Are you COOL?

Posted By on August 25, 2014

Do you have the knowledge and skills required to Cultivate and Own Our Lives?

Be COOL, if life success is your goal.

Contact JB@cbacs.org for more details about COOL and our plans for the New Year.

Without a Vision the People Perish …

Posted By on August 25, 2014

THE METANOIA PROJECT (TMP) 2007 – 2012 – 2034

 

On 10th December 2012 a small group of individuals committed to transformational change, individual and collective, gathered together at
London South Bank University
to celebrate the
 
5th
 Anniversary 
of TMP 2007-2034

5 YEARS DOWN
22 YEARS TO GO
Where do you plan to be as we annually celebrate the countdown to 2034? 
21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20

Developing the Black African / Caribbean Social Categories

Posted By on August 25, 2014

CBACS has arrived at the fourth phase of a 30-year journey!

The focus of the next ten years is on bringing CBACS’ research findings into our families, schools
churches and communities at large to effect the changes we have been waiting so long to see …

No longer do we need to depend on external others … the knowledge we need is now within our group!

Do you want to be a part of the group setting the agenda for this exciting and life-changing journey?

We need your input and contribution!

Benefits for you are that you will be developed in the process.

Please circulate this news widely among members of our group so we can get the ball rolling

Contact us at gg@cbacs.org

Slavery and Modern Management Techniques

Posted By on August 25, 2014

Academic researchers follow their curiosity wherever it may lead – sometimes to controversy. Caitlin Rosenthal’s research into the history of business practices introduced her to meticulous records kept by American slave owners where she discovered the origins of some very modern management techniques, included standardised ways to measure human productivity, As she so eloquently captures the irony in The Messy Links Between Slavery Owners and Modern Management, “Capitalism is not just about the free market, it was also built on the backs of slaves who were literally the opposite of free.”

CBACS Presents: BAC LIFE

Posted By on August 25, 2014

BAC LIFE™ furthers the conversation about cultural identity – raised in the True Story video below – by bringing this life transforming conversation about ‘Cultural Literacy’ and the black British Caribbean social category to our churches/faith communities…

If you would like to participate in this conversation contact us at info@cbacs.org for more information

The black-white duality

Posted By on August 25, 2014

Having read Jon Gaunt’s view that children in schools should learn all our history I thought it would be useful to share it on my blog with you – see yesterdays blog.
In googling the article, however, I came across so much criticism of Gaunt’s view (with which I whole-heartedly agree) that I was momentarily stopped in my tracks as I studied what people had to say. I couldn’t have asked for more evidence of the existence of a black-white duality if I had tried!

A colleague of mine sent me the link for Gus John’s view of what is happening in the school system to black children. Of more interest than Gus John’s view are the views of readers commenting on the article. It became clear to me that we really do need to dismantle this black-white duality once and for all so that our children can be extricated from this confusion.

Learning and Teaching Resources for Authentic Human Development

Posted By on August 25, 2014

Authentic Human Development requires we develop the courage to face up to our everyday life challenges and temptations rather than avoiding or denying them.  It means taking control of our own learning … across the life-course … and sharing our learning with other members of our family and community.  The following resources may help us on our path to authentic human development:


Fixed mindset versus growth mindset: which one are you?

The secret to raising smart kids

Levels of life coaching

The duality of university life: the official and the unofficial

Authentic Human Development (AHD) requires what Asante refers to as ‘centricity’.  The articles below provide some insight into this process which is critical to CBACS’ agenda of transformational learning for AHD.

Racial Politics and Double Consciousness: Education for Liberation

Racialising Mental Illness: Understanding African-Caribbean Schizophrenia in the UKNew

Contact me at gg@cbacs.org if you require support with the process of educating your child or yourself for authentic human development

Seeing with the Eye of Spirit

Posted By on August 25, 2014

In my last blog post I referred to myself as Guinea Pig G, in the spirit of Buckminster Fuller. I also stated my intention of sharing my longitudinal research process findings from using my life as a social experiment in transforming the black British Caribbean life experience.

