Criteria That Indicate When African-Centered Consciousness Is Endangered or Depleted by the Mass Media

Article excerpt

It is safe to say that media and popular culture institutions like the internet, television, movie, recording, and print industries, and so on must be impacted on behalf of African descent people (ADP). Indispensable in accomplishing this monumental and essential task is the formulation of criteria that indicate when African-centered consciousness in ADP is endangered or depleted by the mass media. The more plain and straightforward the criteria, the better.

Considering the multifariousness and pervasiveness of the mass media and the virtually limitless number of instances therein that could deplete African-centered consciousness, the author feels it is necessary to present the criteria in its most fundamental form or bare essence using African-centered psycho-cultural constructs and perspectives. By so doing the criteria are made applicable to every specific instance of African-centered consciousness endangerment or depletion that may possibly occur in any mass media organ.

The upshot of this will be a sound, systematic conceptual framework for African-centered interpretations of mass media presentations of imagery relative to the endangerment and depletion of African-centered consciousness. Thus the real possibilities of confusion and being overwhelmed inherent in the sheer vastness and pervasiveness of the mass media and its intricate, multifaceted, often insidious racial presentations will be overcome. There are two preliminary details in formulating criteria that indicate when African-centered consciousness is endangered or depleted. The first is to be clear on what African-centered consciousness entails. The second is to delineate the psychological state of ADP when their African-centered consciousness, in any of its constituent three parts, is depleted.

African-centered Consciousness

Following Ukombozi's (1981) breakdown, African-centered consciousness is constituted of the racial awareness, racial identity and racial preference of the African descent person. These three constituents of African-centered consciousness are defined as follows by Ukombozi:

1. Racial Awareness, the knowledge of the visible differences between racial categories by which one classifies people into these divisions and, once such knowledge is cognitively achieved, the acceptance of it,

2. Racial Identity, a consciousness of self as belonging to a specific group differentiated from other groups by obvious physical characteristics, and

3. Racial Preference, the attitude or evaluation attached to a racial category and members and artifacts thereof.

Whenever any constituent of African-centered consciousness is not affirmed or reflected in the orientation of a person of African descent, s/he will be less likely to engage in own-race maintenance behavior which is an imperative according to African-centered personality theory (Azibo, 1991, 1996).

Psychological Misorientation and Mentacide

The African-centered mental disorder called psychological misorientation is produced whenever African-centered consciousness is depleted. The psychological misorientation construct (Atwell & Azibo, 1991; Azibo, 1989, 2006; Kambon, 1996) refers to a psychological orientation wherein an African descent person negotiates the environment, i.e., subjectively or phenomenally interprets reality, with a cognitive structure composed of non-African or non-Black concepts. That is, the individual's implicit psychology, subjective culture (Triandis, 1972) or inference-making mechanisms (Wyer & Carlston, 1979) are void of elements that reflect or emanate from African history and culture. Consequently, the ideation of the psychologically misoriented African descent person is constructed with concepts and thought processes that come from a nonAfrican group(s). Stated differently, ADP's utamawazo, a term which means culturally structured thought (Ani, 1994), is put together or organized cognitively, intrapsychically determined in other words, with Eurasian cultural concepts! …