Shining A “Humanistic Light” on Racism

Dr. Carroy (Cuf) Ferguson, Ph.D.

On July 14, 2019, race-linked tweets, filled with racially charged negative rhetoric, began to emerge for a country, the United States, to grapple once more with its past, present, and future.  The tweets were directed toward four duly elected women of color in Congress.  In this light, the phenomenon of racism, yet again, was abruptly made more overt, rather than covert.  Indeed, it is fair to say that the phenomenon of racism is often an “unconscious or veiled phenomenon” for some. 

And, while there are those who would like to continue to use the defenses of rationalization and diversion to shift the focus elsewhere, it is clear what the phenomenon was and it is important to keep the light shining on what is so—the phenomenon of racism. So, what does it mean to shine a “humanistic light” on racism?  As a phenomenon, racism can be both an individual and societal “illness,” and no illness can be honestly and authentically healed if what is so is not seen, properly diagnosed and recognized, and acknowledged.  Shining a humanistic light on the cancerous phenomenon of racism, therefore, enables us to constructively deal with it and to find empowering ways to remove it at both individual and collective levels.  In essence, then, the key to a “humanistic light” is first to recognize and to acknowledge what is so and subsequently to invite, invoke, and evoke proactivity, and not simply reactivity, in envisioning constructive ways to honor and respect our individual and collective human being-ness and dignity, inclusive of who we are as wonderful, beautiful, and diverse racial beings.  This kind of “light” allows us to get in touch with and to honor our respective race-linked and soul-linked dramas individually and collectively.

Given the above perspective, in previous writings I have sought to evoke this humanistic light to consciously deal with racism in order to heal what I call the “unconscious race-linked wound in the human psyche”.  Here I simply want to reiterate a few of those earlier thoughts, as they have particular relevance in July 2019 and beyond.  

 In an August 25, 2017 AHP blog article in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia event on August 12, 2017 I stated that: “While valuing the complexities of the human experience, as an Association for promoting well-being (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually), we want to make it clear that racism in all its overt, covert, and subtle forms is antithetical to the humanistic values and principles of AHP and humanistic psychology.  Indeed, hatred, based on skin color, has no place in a humane society.  And, in fact, hatred of any form, for whatever reason(s), has no place in a humane society.”  I also indicated that: “Racism is born out of ego-linked fears—fear of differences (otherness), of intimacy (closeness), of the unknown (unfamiliar or new things), and of vulnerability (death or annihilation).”  I titled that blog article “AHP’s Call To Action: Take A Stand To Consciously Deal With Racism”.  I reiterate that call to action NOW.

In previous writings, I have also called attention to my 2016 award-winning book, Evolving The Human Race Game: A Spiritual and Soul-Centered Perspective.  I have done so, not to be self-serving. My primary intent is about finding ways to heal that race-linked wound in the human psyche and to assist us in evolving our consciousness.  Perhaps one of my book reviewers said it best.  “This is not just another book about race relations.  It is about a quantum shift in our consciousness and understanding of who we are as souls” (Leland ‘Chip’ Baggett, author, Waking Up Together and So Where’s The Dream; past AHP President & Co-President).  One example of how the book has been creatively used involved a discussion group that was formed in Boston. After inviting me to speak about the book, I found out later that group members, without my encouragement and without my subsequent presence, decided on their own to take turns reading particular chapters, with the readers leading various exploratory discussions about race and evolving their consciousness.  So, I invite those interested in healing the race-linked wound to find creative ways to use the material in this book—perhaps form support groups, family dialogues, educational events, send it as a gift to someone you think might benefit from it at some point, etc.  It is time to “wake up” and to “shine a humanistic light on racism” so that we may heal the race-linked wound in the human psyche and evolve our consciousness individually and collectively.

Carroy (Cuf) Ferguson, PhD
President, Association for Humanistic Psychology

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