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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Integration

 

Although I was raised in accordance with Judeo-Christian values, it never made much sense to me to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), love my enemy (Matthew 5:44), or identify with the term “sheep” (John 10:27). Those advisements were far from what I valued as a child and young adult.

 

Likewise, I wasn’t meek and didn’t want to inherit the Earth (Matthew 5:5). After all, I paid close attention to 1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I didn’t love the world then or now.

 

Nevertheless, I was taught to humble myself, because of my wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14). As far back as I can recall I didn’t see the logic or reason in essentially being commanded to allow myself to be oppressed by others. Who would willingly support their own oppression?

 

Moreover, I found it difficult to understand how people during the civil rights movement in the United States (U.S.) could remain as committed to their faith-based practices as to tolerate and accept maltreatment from their oppressors. Singing “we shall overcome” didn’t make sense to me.

 

The biracial child of a black man and white woman who lived in the South during that era, I was disgusted as a result of my beliefs about how a historically marginalized group of people would remain long-suffering when actively opposed in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I truly couldn’t comprehend it.

 

Therefore, in adolescence, I didn’t view Martin Luther King, Jr. as a righteous hero. Rather, I favored the stance of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X). Likewise, I valued hip hop artists who preferred an active versus passive stance to oppression.

 

Regarding this matter, I outlined my justification for support of el-Shabazz in a blogpost entitled Malcolm in the Middle. As such, when I was a teenager, I enjoyed music from rappers such as Ice Cube who was inspired by the Nation of Islam (NOI).

 

Ice Cube sampled controversial vocal snippets from el-Shabazz, Louis Farrakhan, and Khalid Abdul Muhammad. Thus, my worldview was shaped by NOI influence – which was in stark contradiction to my Judeo-Christian principles.

 

To give a specific example of how my youthful mind was shaped by Ice Cube’s advocacy for NOI teachings, consider the song “Integration (Insert)” on the rapper’s 1992 album The Predator. In its entirety, the interlude states:

 

[Malcolm X]

Speaking as a black man from America, which is a racist society, no matter how much you hear it talk about democracy, it’s as racist as South Africa or as racist as Portugal, or as racist as any other racialist society on this Earth. The only difference between it and South-Africa: South-Africa preaches separation and practices separation; America preaches integration and practices segregation. This is the only difference. They don’t practice what they preach, whereas South-Africa preaches and practices the same thing. I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong, than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil.

 

[Unknown individual]

I don’t agree with him because I’m not a follower of Muhammad myself. I think that all people have been mistreated in some form or another, but I don’t agree with him; I don’t follow Muhammad. I don’t think anyone should follow one man; I think they should follow their own conscience. I think the main problem of most negroes is that they feel sorry for themselves, and I think this keeps them back much more than they would be if they didn’t feel so sorry for themselves.

 

[Malcolm X]

If Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins or any of these compromising negroes who say exactly what the white man wants to hear is interviewed anywhere in the country, you don’t get anybody to offset what they say. But whenever a black man stands up and says something that white people don’t like, then the first thing that white man does is run around and try and find somebody to say something to offset what has just been said. This is natural, but it is done.

 

[Phil Donahue in dialogue with Louis Farrakhan]

You know what I think? I just think you’ve given up. (Given up on what?) On the ideal of an integrated America, the dream of Martin Luther King, I think you’ve given up. This is not, I’m not trying to be a smart aleck, I’m telling you honestly that I think you’ve given up.

 

[Louis Farrakhan]

You know, it’s interesting how white folks sit here thinking that I have a reason to lie to you, as though you are so powerful, and you are so wonderful, and I am so ashamed of my words, that I have to twist and turn. Please. You’re not dealing with that kind of man. You’re dealing with a man who means what he says and says what he means. Now listen.

 

During a time when the Internet wasn’t available to the broader public, the voices of el-Shabazz and Farrakhan were brought to me through music from artists such as Ice Cube. Without these countervailing narratives, I likely would’ve believed my discomfort with passivity was an isolated experience.

 

This is because I was taught that the integration of schools in the South was something that was good and desirable. Supposedly evil white people sought to keep downtrodden black people from intermingling, I was told.

