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tv   Professor David Rice on Black Identity  CSPAN  March 1, 2015 12:20am-1:50am EST

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work out differences on homeland security funding. also they are expected to begin the initial debate on the veto of the keystone xl pipeline with an overriding vote later in the week. next week the house and senate will be welcoming is really prime minister benjamin netanyahu -- is really prime minister benjamin netanyahu to speak to -- israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu to speak to a joint session. >> the landscape of congress has changed. there are 108 women in congress including the first african-american republican in the house and the first woman veteran in the senate. keep track using congressional chronicle on the congressional chronicle has useful information including voting results and information
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on each session. >> that, psychology professor and author david rice discusses the slogan black lives matter by discussing meaning and origin. re-freeze became pop -- the phrase became popular in the aftermath of the shooting of michael brown. it is an hour and a half. >> doctor rice is faculty representative of morehouse college board of trustees.
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practical application of his work is found in his service to the board and commission on the future of education and as assistant provost at the college. he is founding codirector of the cinema television, and media studies program. there he has helped to develop curriculums for the film studies major and minor and advises students across disciplines. on the utility and application of modern media. he now serves as faculty to the program with a special focus on emeritus studies. dr. rice graduated with a bachelor of arts and earned a doctorate personality study. -- in a personality psychology from howard university. with a masters degree in journalism he frequently applies his research to cultural criticism. he serves on the editorial
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advisory board for the journal of legal education and previously served on the editorial advisory board for the journal of popular culture. he has previously provided commentary for npr pri, cbs news msnbc and his writings and opinions have appeared in the "washington post", los angeles times, dallas morning news, huffington post, five -- "vibe" magazine, among other media outlets. i personally met him several years ago and have the opportunity to enroll in his psychology of the african-american experience class at morehouse college. his class changed my life. it is our hope this we will cause you to think about question and reflect the world around you. it is with great pleasure and honor that we introduce to you doctor david rice. [applause] >> thank you very much. good evening to all of you.
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of course, i want to thank president barnsley and wellesley college for having me this evening. it is a big deal to be here. specifically i want to thank doctor cameron and black women's ministry, a group responsible for bringing me here. you took some of what i was going to say. i want to thank alexis griffin also specifically because of the dedication that she had in the class and in making sure i was able to come here. she said almost immediately after she took my class that she wanted me to come to wellesley to be able to have a conversation with you all. she beat me up significantly around a great she earned in the -- around integrated -- around a grade she earned in the class which was a strong grade. [laughter] nonetheless she made sure i was
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here. my new, dear friend, ms. harris who made sure i arrived safely and unscathed from the airport. perfect me up in a car with the window washer fluid -- they picked me up in a car with no window washer fluid. [laughter] and so we were all a bit anxious. thank you for saving my life on several different occasions. so tonight i want to unpack a few ideas working in support of the title which is in front of us which is make it matter. it is essential to my conversation with you is honesty, intellectual, academic, and practical honesty. psychological agency and the exercise of democratic space and the comprehension and negotiation of narratives all of this presented and assembled hopefully in a way to make us more aware of how it is that we can practically make black lives matter.
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as has been said in his frequently understood, -- and is frequently understood, i am a research psychologist at base who looks at narratives in search of expressions and development. i am an asset driven individual that leads -- bleeds over into my research which means i am looking for the best in all of us. i am also trained as a journalist. with the narrative and the journalism stuff i like to tell stories. i hope you don't mind and will indulge me a little bit as i workout ideas by telling stories that incorporate observed experiences of others and observable behaviors i have felt personally. all of this in service of theory and thinking toward praxis that is reasonable in framing behaviors toward social justice and fundamental, democratic freedoms.
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so is that cool with everybody? i will tell stories tonight? ok. that is what is up. honestly, i guess i will start with this -- this came up first. but me say this. honestly, make it matter, i have maintained a history of having some kind of remove or being when i see #anything. it probably shows my age. it can present as trite. and too effortless considering the states. life, physical freedom equality. the commercialism of it all loses me often. having a slogan for the revolution is not cool if they're is no they're there. i could not see the attached -- depth attached to social media
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spaces lately. to be sure, i can be critical but i do not swear myself a cynic. i took a picture of myself and a -- in a holding -- in a hoodie after trayvon martin was murdered, but it felt a little cynic to me. it felt a little too much for me when spike lee's film came out. it felt a little much for me kind of like when che guvera t-shirts and medallions felt a little much. everybody has these things, and there is a high degree of commercialism associated, but is there any there there? as an aside, this is where this comes up as a brick for us, -- as a break for us. it should be noted that i never thought the leather or wooden
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african medallion was work could be played out and was pleased to see that marshall and lynch -- marshawn lynch donned a few in his forced appearances before the super bowl. that was awesome. so go seahawks. that is for my seven-year-old son who was a tremendous seahawks fan. i told him i was coming to the new england area. he said if you see tom brady tell him hello tell him i was rooting for the seahawks -- tell him i was rooting for the seahawks. [laughter] i think he is not incidentally put in hear. we we will get into the theater of disobedience a little later when we talk about public narratives. back to the matter my , characterization of social media and its relationship to calls for social justice included my distance from black
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lives matter. the black lives matter movement that emerged in 2012 after the state sanctioned killing of trayvon martin. at first my response was a bit like this, well, of course they matter and of course these lives are relegated margins on a regular. i know this. i am a black man who grew up in georgia. who grew up in the south, texas in particular. i was and am frequently understood as invisible, object immaterial. and i have a little black boy. i understand that, as the kids might say, that the struggle is real. so black lives matter. candidate -- i wanted more, someone to feel the pain of growing into one with proverbial and literal crosshairs trained on them as it is for us. to me it was real. after trayvon was shot through
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the hearts. the system said that it was all good. that was doubly so. eric garner getting choked to death by the cops and michael brown being blown away without so much as an indictment of the officer killed him. barbara and her four children mistakenly pulled over for a felony in kaufman county texas, they were pulled out at gunpoint. shot and killed, but we would much prefer to have him alive. 12-year-old tamir rice is shot and killed and so on and so on. in the face of these flashpoints , because certainly this is not exhaustive or representative of the death of extrajudicial killings that we experience as black people in the americas, but again with these flashpoints there seems to be the need for more than protests and
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my black presidents -- black president's admonishment. the admonishment of the communities to respect the law . keeping in mind, of course, that this is a law and order that is killing us because we are black. i fashioned the need for a different type of solidarity , in some sense a revolution i had spun in my minds eye. i was vibing with the burning and the looting, i remember the release i felt being they're after rodney king's verdict. perhaps irresponsible, but to be honest, also honest is the distance was the result of looking through an academic, distant, patriarchal, entitled elitist.
