Week of April 7: Ideology and the Legitimization of Dominance

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Instructions for this week: Read the presentation by your classmates and listen to my lecture (it’s about 22 minutes long) then comment on Wilson’s chapter.

This week’s  presentation:

Student Presentation by Shawna, Alexis, and Aprika

PDF download: Chapter 11

This week’s audio lecture:

It’s approximately 22 minutes long. Play it in your browser by pressing the arrow below. Try it in a different browser or on a laptop/desktop computer if it doesn’t play–especially on mobile devices–and please report any problems to me.

Comments on posts:

You’ll notice the “Leave a Comment” button is now active below. Here’s how it’ll work: you can use these to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either Wilson’s chapter, the presentation, or my lecture using some of the questions raised. conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have until next Wednesday to write those two comments for credit.


21 thoughts on “Week of April 7: Ideology and the Legitimization of Dominance

  1. Fatoumata Tunkara

    In Chapter 11 of “Blueprint for Black Power” Wilson makes very good points when he writes about the power of ideas. Wilson states “If knowledge has power. Ideas have power. Ideas can be coercive and compelling”. I pointed out this line in particular because American ideology of Blacks being the subordinate group has had a huge impact in the lack of power African Americans have. Wilson states how ideology works as a mean to legitimize power and social systems by providing rational and justifications. I agree with Wilson’s statement here because if a certain ideology is indebted into the minds of a certain race people are more likely to follow those ideologies whether its voluntary or involuntary. For example the Black community feels inferior to whites therefore it allows for excuses of failure to permeate. Wilson states in the chapter the white ruling class ideologies consist of their claim to power being natural. Since the White ruling class has already developed a certain ideology as being superior then society is more likely to follow those principles as well. One of the solutions Wilson advocates is exposure of Afrocentric ideas to a broad range of publications and taking advantage of media to spread Afrocentric ideas. I agree that this would be a possible solution to shifting the ideologies in the Black community. Wilson was ahead of his time when he states this as a viable solution. I think that this would be effective in creating a different ideologies because social media platforms have shown to be very persuasive and has had the ability to reach many people to spread a certain message all at once.

    1. E R

      I agree with your statement, I also do believe that the media is a big influence on what we do. Everything we do is based on what we see. I too think Wilson was ahead of his time because of the ideas he put out before it happens. Blacks need to come together as one more often because that would make the nation more powerful, there many powerful things about the black community but we have to come together as one. I like a lot of your points .

      1. Nevia Cridlan

        I agree with you. Wilson was on a path reaching out to people of color encouraging them to come together, stop fighting against one another. Coming together has a nation will make us much stronger and more powerful. People of color are unique, resilient and very hard working. Wilson was looking way beyond the natural eyes. Unity is strength but divided we will fall.

  2. E R

    I agree with how ideology ties into chapter 3 when it comes to family and culture because it can come from these two things. It can either personal as well as culture. Why because of all falls down to the idea of how you were raised, were you with a strict family or was your family even involved in your upbringing that can have and influence, on your ideology. Both ideas work together. Ideology can control how people behave in serval ways as stated in chapter 11. One is the influences of what we see, how much social media we deal with. The media doesn’t tell you what to think, but it does help what you think about. Another way is how you view yourself and what changes you make within yourself. The last ideology allows you to believe what is right and what is wrong based on your religion and how you portray the world. I believe these are all important to know when it comes to ideology because it all ties into each other and these are things we encounter daily especially when it comes to the black community. I also think it is important to have your own ideology as a black person because for many years whites have tried to make black history their own and because they have a bigger voice it was easier to believe the things from the textbooks. Have your own ideology will allow you to grow and understand what history really was and what can we do as black people to change it.

    1. Fatoumata Tunkara

      Hey ER

      I agree with many of the points you made in your post. I personally believe that ideology controls how people behave. The media has a huge impact on many of the common ideologies that exist today. To your point about Blacks having their own ideology that doesn’t tie into the white power structure I think that’s very important. Its one of the reasons why Wilson states the importance of spreading Afrocentric ideologies through the media.

      1. Nevia Cridlan

        I agree with you today the media is a way of communicating with others and spreading information. People is using the media for many different reasons, sometimes it can be bad and sometimes it can be good, but Wilson want us to use it in a positive way to carry on the legacy that he has left behind.

    2. Renee P

      I completely agree with your analysis of the chapter and the connections you’ve made to it. I do believe that it is very important for Black Americans to have their own ideology otherwise, they’d believe everything they see and hear on social media. Given the fact that ideologies control how one acts, if an individual absorbs an ideology that only presents false realities, then that person will become yet another subject rather than a citizen in this country. If an ideology is presented to the Black community that strengthens our idea of our character and identity in a productive way, then we’d have a bigger voice in this nation.

