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The Power of Definition
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How Perception Becomes Reality
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The phrase "black and white", in the context in which it is used with regard to people groups, is a declaration of opposites, with the implication of opposition. They are practical metaphors, which convey meanings similar to the sensibilities attributed to phrases, such as north and south, east and west, light and darkness, good and evil, hot and cold, and so on.

It creates the notion or supposition of the pre-existence of fundamental disparities or dissimilarities, even in the absence of such; thus establishing disparities and dissimilarities, purely out of perception, where hitherto they did not exist. It polarizes issues and societies more than any other definition does and can ever do, by virtue of the perceptions it engenders.

Arguably, the declaration of opposition inspired or represented by the verbiage “black and white people” may no longer be intentional or pejoratively contrastive. Nevertheless, it remains intrinsic and no less powerful in modern society, as in olden days.

Essentially, the word black when used as a noun or as an adjective becomes a negative qualifier that exists to condemn the thing it denotes or qualifies. This is evident in expressions such as blackleg, black hand, black sheep, black eye, blacklist, blackmail, black market, black plague, black day, black magic, black humor, etc., all of which, perhaps, unwittingly or purposefully, subconsciously cast the so-called “Black people” in the shadow of the moral and psychological connotation or implication of those expressions. While expressions such as white lie, white magic, white crime, etc., portrays immoral behavior or evil acts as “acceptable evil” or “mild evil”.

Obviously, there is a heightened sensitivity associated with the subject of race and racism, hence, a mere mention of the phrases “white” and “black”, in relation to the groups of people defined there by, risks leading readers to assume that this book is about race or racism. The risk I allude to is attributable to the fact that the issues associated with these classifying phrases are historically highly controversial and often inspire passionate sentiments, frequently acrimonious in nature, yielding no useful results and causing greater animosity and deep divisions. In view of this realization, I must emphasize that the book is not about race; it is particularly not about the so-called “Black people” and “White people”. However, it is about the process that leads to establishing the perceptions that inhabit those classifying phrases and the perceptions stemming from them, which inspire aberrations of humanity, such as racism.

Nevertheless, I believe that the definition of the so-called “black man” is the primary reason for the victimization, general lack of respect, and even disdain for people with dark skin in America, and indeed all over the world. In Europe, America, and Asia, the phrase “black people” implies 'subordinate people' -- an inferior race and an oppressed race. Hence, segragation and anti-miscegenation laws against the so-called "Blacks" were common place and the order of the day. Today in the Arab world, the word “black” (abid in Arabic) simply implies “slave”. The stigma was so bad, it was believed that the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (son of a light-skinned Arab father and dark-skinned African mother), was so ashamed of the way his mother was treated when he was a child, because of her dark skin color, that he was never seen in public with her. After his death, the Egyptian government objected to the 1983 television movie Sadat, starring Louis Gossett, Jr., because the actor, who is “black”, was playing Sadat who considered himself “white”. The drama was subsequently banned in Egypt.

There is a quiet presupposition—a stump of the old notion that the so-called “Caucasoid race” was superior to the so-called “Mongoloid race”, which in turn was superior to the so-called “Negroid race”; hence, the tacit notion, that the lighter the skin color, the better the people.

Out of this metaphorical pustulence has sprung the insidious disease of self-hatred that many Africans and people with dark skin color, all over the world, particularly women, are now dealing with. Believing the ridiculous notion of beauty or superiority, to be lightness of skin color, people with identity and self-esteem issues have essentially become shadows of themselves, as they struggle to redefine themselves by bathing with poisonous chemicals (bleaching or skin toning creams) to make their skin colors lighter and more “acceptable” in their own eyes and in the eyes of those who established the notion.

Nevertheless, given the facts, one can reasonably conclude that majority of the so-called “White people” had nothing to do with originating and establishing the particular definition that they are subjected to, just as the so-called “Black people” did not contribute to originating and establishing the particular definition that they are subjected to. We are all victims of influence — expert classifications, that is. Without question, there are more privileges associated with being “White” than with being “Black”. Nevertheless, as the term “Black”, in referring to people of African descent is laden with negative and undesirable attributes, so also is the term “White”, in referring to people of Caucasian descent.

Definition creates perception and perception often leads people to act in aberrant ways, from the suppression of conscience to the perilous premise of meaningless self-assurance in propping self-destructive and even nihilistic tendencies, from sexism to narcissism, fascism to racism, from abortion to euthanasia. Definition positions for exploitation and destruction, people who have not acquired the ability to assert their rights, those who have lost the ability to assert their rights, and people who in the face of identity crisis engage in irrational definition of themselves as a protest or rebellious action.