 

However, that’s not the story imparted to me by members of the black side of my family. For instance, my dad attended Carver High School in Amarillo, Texas when integration became law. He and his siblings were essentially forced to ride buses to Amarillo High School.

 

Force comes at the point of a weapon. In the most extreme scenario, there is no option other than comply or die. However victorious the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision was said to have been, it came at a cost to black people. According to one Amarillo source:

 

Carver High School shut its doors in 1967, the end of segregation in Amarillo’s public schools. But it did bring a measure of sorrow to the local African-American community, because along with that victory came the closing of what was, with the exception of churches, the north side’s most beloved institution.

 

Not all black people valued integration. After all, bussing students to schools wherein they may’ve been hated for an immutable characteristic wasn’t preferable to many people who were content with where they were.

 

Albeit a somewhat disproportionate comparison, I didn’t like attending the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, wherein a number of radical feminists expressed hatred for my immutable characteristic as a male. I can only imagine how much more hostile it was for blacks in the South. According to one source:

 

Malcolm [X] rejected integration with white America as a worthwhile aim (deriding it as “coffee with a cracker”) and particularly opposed non-violence as a means of attaining it. “That’s what you mean by non-violent,” he said, “be defenseless.”

 

The false narrative of evil white southerners having separated from helpless black people isn’t entirely accurate. While I understand that it may be difficult for some people to fathom, there were a number of black opponents to integration. For instance, consider the words of el-Shabazz:

 

This new type of black man, he doesn’t want integration; he wants separation. Not segregation, separation. To him, segregation, as we’re taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, means that which is forced upon inferiors by superiors. A segregated community is a negro community.

 

But the white community, though it’s all white, is never called a segregated community. It’s a separate community. In the white community, the white man controls the economy, his own economy, his own politics, his own everything. That’s his community. But at the same time while the negro lives in a separate community, it’s a segregated community.

 

Which means it’s regulated from the outside by outsiders. The white man has all of the businesses in the negro community. He runs the politics of the Negro community. He controls all the civic organizations in the Negro community. This is a segregated community.

 

We don’t go for segregation. We go for separation. Separation is when you have your own. You control your own economy; you control your own politics; you control your own society; you control your own everything. You have yours and you control yours; we have ours and we control ours.

 

Rather than allowing black southerners like my dad and other family members to choose which schools to attend, they were forced to dismantle their predominately black school and integrate with people who didn’t necessarily like or want them. This represents control of people.

 

However, what el-Shabazz advocated was being allowed the control oneself and one’s own people. Thus, he sought for separatist action. Is it hateful to love one’s own people so much that an individual advocates unifying one’s own race? If so, how is that hateful?

 

Is it compassionate or loving behavior that disallows this action while instead forcing people at the point of a weapon to mix with others? How does that constitute loving behavior? Noteworthy, the moral and ethical considerations addressed herein aren’t easy talking points to consider.

 

Rather than arguing for or against segregation, separation, integration, or otherwise, I’m highlighting the difficultly of tinkering with Chesterton’s fence. As an example, consider the matter reported by one source:

 

Wealthy white Baton Rouge residents have won a decade-long court battle to split from poorer neighborhoods and form their own city with plans for better schools and less crime.

 

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled on Friday [4/26/2024] that the new City of St George could move forward with incorporation, splitting off from the rest of Baton Rouge.

 

St George will have 86,000 residents across a 60-square-mile area in the southeast of East Baton Rouge Parish and will have its own Mayor and city council.

 

Supporters of the new city say that the existing city-parish government is poorly run, with high crime rates and bad schools.

 

Opponents say the movement is ‘racist’ and will create a ‘white enclave’ as it separates a wealthy area of the city from the majority black city and school district.

 

Per the concept of Chesterton’s fence, one is encouraged not to remove a fence, alter a rule, or flout tradition until one first understands why the fence is there to begin with. Many blacks in the South wanted to separate from their white counterparts in the ‘50s and ‘60s, not integrate with them.

 

However, a predominately white government disallowed the action and instead mandated desegregation and integration. After a period of time with having that fence removed, some whites in the South now want to reinstall the fence. Is it racist to desire such a thing?