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in defense of myself, that is ok. both perspectives are important. they are part and parcel of figuring's one way through the elegant goo of white supremacy, hegemony, and patriarchy. also, we have to include in that this baseline of heteronormativity which enslaves even the most well-meaning of us. but we cannot stay in those spaces lest we render ourselves ineffective in working toward systemic and endemic change and rationalize ourselves. the contrast between burning this joint down and the social media revolutionaries need to do something more real is of course illustrative of the concept of double consciousness outlined by w.e.b. dubois in his seminal work, "the souls of
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black folks and it has me recalling my initial cast of identity orchestration. identity orchestration was a theoretical framework that privileges multiple narrative identities toward the end of unity within the self and with the self relative to society. this theoretical exercise was originally done with young black men in an attempt to complicate us beyond stereotypes and beyond invisibility and towards humanity. after this work here and the work of many others, here we are with this absurd need to articulate that black lives matter. to be clear, black rage and resistance is a healthy psychological response to the history of white cultural terrorism and the acute spikes in the legal snuffing out a black lives within a pretense democracy. some of what i have written about black rage is, it must be
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noted the malaise of cognitive dissonance that envelops those who are respectable and even the peaceable is bound in a national lie. the lie is that we value black lives. the rage becomes the smiles and platitudes and a corpse. the protest, the anger, the rage, that is the truth. it is healthy unjustifiable but -- and justifiable but we are told to muffle it, conflating there is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this as a cover for vandalism and looting. the statement wrong on its face misrepresents the people and the core need for rebellious resistance against a society government, city, and a
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motorized police force the funding and activist as the aggressor when terrorism has been visited on him or her. rage is the real, cathartic and common sense, a hammer, a tool that can be situated to effectively confront violent racism that is pushed on to the black community. it is a truth we are told to tuck into a perverted sense of democracy. rages -- rage is a psychological defense and truth telling and attachment to hegemonic norms is a psychological defense . explaining that while of course black lives matter is dismissive in a way that allows for alignment with the dominant group. to realize you could be arrested for breaking into your own home , no matter that you are an esteemed university professor or killed for getting skittles
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and iced tea, for asking for help after your car stalls out that is a lot to process, a lot for me to realize that my son, the 21-year-old and a innocence -- the innocencets i work with everyday, i could be killed. that is a lot. protective thinking might have me to resist being in that group. define myself as exceptional in some way. but, no. my name is david rice and i belong to an exceptional group in so much as we have employed agency in the face of a society that hands and shoots us lead. but we continue to float and rise as the great maya angelou echoes. so the rage and reticence are bound in truth telling. for us i suggest in being intellectually honest, set aside
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the respectability we occupied by default of being in this room right now with one another area -- one of other. because we lose sight and touch with not who we are like but rather lose sight and touch with the fact that we are the brother or the sister on the corner even if and when it be a virtual corner. tagged -- as in graffitied - -with the slogan black lives matter. it can present as ever so nuanced, this distancing of ourselves. communities that our parents have come from or grandparents. the willy wonka that is the formal academy makes distancing even easier and my contention is that privileging respectability is colluding with a singular
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oppressive culture which is opposite the type of education that we need from and for those who comprise the 21st century democracy. and in my case, my students helped me from my episode of infirmed picks up inferred exceptionalism, from the fog. body on the hot asphalt. intentional or not, of course, the statement made by police and the state that black parties are -- black bodies are disposable and worth less. earlier this academic year on the instruction of my students i got live on twitter. alexis says she does not even use twitter anymore. whatever. they did not say get live. they said, dr. rice, use twitter. so -- please let's have a conversation. i have had an account since
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before this year. in the facebook page and instagram account. but tweeting seemed problematic for a couple of reasons, chiefly because they're is so much information and i never know quite what to say. all this pressure and i am often at a loss of words. at least in terms of 140 characters. that said, on the evening of november 24, 2014, i was drafting an exam for my black site class -- likeblack psych class to be taken the next day. that is the same day they're was an announcement a grand jury would reveal its decision whether or not to indict the officer who shot mike brown. i compartmentalized my feelings. i will claim psychological self-defense. i knew i wanted the exam for these students in particular to be applied and not be basic. i was pushed with a tweet from a student in class. there it is. how are you feeling as we await the verdict?
