One complexity is that ‘black' calls forth different opinions about the same thing, as when situations arise as to what something is, what it does, and how it appears. For example, Black English is ‘what it is' even though it may be interpreted in conflicting ways. What Black pimps do and how they appear may also be divided along class and racial lines. A second is that meanings can be spun around, as with the term Black Belt. Although states from South Carolina west to Louisiana have been called the Black Belt, the name is falsely believed to derive from the fact that Negroes outnumbered Whites in this area. However, the actual name came from the rich black dirt that predominates in the area. Since such soil was ideal for the raising of cotton, Negro slaves were imported to harvest the crops and in time the numerical preponderance of Negroes became a reality. Third are meanings neither good nor bad (e.g. a name) or, fourth, may be both. Neutral or Good and Bad Intents and/or Effects are seen in The Black Experience and Black Movements. Good Intents by Black People calling for self-cultivation and Black pride, or for political and social institutions are typically misinterpreted by Whites who, driven by fear, react ‘ugly.' Fifth, what may be good for some is not for others, as when prey welcome the comforting cover of night whereas predators find it as a handicap. Sixth are Misinterpreted meanings-like one end of a propeller whose ends are twisted in opposite directions. For instance, Black Art (Syn. Necromancy, conjuration, magic)-the art practiced by sorcerers and witches (usually for evil intents)--is a linguistic mistake having nothing to do with color. Medieval scribes wrongly substituted the Latin niger, black, for the necro (corpse) aspect of the Greco-Latin "necromantia."
The Negative Scale's connotations about bad but non-racial things may be realistic; distortions; or fantasy. Whatever is said out of wisdom, out of ignorance, or out of meanness may have nothing to do with race; or may have an unintended effect on race; or may be deliberately directed at a race. For example, people often use the term ‘black' to reflect what is going on in their lives; or "in the dark" refers to feeling confused. Or, a "negative" might simply be about "what it is," as when the Black Sea was named by the Turks because of its dense fogs and violent storms. The Effect of actual, uncertain, or complex "negatives"--as determined by the receiver,--may be Mild, Slight, Moderate, or Extreme. In short, bad statements about black vs. racial implications are like the "Dark"-- not necessarily the same as "Black" but both may be connected by an acquired ‘extra dimension' of hate-a dimension seen in all racists.
Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.
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