Dr Naim Akbar has developed two main ideas in his book ‘Breaking the chain of psychological slavery’ as those of the impacts of slavery and the control of Caucasian descriptions of worship on the African-American psychology. He introduces the behavioral determinant which he states that he don’t have any big legality of that western psychology. He says that over the last 300 years, he has heard experiences of brutal and unnatural slavery that brought up a severe psychological and shared shock in the minds of the slaves.
Chapter one: liberation from mental slavery
The psychologist’s essay that is entitled ‘Liberation from mental slavery’, provides some strategies for breaking from this psychological chain. He reminds the reader of other forms of beast life in the world. It is only the human life that has natural form of life which is operated based on self consciousness or what each person knows about his/her own life. White and black people’s minds are all the same, the difference is brought about by the distorted information about the white people and the lack of necessary information to the black people who have on all aspects been oppressed (Akbar, 1990). He thus gives a warning to the black people by telling them that it can be hard for people to recognize their slave mentality since the ‘very nature of mental slavery creates an illusion that we are free’.
Akbar introduces his book by giving a background on the bequest of slavery and continues to search for the legacy of despair and memory alerting illusions that are meant to keep us (the readers) in the track of the truth. The African-American’s attitude towards work was very devastating as it was totally distorted and probably quite extensive. Slavery was seen as forced labor in the view of many, this is because it had to kick-off before dawn and end after dusk, from ones childhood to old age or until totally disabled, therefore it was a lifelong perspective the slaves were forced to work under very harsh threats of abuse and death. But the work had nothing to do with providing their life’s needs, but for the master’s gain. Under ordinary circumstances, work is looked upon with much pride, as it provide one with an opportunity to express themselves with the esteem they want and it seen by others. It as well provides with survival needs to the worker and the dependants around him. It is therefore not distinguishable from a play, in short, working is fun. In situations of slavery, this was kind of punishment. Work became hated with time like do any activity that causes suffering and brings no reward or the doer. Work was equated with slavery and was much of the times approached with unwillingness. It was identified with the activities of an underdog and there was nothing in it to be viewed with pride.
Many African Americans came up with alternative habits to avoid work like overreliance on get-rich quick schemes like gambling. This was mostly done to remove the slag of work in them to avoid the concept of slave. Many difficulties were experienced when trying to establish a business because of their hatred to work and it was seen as a preserve of the whites. Surely the historic origin of work hatred does not solely explain the afro American work orientation. There existed equally relevant shortage in jobs and many obstacles related to benefits from work as it d happen to other members of the society.
The issues he addressed in his book resulted in a slave jealous towards their masters that more often than not resulted in vandalism and much hatred towards their masters. I do agree with these actions that made them get a bit of liberation as their masters could only give their slaves only what they could not do without. This mistreatment and the upset caused by their masters make us see where the slaves got their hatred towards their masters from. Akbar’s article opened the minds of the slaves which in turn brought the awareness that they could have the choice to fight for their mental liberty. The most fascinating point that he made was that of having faith and hope of always having to keep up with changes.
The normal definition of work is ‘labor’, but that of slavery is ‘forced labor’. People are forced to do manual work by force with little or no monetary reward for it. This was entirely meant for the benefit of European slave owners’ survival and development at the expense of the black slaves whom they always had to crack the whip on. The brutal and abusive punishment the slave received was meant to keep them subjective to psychological torture and pass them to their descendants.
In my opinion, whatever the write addressed was in line of political and economic liberation that any upright thinking person could think of. The attitude of working hard at ones place of work is important to ensure sound future of having money and owning at least some property. This process of change, keep a constant reduction of the attitude of personal inferiority that can prevent one from becoming empowered. The idea of getting liberated from mental slavery, and the means to break the slavery chain from ones future generation, allows one to break the cycle of a cursed generation by increasing awareness and knowledge to oneself and the people around.
Chapter two: Liberation from the mental slavery
This chapter devises ways of breaking these psychological chains outlined in chapter one where the author reminds every one of us that no matter how big or small one is, the minds are guided by the individuals natural programming. People only know about themselves and what they are taught.
The author tries to communicate the things that make human beings a unique species and concludes that self-consciousness makes differentiate people from other animals in the universe. The fact is that we have no feelings of limitation as people and possess an aspect of self-knowledge that makes us keep on progressing. We do not have to clarify that we have at least one limitation that can prevent our progress which rest on our ignorance. We should always feel important on what we are and what we can do, she says. Whenever human beings gain consciousness, the true human capacity in them is revealed. The same way that human beings are of a special species, the same way they should have the potential to be amazingly cruel and contemptible. Human beings are of the form that can engage in combined self murder with motives unacceptable in the society. The argument brought about is that people are usually worked to in order to create circumstances that can help maximize the consciousness in them.
