalid Muhammad, and others, and he suggested this as a detox method, for we must simply negate white supremacy information. Ptah said just as we hit delete on the computer, we must hit the delete button in our minds and release the ideas, the thoughts, the information that is the source of our ills, the mis-information that is slowly killing us.
A rich man from Silicon Valley was interviewed on radio about how he became wealthy and how others do the same in the Valley. First, he said you come with a thought, with an idea that has the potential to be successful, then you connect with others, such as engineers and venture capitalists, but the thought is the key element. And the addiction to white supremacy can be healed with New Thought. Thoughts are things, thoughts can kill and thoughts can heal! So much of our addiction to white supremacy is thought-based, and most of us have not been in a position to think outside the box because in order to do so one must be on the highest spiritual plane wherein we are in this world but not of this world. Now there are some of us who have been able to get outside this country, to travel abroad long enough to ponder our condition and, from being abroad, see how ridiculous it is for us to accept our wretched status. And a sister in Florida noted in a phone conversation with Dr. M called that White Supremacy should be called White Lunacy—yes, we are under the rule of lunatics. How can divine people allow themselves to be ruled by lunatics? And brother Ptah said as much in his afterword: we are giving too much credit to the enemy by using the term supremacy: “Even Black Studies scholars and educators, in their mentally disturbed state are guilty of perpetuating white supremacy. Unfortunately, some intellectuals are unaware of the dialectic that suggests every time the thesis white supremacy is used, the antithesis black inferiority is automatically insinuated.” Indeed, I have written about the psycholinguistic crisis of North American Africans. In short, not only are thoughts killing us but language as well. Hence, all the confusion about the proper description of our identity: Africans, colored, Negro, Black, Bilalian, Kemetic, Niggers, Nigguhs, Bitches, Hos, thugs, dogs, pimps, gangstas, etc.
In the meeting, a sister got upset because a young brother used the term old people, she preferred the term senior. We agreed to allow freedom of speech in the peer group, otherwise we can get lost in the black hole or white hole of linguistic confusion—the tower of Babel. Language can be ideological, political, spiritual, thus we can get bogged down with words, definitions. Perhaps we should establish a working vocabulary, but we do not want to inhibit people from speaking their mind, only because some of us are linguistic puritans and only desire to hear socalled positive speech. I believe in freedom of speech, and I especially abhor those hypocrites who say don’t say motherfucker but are guilty of incest. Dr. Cornel West told the NAACP, “Yes, you buried the N word, but you’re still acting like Nigguhs!” Yes, we are against phony Nigguhs who hide behind words to shield their wickedness. Jesse, don’t pray with the president while you are engaged in the same immorality! You so involved in praying for somebody else when you need to be praying for yourself and asking God to forgive you! People email me, “Who’s going to heal you, Dr. M?” I’m trying to heal myself as it is prescribed, “Physician heal thyself.” I’m not above the peer group, I’m in the peer group! The book is healing for me, it allowed me to transcend some of my addiction to white supremacy or lunacy (I like Sister Abena’s term, the group liked it. The old folks used to say, don’t worry bout them white folks, they crazy!). The only problem is that we have been infected by their virus of lunacy.
A good example is the multitude of fears we harbor, as revealed when the group discussed Step One, which deals with fear—so many fears, while the only thing to fear is fear itself. We fear nothing but the Creator, and furthermore, we flow in the flow of the Creator’s love, thus we only fear when we slip into the undercurrent and get caught in the counter flow.
There is no fear when we are I harmony with the laws of the universe, but we become fearful when we are not doing the right things. The brothers in the hood are armed because they are afraid of each other, they don’t know each other, in their ignorance of their Divinity, they act out animal behavior, even worse than animals, for animals don’t kill for no reason—they kill to eat. We kill for wreakless eyeballing, “I don’t like the way you looked at me, Nigguh! I don’t like the way you looked at my bitch.” Bam, Boom, Bam! One more bites the dust.
One sister feared her father and other men because she did not know them. She knew the women in her family and life, but not the men, they were strangers to her and she did not know how to interact with them.
Another sister feared that our people would mess around until it was too late and we will self destruct or be totally overwhelmed by the forces of white supremacy. I saw her point and gave the example of the Polish underground during WW II, they delayed organizing until it was too late when they finally got their resistance together. When they finally did, they found themselves caught between the political chicanery of Hitler, Stalin and the Allied powers. Of course, they ended up in concentration camps or simply had their resistance foiled.
Of course the men in the group had no fears, to hear them tell it. “I ain’t scared of nothing,” many of them said, perhaps expressing their macho socialization. For men to express fear is cowardice, yet some did, when pressed, admit they had fears. They feared getting caught in a death trap interacting with white men in the business world, as one union organized spoken about. They feared not doing enough in the time they had on earth. Even I feared my forty years in struggle has been in vain, that my sharings on the internet are not being read because I get few comments on them. I fear teaching on the street is in vain, yet people tell me I make a difference when I am on the corner of 14th and Broadway—a spiritual energy pervades the area, even though I may be unaware of it, but the people notice and they have told me and others. So there is a power working higher than myself, a spirit in the dark, or perhaps it from the energy of a bright sun shining on a winter day. We must simply do the work, do all that we can do while we’re here, and don’t worry, simply plant the seeds and surely they will grown.
A sister feared she would lose her government job by attending our meeting, that she is being watched. On the street, a brother feared going back to work with my book—he feared getting fired for having a book on white supremacy in his possession.
Ayo, a mother of six, said she feared for her children every time she hears the news about a shooting. She has to take a head count of her sons to see they are all safely in the house, because she worries all the time they are in the street.
Brother Ptah said after reading aloud from Step One, he was shaken by the material, even though he had read it before. He was especially moved by the lines, “If truth be told, we are not powerless over anything, but have the power within ourselves to overcome any force in the universe that is not in harmony with the Higher Power without and within ourselves.” (page 31, How to Recover from White Supremacy.)
The meeting ended with prayer. The next session is scheduled for Saturday, January 12, 4pm, in the Upper Room of the Black Repertory Group Theatre, 3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley, one block south of the Ashby BART station. Call 510-355-6339 for more information.
Let us hear your comments. We urge you to organize a peer group in your community, at your home even. Start with your family members and friends. Time is of the essence. Racism is on the move, but so are we, and we are not afraid, for we stand on the shoulders of ancestors David Walker, Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Booker T, Frederick Douglas, Noble Drew Ali, WEB DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Master Fard Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott, Betty Shabazz, Mae Mallory, Fannie Lou Hamer, Queen Mother Moore, Ella Collins, Ella Baker, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson, Robert F. Williams, Kwame Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, and other known and unknown soldiers of liberation.
To order Dr. M’s book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, send $19.95 to Black Bird Press, POB 1317, Paradise CA 95967. To book him for speaking and reading engagements, write to the same address or call 510-355-6339. Visit and comment on his blog: www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com. Also visit: www.nathanielturner.com, and www.youtube.com/marvinx/white supremacy. Marvin X reads with Amiri Baraka at University of California Berkeley, go to: Holloway Series in Poetry--Amiri Baraka.