Being black British Caribbean, an historically racialised identity, made me highly victimisable in Britain in ways I did not
understand. You will need to refer to my book – Towards Bicultural Competence: Beyond Black and White – to gain insights into my formative years and socialisation in Britain to understand why this was the case.

Unable and unwilling to struggle any longer with racism and discrimination in the workplace I returned to education to make a new start, a year after my first son’s birth, in 1982. I did not want to continue to transmit this toxic legacy of race to my son.

In higher education I found myself being subjected to a social phenomena I referred to in my book as ‘black socialisation’. This was a breakthrough insight, perceived through ‘the eye of spirit’ (Ken Wilber), moving me beyond the societal explanation of ‘racism’ to recognise the differential black socialisation process in action, enforced by those who had undergone ‘white socialisation’, with me as a socialised ‘black’ as its victim.

In truth, what I was experiencing, and later learnt to become a witness to, was ‘forceful black socialisation’ in action. I was by this time normalised to black socialisation. It was the ‘forceful’ systematic and deliberate nature of its imposition in higher education which revealed what Josephn Chiltern Pierce refers to as a ‘crack in the cosmic egg’ (of race, in this instance).

Forceful black socialisation eventually pushed me into an existential crisis of meaning. The literature describes such crises as follows:

A crisis can be defined as the perception or experience of an event (genuine harm, the threat of harm, or a challenge) as an intolerable difficulty (James & Gilliland, 2001). The crisis is an aberration from the person’s typical pattern of functioning, and he or she cannot manage the event through usual methods of coping. The person either lacks knowledge about how to manage the situation or, due to feeling overwhelmed, lacks the ability to focus his or her energies on it. All people experience crises at times in their lives. A crisis often results when we face a serious stressor with which we have no prior experience. The stressor may be biological (a major illness), interpersonal (the sudden loss of a loved one), or environmental (unemployment or a natural disaster). The Chinese characters that represent the word crisis are the one that means danger and another that means opportunity. From this point of view, a crisis can be defined as a “dangerous opportunity.” An existential crisis is dangerous because it often feels overwhelming, but it is an opportunity because it often forces us to look for strengths, meanings, and solutions that are outside of our normal range of awareness (Walsh and Lantz, 2007)

Xanthos (2009) pours more light on such crisis amongst members of the black British Caribbean social category in her article about schizophrenia.

This light-bulb experience, in the midst of the existential crisis of meaning I was undergoing, revealed the suboptimal perception my invariably white authority figures/socialisers had of me as a black member of the society pushing me into an existential crisis of meaning. Fortunately, I perceived the ‘dangerous opportunity’ in my crisis, as a lecturer in higher education and why it was vital for me, as the descendant of enslaved Africans, to become responsible for my own education. Thus the process of my social experiment in transforming the black British Caribbean life experience began.

Guinea Pig G

Posted By on August 25, 2014

In the late 1980s when I made the decision to research the black British life experience I was undergoing an existential crisis of meaning and could see little worth in my ‘black’ life.

I had, however, by this time given birth to two sons and developed the generative desire to, in some way, find meaning in my failed black life by creating a more life-enhancing legacy for them and the society in general. This focus is seen in my endeavours to date …

In due course I came across the biography of Buckminster-Fuller (Guinea Pig B) a man who made the decision to use his life as a social experiment to ascertain what he was able to achieve in improving conditions for humanity.

I felt affirmed to realise I was following in the footsteps of ‘Bucky’. I was also using my life as a social experiment in creating a new human legacy to replace that of race.

It was from ‘Bucky’ that I took the (paraphrased) advice:

‘when something is not working, don’t fight it. Create a new model instead.’

The externally imposed cultural disorder of black British culture was not working for me especially as I found myself being forcefully resocialised into a ‘white’ view of who I am meant to be as a unconsciously socialised ‘black’ member of the society.

