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Black Leadership Analysis

This is an unofficial Spiral Dynamics blog. It is not endorsed by D. Beck PhD.

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Personal Blog Entry

My Story of Nigrescence: Internalization

So I did not feel that there was anywhere I could go to feel accepted. Either I could join integrated groups and become raceless or black groups that would force me to be pro-black/anti-white. The feeling that I had nowhere to go forced me to try to create my own safe space. That is what led me to create this website Black Leadership Analysis.

I wanted to evaluate the thoughts of black people using Spiral Dynamics. I often would read blogs and articles on Spiral Dynamics that mention black people. Most of the time black people were classified as Red/Blue and whites were classified as Orange/Green. Of course, all statements would be qualified by there are black and white people in all memes, but ultimately black people were discussed as at a lower state of development. The dynamic of blacks being in a less complex state was also very prevalent in The Crucible.

The idea that black people are at a lower level of development has been prevalent in science from the very beginning. Dr. Cross explained the origins of this idea in psychology. Now I do not think the founders of Spiral Dynamics intentionally continued the tradition. However, I think science’s inability to confront its racist history has allowed the idea of black inferiority to exist.

Now I do not believe that it is impossible for black people or white people to be generally at different levels of development. However, to make the assertion one must look deeply into Black America. Not just a few hundred test subjects. The great thinkers have to be evaluated. It is possible that higher order thinking appears in a different manner. Once one explores the possibility that the intersection of ethnicity and ego development makes the memes appear differently, one can then assess if black people are generally at a lower level of development.

One of many barriers in Spiral Dynamics is the idea that anyone that talks about ethnicity is Red Meme. It is believed that once a person moves up the Spiral they naturally let go of ethnicity. The goal will be creating a raceless intellectual. If this is the final goal, the Spiral Dynamic community should expect limited influence.

I also felt Spiral Dynamics could be beneficial to the Black community. Often it is difficult for us to have political or philosophical dialogue without immediately moving to ad hominem attacks such as: “you’re brainwashed” you’re a hotep”, “you hate yourself.” The lack of dialogue prevents black people from developing an informed social philosophy to help us navigate an often hostile world.

Now there is quality political discussion within the Black academia. However, there needs to be a method to bring these strategies to the mass of people. If normal people don’t have a way to dialogue, there will be unnecessary division and stagnation. For a group of people already disadvantaged, not being able to dialogue will be detrimental.

I began with the website by randomly picking leaders. The first one I did was Brother Polight. I found him to be pretty impressive from the few YouTube videos I watched. I watched all the videos on his YouTube channel looking for common themes. Once the common themes were determined. I would judge what meme is central to the person’s thinking.

Facebook is the best place to share these articles. However, I realized every Facebook group on Spiral Dynamics was not down to talk about race. So I created my own group Black Leadership Analysis. I wanted it to have it be a place were Integralist and Black people can talk about race. The focus would be on black thinkers. I went through and recruited people I felt to be influential in Spiral Dynamics. It was disheartening to find so few black people in the Integral Facebook Groups. However, all the black people I saw got a personal invitation.

So my Facebook Group has always allowed all ethnicities to be part of the discussion. However, the discussion focuses on black issues and the thoughts of black leaders. Many black members have criticized discussing black issues in front of whites. They mainly think we should “air dirty laundry” to outsiders. My rebuttal is black issues are always in the public sphere. It is better to provide outsiders the opportunity to hear black people to discuss issues candidly to give them perspective.

I also had one person that was white that believed race discussion could only be Red Meme. He was also a big Sam Harris fan. He took one of my posts down in an Integral FB group. So I decided to recruit him for Black Leadership Analysis. I thought it would be good to have someone against the idea in the group to see how my ideas would play in front of the most conservative Integralist.

So the white guy from the other Facebook Group, let’s call him Bill, claims not to see race. However, the first post that he tries to post is of Sam Harris blaming police brutality of black people’s gangster culture. The idea of the video was that Black people idolize gangsters and criminality. Exalting criminals leads to violence and more interactions with the police. Increased police interactions then lead to instances were police use brutal force. I found this an odd video for a person that does not see race to post. I allowed the post because I wanted to critique the video.

My rebuttal along with most people in the group was black people can’t be simplified into a monolith. Also, white people control the “culture” that he has easy access to through television and radio. Ultimately, only a person that has deep-seated anti-black beliefs would even find the video valid. Bill did not change his position, but he understood our perspective. Ultimately, it was a constructive conversation.

Bill symbolized to me the problem with merely dismissing those that speak on race and asserting that black people are at a lower stage of development compared to white people. Because one is living in a culture that dismisses outsiders as savage one will be predisposed to anti-black views. The only way to re-evaluate these views is to study the other sub-culture thoroughly. Until a sub-culture is carefully examined, one can not make any declarations. The study should go beyond test subjects and include the great thinkers.

Ultimately, I want to build a genuinely multi-cultural Integral community. I understand it will take more than one blog to accomplish this. However, I think the discussions we have will help to improve the Integral and the Black community. The world is at a turning point right now, and if the proper dialogue is not established the world could turn to fascism.

My Story of Nigrescence: Emersion Immersion

The People of Color Sangha
Most of my life I have never felt included in black spaces. As a child and as an adult I felt singled out as not black enough.

At the beginning of 2016, I decided to work on my ability to build relationships, especially with those within my race. I had always been perceived as an outsider or someone not aware of blackness. I had also had a horrible experience in Concerned Black Men (CBM). After the CBM experience, I had no real interest in joining a specifically black organization.

