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Learned Helplessness: The Robbing of Black Agency
A core issue with the Woke left is its inability to distinguish between intentions and real-world outcomes. Despite good intentions and a desire to do good, woke activists easily fall into the trap of ‘Progressive Tunnelvision’ where they become obsessively focused on the goals of a trend or movement without considering how the practical outcomes might manifest in reality. One example, as exemplified by the below horseshoe, is the overlap between Woke dogma and classical racism.
Those who preach about “White Supremacy” assert Whites have a privilege minorities do not possess. Those who preach about “White Privilege” assert Whites have a privilege minorities do not possess. There are intentions and there is the practical reality. Politics is a horseshoe. Eugenics has been reborn in the form of race-essentialist social science spread through critical theories. Another example is the robbing of personal agency from African Americans. The consequences of this can be noted by observing the impact of the Great Racial Awokening after Black Lives Matter first rose to prominence.
First, let’s examine a concept known as learned helplessness:
Learned helplessness occurs when an individual continuously faces a negative, uncontrollable situation and stops trying to change their circumstances, even when they have the ability to do so.
In other words: negative messaging can make an individual feel powerless even if they are capable of seizing power. If you are an African American and constantly hear in the media and culture that race is an impediment to your success, then that belief will become more widespread in your communities which is what the social eugenicist messaging has done to African Americans. Let’s examine the timeline.
In 2012 a majority of Blacks felt they had agency and could change their personal outcomes while a mere 30% felt discrimination was a primary impediment.
Then Black Lives Matter and the Great Racial Awokening happened where racially charged messaging increased across all major media outlets.
By 2021, these numbers had reversed: only 25% of Blacks viewed themselves as having agency for their own condition while 68% viewed discrimination as a primary detriment.
Those pushing the Critical Race Theory inspired messaging that led to a doubling in Blacks feeling a loss of agency graduated from universities that pushed similar racial messaging. When people talk about the Woke making things worse, this is precisely what is meant. Regardless of intentions, there is very little room to justify a doubling in the number of Blacks feeling a loss of agency. The burden of the proof is on the Woke to explain how movements that have engaged in mass psyops to induce learned helplessness in Blacks, can be doing good.
When so much of the messaging we see in the media, academia, and corporate culture is spent promoting concepts of victimhood, is it really a surprise to see the spread of learned helplessness? The simple truth is this: when you blame others for everything, you have power over nothing. When Woke dogma places the blame for all Black suffering onto the backs of Whites and racism, it is robbing Blacks of agency and power. From Brookings: “Enter adulthood with 3 major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.” Of the people who follow these steps, none of which are limited by race, only 2% are in poverty and 75% joined the middle class. The messaging marketed toward African Americans needs to emphasize actionable steps that can be taken rather than the race-essentialist approach that has been used thus far. Through a changed approach that focuses on things goals like education, marriage, and career, the issue of learned helplessness in the Black community can be reversed and Blacks can reclaim their sense of personal power and agency.