Books on African-american Struggles by Dr. Davison
African-Americans have come a long way in the difficult upward struggle from slavery to the relatively broad freedoms enjoyed today. Together as a potent and well-knit group, they have battled endlessly in their march toward freedom.
Having attained physical and political freedom, the time has come for African-Americans to take the last step to total freedom against African-american stuggles. And that last step is psychological freedom. But, in contrast to our past achievements, that last step must be taken as individuals and not as a collective.
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In this assessment of the problems and potentials facing African-Americans, Dr. Davison argues that in order for achieving individuals to advance to the final step of freedom, they must break free from the mental shackles created by the African-American community. That is, they must break free from African-American persons, African-American myths, and African-American traditions that impede their personal progress.
The central theme of Sweet Release is that the forces that impinge most upon psychological freedom for African-Americans come from within the community and within our psyches. Guilt for being successful, shame in reaction to the misbehaviors of race peers, demands to give back to the community, and accusations of trying to be white are just a few of the mechanisms that thwart psychological freedom for African-American individuals.
Dr. Davison argues that individual lifestyles, aspirations, and even identities are constrained by the specter of racial unity for African-Americans. As a result, for African-Americans who are advancing, what remains to be overcome is not “the system” or “them”, but internalized community attitudes that put a choke hold on individual freedom.
Through dialogue, narrative, anecdote and psychological theory, Dr. James Davison, Jr., a clinical psychologist and an African American who grew up in a ghetto, passionately puts forth his startling views about the self-defeating behaviors of African-American people.
Dr. Davison acknowledges that it is harder for African-Americans to get ahead because of racism and discrimination in our society, but he believes African-American people use these age-old obstacles as excuses for their own shortcomings. Furthermore, he asserts that defeatism is a cultural inheritance that many African-Americans embrace vigorously.
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Sadly, according to Dr. Davison, these “insurmountable obstacles” of racism and discrimination have become cultural legacies in African-American communities. Additionally, the acceptance of African-American myths and folklore (such as “Selling Out” and “Keeping it Real”) has restricted individual development within the community.
The results of these beliefs is missed opportunities for economic, social, and personal advancement. The author adds that for future generations of African-American children it will become ever harder to break the bonds of this misguided past.
Dr. Davison’s purpose in writing this book is to challenge all African-American persons to consider the self-imposed chains that we place upon our own thoughts and behaviors, and how those chains thwart our unlimited opportunities. Dr. Davison encourages African-Americans to begin by moving beyond African-american struggles and limits of White Guilt and Black Entitlement in reference to the Past. He also offers strategies to foster responsibility and upward mobility for African-American individuals and communities.