I had known about the People of Color Sangha for three years before I went the first time. I just figured I would meet a ton of extremely judgmental people that would judge by expression of blackness negatively. I had been part of another Western Buddhist Sangha for many years. After a while, my relationships in the Western Buddhist Sangha became strained because of racial misunderstandings. Ultimately, I needed a new group.

I went the first time, and I was very nervous about going and being rejected. That was usually how things went for me in black organizations and groups. So I sat quietly and just said hi to a few people.

Then a Dharma (Truth) sharing started. For those that are not Buddhist the Dharma sharing is when the members of the Sangha talk about their personal experience on a subject. I can’t remember what the theme was that night. For some reason, I decided to share my experience at CBM in which the other members made a lynching joke after they found out I was dating a white girl. I expected to get ridiculed, but as it turns out people were receptive and sympathetic. After that, I felt more comfortable.

I have been going to the People of Color Sangha for two years now. It is my favorite Buddhist group in the city. My experience with the People of Color Sangha is also the first time I have felt genuinely respected in a group of black people. I express myself reasonably freely and am developing some pretty strong honest friendships.

Ambedkarite Buddhism

One of the problems I see in Western Buddhism is its lack of focus on social justice. All religions use some spiritual bypass when talking about ethnicity. I
I do not think Buddhism does a worse job than other religions. I just felt the infrastructure in Buddhism can deal with race in a more robust way. Just like with all other personal issues I had used Buddhism to help me through, race can become something that no longer gives me anxiety, and at the same time, I would not have to ignore. With Buddhism, I could see race as it was.

Of course, I had found black Buddhist teachers. These teachers used blackness to inform Buddhism and Buddhism to inform their blackness. The best example of this is Lama Rod Owens. He is originally from Georgia and is steeped in the black church. He converted to Buddhism in adulthood and had many of the same problems with racelessness in the Buddhist community. He had not turned bitter though. Instead, he studied the works deeply to understand where he and his community fit in the religion.

Lama Rod along with other teachers showed me how to become authentically black and Buddhist. However, I still wondered if we were projecting solutions onto the religion or is social justice inherent in the faith. Another aspect I felt necessary in adopting a religion from another community is staying true to its origins. I wanted to know that social justice was always a part of the Buddhist expression historically and in Asia.

Buddhism is an Asian religion because it started there. Many Western Buddhist try to play down the importance and centrality of Asia in Buddhism. Some do it because they want the religion to be inclusive and egalitarian. Others want to whitewash the religion. Still, others have done a spiritual bypass of ethnicity and couldn’t deal with it.

In my mind, I have to find a cultural and historical case to include Buddhism in my understanding of social justice. Luckily, I discovered Bhimrao Ambedkar from a Facebook post. I found out that he was a political reformer from the lowest Indian caste. I have written extensively about him on this blog as a result of my deep admiration for him.

However, I feel it is essential not only to know the history from an intellectual standpoint but know understand the community produced by the religion. I went online to google Ambedkar organizations in America and discovered the Ambedkar Association of North America. I found out they had weekly online meetings and began attending them. From there I found out about tons of Ambedkarite organizations in the USA. I have gone to many events and felt welcomed. Many are interested in my story and connecting the struggle of Dalits and African-Americans.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I consider myself connected to the social justice struggle. So my Immersion stage looks different than what originally was purposed by Dr. Cross. However, I do think I have delved into my culture more lately than any other time in my life. I hope these experiences will help me to show up in the world in a more loving manner.

My Story of Nigrescence: Encounter Part 2

This blog will be one of the most difficult ones that I have written. One of the things I am most embarrassed by in my life is my difficulty to make connections to other black people. Even though this will be difficult and many people will be offended, I think it is necessary to have these discussions to move our people forward.

So growing up I was always labeled as the black kid that wants to be white. Now I never saw myself that way. I was trying to be well behaved and productive in society. Even though I could not articulate what I felt at a young age, I saw many examples of general dysfunction in the community. I did not want to perpetuate behaviors that would be detrimental in my life as I had seen it be harmful in the lives of others.

One thing that is unique to black Americans is that our identity is so wrapped up in our oppression and the damage resulting from it. If you are Mexican and educated, you can copy or act like a Mexican professor. If you are a rich Italian, you can pretend to be a De Medici. That is not to say that there aren’t smart or rich black people. It is just in America smart or rich makes you more a part of mainstream society. America views people like Magic Johnson and Reginald Lewis as more than black or part of American society in general.

Blackness is traditionally defined as outside of American culture. Historically, legal protection did not include black people, so we understood ourselves as outsiders in our land. Many black people were trying to come up or improve their standing in life had to separate from their community. Often they would aid in oppression for their own benefit. So historically black people have every reason to question overly ambitious black people or black people that appear to want to assimilate with the greater society.

If I had one wish, it would be that our community spends time learning how to work with all the identities we can now access. We were a people defined by having no or very little agency. We were thrust into a society without really having time to redefine ourselves outside of oppression. We never established what a culturally aware black academic looks like or a culturally aware black businessman. I think the young generation has to deal with these issues less. However, there are many people in my age that feel ostracized by their people for trying to be productive.

I feel an immense amount of guilt about resenting other black people. I have spoken to a few people about my resentment. Usually, I am told I am trivial, and I should grow up. These issues you had with black people only happen when you were a child. In reality, adults also have a problem with how other black people perceive them. I am not the only person to feel this way.