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i replied, focusing on now. exam relevant. this we will be there. there was a link to a news piece following cops as they riffed on black rage, but that was not enough. another student followed, if this man is not indicted i feel as if our class needs to be spent thinking of what we can do to help ferguson. true that, i thought. i did not write that. [laughter] i wrote, that should be an agenda item either way. based on what you have learned, not feelings only. then i finished the exam and we did it so we could be done -- we did it so it could be -- we did it -- tweeted it so it could be done in real-time. then the decision to not indict was announced and i had to go downstairs so that i could put some physicality on the ball i was watching on television and
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got a phone call from yet another student asking for direction as she and two other students, a domestic exchange student from stanford and one from duke were holed up in the king's chapel trying to figure what to do to demonstrate solidarity with ferguson. they took to heart the title of the exam which was make it matter, and they did with a significant 1 step they organized a walk of solidarity for ferguson before and beyond that went from morehouse to the cnn center in northwest atlanta. though many of them did not finish the exam on time, and i had a heated discussion with them about that. nevertheless, these students made me proud to be a part of their community, and they showed and shared that we matter because we are here.
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they continue to employ activism these many months later. don't they look great? i love them so much. they continue to employ activism these few months later and a lot of it has to do with defining the problem, asking the right questions, and applying the appropriate action accordingly. of course that has a lot to do with research and psychology. right? come on, y'all. it is interesting to look at the growth and commitment, and it is worth noting they found the process of activism does not necessitate being on front street. so that they see that the real work and struggle comes in the strategy behind and including the commercial for the struggle, at the grammys, the oscars , the sporting event is your -- du jour, die ins or what
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have you. this is the strength and articulation of patrice colors and alicia guises black lives matter which is more than a slogan or commercial. it is deeper than that. v3 -- these three explain the movement, a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of black people by police and vigilantes, beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within some communities which merely call on black people to love black, live black and buy black while our sisters take up roles in the background or not at all. like lives matter of firms the lives of black -- black lives matter of firms the lives of black queer folks and all lies along the gender spectrum. it centers those that have been -- all lives along the gender
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spectrum. it centers those that have been marginalized within black liberation movements, a tactic to build or to rebuild the black liberation movement. an ideological and political intervention in a world where black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted. so it is more than just a hash tag slogan. and i hang my hat on all of that, but i want to focus a bit more on the ideological or ontological aspect of black lives mattering which then assumes action and the implicit call to make black lives matter. or to make it matter. we go. -- there we go. so i have been an admirer for a really long time. she is super dope. and in my classes i often play a recording of her talking about the importance of utilizing your democratic space, amplifying and/or demonstrating your voice is of value. and significant in a for the people government.
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so leveraging your democratic them space and realization and execution of one's agency is bound one to the other. agency is a social cognitive theory that defines the construct as intentionally influencing a life circumstance. in this world -- or and this view personal influence is part of a causal structure. they are not simply onlookers to their own behavior. they are contributors to thei r life circumstances and not just products of them. the exercise of your democratic space is consequence of how you influence psychological functioning and life circumstances. so if we consider the folks in
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this room we can note there is an amount of privilege we possess. we have the luxury of pulling and pushing and stretching ideas together in an effort to shift paradigms rather than only having to deal with the real as it comes to us. it is a privilege to be at morehouse college, at spelman college at harvard, mit it is a privilege to be a man within patriarchy, to be white in a white supremacist tiered racist society understood as individual, and cultural. a privilege rooted in a moral imperative that says this privilege comes with a price with a responsibility. and that responsibility is how to figure how to employ capitol agency, democratic space and a helpful way to the whole society. how do you make who it is you are and the assets that are associated, your special
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flavoring of democracy, how do you make that matter? practicing black lives matter. looks like using you are create a context within black folks can affix the liberties. from socialized and psychological oppression. the specifics of how to do this leans heavy into honest self-assessment and politicking with others to figure the best and most effective fit of you to community. this level of invested agency necessitates you as an instrument of social justice are aware of the influences that inform how, when, where, and why you act towards self and others. in a particular way. understanding narratives are pivotal in this regard. so in short, narratives are stories that frame, guide, and ground behavior, vital to individual psychological unity. master narratives inform how it
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is we socially identify and behave. narratives also have a lot to do with implicit bias. we have heard a lot about that in common parlance when we are talking in the media about race. the idea is that an unconscious self takes cues from a stereotype, and i would argue a storied reservoir of information about capacity or comportment based on race or culture. and engage accordingly. so then racism persists or exists even among those who claim that they are not racist. we have been exposed to that before. right? we know that stuff. with this in mind, music television, movies, news, and other media are not at all trivial in shaping behavior. they exist as powerful socializing agents because they enforce dominant narratives that bolster, refine, and disrupt personal narratives that can influence behavior. so let's connect the dots.
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from the standpoint of one's personal psychology self narratives or life story help to define who you are by creating psychological cohesion or psychological unity. the life story model of unity -- the dr. is at northwestern -- asserts that people living in modern societies provide lives with unity and purpose by constructing internalized and evolving narratives of the self. that demonstrate complex relations between individual lives and cultural modernity. i was born in d.c. consider it home. i essentially grew up in california and texas. i went to school here, married and partnered with x. i live here, or care. -- work here providing a script , that allows for my life click together comfortably. there is more sense making, the
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result of, narratives common narratives shared with others. suggesting my story is valid this is how i maintain visibility within society. in her book they're is a great chapter that helps to bridge the psychology that i am talking about more substantively with popular culture. of course, she says a lot of good stuff, but i want to enter where perry distinguishes between narrative and stereotype which is an important distinction. paraphrasing professor perry within a 21st century want to be post- racial society will more easily dismiss stereotypes. narratives -- again perry is talking about racial narratives
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but here i am going further -- narratives are different because they are a mechanism by which we identify and place ourselves within the world. so if we are telling our life story, we are attaching ourselves to other life stories are narratives, -- or narratives, there is a cognitive processing that takes place. we begin to internalize and synthesize and that becomes important for us to be aware of. master narratives are further explained beautifully by research psychologies -- psychologist cynthia winston and michael winston and what they say -- this is paraphrasing. within racialized societies persons construct identity in part with the contest of the racial ideology that presents themselves and master narratives of race.
