THE RED PILL

DIALOGUE AND DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT AND RACE

 

Good question. First, my name is Al Lewis. I am one of the facilitators for the Red Pill II Training. I am also a Co-Founder of Inward Journey African American Council (The AAFANTE Tribe) which features The Underground Railroad Training Odyssey.

I was involved in some of the first efforts at understanding race and relations in The New Warrior Network. I live in Memphis, TN and at that time Memphis had more black men enrolled in MKP than all of the other centers combined. When issues around "race" arose, I found to my dismay that the powerful tools of ritual process work, like Carpet Work, did not work well. I also found that trying to establish a dialogue with other men left me mostly drained and empty.

As men of color slowly began to leave the wonderful circle of MKP, to which I had invited them, I felt ashamed and judged that I had betrayed them by leading them down the primrose path to disappointment. Eventually, I left the circle I loved and co-founded Inward Journey. I instinctively knew that any healing that was to occur for most men of color was going to have be done around men to whom they were relative. However, I was still fascinated with the issues around race and what the impediments were to insight and healing.

Enter Brother Ted Antle of Chicago. He phoned me and told me of an idea he had to bridge the gap between mainly black and white men in MKP. He asked me would I support him and I secured the blessing of our Tribal Council and, thus, was born The Racial Healing Event which was held in Chicago in the Fall of 1999.

It was there that many of us met Dr. Thomas Griggs and Wekesa M. The Racial Healing Event proved to be a precursor for what would become The Multi-Cultural 101 Work Shop. From there, we developed a list serve we called The Kitchen and to my knowledge it was a one of a kind forum. We called it The Kitchen because sometimes things got really hot in there. Of course, it would. We were dealing with a loaded and sensitive issue, race in America.

Though I loved the banter and encounters, I found it also to be just too draining and unfulfilling. I did attend a MC 101 here in Memphis and enjoyed it. The result of that training was the formation of a local "mixed group" we affectionately called "The Garbage Men," after the gallant brothers who marched with Dr. King in Memphis. We said we had unfinished business to take care of. I came to know and love the men of the group and we still have a special bond. I have established life long friendships with many of these men. However, even that was not enough to bridge this gulf called race.

What then to do? Was there any hope? Was this just an issue too hot to handle? I knew that some white men in MKP were upset with being forced to attend the workshops. Strangely, I found myself agreeing with them. White privilege both confused and delighted me as a theory. Was it real? If I were in that enviable position would I be willing to give it up? I didn't think I would. I could understand why men would resist. I witnessed men feeling ashamed, angry, and resistant. Hell, I didn't blame them.

So, I checked-out of the organization to take a hard and deep look at myself and how I really landed with all this "race stuff". Little did I know that in a few short years my world view would be shattered, torn apart, and I would experience an almost complete reversal of thinking about the whole issue of race and it would be based on something tangible, foundational, and true. No longer would I have to depend on someone else's theories, concepts, and definitions of who and what I was and who and what I was not, or how I was supposed to relate, think, and feel. Before I reached that point, I had to go through my own catharsis. I'd have to face death and as so often happens after facing the ultimate fear one may come into contact with a guide. I did in the person of Dr. Clifford A. Black and my thinking, my feelings, and my life would never be the same.

Now if you think I am about to tell you about a mystic, guru, leader, or something of that sort, you will be sorely disappointed. In fact, Mr. Black is the complete antithesis of any of the those. He will tell you in a heartbeat to believe nothing, trust no one, especially him. He says, "Learn to true it up for yourself, then you can trust yourself." It all began for me with a statement and a question. The statement was, "I am up against a threshold I cannot penetrate." The question was, "Can you help me to break through?" The answer was, "Are you sure you are ready for this because once you start there is no turning back."

I just loved that kind of talk. It reminded me of my initiation weekend, but this man was serious. He didn't crack a smile. After 6 years of study and work under and with him, I can say that he was telling the absolute truth. It has been one great journey getting here. Today, I am not plauged by thoughts of confusion and feelings of rage and shame. I am not prone to accept anyone's theories, concepts, and projections around this issue. In fact, it is neither a hot nor a sensitive issue for me. I can approach it as calmly as, I would say, a conversation about swimming. The reason is that I finally figured it out for myself. Oh, I had lots of help, a lot of pointing to and pointing out, and the figuring out part was all mine.