I made the decision to resocialise myself into the ethnic identity, culture and consciousness of a British African Caribbean.

I was planning to leave the racial culture developed in slavery and silently and invisibly transmitted across the generations through British cultural socialisation behind. Would this be possible?

My personal and social experiment had began in the context of a higher education institution which was, from the 1980s, acknowledged as the first to open its doors to the black community.

Thirty years later I am sharing my story of this social experiment and what I have and continue to learn from it …

Another Way of Seeing: Slaveship Earth

Posted By on August 25, 2014

The walls of a slaveship
Confine
All its passengers

Black, and white, yellow, red
Equally
And though cramped into
Separate holds
We are journey fellows all after all
Aboard this vessel earth.

Yaw Sekyi-Baidoo

The Name of the Game is Shame

Posted By on August 25, 2014

In ‘The Name of the Game is Shame: The Effects of Slavery and its Aftermath’ Gilda Graff (2011) asks the question: Why is the subject of slavery and racism present in Morrison’s novels … and so absent even from much historical literature and many textbooks?

She acknowledges that even having elected an African American president that the silence surrounding slavery

… may be one consequence of the void that slavery has left in our consciousness is due in part to shame, it was shameful to practice slavery, shameful to be a slave, and shameful to justify slavery. “What was shameful had to be banished from awareness.” (Gump, 2000, p.623).

Suchet (2004) reinforces that idea by indicating that “whites have dissociated the historical position of the oppressor from collective consciousness due to our inability to tolerate an identification with the aggressor” (Suchet, 2004, p.423).

Thus the shame and trauma of slavery causes dissociation, not only to enslaved blacks and their descendants, but to whites as well.

Shame and dissociation alone are not responsible for our collective denial of the importance of slavery and race to the history of this country.

In addition, whiteness is used as the universal norm in an attempt to project the burden of racial difference onto others (Suchet, 2004), just as psychologists “have tended to regard male behaviour as the norm and female behaviour as some kind of deviation from that norm” (Gilligan, 1982, p.14 quoting David McClelland), and therefore concluded that something must be wrong with women …

The important point I take from the ideas shared by Graff above points to the fact that in hiding from our failures, rather than facing up to them, the problems become bigger and bigger.

In addition, new slavery is acknowledged as a growing industry in the 21st century but is largely silent in the global economy. (Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, Kevin Bales, 2004)

As a result we are losing sight of what it means to be whole, fully alive, experiencing, choiceful and free human beings as we build fortresses of silence around ourselves, individually and collectively, when the hallmark of humanity is communication.

Welcome to CBACS

Posted By on August 24, 2014

Welcome to the Centre for British African Caribbean Studies (CBACS)
If you consider the work of CBACS to be valuable and timely then please circulate the URL for this site more widely and contact me ( info@cbacs.org) to seek clarification on arising issues as well as to share experiences

Human Resource Development in the British African Caribbean Social Category

Posted By on August 24, 2014

CBACS has organised an invitation only event on the topic of:

‘Human Resource Development (HRD) in the black British Caribbean Social Category’.

If you are a member of the black British Caribbean community involved in or concerned about the life career development of members of this group
whether for yourself, your children, members of your family or employees you should be part of this discussion.

The event takes place on Tuesday 27 May 2014 from 10-4 p.m. at London South Bank University

If you are a member of the black British Caribbean social category and would like to attend this event contact us at gg@cbacs.org for your email invitation.

Seeing with the Eye of Spirit

Posted By on August 24, 2014

In my last blog post I referred to myself as Guinea Pig G, in the spirit of Buckminster Fuller. I also stated my intention of sharing my longitudinal research process findings from using my life as a social experiment in transforming the black British Caribbean life experience.

Being black British Caribbean, an historically racialised identity, made me highly victimisable in Britain in ways I did not

The Bicultural Competence Matrix

Posted By on August 24, 2014

The bicultural competence matrix is foundational to CBACS’ work with its focus on the importance of bi-cultural socialisation into a culture of origin and a culture of residence.

