Laney College Newspaper,
Current Issue: May 22, 2008
Recover from white supremacy
Peer mental health group cures 'addiction'
Author, playwright, and poet Dr. Marvin X is a modern theologian and philosopher sent to earth to help others find themselves. He's not a prophet, but is certainly beyond worthy of his Oakland bestowed title of "Plato" (Ishmael Reed).
His most recent book is, "How to recover from the addiction to white supremacy: A Pan African 12-Step Model for a mental health peer group."
Using a poetic and personal prose, Dr. M, as he is known, leads readers of all ethnicities and national origins on a journey to recover from what he terms the earth's most deadly disease: white supremacy.
"White supremacy can be any form of domination, whether stemming from religious mythology and ritual, or cultural mythology and ritual, such as tribal and caste relations," writes Dr. M. "White supremacy is finally a class phenomena, the rich against the poor,
thus the process of recovery must include a redistribution of global wealth, for there is no doubt that the rich became rich by exploiting the poor, not by any natural inheritance or superior intelligence."
Dr. M, a founder of the Black Arts movement, uses his life experience with drug addiction to create a recovery model for others. Similar to the "12-step model" used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the book reads like a personal narrative of not just one man's struggle to overcome a grafted sense of self-inferiority and a disillusioned projection of superiority in others, but a prayer of confidence that when others connect with their spirits, they will be able to overcome "stinking thinking," negative attitudes and self-destructive behavior.
After defining white supremacy in the introduction, the next chapter details how to detox and "rid the body and mind of the toxicity of decades under the influence of racist ideology of institutions that have rendered us into a state of drunkenness and denial."
After detoxification, patients are now ready to step into a new era. The first step to recovery is to "admit we are not powerless over self-hatred, racism and white supremacy thinking."
Dr. M's message of mental purification comes through strong in his accounts, and his vast historical knowledge of the experience of North American Africans" (so-called African Americans) encourages students to study. His vast literary references do not discriminate as he makes reference to Shakespeare and "classic" Greek tragedies as well.
"The Other White People," as he refers to them, "are an enigma to themselves, a conundrum of major proportions, transcending Shakespeare's Othello in tragic dimension, for their tragic flaw is lack of self knowledge."
"Such is the gracious gift of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. It has produced a Pan African people in love with all things European: women, clothing, religion, education (what people in their right minds would send their children to the enemy to become educated, especially without a revolutionary agenda), political philosophy, social habits, dietary preferences, sexual mores, etc" writes Dr. M.
While he seeks to create a dialogue with all, the sexism ingrained in this society leaps out at you. He attempts to make amends by apologizing for his past instances of sexism and emotional, verbal, and physical abuse of women.
The most powerful aspect of the book is the encouragement to the reader to gain a working knowledge of self. When speaking to the need for patients to take a "moral inventory," Dr. M puts a mirror up to all people.
Breaking down dynamics of interracial relationships with the analytical perception of a sociologist or psychologist, including historical context of relationships between black women and white men and the taboo of white woman with a black man, Dr. M simplifies the frustration faced by women who date outside of their "race" and the reaction of those who feel their "natural partners" have been stolen.
"In this war with the white woman over the black man's sperm, the black woman, in desperation and denial, tries to mimic the white woman as much as possible, donning blond hair and continuing the tradition of bleaching cream throughout Pan Africa."
Equally healing is the emphasis on seeking forgiveness. When under the influence of substances or mind alterning racist ideology, people often hurt people that are closest to them. Dr. M apologizes for his own shortcomings while under the influence of not just white supremacy, but while using crack cocaine. The prolific writer fell victim to the "ghost" for 12 years, and apologizes to his family and especially his daughters.
He also apologizes on behalf of the "Black Bourgeoisie," "Pan African Professors" he attacked because they were "not as radical and revolutionary as I believed they should, after all, white supremacy institutions are not about to allow a radical Pan African ideology and philosophy to flourish within its institutional framework," writes Dr. M.
Dr. M is able to weave not only events in his life which were symptomatic of white supremacy, but the thought process and actions of others.
While some may be quick to write Dr. M off as a Pan-African revolutionary (which he is), or a "reverse racist" (which he is not), his book benefits people of all ethnicities to come to grips with their preconceived notions about one another.
He successfully differentiates between white supremacy and "white people" for only a few handsomely reap the benefits of white supremacy, while others simply enjoy white privilege. He also emphasizes that white supremacy has not, and will not, flourish without disciples and coconspirators.
"The white supremacy rulers have used poor whites and working class whites to delude whites into thinking the blacks are the cause of their misery and economic exploitation, just as capitalism is presently using immigrant labor to suggest they are the cause of middle and lower class white economic woes, while in fact it is the white supremacy global bandits who are outsourcing for cheap labor." Dr. M equates the assertion with the current immigration debate.
Ultimately, after completing the 12-step model, patients are encouraged to join the "cultural revolution." Harkening to the era of he 1960s, Dr. M suggests "linguistic transcendence" in which North American Africans reclaim a regal self-concept.
In the great tradition of indigenous healers, Dr. M pours love into patients inspiring hope for a cure for what others have deemed the only reality.
Like all scientists, Dr. M is experimenting, hoping that patients will actively involve themselves in their recovery. The "peer group mental health model" accompanies the book and allows the reader to form their own circle to undergo transformation with friends, family, or those people you just haven't met yet. Starting a much needed dialogue, Dr. M brings forward "5000 watts" of shock therapy to awake people to their senses.
Dr. M obtained his PhD in Negrology from the University of Hell, USA. Formerly known as Marvin Jackmon, he was born in Fowler, CA and grew up in Fresno and Oakland. He attended Merritt College and San Francisco State University where he received a BA and MA in English. He has taught English, African American Literature, Drama, journalism, and more at Fresno State, UC Berkeley, Mills, and Laney College. He was an professor at Fresno State University when then Governor Ronald Reagan found out Dr. M refused to serve in Vietnam--he was barred from teaching.
His other books include Love and War, poems, 1995, In the Crazy House Called America, essays, 2002, and his most recent Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, 2007. His books are available from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA, 94702. $19.95 each.
For more information about Dr. M, visit www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com.