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the narrative features are reinforced by the institutional and structural features of society as well as through the political and economic realities that automatically create limited opportunities distributed by race. a person's identity is a psychological dimension of personality that functions to integrate past present and anticipated future life experiences to answer perplexing and complicated questions. the ones that we all ask. who am i as a person, what does my life mean, and how do i fit into the adult world. we would abroad stories, master narratives, -- we look at broad stories, after narratives, -- master narratives, and can incorporate them into how we understand or experience people because of the storied nature by
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which we understand so. -- understand itself. we often behave and engage based on the understanding of how things go. again, our self reflection is important, but how we assume and incorporate broad narratives because of the influence of positive and negative. if black lives matter, the explicit narratives we taken and -- take in and help inform our context relative to how we appreciate self. our relationship to society and our fit within it. there is the ability to undercut agency if the depth and breadth of narratives are so off-center that they confound confound authentic selves and relationships based on how we are understood and understand ourselves. here is a little bit of an example here right. i am -- i will talk about that
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in the q&a. this is going to require some participation. how about this. bam. anybody know what this is? this is "scandal." we have olivia and the president. what is it called? there we go. we are excited but. i wanted to make sure we are looking at exactly what is going on here. we as a society have celebrated shonda rimes and "raise anatomy" -- "grey's anatomy" and "scandal" and the other show. the one that was on for a second. all right. anyway, so, we want to respect and understand that.
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i think that this is dangerous. why is this dangerous? why good "scandal" be perceived -- code "scandal" be perceived by me as dangerous? let me help you out. so you do not have to say it live on c-span. olivia pope reinforce the stereotype about how black women can be. i happened to watch "scandal." ok? olivia pope, in the last couple of episodes, because i caught up over the weekend, the season finale she is dancing around to stevie wonder and is like, i choose me. i am not choosing between the president and these 3 -- anyway i am going to have both of you. i want the sunshine and whatever else. she is not choosing. she we will be partnered with both of these men. ok? and as the episodes progress
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into the new season or the midseason, she is kidnapped and everyone is looking for. and she is like, i am what is up, the president takes me and -- digs me and will do whatever it takes to find me. and so to escape -- i'm sorry. spoiler alert. i have to do it. so what she says is, look, why don't we put me up for sale to the highest bidder because we know that the president we will either pay for me or other people will pay for me because me as a sexual office -- authored to this person -- sexual object is so valuable to this person. so the thing is, i don't think that i am pulling too much thread here. i think the thing is to look at how comfortable we are as a society with having certain types of stories put out
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there. how it is those images in these stories influence how it is we feel about the world we live in. what it is that our personal value is and what it is that relationships look like? it is curious to look at. my relationship as a man, how do i begin to relate to my partners? right? and that becomes just an interesting question. that is rhetorical, at least until the q&a part. this is one thing that is important to look at. i have duplicate twice. -- i had to push it twice. here we go again. anybody know about marshaun lynch? he is awesome. and the big hubbub was that he was not wanting to give interviews for the public. people have taken out for him. and then he came out and spoke publicly.
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but said you all know who i am -- why i am here. i am here because i will get find. on youtube they can find this because there is a critic called j smooth talks about the interplay between marshaun lynch and the owner. if we reduce them to narrative terms we can look at it that way, and terms of there being owners of somebody and they will do what it is they say that they need to. if we talking that way, he points out very well for us this theater of disobedience. right? where marshaun lynch is skirting the line of what it is he needs to do and is able to maintain this unadulterated self. that is profound and important
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it becomes important to look at . it becomes important to look at narratives and those ways what is being done within and across media. and he actually said that. he said, you all are largely immaterial to me in terms of the pr machine. the people i care about my my family in terms of the people i go home to. that is important to look at . important to look at. my kid loves him. this guy right here, this is jay cole. he is a notable artists. he has an album that just came out. what is it called? >> [indiscernible] >> i know who he is here and i'm
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older and know who jc is weird i know he showed up. he said he wanted to speak to a psychology class of what it looked like to be successful. he said he wanted to talk to a psychology class on what success looks like. you can find this on youtube. he talked about what success looks like. it is not the flash that you might see on television. we know that he graduated from st. john's. i think it is magna cum laude graduate. i really super nice guy. very friendly. he talked to a group of students. this is what it looked like outside our building as people began to tweet that he was there. it was bananas. but jay cole -- not only what
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he did them into more house in speaking -- morehouse in speaking, there are important narratives about his life that can we be affirmed with. ahhh. i love her. david varney -- she is dope. the most important thing about her as being a director and an advocate not only for the film "selma" but what has gone on in civil rights has been so remarkable because of how vocal she has been. when they were concerned about how lbg was presented in the film, she said to rolling stone "i was not interested in developing a white savior peace. -- savior piece. i was interested in talking about the people in selma." that is profound for her to say. she could let it speak for herself. speaking truth to power is
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really important. the lead actor, the brother david -- david -- tell me one more time, i forget his name. i did not want to get tongue-tied. david is also very powerful. they are partners in this. one of the things that he said on mlk day -- there is a an day service held in atlanta. she was brought up to speak. -- he was brought up to speak. part of his speeches that i presented to my class was that he said "we are not used to in
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society having black people who are at the center of their own narrative. you are unapologetic about being good or valuable or worthy." that is something important for us to look at. who and how these folks are talking about themselves, the community that they come from. dear white people. good movie. i thought it looked beautiful and well shot. but the reason i thought it was so powerful is because this speaks directly to why it is and how it is that black lives matter. the intersection of the that is presented in this film is profoundly important. i think those types of narratives having a writer and director who is black talking about their experience becomes vital to amplify.