After I started my blog, someone posted an article on my associated Facebook page about a white comedian using nigga in a joke. The comedian is known to be liberal, one member, let’s call her Sue, said that we should forgive him. My reply was that black people shouldn’t protest or anything. Just stop watching his comedy show or going on as a guest. Our replies were getting long, so we continued them over e-mail.

So once the e-mail conversation kept going over for a while. Finally, I said this to end the debate. I told Sue we were talking about to different things. She wanted to facilitate racial reconciliation through forgiving the comedian. I tried to protect black people by just not interacting with the comedian again. Both of us wish the best for black people. We have different ways of getting there. She told me she started crying. It was the first time she disagreed with another black person on a racial issue, and the conversation ended without her being called a “coon” or “aunt sally.”

I have many stories like this from my Facebook and WordPress site. Black people are coming forward that never felt comfortable expressing their feelings on race to other black people. I think proper and constructive political dialogue is necessary if we want to move up as a community. We will need conservative, liberal, and radical plans to move forward. Also, attempts to shame people out of their beliefs makes them double down. It creates two opposing camps in the black community. A divided house is that much easier to control.

Unless black people can unite and build their community, the greater society will stigmatize us. Even groups committed to inclusion see inclusion as a way whites can help blacks. Once black people have a more stable community, diversity will be seen as something that will be beneficial to all people.

Also, black people will have a difficult time finding intimacy with people outside their ethnicity. Whether a person likes it or not your ethnicity is a huge part of your lived experience. Even if you don’t realize it, the lived experience of your community now and in the past shapes the world around you more than your actions or ability. How many black women are single even though they are attractive and educated? Many, because so many black men are systematically put in jail. How many black children go to college and feel alone? Many, because the educational system was set up against us a long time ago. A person really can’t understand their situation without understanding ethnicity. You also can’t understand someone without understanding their ethnicity. We are not independent actors acting in a rational world.

The study of Ethnic Identity Development will facilitate black people working with all their identities and dealing with the personalities of other black people. There is no one correct way to be black anymore. We must allow people to express themselves authentically. We also must let people to have room to change. In the end, black people only have each other, and there will not be many alliances until blacks work together.

My Story of Nigrescence: Encounter Part 1

I have recently discovered the psychological theory of Nigrescence. The theory gives a natural progression of how individuals grow to embrace their ethnicity. It also details many pitfalls one can fall in while discovering who they are.

There are five stages in the theory of Nigrescence.

  1. Pre-encounter: A time early in life when one does not use their ethnicity to create a worldview. It can also be used to describe people that purposefully neglect how their ethnicity shapes their worldview.
  2. Encounter: An event or series of events that create psychological discomfort that leads one to modify worldview
  3. Emersion: Individual rebel against mainstream culture and surround themselves with the new ethnic culture
  4. Internalisation: Individual moves past rebellion and can re-enter society with ethnic consciousness. The individual will no longer separate themselves yet interact with people of all backgrounds
  5. Commitment: Individuals have an authentic commitment to their ethnic struggle. Most of their time is used building a better world

This blog post will cover the time I spent in Encounter

Encounter

I had always had a hard time making friends and building relationships. Alot of my stumbling blocks involving relationships involved suffering from depression. To cure my depression I used many methods simultaneously. I began meditating which led to learning Buddhism. In addition, I began to study psychology which eventually led to studying Spiral Dynamics.

So the biggest problem I had in relationships was depth. I knew alot of people but I had no one I really could share intimate experiences with. I could find someone to eat dinner with or going to the movies with, but no one to call when I was really down.

One example of what the trouble I was having was my relationship with Marvin. Marvin is a Jewish guy I met at a Buddhist Temple. He was really gregarious and we always talked after service. I never thought we could really be friends. He was about twenty years older than me and about to retire. I figured we would have very little in common. However, I did find him to be interesting so I decided to do second body practice with him. For those that are not Buddhist, second body practice consist of meeting out in public and talking about how Buddhism affects out life. I usually last about an hour a week for a month and a half.

Over our sessions we got to know alot about each other. He told me alot about his job and how he was glad to retire. I told him about fighting my depression and how I was working to build relationships. I think we really provided each other good advice. Over the session we got really close. He would then invite me to different events over the years.

I was always careful never to talk about race to people that are not black. However, over the course of our talks the subject would come up. I mean my ethnicity is the a large part of my experience. Sometimes I would go into it without even realizing it. Then Marvin would comment and it would normally offend me. He would always say I was above race and should no longer thing about it. In his mind, I very well could have surpassed race. However, to the rest of the world I had not.

Well Marvin called me to hang out with him. He knew I liked dancing and decided to take me to this modern dance recital. He spent a lot of time complaining that his wife never wants to go and hang out with any of his friends. His wife was from the Phillipines and spoke broken English. It was obvious why she would feel uncomfortable hanging out with professors that Marvin was taking classes from. Yet, I sat and listened to make sure he knew I cared.

That night I did not say much. I had just started my blog Black Leadership Analysis. I was really hyped because the third article I wrote got 100 views in a day. He kept asking me what I was up to. So I finally told him about the blog.

His reaction was very telling. He goes on this long diatribe about how I shouldn’t worry about race and I should only worry about my personal advancement. He went on to say worrying about teaching black people is a waste of time. He felt generally black people were unintelligent and not much can be done about it. Needless to say I never spoke to him again.

