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...