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i have a few more. anybody know what this is from? there you go. this is on the foldout of illmatic. they celebrated their 20th anniversary last year. if you look at live illmatic which is a documentary of the film. what impressed me about that narrative is that they talk about being intelligent, he talks about things the way he faced along the way, but in the end they talk about all the books in this picture and the large number of them that are either dead or in jail. that can certainly be viewed as a whole pathology in deficit orientation. to look at it, he talked about how folks in this picture did not get along that well.
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but for the sake of what they were trying to do, for the sake of his album and support of him, they sat and worked together. i think that is a powerful commentary on what unity looks like. i invite you to look at this documentary -- because of his mother, who is the core, his mother, who is important and his mother. and to his friend ill will, who was shot. that type of interrelatedness to community isn't so important for us to recognize and to look at when we are validating lap -- va lidating black lives. just an example, one of many. jean gray is awesome. you should know who she is. she did some big debut on cbs. she actually came to morehouse and spellman and gave talks to my class.
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when ferguson popped off, we were talking to her. she said it would begin authentic to cut a record that was looking at ferguson in a typical way. she was looking at her personal agency and what it was that she could do. in columbus circle, she was part of a how the station. she just gave hugs to people that is profound. seemingly insignificant, perhaps. she said she got really sick afterwards, but she did not say she would not do it again. those types of stories, those types of narratives become important. trials of mohammed ali. did anybody see this? another film i suggest you all
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see. i think it is available on netflix. " trials of mohammed ali" is powerful. he is a hero to me and many other folks. this shows a political stand that he took any repercussions of that stand. which we can romanticize about but it goes into the specifics. the more important thing is that it looks at at his ex-wives, his brother, folks who are around him. it reinforces what it looks like to be part of a community. so often, when we are in an american society, we look at this idea of rugged individualism. somebody pulling themselves
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either bootstraps. that is not how it lays -- how it plays. these narratives demonstrate how black lives interact with one another and how and why they matter. let's see, oh yeah. this is from saturday night live a few weeks ago. one of the things i dig about this d'angelo story, dropping his album at the end of 2014 -- is why he did it. did anybody here about that? d'angelo was shook when he heard that there was a non-indictment in ferguson for mike brown. he said the only way he really knew how to do something or to speak out was through his music. he put out "black messiah." this is after 14 years of not putting an album out. the way he characterizes this album, he says it is not necessarily black people. we all can be black messiahs one to another. we all can deliver salvation if we understand, invest and value our community. his album is dope, musically. it is hard to hear some of things he's singing about, but you can read the lyrics.
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[laughter] this is an outline of a piece he did on saturday night live. is there anybody else? i will show that in a second. i will show this now. i'm sorry. oh man, i went all the way back. i have to do this all again. one of the folks i wanted to talk about here is a gentleman by the name of michael render. are you also noted with them? yells of goes by the stage name -- he also goes by the stage name "killah mike." i met him in an airport. i was moved by his most recent incarnation, which is as a part of the group. there is a social critique there, but i see it as being so valuable. we were on the airplane together, and i tweeted him. i said hey, mike, you need to come to the apartment of psychology and talk to my students.
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he friended me and tweeted me back at asked when it was. we tweeted back and forth, met each other on the plane. i have not tried to stop you or anything. you had to be real delicate there. i landed and we went back-and-forth. we talked on the phone and developed a way for him to come and teach this class that i teach now in the psychology of martian -- psychology of modern media. he gave lectures today and will give a few more. he is invested because he grew up in atlanta. he charged the students that were in that class he shared to make sure they were not interlopers in their own entities. -- their own communities. he is doing this stuff for peanuts. he is really a committed brother. i look forward to more work with them. those are examples of my
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personal interactions with people and commentary on the media spaces that are out there. this is a powerful picture to me. this is black men, black boys psychology in modern media a year from now. they wanted to take this picture as part of a final project. what it actually is -- oh man. what morehouse college used to do all the time is have this poster that had all these different ravers of morehouse men. backpack, there was a lot of diversity. we need to know what it is your narratives look like. the popular narratives are easy to look at, celebrate, or deconstruct. but what is it your narratives looks like? we need to know what it is your narratives look like.
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the popular narratives are easy to look at, celebrate, or deconstruct. but what is it your narratives looks like? not only that, but how is it important to put your narrative into your own life story as symptom? you all have to have the courage and the confidence to be able to do that. to assume agency, to assume that your life matters in such a way that it is demonstrative to others about how it is that they can value and be a part of democracy. i'm almost done. as i explained in several of my references, we understand itself and identity within a social system. personal interactions and expenses are primary. it is also a significant honor by which self-definition of our community is achieved. if the black lines matter, we have to at the very least be aware that making it matter is part of leveraging presentations about what we really are as valuable enough to communicate to others within our sphere.