  3. Michael Ogundipe

    I agree with Wilson’s explanation of ideology and the power it has in a society in chapter 11. If you think about it, ideology shapes every persons beliefs, train of thought, interactions, relationship, and even helps persuade a person to choose which media platform that shares the same ideologies with their own. When it comes to the media, it’s important to remember that all forms of media want to sell and or push their own agenda to the masses. To say if that agenda is good or bad really depends on the person’s ideologies that listens or watches it and that in my opinion shows the power it has. We also live in a time of “fake news” and “staying woke” due to social media which adds another dimension of how ideology’s power can be used on a global scale. Meaning that there are some people that gets their news on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, and etc because what they find matches their own ideologies and they don’t always do extra research to make sure the post is factual.

    1. Aprika T

      I like how you highlighted the fact that in media their main goal is to push and or sell their own agenda. When people are viewing these media outlets they sometimes for get remember that most times things they see always have a purpose behind it. Also people sometimes forget the fact that there are lots of fake news articles that surface and seem to be true especially on social media sites.

      1. Emma R

        Very true the media has become a dependency for many people. We have come to a point where if it is not seen online it has no value or its not true.

  4. Renee P

    Wilson, in the beginning of the chapter, refers to Thomas R. Dye when he explains how ideologies affect how people think. One key point that stood out most to me was: “Ideologies frequently describe the character of human beings in society; they help us become aware of certain aspects of society but often impair our ability to see other aspects” (221). i agree with this impact that ideologies have on the human mind. As humans, we’re placed on this Earth and are free to pursue whichever path of life we choose. Ideologies are created and disseminated throughout the world to give the amorphous paths we choose some structure. In America, the ultimate goal of many of its institutions is to bolster white supremacy and carry out its intended effects. With this in mind, one can conclude that given the amount of power ideology has on the human mind, this is something that is most susceptible to contamination. The ruling class, as Wilson articulates, diffuses various ideologies mass media–those that maintain the idea that Black Americans are subordinate to white Americans. This ideology is promulgated through self-serving propaganda at an angle that presents this power dynamic as one of natural occurrence. The other side of the coin of ideological hegemony encompasses thwarting the circulation of opinions that challenge the status quo of white America. In further explanation of the effects of the media, Wilson quotes Michael Parenti in 1986 when he writes: “the media may not always be able to tell us what to think, but they are strikingly successful in telling us what to think about” (225). This description of the manipulative nature of the media is very accurate for one can look to examples from America’s history and even its present day to see this in practice. According to Wilson, “the militant police-erected cointelpro of the 1960s and 70s decimated ideological encampments in the Afrikan-centered armed resistance groups,” these groups include the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (232). The Black Panthers founded themselves on the values of self-determination and surviving in a world where all odds are against you. Raising the consciousness of Black Americans and fortifying their sense of identity isn’t in the agenda of white supremacy because the former will eradicate the latter. Therefore, the FBI did everything in its power to stop this organization. In the present day, we see this through mainstream music. Artists like Young Thug, Moneybagg Yo, and Future are big names in the music industry and get much more airtime on the radio because of the realities they perpetuate of drug abuse, gun violence, over-sexualizing women, and money. Other artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are, too, very popular but don’t get many plays on the radio because of the consciousness-raising content that lives in their music. Mass media has a very subtle way of luring members of the African American community towards ideological hot spots that preserve the notion that Black Americans are inherently inferior to white Americans.

    1. Bereket Mengistu

      Reading your response, all I could think about is: Ideology is a social construct. They created them to rule. The group with the best and smart ideas gets to rule the world. Black Panthers like you said had a great base of ideology to self-determine but that was a threat to the main stream idea of white supremacy, hence they had to use every chance possible to burry the Black Panther party.

  5. Nevia Cridlan

    In chapter 11 Wilson, explain ideologies in a very understand way, it is as clear as crystal. On page 221 number (4) “Ideologies provide motivation for social and political action. They give their followers motivation to act to improve world conditions. Ideologies can “convert” individuals to a particular social or political movement and arouse them to action.” I can relate to this because ideologies has motivate me in a positive way to moved from the poor population and environment where my family and I was living. The condition of the environment was dangerous, it was full of violence and crimes. Coming together and taking action was one of the best thing we did has a family. The place where we are living now is safe, the community is much better because we help and support each other the best way that we can. When someone is converted it will bring changes but it is up to the individual to put those ideas into action.