Now I don’t believe Marvin to be malicious. I see him as a natural product of a spiritual community that bypasses race. If we don’t have a method to discuss and work through race in a constructive manner, we will get people like Marvin. Marvin did not hate people of other ethnicities, he actually made an effort to be around people that were not Jewish. Yet, his meager understanding of ethnicity kept him from having empathy and listening. It also kept him from questioning his preconceptions.

This story is not unique to my experiences in new age spiritual communities. I always censored myself to seem raceless. Not because I was ashamed of who I was, but because I knew most in the community would be insensitive. This led to me just being in their space not making the space ours. I would come, smile, nod, but never really achieve a level of intimacy. My lack of intimacy caused the discomfort that made me move to the next phase.

My Story of Nigrescence: Pre-Encouter

I have recently discovered the psychological theory of Nigrescence. The theory gives a natural progression of how individuals grow to embrace their ethnicity. It also details many pitfalls one can fall in while discovering who they are.

There are five stages in the theory of Nigrescence.

  1. Pre-encounter: A time early in life when one does not use their ethnicity to create a worldview. It can also be used to describe people that purposefully neglect how their ethnicity shapes their worldview.
  2. Encounter: An event or series of events that create psychological discomfort that leads one to modify worldview
  3. Emersion: Individual rebel against mainstream culture and surround themselves with the new ethnic culture
  4. Internalisation: Individual moves past rebellion and can re-enter society with ethnic consciousness. The individual will no longer separate themselves yet interact with people of all backgrounds
  5. Commitment: Individuals have an authentic commitment to their ethnic struggle. Most of their time is used building a better world

This blog post will cover the time I spent in Pre-encounter

Pre-Encounter

I grew up in Murfreesboro, TN. Both of my parents are college educated and knowledgeable about black history. Both made sure I read books on black history and the struggle of my people. By the end of high school, I was well versed in Black History and even won a black history trivia bowl held in high school.

Most would wonder how a young man knowledgeable about black history could not have a worldview shaped by his ethnicity. Well, I can think of a few reasons.

Striver History

The history that my parents focused on teaching me primarily focused on blacks achieving in the face of adversity. I knew the first open heart surgery was done by a black man and how Jackie Robinson integrated baseball. However, we did not talk about how systematic justice caused most black people to stay in a vulnerable condition economically and politically. If systemic injustice was brought up in a conversation, my parents would just counter with how black people can overcome any obstacle.

As an adult I understand that my parents did not want me using my race as an excuse. Many black people never try to pursue their dreams because they feel the white man will not let them succeed. Nothing will ever happen in life if one simply accepts their place in society.

The unintended consequence was not having compassion for other black people or myself when life falls short of expectations. Even if one keeps a positive attitude and work ethic circumstances can prevent reaching all goals. When this happens one must re-evaluate everything that caused the outcome to determine why they failed. If systematic injustice is a blind spot, an individual will end up on a path of self-loathing. Most black people hit a glass ceiling in their career. If this happens one needs all the tools to evaluate what needs to change if anything.

Social Climbing away from Black people

My parents were very culturally aware. They supported left-leaning politics and took me and my siblings to black history month events. My house was filled with celebration when someone black achieved a goal on a national stage. My father often commented on how proud he was of Oprah Winfrey because she comes from the South and became a media mogul.

In spite of all of my parent’s black pride, they would still go on long diatribes on how black people are their own worst enemy. I remember my parents going on long diatribes on how black people can’t seem to get anything right. Everything we do is disorganized and how we should imitate non-black minorities and white people.

To be clear, I am not blaming my parents for my worldview. My parents were simply reflecting the society they lived in and the predominate narratives on race in the 1990’s. I will say when I raise kids or if any parents ask for my advice, I would tell them to not berate or complain about their race. If you are speaking in front of your kids make sure to not simply repeat right-wing talking points. If you want to criticize some to show a child an example of what to not do is explain the issue in terms of individual problems and individual remedy. Before speaking think about if the statement you are about to say would cause a fight if said by a white person.

My parents also gauged their success by the exclusivity of their neighborhood. When I was born my family lived in the low-income part of town. The neighborhood became dangerous so he moved us to a firmly middle-class neighborhood. Again the neighborhood crime rate went up over the years and we moved. The last time we moved it was to one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in town. My parents were proud to be one of the few black people in the neighborhood.

The perception that social mobility leads to being around less black people helped to impede using my ethnicity in my worldview. To be successful, I had to be able to interact with whites or at least non-black minorities. If I wasn’t able to do this I would be alone as I was in my childhood. Moving to predominantly white neighborhoods meant I had no peers to interact. Blackness was something that separates me from those around me.

Few examples of Commitment phase

Of the people I saw in childhood and early adulthood, few were in the commitment phase of their ethnic development. Most of the people I interacted with fell into the following categories.

Real Brothas vs Squares

Those caught in constantly proving their black authenticity. Normally, going out of their way to be stereotypical, yet being horribly offended when others stereotype them. They also went out of their way to point out someone else they felt was emulating whites or perceived white society. Most often the people they disparage are simply trying to be productive citizens.

Ideologues

Those totally caught in a social or political philosophy and feel others must conform to their worldview. It could be a complicated philosophy or simply an organization. Many are caught in proving their organization is superior to all others.

I found the most salient representation of ideologues in Black Greek Letter Organizations in college. Every organization would discharge the other fraternities or sororities. It could lead to an altercation in some cases.