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if we are to make it matter then we look at who we are in whatever it is -- in whatever discipline and enhance the assets court to who we are and what our humanity is. we hope to rewrite those master narratives that would suggest black folks as being in the margins or objects or others. it centers us with any democracy, making the enterprise better with authentic narratives that demand accountability for our community by us and through the body politic. this is one way to make it matter. the struggle for paradigm shifting and revolution in the pursuit of liberation. black lines matter indeed because of you. and because of this, you and i have a lot of work ahead to make sure that we make it matter. that work includes honesty,
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assuming our aquatic space, -- democratic space, and redefining black people with whole and healthy identities that are community bound. this is who we really are. finally, all lives matter. folks have started to co-opt the black lives matter and say that all lives matter. of course all lives matter, but it is crucial to focus on the urgency of black lights and our focus in the u.s. in doing this, we develop a path and a structure to extend the on this finite space the realization of a true american moxie of black lives and beyond -- democracy of black lives and beyond. [applause] >> i am happy to engage any
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pushback, to try and answer any questions. i look at this as a collaborative effort. anything that i say i don't expect to be understood as gospel. i welcome a critique and push back. any comments or questions, please. it was perfect? [laughter] >> first thank you for your lecture and opinions and door work. as a blogger and a aspiring journalist, what major influence you see -- do you see in incorporating these narratives and how do you think coverage would change if more narratives were incorporated in ferguson, etc?
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>> the more that you incorporate authentically who and how lack people are -- black people are the less that you have to articulate that black lines matter. that becomes a profound, important statement. the fact that that has to be stead demonstrates that there is some disconnect between who and how it is that black lives -- for us to say that black lives matter and for us to think that we need to tell people that. the more that we have those narratives, whether they be fiction or whether they be authentic, the less we have to assert ourselves, the better. it is a shame that we have to say that black lives matter. it is ridiculous. but it persists as this ralph ellison talks about invisibility. there are assumptions about who
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you think i am, not based on me at all. we can say stereotypes, i say it is based on the narratives we have put that people assumed to be true, ourselves included. thank you for the question. >> thank you for your lecture. i will give you a minute to think about this, because i always find instant when we talk about giving different narratives about what it means to be black. sometimes i wonder if it is our responsibility. sometimes like you said it is ridiculous to say that all black lives matter. is it not also ridiculous to think that we are one type of people? we do have different narratives. do you have an opinion about that at all? >> asked me to question again. >> do you think it is ridiculous that we have to present these
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different narratives in the media? or that we should just be perceived to have different personalities, different backgrounds, print ways of life? >> i think it is ridiculous yes. we should not have to have the responsibility, it is a shame. not everyone has to assume that responsibility. what i charge you all with -- and the reason i gave this lecture here -- is that i think you have the responsibility. to whom much is given, much is expected. you have this tremendous privilege. that becomes important for us to recognize. as we sit in a seat of privilege, we have to exercise that responsibly. i am standing here because my grandfather -- i won't go into that story. i stand here because of the oaks -- folks
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who came before me. because of the sacrifices they made, because of the things that they have said, because of the way that they positioned their lives so that i could be. my job is not to get an education and get money and to live the fiction that is the american dream, it is to liberate others. that is why we went to college. i see the charge of being at wellesley as being largely similar. the reason you all collapse in this space is not so you can have this basic experience of being smart and demonstrating that to the world -- it is how you are going to use that education, that competent you are developing, and how it is you are going to apply that in ways that make the world better. for black men, lgtbq transgender folks, how you were going to please your agency in democracy and make the world better. that often sounds so grandiose.
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but it really isn't. we really have the responsibility to be here and to say something. not to just be here and get -- did that make sense? >> it did. >> i want to make sure i am not just saying "hey" and you're all "whatever." any other comments, questions, pushback? >> thank you first for being here. i was a bit confused on the question -- is there any "there" there? [laughter] can you explain that? >> i was talking about having some distance between #black lives matter. it seemed like a lot of commercial to me.
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seems all piece and no substance. they were all these kinds of performances, but what was under guarding it? what is this movement supposed to be? the craters of black lives say it is not a moment, it is a movement. we have to figure out how we attach ourselves to it in ways that make us most impacting and then perform accordingly. what i said at the beginning -- and this was my psychological defense mechanism. i thought whatever, it is easy to distant yourself from these things and you don't have to deal with the immediacy of it. when mike brown was killed, that did not hurt me. -- that stuff was not like he was an anomaly. it was lined up.
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ready shut mcbride got blown away because she got stalled in her ca we are talking aboutr. black lives -- to put on equity on and cool words in front of a picture, there is nothing there if that -- put a hoodie on and is all that is. there is nothing there if that is all that is. >> thank you. >> thank you for the question. yes, please. >> i know you mentioned that we are all privileged to be in this particular room. you have been to morehouse howard, columbia, and you seem to have a good grasp of how privilege should not be a
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negative thing. how have you found your way navigating that privilege while still making an impactful change? >> my mama. [laughter] it really is. the people i surround myself with -- my partner and my life -- those are folks who helped to grounding. -- to ground me. my mom went to vassar. my dad went to yale. i acknowledge that as privilege. my grandparents went to virginia union. looking at how and why it is that they did what they did they did it so it could open doors for folks like you.
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i know my mom is moved that i am here doing this talk. she would be moved to see me giving the talk, but to see all of you here when she was going through her experiences at vassar, she got an education for a reason. for me, it would always thought that of course you go to college just like first grade. the reason you are going to do this, getting all of these degrees, is not so that you can brag and boast about how smart you are, it is how you can use the tool to make substantive change. to speak truth to power. the way that i negotiated that is by surrounding myself are people who were most like heroes to me -- my parents.
