Are AUSA Paranoid?

by Burnett W. “Kwadwo” Gallman, Jr., M.D.
Burnett W. “Kwadwo” Gallman, Jr., M.D. Burnett W. “Kwadwo” Gallman, Jr., M.D.

A paranoid person is unreasonably anxious, suspicious, or mistrustful and feels threatened even when there is no evidence that they are being threatened. To me the key words in that definition are “evidence” and “unreasonably”.

When we look at the history of this country and the current state of Black America, some serious thought should be given to the answer to the title question. For the overwhelming majority of this country’s existence, people of Afrikan origin were either enslaved or subjected to second- or third-class treatment through what I call American Apartheid (or what others call segregation).

I have occasionally been asked why everything must be about race. Playing the “race card” is considered a negative thing. Playing the victim when we have been victimized is considered a negative thing.

Let’s look at the numbers:

1. If we count from the year 1776 to 2023, the United States is 247 years old.

2. However, if we count from 1619, when British enslavement was started here, we were enslaved on this land mass for 146 years (longer if we start from Spanish enslavement in 1526 in South Carolina). This is more than half the age of the United States.

3. From 1865 to 1868 (3 years) when the 14th Amendment which granted US citizenship to the formerly enslaved Afrikans was ratified, we were just called Freedmen. We were not citizens and had no real legal status and could not have been called even Afrikan Americans.

4. We experienced a brief period of a small degree of respect and stability after the Civil War, which approximately ½ the country fought to continue to enslave us (ironically, many, if not most of the people who fought to end slavery were racist). This period was called Reconstruction and lasted from 1865 to 1876 (11 years) when the white northerners and white southerners reunited. We were the victims in this reuniting.

5. From 1876 to 1954 (78 years), legal segregation based on race, cloaked untruthfully as “separate but equal” was the law of the land. During much of this time, lynching of AUSA and dozens of race massacres went unpunished and even unreported.

So, for most of the history of this country, race (which is not even a biological “thing”) was the defining factor of how people in the US were treated. Stepping outside the boundaries of these racially defined borders could be disastrous and deadly, regardless of how hard we worked or how much material wealth we had acquired. So, we were conditioned to make everything about race. Our parents, grandparents and all our Ancestors drilled these racial boundaries into our heads for our own safety and the “outside world” (white folks) monitored and enforced these boundaries, especially the police, the descendants of the “paddyrollers” (the “slave catchers”).

How is this manifested today? Well, let’s look at some of the facts:

1. The median white worker makes 25% more than the typical Black worker.

2. AUSA are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites.

3. AUSA students are less likely to be exposed to advanced classes.

4. Polluting industries are more likely to be located near AUSA communities.

5. The poverty rate for AUSA is twice that of whites.

6. AUSA own homes at almost ½ the rate of whites.

7. AUSA have the highest death rates for all cancers.

8. AUSA have two times the infant death rate of the national average.

9. AUSA have 10% the wealth of whites.

10. AUSA have higher rates of chronic illnesses.

11. AUSA have shorter life expectancy than whites.

These are only the tip of the iceberg. The specter of race underlies all these disparities. We must never forget what we have survived and have thrived under. It is entirely “reasonable” for AUSA to have a degree of paranoia, given our experience in this country. To me, if an AUSA is not at least a little paranoid, she or he must be mentally ill. We cannot allow ourselves to be gaslighted into discounting our history with that BS about the so-called “race card” or “playing the victim”. The race card was and is real and we have been victimized. But we survived and thrived.

Food for thought.