The relationship people have with everything around them, indeed, everything in life—whether a person, other people, a thing, an event, and even themselves, begins in a concept. This mental image of a person, other people, a thing, or an event, eventually becomes a consciousness. That consciousness is known as perception or rapid cognition. Think of it as a Rolodex—preloaded with information, you use the information without thinking about it; all that is required is spontaneously retrieve and use it. It is not necessary to think analytically or critically when using the information, because you, perhaps someone else, have in advance, done all the thinking that was necessary to establish the information and when to apply it.

Perception, once formed creates a resident tendency for quick, active, and intuitive cognition of the person, people, thing, or event being perceived. Perception leads to non-deliberate thoughtful decision-making or decision below the level of consciousness. It has been called “thinking without thinking”, and it ultimately leads to unconscious prejudice or similar behavior. More...

 

Comments/Reviews:

“I really don't think it's something that the general reader would find accessible, which would rule out a mainstream publisher. I think you'd be best off looking for a university press - this seems to be for a very select audience.”

Comment by: Stephany (Imprint Agency, Inc.) | Email: Not available | URL: imprintagency@earthlink.net | Comment Date: 10/3/2006 @ 1:19:13 PM |


"It is clear that you are a deep thinker and an intelligent writer. Your manuscript takes a very complicated subject and organizes it coherently."

Comment by: The Writer’s Edge | Email: Not available | URL: http://www.writersedgeservice.com/ | Comment Date: 9/25/2006 @ 9:20:49 AM |


"You write at a fairly academic level, which will limit your audience.”

Comment by: Robert Wolgemuth, Wolgemuth and Associates, Inc. | Email: Not available | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 9/13/2006 @ 6:01:41 PM |


The author of the monumental human rescue: Tribalizing America, has again excited my faculty and set my whole system in motion with another effort that, with the little I have read, will be dangerous to ignorance, power to knowledge and a guide to redress our definition and transform our perception. Indeed, THE POWER OF DEFINITION will be a classic.

Comment by: arinze okoli | Email: arinze_okoli@yahoo.com | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/29/2006 @ 5:02:17 PM |


"The power of definition" is an extensively and excellently researched book with impeccable logic. The language is concise and the author's passion oozes from every sentence. Even if you don't agree with all the conclusions, you will be forced to look deeply into your soul in ways that you never imagined. I eargerly await the official release of the book and the storm that is sure to follow.

Comment by: Raph | Email: ekwensi@hotmail.com | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/24/2006 @ 9:45:45 PM |


These definitions and their consequences are truly the root cause of man's inhumanity to man. Your analysis touched the fabric of all these meaningless and irrational human behaviors. Although I have not read the entire book, you are undoubtedly on the right track. This is a "must read book" by all present and future political and social gladiators.

Comment by: Ruchi Okeke Ewo | Email: ruchiewo01@yahoo.com | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/24/2006 @ 4:01:19 PM |


The Power of Definition is an eye opener!

From the moment I heard the title of the book, I knew it was going to be a great read, a powerful mind liberator and an empowering tool for self realization and actualization.

From what I have read so far, it has greatly helped me with the knowledge I need to take on the world and establish who I am as a fearfully and wonderfully-made child of the Living God. And no opinion or somebody's perception of myself will ever change the image I have of myself now.

Comment by: Maureen | Email: ogechika@hotmail.com | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/22/2006 @ 12:51:40 AM |


Hi,

My name is Rose and I agree with the author. Perception is powerful because it affects thoughts and actions;

I'm glad he took the time to write this book, to give readers food for thought, something to think about.

Comment by: Rose | Email: Not available | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/20/2006 @ 4:57:56 PM |


Sam,

Thanks for your comments. The book will be out by the end of fall.

Comment by: Ifezue Okoli | Email: ifezueo@poweofdefinition.com | URL: www.powerofdefinition.com | Comment Date: 7/19/2006 @ 3:38:43 PM |


THE POWER OF DEFINITION is indeed an amazing book, with in-depth explanation of how definition of people and values is formed.

From perception as a concept, to the dynamics of perception as a social expression...

Comment by: Henry Wu | Email: ywmisc@yahoo.com | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/19/2006 @ 4:58:25 PM |


An interesting title; when is the book due for release?

Comment by: Sam Young | Email: samy@yahoo.com | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/18/2006 @ 2:34:28 PM |


Sounds like a scholarly work. I look foward to reading it.

Comment by: Peter Jones | Email: Not available | URL: Not available | Comment Date: 7/18/2006 @ 2:37:08 PM |


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Copyright © 2006 The Power of Definition, Ifezue Okoli