Victim mentality (great!)
The victim mentality (great!)
How to break out of the victim mentality: 7 powerful steps
Victim mentality (very good)
Overcome victim mentality
Avoiding victim mentality (harsh but true)
Racism and the Myth of Victim Mentality by Tim Wise. While I agree with some of it I also disagree with some of it probably because the examples were so simplified. Of course it is necessary to talk to Black people about racism and warn them about it. But it can be harmful for a person to look at photos of lynchings, read hate literature, or read detailed descriptions of slaves being tortured and raped. Those things can permanently change the way a person views the world. Constant exposure to such things can be taxing and depressing. So I believe some discussion of racism is fine and necessary like Tim Wise but I also agree with the conservatives that too much can cause victim mentality in Black people. He also ignores the scientific research behind the concept.
About five years ago I bought the book "Roots" by Alex Haley at a thrift shop and I read it. It was the first Black history book I had ever read. I feel that reading it was traumatic! The detail of the horrible tortures of Kunta Kinte, his daughter Kizzie, and all of the other slaves was so awful. It was hard to imagine that anyone could be so brutal and think that they were good people at the same time. It was horrifying and I cried A LOT! It changed me and it was almost like something inside me died for about three years. After that I started reading other Black history books and became more and more angry and hopeless about the plight of Black people. I decided to stop relaxing my hair and I stopped listening to music from White musicians. I started reading Black blogs exclusively and decided I should no longer be attracted to White men and that I would only date Black men. I joined an online Black activism group where everyone constantly talked about racism and fighting "the evil White man". In school I wrote papers about racism and constantly talked about Black history and racism. I was suspicious and possibly hostile to some White people. This was because I was so angry about the injustice and I wanted someone to pay for it. When things did not go well for me in school I wondered if it was because of racism. I thought retrospectively about my life and wondered if other negative things in my life happened because of racism and just because I was Black. I thought my future goals would never actually happen because some racist would stand in my way.
Now, five years later I realize that I took on a victim mentality and this was welcomed by other people with the same mentality online. A person with a victim mentality believes that the bad things in their life happened because of other people or forces over which they have no control. They do not feel responsible for things that happen in their lives because someone else is to blame. Due to this mentality they don't feel the need to change anything about themselves or do anything different other than focusing on the person who victimized them. Prior to this unhappy time I wasn't very happy and I did have some victimization beliefs but at the same time I was high achieving and I worked hard for what I wanted. So I had internal motivation, the external motivation of my parents, and some beliefs that I was "cursed" and that life was just harder for me. My Black history immersion, constant reading of Black activism blogs, and frequent online interactions with other people with victim mentalities threw me over the edge. It was fortunate for me that I didn't totally sabotage myself by ruining relationships with all the White people I knew by starting arguments or accusing people of racism when there was none. I'm glad I didn't decide to quit "the White man's education system", remove myself from mainstream society, and join some all-Black activist group. I left that mindset behind and I no longer feel like a victim (most of the time, I still have to watch out for it).
I think that many Black people may be sabotaging themselves because they spend so much time and energy hating White people and expecting an apology for things they are not directly responsible for. They are also too wrapped up in hopes that Black people will somehow take over and come into power the way they were in ancient Africa and somehow that will rectify past injustices. When anyone suggests things these people can do to improve their lives they say (emphatically) that "Black people have no power", "I don't have to change anything because White people caused the problem", or "our lives won't improve until White people stop being racist". This is so frustrating! Although my victim mentality was high, I still had a lot of personal agency, I made plans, worked hard, accepted setbacks, and tried again. I'm sure that these people must have some personal agency in their lives but maybe they just don't see it or want to admit it. What I want to know is if White people apologize for racism what happens then? Even if they were to give all Black Americans $1000 in reparations, what happens after that? What are you going to do then to make your life better? This blog is my way to cope with that question. White people don't have to apologize, give me reparations, or do anything before I can use my power to shape my life and live the best life I can.
Acknowledgement: I readily admit that I may be too middle class and educated/intellectual to really understand how many people are feeling about this issue. I might be "out of touch" but these are my opinions nonetheless. It may actually be helpful for others to hear how someone like me sincerely thinks and that Black people actually differ in opinion. I'm finding that I'm actually agreeing with a lot of what conservatives are saying about this issue and the progressives are looking illogical to me. I guess I have to face the sobering fact that I have always had some conservative values and although I consider myself to be a liberal, I'm becoming more conservative the older I get (*sigh*). I guess when crimes happen I don't focus on them because that's the job of the police and the courts so I don't concern myself with who did what etc. because what's the post of speculating on events that I did not witness? Instead I focus on something I find intriguing about people's behaviour (and their choices) and my reaction to that behaviour; something I can actually examine and potentially change. So here it is... I think that the public reaction to the Trayvon Martin case is maybe the largest, international instance of victim mentality I have ever witnessed! Not only are people dressing like the victim and purchasing his preferred drink and candy but they are actually saying "I am Trayvon"!!! They feel like their sons, brothers, husbands, and even themselves have been murdered or they are at risk for being murdered! Every Black man who has ever been harassed by police or treated poorly by White people is immersed in victim mentality right now. They feel as though they have been assaulted and that they are next to die! They sound very afraid, sad, worried, and helpless about protecting themselves from outside forces.
If someone suggests that these men are more likely to be shot by a Black person than a White person so why worry about White people they call that trying to ignore or excuse racism (I GUARANTEE they will say this). If you suggest maybe they should not dress like gangsters because it scares people they insist the scared people are racist and need to stop being scared. If you suggest anything that involves improving themselves they resist and insist that White people and society needs to change first. Don't even try to ask why they only get outraged after the rare instance when a White person kills a Black person and why they don't try to improve black communities to prevent Black-on-Black crime. Or that rap music has made people afraid of Black men and it makes black men look like aggressive criminals. They won't listen. Fighting racism (if that's even possible. Maybe it can be prevented in children but a true racist won't change just because their hated group tells them it's wrong) is a long-term thing but what are they going to do in the meantime? I think the answer is that they won't be doing anything different.
People are also saying that asking Black men to not dress like gangsters to avoid looking suspicious is the same as asking women to not wear short skirts to avoid getting raped. Well, part of victim mentality is feeling powerless and never looking at your own behaviour in a situation so I guess they are right. Taking on the victim role has it's advantages for people so they don't feel bad after they are victimized but unfortunately there is no place for personal responsibility or taking safety measures with this mindset. Feeling empowered that you control your life, that your power can help you overcome any bad thing that happens to you, and that you can have control of your life again also feels really good too! You have to choose whether you see yourself as having power or not and accept the consequences that choice may have for you mentally. If you want to change your victim mentality you can seek help from a professional or read articles like the ones posted above. I hope you can break out of this mindset.
Alternative views on Trayvon Martin case:
Why Geraldo was wrong for the right reasons (this what what I thought about Geraldo's comments)
Call it 'profiling' but people act on their assumptions
Geraldo and hoodies
Dissecting Geraldo Rivera's hoodie comment
How to talk to young Black boys about Trayvon Martin
Criminals give hoodies a bad rap
The hoodie: Fashion trend, criminal uniform, now symbol of social injustice
LAPD: In stores, keep hoodie on, but lower the hood