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>> you mentioned something about describe it. >> you took all the notes. [laughter] >> often times you read in the newspaper who say, yes, black lives matter, but what about lack on black crime. that to me speaks about respectability politics. how do you respond to such
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people? >> have several seats, sir. [laughter] that is an interesting question. respectability politics is so curious. when people employ that, what they are doing is polluting. they are attaching themselves to this norm culture that is easily palatable to other people. well i have a suit and a tie on, so i can step over here with them. that dude at the liquor store needs to pull himself up. i got an education, and it is not understanding or appreciating the context in which we are growing and developing. what i would say to folks that would say that -- what about black on black crime? yes, it is a problem. i do not even get into the
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argument about how it is all intercultural in terms of violent -- i am not interested in that. it is only problem. but right now i am concerned about you blowing young black lives away. you changing the conversation we are having does not obfuscate us from the reality of what is going on to how black lives are understood as being disposable. so it can be by us, but it certainly can be by you. let's figure how we deal with that. i am assuming the responsibility --black lives matter. i really want to curse. [laughter] they matter. why are we even getting in this kind of conversation? it makes no sense whatsoever. this is what i was presenting in the beginning -- you don't even want to believe or think about those things. when i teach black psychology, we talk about this. week think about black both as
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being slaves, chattel slaves. being owned. . being depreciated below how to evaluate being burned, being lynched, being raped, having the child cut out of your belly. that is a horrible, horrible evil stuff. for folks to say -- white at you just get over that? no, this is systematic. they relate to one another. black on black violent sucks, we are dealing with that. but now, how are you going to do with how are you contribute to the oppression and killing of black lives? [laughter] [applause] i decided to do it off-camera/ >> i want to thank you for your wonderful lecture. when you mentioned "scandal," i
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hear a lot of people criticizing the show because of olivia's relationship with the president. as he were speaking about how to keep the conversation on the significant part of the black lives matter and not letting people avert the situation to black on black crime, how can we create a more complex conversation over olivia's relationship and how the relationships that black women get in, rather than just saying the show is problematic because she is in this conflict in the relationship?
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or maybe this is a negative way because in reality they find themselves in this situation. >> this is kind of like qualifying statement. i am a black man. i understand the society in which i live. i understand i have a position as an ally in many different ways. but that's still going to color in many ways how it is i assess and define things also. i don't mind being pushed around to be like you really have to consider this also but we have more narratives that talk about black women in different ways. when you have bolivia pope that is complex and she does the
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fierce walk about the kind of, have you seen her walking? she does all that. she is articulate and educated and i hate that i just said she's articulate but anyway she does all this great stuff but when you have a counterbalance of that is being loving hip-hop with a counterbalance of that being real housewives of atlanta or that counterbalance being whatever woman is being objectified and hurling someone over the table by the chair, when you have that and this is how i look at black women as depicted in the media. when you have that look at the violence that is depicted on that part of my community. when i'm looking for positive images of black women i'm so glad to have her. i'm so glad to have dr. cameron.
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i'm so glad to have dr. cole who is the president of spelman for many years and there are all these folks that i'm proud to have this different parts of my communities look at and we just need, and i use this word over and over again that we need to amplified those images in those stories. but i'd love to and do go back and forth about "scandal," because i think it's a powerful piece of television and something that folks are invested in but we have to be in the same way that we have to be critical of beyonce. it's hard to have conversations about. especially for me because there are a lot of folks i love that her public academics and they say hold on because i am part of the beehive. [laughter] but i think not having those conversations and not putting them front and center really allows us to escape some of the
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responsibility that i'm saying we have to assume. >> and lastly i really like your word amplify that you are using a lot. so i just wanted to say that. i wanted to sort of bring attention to the show "blackish," where gisele frost is a professional and she's a doctor who works in the hospital and her husband is a professional so there are other expressions of black womanhood and professional black women on television. >> you are right, thank you. >> so this is to go off on courtney's question on
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like, narratives, right? so the narrative, talking about having different narratives. >> use the mics use the mic so people can hear you. >> having different narratives on television so scandal is written by a black woman, right? how much responsibility do we place on a black woman to put forth the proper narrative? i watch "scandal," i love the show but i feel discriminated when the only male partner that was ever presented to olivia was just not even, it never came off as a viable option trade no one i don't think and if the viewer side is a viable option in terms of the kind of woman that she was. as someone who is a black woman and well-educated what
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responsibility does she hold them putting for such a narrative? because i feel like she has a lot of power. >> she does have a lot of influence so i think we could have a whole nother lecture that looks of the difference between influence and power but she has a whole lot of influence. she has also developed shows that have been very nuanced and complex so i first started watching her in seattle that has all these different flavors of folk which is important. so she might have assumed her responsibility in terms of her determination of what it is she
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needs to be responsible for. i think what we have to do as critics, not cynics, the type of narratives we are assuming is we have to be able to answer those questions. we have to be able to ask those questions and not shy away from them. so your question to me is to what type of responsibility does she have? she has some and she has assumed much of her responsibility. i don't want to seem like i'm backpedaling but we have to have those conversations. people are investing in "scandal" in a different way. i think i would have to look at the ratings, then perhaps gray's anatomy was invested in our private practice and then we can also look at empire which just finished breaking a 23-year-old record recently in terms of having more and more viewers but it's a great show and i dig it.
