It was a cold winter afternoon, and Roberto Richmond walked out of his office building after work to meet his wife. She was coming to pick him up after a Doctor’s appointment, and he was nervous to see her. Suddenly a man walked up to him “hey dude” give me a couple of dollars! Roberto looked at the man and said No! The man stepped up to Roberto and shouted, “you ain’t black your a white man’s Nig-er your a white man with black skin.” Roberto was a former Navy Seal and physically strong. He pushed back. “Don’t you threaten me; get out of my face.” The Panhandler reached out to grab Roberto’s arm, but Roberto grabbed the Panhandler and hurled him to the ground. The Panhandler looked up, lying on his back shouting, “kill me, you white nig-er, and you kill yourself Sell-Out!
Roberto looked up; a car was beeping at the curb; Sydnie, his wife, pulled up. Roberto jumped into the car as Sydnie drove away. Roberto was still angry but quickly was calm at home as Sydnie and he drank wine and talked about their new daughter growing inside Sydnie.
After dinner and a romantic movie, the couple curled up in bed together. Sydnie was 35, and white Roberto was 50 and black, and they were in love. Sydnie put Roberto’s hand on her stomach so he could feel the baby move; they fell asleep.
Later into the night, Roberto awoke and looked at the ceiling; all he could think about was Sell-Out!
Even from a panhandler, the words bothered Roberto; he was proud of his achievements as a black man. He worked hard in high school through college, served his country, became an Architect, and built a company.
Roberto had as a child faced racism growing up in a small town in the midwest and, like most black men, faced bias in college and even in the military. But he was proud of his black heritage and his family, and he never backed down to white men. He loved his wife for who she was and not as an idolized status image that made him equal to white men.
Sydnie loved Roberto; she was proud to be his wife and the kind of man he was. Sydnie would not allow her family or friends to judge Roberto because of his race. The more she knew him, the more their relationship became “unbreakable.”
Roberto spent the rest of the night reliving the words of the Panhandler that he was not a black man but only had black skin and just a “Sell-Out.”
Roberto’s thoughts were, “I’ have worked hard all my life; what do I have to do just be me and still black.” The confrontation with the Panhandler and his own demented Psychotic thoughts left Roberto with ideas he had faced so many times in his life. Roberto was a “Sell-Out,” a white man with black skin.
Why are there are black skins that are in white masks in America?
In America, black men and women, more than any other racial group, have needed to choose between living and working while integrating with America but facing rejection. But black people also must select what aspects of black culture to embrace. As a result, they have often been labeled a “sell-out,” a person who has a relationship more with the values of white America. For example, Roberto was a Sell-Out to the Panhandler because he was well dressed and appeared to have money. The view of living outside of your race’s image and values can make you a Sell-Out”. For many black men, the number one sin was a relationship with a white woman. On the other hand, if you were wealthy or a famous figure, artist, athlete, or even a political figure, you might get a pass.
Black women also faced the same fate, but their issues were with their physical appearance, how black their skin was or the texture of their hair, and the shape of their bodies.
White men have had a desire for black women; lighter skin had more sex appeal, and light-skinned black men were more intelligent.
So white men since slavery have sexualized black women as their property for themselves or as a means to produce healthy slave babies with a “breeding buck.” But many young black girls were selected away for the please of the white men in the master’s house. The knowledge of this history in the black community has served as the basis of a “sell-out” mindset.
A history of violence, racism and mental trauma created a “Psychosis” known as “sell-out.”
The relationship between black men and white women has been far more toxic; the principal reason for lynchings in America after the civil war was based on this relationship. Emmett Till’s murder and the killing of others happened because of just being accused of a look or friendly contact with a white woman. But white men quickly moved through the slave quarters at night for sex with slaves.
During the post-reconstruction era, cities like St.Louis and New Orleans filled their prostitution “cat houses” with mulatto females girls.
As blacks migrated to northern cities searching for freedom and jobs, they were met by segregation, violent riots, and lynching like they had known in the south. The whites reacted to black migration with the emergence of the Klu Klux Klan and other white hate groups. In 1923 Minnesota had 51 chapters of the Klan with 30,000 members. As an example of white violence, whites lynched three black circus workers accused of raping a white woman in Duluth, Minnesota. Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isacc McGhie were arrested and then dragged from their cells and then lynched from a telephone pole.
In the black community, police maintained a wall from the established white community. As a result, the relationship between blacks and white immigrants was filled with tension, leading to riots in Northern cities that resulted in death for black men and women. The Tulsa, Oklahoma Greenwood district in 1921 is one of the examples of the riot which destroyed an entire black community.
Black Americans never wanted to be separated from the nation. Still, their influence was minimized historically, and their achievements were measured based on white America’s values.
Black men and women fought in every war from the revolutionary war to Afganistan. They served at sea while facing segregation and even racial violence.
Still, those who defended the nation knew racism systemically, even in the U.S.military.
The reaction to years of systemic racism created an underlining Psychosis that resulted in low self-esteem, self-hate, and violence. In addition, black Ethnocentrism has promoted a mindset that has caused people of color to measure how connected they are with their race.