It is true that all fraternities and sororities will fight at some point regardless of race. However, BGLO’s were organized for the specific purpose of racial solidarity. It seemed to me these organizations would already have the infrastructure to quell animosity. The members should just agree to not insult or fight each other in public. I found the sororities were worse than the fraternities. I heard many girls from one sorority call members of another sorority ugly. It seems that women wouldn’t do this to each other knowing how looks cause so much insecurity. I felt these women would be better served in a non-racial feminist organization. In a feminist organization, they would not be calling each other ugly.

Bougie vs Ghetto

The other identity that was common was Bougieness. Bougieness work similarly to the Real Brotha persona, but instead of focusing on stereotypes it focused on one’s level of sophistication. Everyone not meeting the exacting sophistication standards was Ghetto and deserved to be ridiculed. The bougie persona is the silliest of all because very few black people have any real wealth. Most people in this persona signal wealth while not having any to people that also don’t have wealth.

I did not see a persona I could adopt that would unite black people and facilitate interacting with other cultures. It seemed like the personas were just another way to isolate oneself. Every black organization I saw spent most of its time attacking everyone outside the organization. Blackness was something that isolated. It forced an individual to hold everyone else suspect. I knew to get where I need to go I had to build a network.

My Presception of Black History

My knowledge of black history also played a factor in my decision to not fully integrate my ethnicity. I saw the primary reason black people found themselves in a vulnerable position financially and politically was isolation. Segregation and slavery chiefly worked to keep us away from the knowledge to improve our situation in life. We have been conditioned to isolate ourselves and to this day we have not snapped out of the mindset. That led to a lot of the conflict I was seeing in the personas. We were pitted against each other in slavery and to this day we continued the pattern.

The solution as I saw it then was to not worry about race or use it to inform your worldview. The black people around me seemed to be going out of there way to separate themselves socially not only from whites but other black people. Those with the biggest network get ahead. I was determined to reach the top and nothing including race would hold me back.

Now I have to say the categories listed above do not fully categorize black America or the black people I met in my childhood. I am talking about my perceptions. If I were to meet those same people now, I could find them to be complex individuals. But, as Dr. Cross says a person’s perceived experience is more important than their actual experience.

Ultimately, I saw few examples of people that used blackness to inform their experience in a healthy way. I just saw a bunch of people coming up with any reason to be at odds with each other. I also saw people killing themselves to be part of a mainstream suburban culture that didn’t want them. They would always criticize and demean whites but buy a house they could not afford to send their kid to a predominately white school. It was just a world full of contradictions.

When I First Felt Proud To Be Southern

I was born in Murfreesboro, TN. Of course, those that follow my blog know that I am black and being black in the south in the 1980’s and 90’s was difficult. Not as challenging as times before yet still difficult. Here are a few examples of how conversations on Southern Pride went.

I remember my sister in second grade met a girl named “Dixie.” There was some project in which the class had to find the original meaning of their name or where their parents got the name. Everyone does their spiel, and then Dixie has her turn. She says she was given her name because her parents loved the South. The South was a great place, and she descended from a family that owned a large plantation. One of the other black kids said that her fore-parents probably owned slaves and wasn’t she ashamed of that. Dixie proceeds to say that black people are cursed in the Bible. Ham is the ancient ancestor of black people, and he laughed at Noah for being drunk. G-d cursed Ham and made him a slave to the other brothers. The teacher did not stop her or correct her and moved on as nothing happened. My sister came home crying and asked me if the Bible said that. She knew I could confirm or deny the story because I helped out and studied hard in Sunday School. I told her people don’t know which brother they descend from and that the story was just a justification for slavery.

My other memory of discussion of Southern Pride discussion happened to me when my family visited relatives in Ohio. They lived in inner-city Cleveland. They took me out to meet their friends. Their friends asked me where I was from because I talked funny. I said Tennessee. They all start laughing. One of them said “Tennessee, shit y’all scary. Y’all got the Klan and stuff down there, marching in the streets and everything. If they did that here, we would kick their ass. They don’t try that here.”

This teenager apparently did not understand that the KKK had been born in nearby Pulaski, TN. It has never been proven, but alleged, that many Middle Tennessee police departments had been infiltrated by Klansmen. He doesn’t understand that many of the most politically influential people in the city are allegedly Klansmen. So if you take matters into your own hands, the full weight of the law will come down on you. Now at fourteen, I could not articulate all of this, so I nervously laughed and changed the subject.

Similar events continued to happen to me throughout childhood. So whenever someone, usually a white person, talked about Southern Pride I assumed they were getting ready to say something racist. Also, when I would say I am from Tennessee to black people from other areas, I would be afraid that they would think I was soft. I would routinely avoid conversations about the South with anyone.

That was until Master P founded NO LIMIT RECORDS. Master P got a few thousand dollars from a life insurance policy when his father passed away. He bought record equipment with the money and used the business skill he acquired in college to launch a label. He found the best rappers in New Orleans and ended up taking the country by storm. He began getting popular when I was a freshman in high school. I now own a box set of NO LIMIT’s Greatest Hits. All of the songs bring back so many memories.

As an adult, I can see what attracted me to Southern Hip-Hop. Being a six foot and 250 pounds, I often had to reassure people I was not dangerous. A large white kid is not looked at in the same way as a large black kid. When you meet people, you can see the fear in them. I am also naturally loud, so that added to the unwanted perception of intimidation. So I always had to go out of my way to seem cheerful and happy. People often compliment me on my happy demeanor, but it is a defense mechanism to some extent.