CBACS’ findings are that descendants of enslaved Africans (DoEAs) are not recipients of bicultural socialisation having been uprooted from our culture of origin during slavery. Over hundreds of years we have instead been mono-culturally resocialised into ‘black’ culture.

The bicultural competence matrix was my first insight of the possibility of having been unconsciously assimilated into black British culture on entry to British society on the top left quadrant. This results in a natural route downwards to unconscious bicultural competence and ‘sleep’. This is as opposed to the natural instinctual aspiration for our children to move sidewards to the conscious bicultural incompetence quadrant filled with eagerness to learn about life for themselves.

New Image8

Near Silence about Race and its impact on British Academics

Posted By on August 24, 2014

Making the decision to share my journey of surfacing the human costs of slavery through these blogs, because of the on-going racial silences, has triggered a deeper process for me.

In my PhD (Bravette, 1997) I acknowledge being

… additionally challenged by Byrne’s (1978) reasoning for not including discussion of academic women in her book on women and education.

She argues that such women are ‘best qualified to fight for their own equality’ and reminds me of my own responsibilities (as a black woman?!) in academia.

As a management educator in the specialist subject areas of Human Resource Management (HRM) and Organisational Behaviour (OB) I work directly with students on the experience of individuals in organisations. Over the years I have worked with many students preparing them to manage these issues in the organisational context.

I have experienced extreme dissonance in presenting the dominant view of OB including the notion of equality of opportunity knowing that sexism and, particularly racism, are rife in our society and knowing full well that many black students will never achieve the positions they are aspiring towards unless important changes occur in our society – transformation. This dissonance has been in addition to the dissonance I have personally experienced as a black woman in higher education.

I did not take an easy option when I decided to engage with my personal processes within the academy and to face up the issue of race, nor was it a non-political decision I have come to realise.

Luz Reyes and Halcon (1988) discusses racism in academia and the obstacles to be overcome, in particular, identifying covert racism as the most pervasive form of racism in higher education.

Moghissi (1994) also makes interesting observations about the experience of racism in the academy which strongly resonates with my own experiences.

Acker (1994) notes that ‘there is a near silence about ‘race’ and ethnicity in terms of their impact on British academic women’.

It is my intention that this research will contribute towards breaking the silence around race, being a black woman of African Caribbean descent as well as an academic.

I believe that my experiences, spanning the time period of mass immigration of African Caribbeans to the UK in the 1950s to today (1997) is of particular relevance and should provide important insights as I draw on that experience using personal inquiry/self-reflective praxis.

‘Silenced Knowings’

Posted By on August 24, 2014

In 2001 Helen Lorenz and Mary Watkins wrote a paper titled: Silenced Knowings, Forgotten Springs: Paths to Healing in the Wake of Colonialism. I quote from this paper:

Many silenced knowings can exist within apparently ordinary lives and communities, in the lives of other and our own lives. By silenced knowings we mean understandings that we each carry that take refuge in silence, as it feels dangerous to speak them to ourselves and to others.

The sanctions against them in the family, community or wider culture render them mute and increasingly inaccessible. Once silenced, these knowings are no longer available to inform our lives, to strengthen our moral discernment. Once pushed to the side, these silenced knowings require our energy to sustain their disassociation, and our numbing to evade their pain.

Some silenced knowings require metabolizing over generations so difficult are they to listen to and bear, to act in the light of.

We want to wonder with you what silenced knowings from the past 500 years of colonalism have been passed on to us?

What pieces of our cultural history seek to find voice through us and our lives?

In what ways is our personal individuation inextricably linked with responding to the silenced knowings that exist within our own biographies?

How might they inform our work and relationships?

Lorenz and Watkin do not make reference to the institution of slavery from which colonialism and apartheid was birthed and which points to greater silenced knowings than referred to in their pertinent and poignant discussion.

