White dude becomes Black 4 a week
Awake Study Group Interview: Mr. Joshua Solomon and Neely Fuller
Bilal: Mr Solomons.
Bilal: Hold on a second we're going to turn the volume up.
Bilal: Yes, Mr. Solomons.
Bilal: Mr. Fuller.
Bilal: Yes, hello. This is a meeting of the Awake study group, a division of the black history club here at GSFC. And we have invited Mr. Joshua Solomons to give us some insight on his experiment. Maybe Mr. Solomons can, start out at some point and let us know, you know, basically what that experiment was and we can get into it from there. Mr. Solomons Mr. Fuller is a person who has written a book on racism its called the United Independent Compensatory Code System Concept and its a Textbook or Workbook for Victims of Racism or victims of White Supremacy and he is on the line also with you.
Bilal: Maybe you can start out and, let me say there are, about fourteen people here collected at Goddard at this uh meeting room uh you know in this conference call and they will be available for comments and or any questions they might have for you. So maybe you can start out by you know, giving us some kind of overview about your maybe reasons for doing what you did and exactly what did you do.
Solomons: Okay sure, first of all kinda when people refer to it as an experiment I sort of cringe because you know, I'm a business education major not a sociologist or a scientist in any way. And so what I did wasn't very scientific I, because I didn't you know, I never planned it that way because I didn't plan on writing the article or a book or any of these things that have come to light in the wake of the article. this is just something that I did for me personally to resolve some questions that I had. So what I did was, well, basically the question that I had was kinda what is racism does it, really exist and how does it exist. I had those questions, I think just growing up in Silver Spring just outside of Washington D.C. as many of you know its almost like kind of this huge racial racial argument. The haves and have nots are always fighting, black and white, I'd heard it for so long from the white folks that this is a, a, you know its a fair and equal playing field and black folks saying no and I guess I had to know for myself. Cause I had several black friends had often told me about what they thought racism was and I'd often heard that it, it was a white man's world, I, I outwardly, I, I think like most white people I was outwardly sympathetic, but, deep down inside, again, like most white people I was suspicious that perhaps they were using racism as an alibi or a crutch and I you know it was kind of inconsistent and I just had to know for myself what was the answer. So what I did was after reading a book by John Howard Griffin I'd taken as a Junior in High School, I decided that perhaps one day I'd go out and do what he did. To find out the truth. So what I did was I took Psorlin its a medication for the treatment of Vitiligo for about eight weeks. This last February I'd dropped out of school and and in addition to U.V.A. lighting when you expose your skin to it it brings out the melanin in it I think that's the way it works I'm not necessarily sure but the end result is black skin. And so I did that for a short time, for a week, and only a week cause I couldn't necessarily take it too long, I lived, I guess I presented myself to the world as a, a black man.
JD: What is the name of the chemical you said you used?
Bilal: What was the time frame in which you did this?
Solomons: Actually I started taking the medication in February and went through March and I left. Actually after I shaved my head and think that I looked convincing that was early April the like I said I was out for one week. Griffin was out for twenty five days in total. I talked to his wife and widow recently and she said he had many of the same problems that I did. He locked himself up into his hotel room, for days on end, because he had a very tough time too. I think, you like, one think you don't realize is well I hear, first I just want kind of a disclaimer cause people tend to think that; in the article it was one of the editorials wrote that Josh Solomons wanted to, in quotes then he added "be black" that disturbed me because that's not what I did, I have no idea what it is to be black and nor was that ever my intentions. What I was looking for was 'white racism'. What I did was cross that color line and in essence look back at my own people, look back at white folks myself. And I got a chance to see what 'white racism' was. Not what it was like to be black, I mean, you know, its impossible, I've lived my life twenty years as a white person (laughter) that's the only thing I know. Basically I think what white people feel and I think also means the experiment, I guess it was very shocking because, I guess my if you call it an experiment you know my whiteness for twenty years I was in control, I knew the way things would have been, I knew the type of, now that I look back on it the kind of 'prima facia' respect that you received by the color of your skin or of by, you know, white folks received - automatically. And when I didn't get that, you know, it was quite disturbing, it was going, you know, jumping in from one extreme to the other. I like, like when I talk to my friend Robert now, and, you know, I ask him sometimes how do you go through the day, I mean, every day was a nightmare for me. But I think what, you know, what Robert wanted to explain is he knows life no other way. He's grown up twenty one years like that, I mean, you know, something else would happen if people started, tried to treat him, I guess like white folks, it would be a shock for him.
TL: What was the worst experience that caused you to turn back after a week.