Another stereotype I was trying to fight was the perception of hypersexuality. Being a black man people assume you are hypersexual and you could be sexually aggressive toward women. Many were particularly afraid that I could be aggressive toward white women. This fear is never verbally expressed, but you see white men treat you more aggressively if they see their daughter laugh at your joke. It is always an unspoken thing, but a man can tell if another man feels threatened. The fear of losing a woman to a black man is the source of racism for many white men. Again this is something rarely talked about, but most people know it is true.

So as a teenager with raging hormones trying to downplay his masculinity, it makes perfect sense that I needed to live vicariously through hyper-masculine rappers. One of the ways I could express my masculinity was through blasting Master P out of my 1983 Honda Accord. I could not yell my real sexual intentions out in the middle of town, but Mystikal could. These rappers said what I could not say. As an adult, I thank them for this.

I especially liked that Master P found a way to build a business and make money outside of the corporate system. Stories of black people getting used by labels plague the history of black music. Now we had our own, SOUTHERN, label with someone that shares the profit with the artist. Most NO LIMIT artist still live comfortably off the money they made in the 1990’s. Not many labels can say that about their artist.

The one act that I admired most from Master P, the act that showed me how an independent black-controlled organization could be helpful, was Master P signing Snoop Dogg. After the assassination of Tupac, Snoop feared for his life while on Death Row Records. Master P was able to buy him out of the Death Row contract and set him up in a new contract in which Snoop could keep more money from the sale of an album. Snoop’s first album on NO LIMIT Records was entitled “The Last Meal” because no one would be able to eat off his work again.

Master P is one of my biggest inspirations from my current blog site. He showed me the importance of independence and having full control over a narrative. I hope to be able to provide black people a place to speak their mind on issues involving Integral and Race Theory. So much of our movements in mainstream society are over-analyzed, and in turn, black people have to be constantly aware of other’s perception. The over-analyzing by outsiders causes black people to communicate in a stifled manner.

But getting back to Southern Pride, Southern Hip-Hop gave me Southern Pride. For the first time, I had a movement that involved me that started in the South. My parents and grandparents had the Civil Rights Movement; I had Southern Hip-Hop. I was proud of it because it was un-apologetically black. Even though I understood that the Civil Rights Movement was far more important and politically significant, I also saw its adherence to nonviolence as a realization of limited power not a display of discipline. The rappers fully asserted their sovereignty and did not care about how it came off to the outside world. Even though I knew I had to be able to portray a particular image to be able to achieve my goals, it was empowering to me to see someone else not have to do that.

Now when I told another black person that was not from the South where I was from, the conversation went to the music they liked from there. We could talk about something that my people created that was benefiting the world.

The most surprising development was my new reaction when white people started talking about Southern Pride. I no longer got triggered immediately. I now could understand how a person could find something to love about the South that eclipses all the bad. Now that doesn’t mean some white people did not use Southern Pride as a dog whistle for racism; it just means I did not assume that they were racist immediately. By holding judgment, I was able to move more easily and have pleasant conversations. Having nice conversations is better than isolating myself.

Southern Hip Hop and Hip Hop is a big piece of my identity, that is why I defend the culture against all critics. Many see Hip Hop, especially 90’s Hip Hop, as violent and misogynistic. Some of that criticism is true. However, there is so much more to Hip Hop. It gave me an identity. So when Hip Hop is attacked, I feel personally attacked. I understand that I am bigger than a genre of music, but that does not change my emotions.

That is why when Confederate monument supporters express their wish to keep statues, I can understand their perspective. As I will point out many of the positive aspects of Hip-Hop, they will talk about nostalgia for the South. Now many of the Confederate monument supporters are simply racist and using southern nostalgia as a dog whistle. However, some are not. I think a proper dialogue could create compromises amicable on both sides. I am not equating misogyny and slavery; I am just explaining how I came to understand the perspective.

White people that are ok with the statues coming down should dialogue with one that wants to keep the statues up. By dialogue, that does not mean you attempt to shame them into changing their position. There should be a mutual effort to understand. Especially, if a person considers themselves part of the Integral community, they should be able to create a healthy dialogue. As an Integralist a person should have the ability to talk to someone, not in the community and get them to think deeply about their motivations. If someone can realize why they have such an attachment, they can then understand they are bigger than a statue. The dialogue will not work for everyone. However, it could work on a few. As Integralist we have to make an effort.

If a person considers themselves part of the Integral community, then they can’t simply read books and argue philosophy on social media. There has to be a practical application of the method that involves people both inside and outside of the community. Being the second-tier means a person will risk social rejection to facilitate societal advancement. If an Integralist sees a person struggling with the removal of Confederate monuments, they will attempt to ease this suffering with compassion. If we as a community are not willing to do this, then we are no different the average American.

Bottom line is most Americans of all races, want these statues removed. They are coming down as fast as humanly possible. The question is how many violent episodes will happen during the time of removal. At this point in American progress, we should be able to make changes and improvements without violence. There was no need for Charlottesville to happen, and Integralist could stop the next Charlottesville. We got to get off the computer and get into the community and make a difference.

What are you attracted to?

Finding out what attracts you is an aspect of dating advice not talked about enough. So much of men’s dating advice is on how to get nines and tens. Much of women’s dating advice is on how to get a wealthy man or a man that wants to commit. I think the real problem is that people are not sure of what they want before they start to look.
 
First, a person needs to know what physically attracts them. Make a list of the ten people that attract you the most. Is this list of ten people all celebrities or people that look like celebrities? If the answer is yes, you may need to evaluate what attracts you and not what gives you the most status in society. A person must separate what they like and what everyone else likes.
 