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i watched it. i missed it this week so i hope dr. cameron doesn't get me back and tell me anything about that but we also have to look at again what is it that we are comfortable consuming? how is it that way are comfortable seeing ourselves and that becomes a difficult conversation not only for white folks and how they see us but how we are comfortable seeing ourselves. you know? >> i have a question. so, what is the responsibility for what should our white counterparts be doing in order to help us establish that black lives matter? >> i had written something in here written something inherent i don't know if i skated over it or change the language. but, stay in their lane. [laughter] what does that look like because i think that's honest. i feel it's honest for me. recognize that we are privileging and understanding the importance of articulating how black lives matter. there doesn't need to be any confluence or countertransference that exists. how is it that you occupy a certain type of privilege and what is it that you can do with
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your privilege to be an ally? we don't want to be dismissive. when we say black lives matter doesn't mean that black lives matter just a black folks. it means black lives matter so what is it in how is it that you do things that help us to amplify? you are welcome. i'm here all night. >> hi. so my question is, it seems like i guess i can only speak from my own experience but i have my narrative about what black lives matters means to me and my parents also have a narrative and there are a lot of differences and the differences often seem to be counter-narratives that can fit together in some ways. i don't know if this is something that is generational and if you have seen this before and i guess how do we deal with narratives that seem to not sit? do you understand? >> i do understand that it's difficult for me to answer the question wholly without knowing specifics so maybe we can do it not on television.
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[laughter] but i think that the one thing that i would hope is that there is a common denominator. the common denominator would be that you and your folks understand black lives matter. so the roads that you take to get there might be different but i would hope that because of that common denominator you would be able to arrive at a common place. you can think about -- when i was younger i was fortunate enough to work at transafrica which a lobbyist group for africa and the caribbean which is held by another hero of mine randall robinson. when i was there i was allowed to work there when i was very young, crazy young and i remember they had protests all the time from the south african embassy. i wanted to go and get arrested
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because they knew, i would be like i'm going to go and get arrested and make a statement for my people and all that kind of stuff. they are like you are not going to get arrested. you are in high school. i probably was in high school. i think the sentiment was an authentic one from my parents perspectives and the perspectives of the folks who were taking care of me while i was at transafrica there were other things you might need to do right now. i remember also saying to my mom after reading the autobiography of malcolm x i am willing to die for my people. that's a profound thing to say if giving your life is the only thing you can do in terms of a revolution but what about living -- so my mom in the work she did in the work my grandparents did, they didn't do all that work so i could read malcolm x since say i'm going to die for my people.
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they are like hold on a second you have more work to do first. i think it becomes important to be able to recognize the generational divide but it also becomes important for us to yield to those who have gone in front of us who have a broader view of what the landscape looks like as we are traversing towards liberation. >> thank you. she is coming with the mic. the mic is coming. >> thank you. you mentioned paradigms and i'm taking a class right now where it's all centered on paradigms of societies and i just wanted your thoughts not necessarily a question but to me. -- to me, paradigms is a way of thinking and it's a system. so we have a paradigm that we grew up with in our society is just the way we thought.
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when you are saying to somebody am trying to a controversial conversation with them that kind of attack it or take it personal instead of looking at as you said that paradigm or way of thinking or way of thought. so how do you -- obviously i'm not african-american but -- >> it's not necessarily obvious. [laughter] >> i'm not black but we all have our own issues when you are trying to have a difficult conversation with somebody and then not attack them but attack the system in a way that they were taught growing up so a personal question for me is how you navigate this and attack the paradigm and not necessarily i'm attacking a person but attacking what i was taught as opposed to what you were taught and the institutions? >> a good question.
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be caring and compassion for the individual which it seems you are leading with and also be caring and considerate enough to talk to them about paradigms and systems. the most convenient way for me to kind of mirror what it is that you are talking about is to talk about racism. there are a lot of white folks who say, "i'm not racist. i love black people and i sit next to them and all that kind of stuff." [laughter] i am being jocular but they say i don't have a racist bone in my body and all that kind of stuff. nobody wants to be called a racist. so one of the things we can say is that, you benefit from white supremacy. the idea that racism is a system and i talk about it as an elegant system. how elegant is it to where racism presented in such a way that black people hate on
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themselves? when you are talking about racism you are not just talking about this kind of personal interaction or commitment or violation of one another. you are talking about a cultural system of paradigms that you are brought up in and you are talking about is socialized paradigm that you are brought up in as well. i think when we began to talk in that way it allows folks to not personalize it so much and i think another thing that becomes important is i love people. i love people and so the point is that just because i am black and i believe in black revolution and whatever that looks like and i believe in black liberation, just because of those things does not mean i'm going to devalue what other cultures and communities can contribute to me. but it still means if i'm going to be a human being who is them a democratic society where we all have voices i get to assert my voice without feeling like you are violating.
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i get to say that racism exists. patriarchy exists at morehouse college, you know? heterocentrism exists at morehouse and many other places so there are these systems there are these paradigms which grind people and to dust. the important thing for us to recognize is that we have to be able to attack just as you said the attack the system and attack the paradigms and change them for the betterment of humanity. that can sound so pollyanna-ish about that kind of stuff but it's not. we are here all in this room presumably because we want for our world to be better and a cancer that is associated and attaches itself to the culture we live in and develop them is racism. it's not just racism that looks
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like oh you can't eat at this lunch counter, is racism that kills people because of the perceptions and narratives that people hold or the assumptions we have about folks. so pointing out this pop cultural stuff it's not just fun and games. they have something to do with a mind's eyes framed at how we interact with each other. it all has everything to do with systems and paradigms that we would be doing well to look at those paradigms in full view so we can help to dismantle it and do it better for my babies and yours. [applause] >> thank you. let me just say that it's been a real privilege to be here. i was excited to develop a talk for you all and i think i got more out of the back-and-forth that my developmental talk so i thank you for stoking my interest and my thinking and i hope we will share ideas with
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one another on the inter-web or wherever. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you dr. rice for coming all the way from atlanta to share your work and insight with us. on behalf of of black women's ministry we would like to present you with a small token of our appreciation. [applause] >> please join us for refreshments. thank you again for coming. >> thank you all. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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