The effort to assimilate with white culture is viewed by many black Americans as a “Sell-Out.”
This is manifested as many things within the black culture, from how you speak to your skin color. Unfortunately, these factors have served as a divide and conquer that has remained persistent since the end of slavery.
In America, Psychosis has resulted in increased violence and death. Unfortunately, many black Americans think that to report these crimes no matter how cruel is supporting white America and not your community.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the black population is at 19%. Still, Homicides of Black Victims Unsolved are at ( 40% ) compared to Homicides of White Victims Unsolved ( 19% ).
Black people are victimized more than any racial group for reporting criminal acts against their community. Unfortunately, the label of “snitch” makes you a villain more often than a hero, not with the criminals but the very people in the community. Tragically the use of revenge against another black person is acceptable violence rather than contacting the police.
The case against black Ethnocentrism, why we cannot accept a label of “sell-out.”
Black Ethnocentrism diminishes individualism. It demands that your goals and dreams be that of a black mind. Therefore, any effort that is outside of these norms is seen as your views are white. Even when they reflect the larger culture of other races and beliefs. But Black Ethnocentrism is entangled with the pressure for acceptance in a white culture that demands integration.
Ethnocentrism in black people has been reflected in subtle changes that revealed a more profound Psychosis of physical self-destruction like colorism. For example, through the 1940s and ’50s, as black Americans sought acceptance, many black people turned to “bleaching creams” and hair jelly creams used for straightening. ( known as a process) all of this was to give more of a white appearance.
Too many black people dark black was a mark of inferiority compared to lighter-skinned black people. This difference divided many black families and blacks in the community;
it eroded trust and created groups that hated the other based on the color of their skin.
White America was never concerned that blacks were divided and reacted violently or developed low self-esteem and self-hate that acted as Psychosis throughout their lives.
White America sought out blacks with lighter skin and less “kinky” hair and promoted their appearance. In the films by Dorothy Dandridge, her light-colored skin and straight hair made her as much of a star as America would allow. Butterfly Mcqueen, who was dark-skinned with kinky hair, was given roles in films as “scatter-brained” and less intelligent.
These images, even in 2021, still exists, with many Black, Asians, and Latinos in the media admitting that they have used bleaching creams.
But while these cosmetics served their careers, most black more than any other group, have self-talk that states “I’am black” and react with that thought. Franz Fanon, the author of “Black Skins,White masks” and Psychiatrist, noted in his book that black people cannot see their own identity. They must measure themselves as black first before taking any action.
This self-talk is not generally what whites think with no sense of restriction because they don’t systematically face racism. So, for example, in 2021, a black man driving and is stopped by the police has reactionary self-talk “I am black” his white counterpart does not have this.
This reaction of I” being black is a learned behavior and is a protective measure and is found in most responses black people have to white people.
This happens even when it is based on a “false neuro association” of ideas about their own beauty, intelligence, or self-worth. Tragically the world of Psychology and Psychiatry never counted this white bias.
The view in Psychiatry has been this lack of self-esteem resulting from poverty, education, and intelligence by black Americans and not systemic racism.
Author Ralph Ellison in his book “invisible man,” reflected on why in the mindset of whites, their view is of superiority over black people exists.
Ellison was often criticized by other black authors for writing outside of the black experience. Why can’t a black man be judged for himself?
Ellison, in his writings, asked., Unlike Fanon, blackness lacked individualism and was not a belief built on low self-esteem.
Today, many black people are driven to live no longer as an ethnic monolith politically, socially, and culturally. There is a growing belief that a sense of “self” can be designed and that dreams and aspirations do not have to be limited. Many can see positive images in the media and connect their lives with those positive lives. There is a hunger to no longer have limitations in American.
This growth has resulted in a crossroads for black America with backlash from white America.The new statistics project that America will become a “minority white” nation in 2045.
But the most significant challenge will continue to be those who, through black Ethnocentrism, feel threatened by other blacks who need more than race to define themselves.
How people of color can live a life without a white mask.
Most studies show a general acceptance of intimacy, love, marriage, and friendships between blacks and whites. But there is a lingering resentment by many blacks against those who are in these relationships.
This also is connected to those who have successful careers and create their own wealth.
Black Ethnocentrism has served as a defense mechanism for black people and kept them safe in the past. In a period where the Black Lives Matter movement and Critical Race Theory is asking how systemic racism has affected America. Can black people label each other “Sell-Out”?
How can black people continue to be the source of violence and murder against their own people? And yet demand policing reform. When black people have knowledge of crimes, why do we fail to help in the investigation by the police?
We claim we are not a monolithic people. Still, we don’t value intellectually in our youth and label their efforts as white images but support black athletics fully?
These actions do not make black people a “Sell-Out” but reflect the strength of self and singular mindedness.
Following the death of George Floyd, the movement brought together people of all races to protest the impact of systemic racism on people of color and push for change in governing. But no legislation can change a mindset where we have limits in relationships, learning, and life. There are no “Sell-Outs” for those of us willing to think and to grow beyond our perceived racial limitations to be just human beings.
Roberto Richmond went beyond the threats of being a “Sell-Out.” Instead, he focused on this new family and his life with them because that is really all that matters.