The most popular method to separate these things is no fapping. No fapping is the removal of masturbation, pornography, fictional books, and fictional television. A person needs a firm grounding in reality and the ability to work processes long enough to get the desired result. Individuals evaluate the ways that receive passive or immediate gratification. Once a person reduces their need for immediate or passive gratification, realistic evaluations of a person’s life can begin.
 
Not masturbating will allow a person to cultivate their sexual energy. The sexual energy will become more pronounced, and you will become able to observe this energy throughout your day. Meditating with the energy will also focus your ability to perceive the energy. As a person goes through their day they can determine what gets them going. They then see what turns them on and they will discover a broad range of personalities and body types will get them aroused. Individuals then can hone in on what they like.
 
Not watching porn is also key. Pornography exaggerates sexual situations to make a person hyper-aroused. Many people watch pornographic scenes of acts they would never be comfortable with in real life. The exaggerated sex distorts a person’s perception of what type of sex they want. Not knowing the kind of sex you want will cause immense suffering in a relationship.
 
Pornography also distorts the perception we have of our bodies. In porn, all the men and women have incredible physiques and insane lasting ability. Many people do not realize porn is edited to make it look like the people have sex for one hour. In reality, there are women off stage to keep the men aroused. Pornography is a production of fantasy and removes people from reality.
 
It is important not to become dogmatic about not masturbating and not watching porn. Masturbation is a natural phenomenon done by everyone. Pornography is deeply ingrained in our society at this point. If you fall off the wagon, gently pick yourself up and start again. If a complex is formed around not masturbating a person will feel that they are a failure if they slip up. They will take the failure energy out into the world and project this when meeting new people.
 
The last thing a person should remove is fictional books and television. This issue with fictional programming is that it distorts a person’s perception of a relationship. One story line that goes on often is a bumbling idiot guy begging a gorgeous woman to go out with him for months, and she eventually says yes. The bumbling idiot scenario never happens in real life. High-quality women want high-quality men. Another is a woman staying with a man that is not treating her right, and she turns him around, and they get happily married. The “turn-a-man-around” scenario never actually happens either. How a person treats you, in the beginning, is how a person will treat you the entire relationship. Movies and TV just get unrealistic scenarios and ideas going in people’s heads. Concentrating on real life allows a person to see life as it is. A person will respond to the actual stimulus in front of him or her instead of some silly idea.
 
Once people have cleansed themselves of the silly ideas, they can write down the ideal relationship. Many people get caught up in the fact they are not having sex, and they should be having sex, or they are not married, and they should be married. It is better to understand what type of relationship do you want. Do you believe casual sex is wrong? Do you want to be married? Are you ok with polygamy? Would you be ok if your partner slept with other people? Honestly, answer these questions. Then you go for the type of relationship you want in the time that you want.
 
If a person does not do this, he will go after society’s nine’s and ten’s. They will be rejected and lower his standards. Then when they are rejected by six’s and seven’s they will feel that they do not have value. A shame spiral will begin, and more suffering will ensue. If a person goes after people they are attracted to then they will have an easier time building a relationship. They will see the other person as high value, and it will come across in the interaction. The mutual feeling of high-value will lead to more success and the building of self-esteem.

Understanding Attraction

I have studied pick-up heavily for two years. I see a lot of misinformation on how attraction works. This article will be used to explain some things that I see misrepresented in men’s and women’s dating advice.
 
The main issue I see is that people attempt to sell the idea that there is some ideal archetype that will attract anyone. For men’s dating advice the guru will sell the idea that he can turn you into James Bond. For women’s dating advice they sell the idea to come off as a sweet, conservative, church-going woman. There are other archetypes that people attempt to sell such as “Classy in the Streets/ Freak in the Sheets,” the “bad-boy,” and “high culture aficionado.” Ultimately, there are so many different types of people that one type will never attract more than a few individuals. Once they are attracted, a connection still has to be built. So spending too much time building a persona is pointless.
 
Attraction has three components physical, emotional, spiritual. The physical aspect covers how a person dresses, body type, hairstyle. The emotional aspect includes the personality traits that allows people to feel comfortable with each other. The spiritual aspect covers a person’s ability to hone himself or herself and allow a person intimacy. To become more attractive a person needs to work on all three elements. Most advice on being more attractive focuses on the physical aspect. The physical aspect is the easiest to see and the easiest to fix, and that is why many pick-up guru’s focus on this aspect.
 
The physical aspect is the aspect to define and fix. A series of simple internet searches can be done to find the best workout plans and to see what clothes are in fashion. The biggest traps to get into when fixing this aspect of yourself is focusing too much time and energy into it. Some girls are perfect ten’s that do not have boyfriends and successful men that do not have girlfriends. The outer appearance is important. However, it is only one-third of the puzzle.
 
The emotional aspect is the next hardest thing. In this area, a person learns how to feel comfortable in social situations. I recommend a person journal about how they felt growing up and interacting in social situations. Understand how these issues from childhood still affect you today. When in a social situation pay close attention to your thoughts. Don’t get caught in your mind, just fully notice them. Learn to be social in spite of these negative thoughts.
 
Most pick-up gurus will give you a preset plan for entering into social interactions. The most common are pickup lines and routines. The student then becomes a robot or an actor following a script. In the beginning, the student feels uncomfortable, and other people see this and reject him. He then becomes better at hiding his insecurity and can use the routines and get positive feedback. A social circle will begin to form, but everyone in the social circle will be expecting to hang out with this persona, not the real person. The social circle will be a tax on the individual and drain him or her of energy.
 