  6. NEVIA.CRIDLAN@lc.cuny.edu

    Good Morning I just saw this email. Am sorry for the late reply on the comments on chapter 11. Great chapter very powerful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Esme Lovemore

    I think chapter 11 was a very interesting topic that reminbds me of many things. For me it brings into focus how leaders think as it relates to power, politics and the growth of the population. Professor please allow me to make a little comparisonn to then and now. In a big way, it reminds me of race suicide and how Roouthvelt used his knowledge along with the power to encourage the better class to reproduce more rapidly in order to populate society so they can be stronger and overcome the inferior. Being stronger is power. On page 220, Wilson talks about how ideas enable or empower men through their capacity to introduce them into States of consciousness conducive to the achievement of certain personal and social goals. Here we see influence at play to achieve the desired goal. The soon to be president goal was to ensure that the superior race such as the white supremacist race grew so large that it outnumbered all rather race and in the end wipe them out. But now we don’t have to look very far, the power now and ideology now determine who gets medical help and for how long and who don’t.

    1. Leah

      I like how you have used this as an opportunity to talk about not-my-president and his goal to uphold white supremacists in order to normalize their ideologies. Since it is being normalized more white supremacists are finding it easier to make that ideology their normal and to project it outwardly onto others instead of hiding in the shadows.

  8. Alexis B.B

    Wilson gives us patterns of human behavior and what is right and what is wrong in today society but yet we can justifiesthe wrongness with a phenomenon mind set that challenge our charater in America today.

  9. Aprika T

    Throughout chapter 11 Wilson speaks on many ways in which the people who are in charge control others ideologically. One thing he spoke about that caught my eye was the fact that he brought up the white elite corporate elite media/information establishment and how they control what its viewers see. For example many people believe that just because a business is black owned that it is fully owned by a black person. In fact these businesses are represented and “owned” by Afrikan Americans but they are sponsored by whites and when white sponsor these businesses they are still in control of the types of information these businesses are advertising and showing to the people who watch and follow them. He also goes on to talk about a class of Black people, starting with those of the middle-class who want nothing to do with term second class or even being remotely associated with poor Afrikan Americans. They comfortably adjusted to aspiring to being as white as they can be. The platform for Black Media was tainted by Black Bourgeoisie.

  10. Leah

    In this chapter, Wilson discusses ideology and how it effects society on both the personal and collective level. He reiterates that ideology is an integrated system of ideas that provide society and its members for rationalizations for the way of life, guides for evaluating rightness and wrongness, and emotional impulses to action. These instilled ideologies affect our perceptions on how we understanding the world. They condition us to believe that the world as presented by the dominant group is whats natural. Wilson’s connection of the personal and the collective being effected by the hegemonic ideology reminds me of Audre Lorde’s “the personal is political”. Lorde reminds Black women that their personal experiences are affected by the larger social and political structures that exist to uphold the dominant ideology. Learning about Lorde and Wilson’s critiques and perspectives of our hegemonic societal ideologies has helped me evaluate and critique my personal thoughts and the ways in which society has conditioned me to think.

  11. Bereket Mengistu

    In Chapter 11, Wilson raises a great point about ideology. He emphasizes on how much ideology contributes in creating a big line of difference in the social, economic and political life of people of different races. He mainly goes on about how much of the racial oppression was continuing through a disguised ideology that helps White people in power to remain at the top and for Blacks to stay down. I agree with most of the points he raised in this chapter mainly because he didn’t only blame the whites in power and their ideologies that stand against us, he also criticize Black people and how we also play a major role in carrying on some negative ideologies in our behavior and how we carry ourselves in every aspect of our lives.

    I like Wilson for criticizing both the Black Bourgeoise and the Black conservatives on their respective ideologies but I find some of his critic to be a bit too conservative as well. He criticizes some of the modern music and Black entertainment to be degrading because he believes it is “mind-numbing” to the youth. I disagree with him because those arts that comes of as such are just an expression of the artist and the reality they live in.

  12. Jose Tejada

    Ideology is probably the most important factor in our society. Our decisions are all based on our idea of things. It influences one’s beliefs, thoughts, interactions, and relationships. If you listen to something for a long time, something that you don’t necessarily agree with, it will start to make sense to you. When it comes to news and getting our information, I believe it imperative that one finds several reliable sources of information to get information. At the core, media companies are just that, companies. Their main goal is to profit. Even if they express beliefs that a person strongly agrees with, one must always doubt and find a second opinion. Like when you do to a doctor, in cases of terminal illnesses or maybe even simpler procedures, the doctors themselves usually advise the patient to get a second opinion before they know that they want to do. Doing this will ensure that, even if you end up making a wrong decision, you at least made the effort to make an informed decision.


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