 

The Baton Rouge residents appear to have reached their decision via a democratic and lawful process. One could even say they’ve chosen to decolonize the area in which they live. Yet, de-integrating is viewed as “racist,” because white people want to separate from black people. Why?

 

Also, why is it that when Eva Vlaardingerbroek speaks about white people separating from non-white people, her advocacy is purportedly labeled as a racist? Similarly, why is it that el-Shabazz’s rhetoric was labeled in the same way when he merely expressed love for his own people and a desire to uplift them?

 

At this point, one may inquire as to why any of this matters. What utility is there for a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) practitioner to opine on the topic of integration? I find value in disputing people’s irrational beliefs which result in unpleasant outcomes.

 

This, I conclude that it’s the rationale of a child to gather that southern whites are bad and therefore must be made good with the infusion of blacks. As well, claiming that separation is wrong and must be made right through the process of integration is asinine.

 

It astonishes me how few people I’ve encountered realize that Jim Crow laws weren’t supported by all southern whites. For example, a southern white business owner who couldn’t serve as many blacks as possible actually lost money as a result of the government’s unnecessary policies.

 

Additionally, I’ve been surprised to discover how few people know about the facts of southern white slave ownership. To illustrate this point, one source reports:

 

About half of antebellum Southern wealth was held in enslaved persons, although only 21 percent of white Southern households owned any slaves and less than 0.5 percent owned more than 50 slaves.

 

It wasn’t as though the majority of white households in the South enjoyed slave ownership. As well, Native Americans and blacks also owned slaves. Moreover, I’ve spoken with people who have no idea that northerners also participated in chattel slavery.

 

Nonetheless, it was government action that led to the Civil War. It was government action that created Jim Crow laws. It was government action that disrupted black families by forcing the process of integration. Now that citizens in Baton Rouge have opted to separate, government actors criticize their actions:

 

Sharon Weston Broome, the mayor-president leading the combined Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish governments, had sued the St. George organizers, arguing that the split would siphon more than $48 million in annual tax revenue from the local government.

 

When government speaks of “tax revenue,” it’s referencing money siphoned from the citizenry – by force, at the point of a weapon. In essence, a democratically-generated decision to separate deprives the government of access to involuntarily-extracted funds.

 

Chesterton’s fence was moved and now it’s being replaced. This is perceived as a threat to integration which generates funds for the government. One may argue with the logic expressed herein, and I’m willing to change my mind with receipt of new information, though my rationale is sound.

 

From the perspective of REBT, I don’t self-disturb when witnessing the process of democracy being condemned by government actors. Make no mistake, I don’t like observing injustice of this sort. Still, oppression existed long before I was born and will remain long after I’m dead.

 

Nevertheless, I approach this matter rationally so that I may first understand why I disagree with what I see. Then, once understood, I use unconditional acceptance to keep from reacting to unhelpful beliefs which cause unpleasant emotions and behaviors.

 

Ultimately, I can comprehend arguments for and against integration, just as I can use the same framework in regard to separation. These matters aren’t as simplistically dichotomous as this-or-that, good-or-bad.

 

In any case, I can appreciate that some people dislike when I post blog entries like this. Besides, I’ve highlighted many issues though provided no meaningful solutions to these matters. Still, this is precisely the point.

 

I have no answers for most questions of life. Therefore, I use Stoic wisdom incorporated in REBT to tolerate the disruption of my family and people at the hands of government actors. If I can achieve acceptance of historic events, I can then apply similar measures to the future.

 

For instance, with the mass importation or migration of people into the U.S. – as our nation’s citizens are required to accommodate this action at the point of weapon, not unlike integration that occurred in the South during the ‘60s – I can achieve acceptance. This I do, because I have no control or influence otherwise.

 

In your own life, you may use self-disturbing beliefs about matters over which you have no control or influence. In turn, your assumptions may cause unpleasant consequences. Still, you have a choice to do otherwise.

 

While practice of REBT may not end oppression, it can help you from unnecessarily upsetting yourself about it. Would you like to know more about how not to disturb yourself? If so, I’m here to help.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


African-American students escorted by federal troops, Little Rock Central High School, 1957.

Photo credit, George Silk/Life Pictures/Shutterstock, fair use

 

References:

 

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