That is what the Red Pill II is all about, empowering you to look, search, think through, and, of course, feel it all out for yourself. It is a non-shaming, learning environment where you take yourself as deep as you would like to go. We will provide you with the tools. You have to provide the open mind, willingness, and courage to stand under truth.

If you are interested you can contact me at 901.378.2312 or hit me on email at mrmann53@gmail.com .

Namaska

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Comment by Tabari Morris on September 2, 2009 at 11:47pm
As a child, i was gifted in the fact that i was able to travel within the Bay Area and get to go on a couple of "Uncle" sponsored trips to disneyland and Universal Studios. I got to go to many schools in different cities with different personalities, traits, " thought processes", and within that scope, growing up in San Francisco.... Its nothing like the pictures, a recreation of the "scriptures". Its crazy how people dont obtain a scope beyond what is given to them? Good doins sir... i can dig it.
Comment by Clifford Black on July 19, 2009 at 1:29pm
Namaska!!!
Exploration is (can be) a facinating experience when it is done for the benefit of learning.
Comment by Aaron (Al) Lewis on July 9, 2009 at 11:23am
I don't know if this came through when I first posted it as I am not too familiar with blogging. Nonetheless, I found the author's take on individual shadow remarkably similar to the collective shadows of so called black and white people. If you'd just overlay the young child as so called black people and the parents as so called white people you see a pattern and dynamic emerging that is fascinating, at least to me. We do address this in the training by going to the source of the dissonance. Scroll don for the article.

Excepts from, “Meeting The Shadow”.

The way parents influence their children most deeply, however, is by example. Children instinctively observe the choices their parents make, the freedom and pleasures they allow themselves, the talents they develop, the abilities they ignore, and the rules they follow. All of this has a profound effect on children. “This is how to live. This is how to get through life.” Whether the child accepts of rejects their parent’s model or rebel against it, this early socialization plays a significant role.


A child’s reaction to society’s edicts goes through a number of predictable stages. Typically, the first response is to hide forbidden behaviors from the parents. The child thinks angry thoughts, but does not speak them out loud. He explores his body in the privacy of his room. He teases his younger siblings when his parents are away. Eventually the child comes to the conclusion that some thoughts and feelings are so unacceptable that they should be eliminated, so he constructs an imaginary parent in his head to police his thoughts and activities, a part of the mind that psychologist call “super ego”. Now whenever a child has a forbidden thought or indulges in an “unacceptable” behavior, he experiences a self administered jolt of anxiety.

This is so unpleasant that the child puts to sleep those forbidden parts of himself - in Freudian terms, he represses them. The ultimate price of his obedience is a loss of wholeness.

To fill the void, the child creates a “false self”. a character that serves a double purpose: it camouflages those parts of his being that he has repressed and protects him from further injury. A child brought up by a sexually repressive, distant mother, for instance, may become a “tough guy.” He tells himself,”I don’t care if my mother isn’t very affectionate. I don’t need that mushy stuff. I can make it on my own. And another thing - I think sex is dirty!” Eventually he applies this patterned response to all situations. No matter who tries to get close to him, he erects the same barricade. In later years when he overcomes his reluctance to getting involved in a love relationship, it is likely that he will criticize his partner for her desire for intimacy and her intact sexuality: “Why do you want so much contact and why are you so obsessed with sex? It’s not normal!”

A different child might react to a similar upbringing in an opposite manner, exaggerating his problem in the hope that someone will come to his rescue: “Poor me, I am hurt. I am deeply wounded. I need someone to take care of me.” Yet another child might become a hoarder, striving to hold on to every bit of love and food and material goods that comes his way out of the certain knowledge that there is never enough. But, whatever the nature the nature of the false self, its original purpose is the same: to minimize the pain the pain of losing the child original, God-given wholeness.

At some point in a child's life, however this ingenious form of self protection becomes the cause of further wounding as the child is criticized for having these negative traits. Others condemn him for being distant or needy or self centered or fat or stingy. His attackers don’t see the wound he is trying to protect, and they don’t appreciate the clever nature of his defenses: all they see is the neurotic side of his personality. He is deemed inferior, he is less than whole.

Now the child is caught in a bind. He needs to hold on to his adaptive character traits, because they serve a useful purpose, but he doesn’t want to be rejected. What can he do?

Namaska,

Al

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