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Racism- Prisoners of Lies: Reflections on the “Multicultural Approach to Ecopsychology”

The Unknown's picture

I was particularly intrigued by the way Carl Anthony and Reneé Soule expanded this concept of connection to the land, especially regarding African Americans:

 “This story can be seen as a metaphor for the historical experience of African Americans whose cultural experience of the land is quite different than many people of European heritage. The depth of humiliation, the feeling of outrage has totally colored the young men’s perception of that experience of the land, leading to a feeling of detachment and avoidance of emotional engagement with rural life”(Anthony and Soule 1-2).

Anthony and Soule added another dimension to environmental racism, which is shame. I hadn’t thought about the embarrassment that comes with an alliance with slavery. This notion that domination and subversion is a part of a cultural or racial identity is painful and deeply disturbing.  It was disheartening to read that a connection to the land is also a connection to death, whips, hangings, and destruction.

The article subtly addressed how environmental, societal, and social culture and upbringing effects our daily lives and how we interact with people who appear to be or who are different from us. Racism is not only internalized, but often prevails when people’s morals and ethics are tested even over better judgment and by people who work to promote justice. This is a startling realization and has extreme consequences for society, but especially minorities. Anthony and Soul say when we are in uncomfortable, unpredictable situations “we must rely on other, untrained, and unreliable senses ” (Anthony and Soul 3). I guess some of these other dominant senses are terror, anxiety, and horror. What people will assume and the actions they will commit based on those assumptions have led to countless deaths.

Carl Anthony and Renée Soule challenge the constraints of interdependence: "So the lessons of interdependence are everywhere providing we do not hide behind the glass and steel structures feeling separate and independent" (Anthony and Soule 3).

I struggled with this line: “How much of her emotional reaction is an unconscious fear of retribution and guilt for being implicated in the prodigious waste of abandoned sections of the city?” (Anthony and Soule 3) Does this question whether or not she feels guilty about stereotyping others and being racist, even if society has conditioned her to feel and act this way? I am confused.

I had never thought of cities as creating poverty and homelessness, but Anthony and Soule make a strong case.

Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye summarizes internalized racism: “It was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult its teeth. They seemed to have taken all of their smoothly cultivated ignorance, their exquisitely learned self-hatred, their elaborately designed hopelessness and sucked it all up into a fiery cone of scorn that had burned for ages in the hollows of their minds – cooled – and spilled over lips of outrage, consuming whatever was in its path” (Morrison 1).