I would recommend a person that is going through social anxiety find someone that they find attractive at a bar or out shopping in the daytime, tell them you are extremely attracted to them, then ask for their number. More than likely the person will say no because you are putting too much energy in the interaction too soon. However, you will get over your fear of rejection if you do this enough times. Most people will be very friendly when telling you they are not interested. If they are not nice, you will handle the rejection and move forward. Eventually, you will realize that rejection is not that bad and you will be braver in normal life.
 
The last aspect is the spiritual aspect of attraction. People can sense if a person is uncomfortable with themselves. The more work done to understand one’s self, the easier time they will have attracting people. Think about aspects of yourself that you are not comfortable with, do you find you attract people that point out these flaws and will not let them go. The reason this happens is that your subconscious mind forces you to gravitate to people that make you work on yourself. If you were to understand these flaws change the ones that you can and accept the flaws that you cannot change. Once you know these flaws and how they affect you, can draw boundaries easily and criticism can be readily accepted.
 
Remember, pick-up, and dating advice often plays on a person’s parental complexes. As a child, we feel that we are not living up to our parent’s expectations. Then either we have an infantile parental complex, in which we try to please our parents or and adolescent parental complex in which we rebel against what our parents want. Pick-up guru’s often asserting themselves as new parents offering a new standard to aspire. The guru replacing a parent will allow a person to remove the old rules and declare new ones. These new standards are not anymore congruent with your core essence. The goal in life is to eliminate rules and live your actual truth.

Before learning Pick-up, do this.

My love life severely suffered due to suffering from depression for five years. When I began to heal my depression, one of the areas of focus was building friendships and romantic relationships. I started to read and watch videos on Pick-up. Pick-up is a self-help technique for men to get women. After two years I no longer subscribe to the philosophy. Most of the techniques and coaches are misguided. However, I did learn many things from delving into the culture. This article will serve as a guide for people that want to use self-help techniques to improve their dating life.
Not looking needy is the principal focus of the pick-up community. Not looking needy is also a focus of women’s self-help on how to get a man. The need to not LOOK needy leads to advice such as, “wait three days after getting a girls number to call” or “don’t have sex until the third date.” The self-help gurus are giving mechanical advice for deep psychological problems. The mechanical advice will lead followers into doing “all the right moves” and not getting the intended result. For example, a guy will wait three days to call, and when he finally does, he sounds needy and desperate. He then does not understand what he is doing wrong and why girls still do not like him. For a woman, she will have sex after the third date, get overly attached after sex, become needy, and frighten the man off. So these are things a person can do to remove neediness from there life.
Guru’s in the pick-up community will never tell a person how to remove their neediness. If the gurus did tell people how to remove the neediness, then the guru’s could not sell pick-up seminars a $3,000 a session and comedians could not sell women books on how to get a man.

BuildIng self-esteem is the most important weapon against neediness. To understand and build self-esteem I recommend the book Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Brandon. Brandon breaks self-esteem down into two components self-confidence and self-worth. Self-confidence is the belief that you are capable of finding love. Self-worth is the belief you are deserving of love. Brandon provides many exercises to uncover the root of an individual’s low self-esteem and how the person can raise the self-esteem. I recommend that the reader chooses one pillar to work on each week for six weeks. Once the process of building self-esteem begins, a person will be able to determine why an aversion to people exists.
The inability to have romantic relationships is rooted in low-self esteem. If a person learns to pick up with low self-esteem, they will simply self-sabotage all the relationships that they create. The sabotage will happen at the point in the relationship in which they feel unworthy. In other words, if you feel you are not worthy of sex, then you will sabotage before the sexual act. If you do not feel worthy of marriage, you will cause a big fight before the wedding. The reader’s love life will spin in circles until he or she attains adequate self-esteem.

Having high self-esteem will make a person more comfortable being single. People will properly vet their potential partners once they are comfortable with being single. A person will not rush into a relationship or feel like a relationship is the end goal. Being comfortable with being single will not only reduce the appearance of being needy, but it will also actually reduce the need to have a relationship.
After a basic level of self-esteem is attained a person should work on having the ability to hold a conversation. There is only one way to build conversation ability, talk to everyone. I recommend that whenever a person leaves the house, make it a point to strike up a conversation with at least one person. It doesn’t only have to be women or men that the individual is specifically attracted. Everyone should learn how to conversate with anyone, and it should not be contingent on getting a date. People often wonder how some people can talk to anyone, well they practice.
After a person can hold a conversation, they should concentrate on talking to people whom they find attractive. The person working on their conversation ability should let it be known in the first conversation that they find the person attractive. Talking to someone that is attractive on a romantic level is a more high-risk activity because people fear being rejected by attractive people. With that said, a person must overcome this fear. I would not suggest working up to asking a girl out too quickly. Get to know the person and let them know you are interested. Get comfortable in conversations that have sexual tension. Being able to hold a conversation with sexual tension long enough for the other person to feel comfortable with the tension is the real key to starting romantic relationships.
If a person does dive into pick-up culture, it will be to fine-tune aspects of their game. The person will not be desperately looking for a relationship. Again, a desperate need for a relationship is a sign of low-self esteem. Once a person’s self-esteem is higher, and a person feels comfortable being single, then potential partners can be properly evaluated. Then a person must be able to interact with people in general. Once a person can conversate with people in general, then a person can concentrate on romantic relationships.

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