The basis of oppression as viewed by human is when working the other way and maximizing other people’s consciousness. From the writers perspective, human slavery is a gradual process whereby the minds of a person is controlled by another and the other people follows suit when they lose their self consciousness and end up being imprisoned. It was the same manner that all the black ancestors were captured and tormented and confined in America.
Such writers are of much help to the modern society as were it not for the kinds of them, the topic of slavery, human rights and self liberation could not be talked about. It is because of them that we, the modern human right activists are able to speak loudly on behalf of many peoples and families and at the end manage to bring to an end such social injustices.
The one important question of whether people are ever free is always necessary and need to be asked. Its true to say that the liberal achievement is an underlying theme. Some of the most praised and entertained work involves the issue of the disgrace of racism and the ugliness of being a slave. The book reveals the need to liberalize, rationalize the social and political traditions. He seeks the reader through a biased vision of his survival, inducing in the reader concern agony and negative representation of the white. Akbar in the story tells of more about the cruel and darker world of his time that disliked, exploited and hated people o darker skin. The curse slavery and its to of the society that had been built by disgrace of racism which had only been recognized by the masters and the slaves.
Chapter Three: Racial Inquiry and Psychological Confusion
Dr. Akbar’s chapter three focuses on religious inquiry and psychological confusion. This chapter of the book highlighted ‘Racial Religious Imagery and Psychological Confusion’ is arguably the most controversial yet powerful part of the book. He continuously explores the influence of Caucasian images for worship on the psychology of African- Americans. The assignment of particular characteristics to God is by far the most destructive idea in the world, as viewed by Dr. Akbar. The potential of individuals is adversely affected in that a feeling of divinity is acquired by those who feel or are made to feel that their image is closer to that of God than that of others. Superiority is gained in particular by those whose physical characteristics are inclined to the image of the creator. The African- American population has often and over the years felt inferior due to the imagery of God that has been portrayed. The major concern of dr. Akbar as he expresses in his book is the ‘unconsciously controlling’ effect on the psychology of African- Americans. Through the years, efforts have been made to discard these premises through education or related activities, the notion that the creator is white still stand. For instance many religious symbols depict Jesus as the man with blonde hair and blue eyes. In spite of modernization and critical scholarship, most African- American scholars and men of the clergy cannot challenge the principalities and imagery of the Creator. This is a major indicator of the ‘unconscious’ brainwashing that has taken place across the population and in particular, the inferior.
Other schools of thought argue that biblical figures such as portraits, carvings, sculptures and paintings were produced by European artists over four hundred years ago. Expressing what is familiar to them, it was most likely that black images were excluded from the European expression of the biblical events. Dr. Akbar retaliates that racism has become more powerful than faith. His opinion is based on the belief that liberation from mental slavery will only be achieved through destroying of the captivity mentality through truthful communication about the Black reality and transmission in broad perspectives other than those of color.
Further, Dr. Akbar cautions that liberation is recognition of the fact that God is supreme and does not dwell in human flesh. It is merely not replacing the Caucasian symbols with black images. Although legal freedom was achieved in the nineteenth century, everyone must work to achieve social freedom in the twentieth century and most importantly psychological freedom in the twenty first century ( Molefi Asante, 1990).
Further, Dr. Akbar states that it is very important to get rid of narrow-mindedness or a narrow image of God. Those who have a narrow image ultimately have a narrow mind. Narrow-mindedness, especially about God, restricts the perspectives of individuals thus limiting their true potential. The author believes that people can only reach their potential levels as far as the mind lets them. He also acknowledges the curious mind of human beings that will relentlessly try to fix images of God or what He is. It is wise, according to Dr. Akbar not to idolize or have an imagery of God. According to Dr. Akbar, many individuals in the contemporary society, including the elite have been influenced in how they perceive the imagery of the creator.
In my own views and perspective, Dr. Akbar made a great point about Religious Imagery. People can only go as far as their mind allows them to. If you have a narrow image of God then you have a narrow mind. Narrow mindedness prohibits people from perceiving the correct perspectives. Naim Akbar has in his book uncovered the problems of psychological slavery, racism and religious imagery. Unless the people stand out and intervene on the ‘unconscious control’ of the mind, then enslavement will continue to plaque the African- American community. Although education is passed to generations, the behaviors and attitudes will persist if narrow-mindedness is not demolished.