The Human Costs of Slavery Continued … 2

Posted By on August 24, 2014

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
Marcus Tullius Cicero

I began unpacking the human costs of slavery through the research process (with a personal goal of being the best that I can be through taking charge of my own education/development) starting with my MBA research.

My MBA research took the form of an action research project and involved bringing together a group of black women managers employed in mainstream organisations. Our purpose was to explore the black female experience in organisational life.

Worth mentioning is the fact that in the 1990s the recruited women felt so vulnerable discussing their racial experiences in the organisational context that our scheduled meetings had to take place in a setting outside of the organisational context (i.e. my home)

The overarching themes arising from the completed MBA dissertation (titled Unleashing Human Potential: Emancipatory Action Research and Black Women Managers) pointing to some of the human costs of slavery for DoEAs are:
Silence about race (the race taboo), the black life experience and so slavery and colonisation. In short, we were victims of the ignorance of our history that Cicero notes in the above quote causing us to ‘remain always a child’. Silence was a direct result of the race taboo put in place with slavery to ensure that its unsound basis was protected. Our history had been placed under the lock and key of the race taboo with the gaolers being members of the white ethnic majority based on their socialised power over our lives.

Culture: Having been uprooted from our culture of origin (the other half of the bicultural socialisation concept) we continue to be mono-culturally re-socialised into what is today known as ‘black British culture’ through British socialisation (i.e. culture of residence). This cultural situation continues because of the silence and shame which surrounds our history and which is internalised.

Dependency: We were thus left dependent on an external and dominant group resulting in cultural illiteracy while simultaneously deprived of education. We were formally contained in this institution for 300 years, and informally so post abolition.

My MBA research had initiated a process rather than bringing me to a destination. I brought these three themes into my doctoral studies in my commitment to achieving transformational change.

The Human Costs of Slavery

Posted By on August 24, 2014

More often than not, as descendants of enslaved Africans, we are told to forget slavery, move on from it!

What if we cannot move on because we have not yet resolved and so integrated the lessons to be learned from the internalised conflicts this dehumanising experience has left us with?

CBACS was eventually formally birthed in 2007 from my earlier decision in the early 1990s to use autobiographical inquiry to explore what it means to be black British. This was given the distance between my own self-conception and those of the white ethnic majority of what it means for me to be black. It was also necessary because despite being frequently advised to forget my past, the sense of still being ‘enslaved’ and disrespected on account of the black identity was an everyday experience in the world of work.

Insight came when forceful black socialisation aimed at resocialising me to a white perception of who I should be as a black individual/the descendant of enslaved Africans effectively catapulted me into an existential crisis of meaning. My decision to explore what it means to be black in Britain was the decision to research my way out of crisis drawing on the knowledge of the ages given the silences maintained by the white ethnic majority. The persistence and consistency of forceful black socialisation led me to understand what is normally referred to as individual ‘racism’ to be cultural ‘socialisation’. This was a breakthrough in understanding the black British experience.

Ryles idea of reciprocal role procedures as developed, for example, between the enslaved and enslavers during slavery being enacted in relationships between blacks and whites still in the 21st century was a revelation.

The human costs of slavery for descendants of enslaved Africans and the descendants of enslavers could now be surfaced.

(These blogs are a development on ideas shared in Towards Bicultural Competence: Beyond Black and White, Gloria Gordon (2007), published by Trentham Books)

The black-white duality

Posted By on August 24, 2014

Having read Jon Gaunt’s view that children in schools should learn all our history I thought it would be useful to share it on my blog with you – see yesterdays blog.
In googling the article, however, I came across so much criticism of Gaunt’s view (with which I whole-heartedly agree) that I was momentarily stopped in my tracks as I studied what people had to say. I couldn’t have asked for more evidence of the existence of a black-white duality if I had tried!

A colleague of mine sent me the link for Gus John’s view of what is happening in the school system to black children. Of more interest than Gus John’s view are the views of readers commenting on the article. It became clear to me that we really do need to dismantle this black-white duality once and for all so that our children can be extricated from this confusion.

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