Solomons: Lets see, people ask that a lot. There was no single experience that kinda, just turned me around, like the story I wrote for the Post (Washington Post), was, I think, edited rather poorly, was about this constant pounding how over this week period it just never, ever, stopped. and you know, by the nature of newspaper writing, they have to do a lot of editing, so they take out, you know, most of the key, I guess, events that I wish they'd hit on, they only hit on a couple, I think like the police brut-, when the police pulled me over, the lady followed me around in one of the stores, and stuff, and that was I think a poor incident cause I had others that illustrated that better. Just the fact that, I couldn't even start a conversation with white folks in most of the cases nor get them to even return my smile when I past them on the street, you know, they'd look away so quickly that they couldn't even see that, yes, I was just trying to be friendly. It's a million things, but, what happened was and I think why I turned around in the end was I was talking to a poor, you know, to a homeless kid named Chris I didn't read the article so I don't know, I think they left this in there, but I mean this kid was basi-, I mean, he was kind of low on the social ladder, but he still felt that basically he could call me, nigger. And you know, and I tried to explain to him for a while after that that something was wrong here, particularly in this town which I don't think was any different from D.C.. You know, they didn't talk about my experience in and around Washington D.C. in the article so people I guess tend to figure that I was southern bashing, but, that wasn't the case because you know it was really no difference at all where ever I went, Atlanta, Gainesville, Washingon, Virginia, but, you know, I tried to tell this kid, Chris well look at your town here why do all the blacks live on this side of town and whites on the other. I think I gave up then because I realized that I wasn't going to be able to convince anyone. Not that I was really there to do that this was just for myself but I'd learned my lesson by then and answered my questions and so you know I had nothing else to prove.
Bilal: So, in an analysis of what you said earlier, and an answer to your own question, does white supremacy exist?
Solomons: Oh sure, yeah, see I, that's a good point, like, I said to someone recently, that the problem is, well first of all blacks and whites have two different definitions of racism, and blacks or, whites believe that kinda hate is a necessary prerequisite for racism and that's not necessarily true I think what uh probably, you know, if you want to call it a prerequisite for racism, fundamentally, is supremacy, I think that's the real problem. So white people tend to feel that since they don't go out and commit some overtly racist act that they're not racist. But what I try to say at every occasion I get to speak is that you don't understand that were all racist, every single one of us. America socializes racists, we produce racists, probably better than anything else. And every institution we have plays a fundamental role and that every single one and, for a white person to tell me they're not racist is ridiculous theres not one of us that could ever escape it. but, I again about all we could hope to do is be conscious of it, check it, hold it aside and not let it run things.
JD: at any part of your experiment did you get any threats from your white counterparts?
Solomons: Well, what happen-, I didn't do anything after I came home basically and locked myself up in my house I didn't leave much cause I just didn't want to be seen as a black person any more so I waited almost a couple of weeks for my skin to at least, you know, a closer color to what I'd been at least until people knew I was definitely white and I sat on this for a while until two months later a writer for the Post called me up and he'd heard what I'd done and asked me to write about it. So, up until October 30th, it wasn't the kind of thing that you go ahead and tell people, I mean, this was my family and me, and that was basically it, and a couple of friends. Nobody knew to threaten me anyway, but, after the article did come out I did get some strange calls and some threatening letters. But, the majority of, you know, the communication I got has been positive.
TL: So what do you have to say to the question that, or to the, statement that, the plight of the black folks socially is because of their intellect?
Solomons: Oh god, I mean, its like, you know, its kinda like the Bell Curve, I was looking through that book recently. you know, er, I kinda did some talking on the phone, I think he was an African immigrant, maybe he was from Nigeria, and he talked to me and said well, how come when we come to this country, he was telling me about how his uncle basically came here and made a fortune and how and he tried to convince me that Afro-Americans were lazy. And I explained to him, I said, well you know, one day you'll have children and they'll grow up in this environment you see how they react. I mean, I mean, its this environment that we put them in, like the education system, I think its totally inadequate its ridiculous, its like this, I mean, every February we'd have this black history month, like you know, like I grew up with that from elementary school. And you know, for a short time, we devote a small portion of our studies to Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, that's basically it, and we go and tell them look at this black people are, you know, great too, same old stuff. And then for the remaining eight months of the school year we show them nothing, I mean, we basically just pay lip service to that. I mean we come out of the it, the American education system thinking that black folks have played, I mean, no role in world politics or history. I mean we teach them European history, but, nothing about African history. I think, you know just like, I used that to illustrate my point, but I mean, there's nothing that we do. Nothing could ever bolster, I guess, the confidence of black children. I mean, they grow up and they're constantly pounded. I mean you put anyone in that environment, and I mean, if they do indeed succeed, I mean that's a miracle there. I mean, its like we hop on their back or we tell them to go out and, you know, go for yours basically, get whatever you want and we hop on their backs and ride them into the ground. Its ridiculous.
Fuller: What do you think can or should be done about the situation?
Solomons: Geez. I think the problem, you know, is so complicated. But, the one, the one thing that I guess would say that I'd like to see changed is the education system. Being a business education major, I kinda seeing one day I'd be able to do that at least you know with my own classes. Kind of trying to teach them. . .
Fuller: What would you teach?
Solomons: I think I would teach African history. I doubt it would help much cause I think that, you know, the outside forces, I mean, probably will, I mean, I think we're socializing, I think basically all that racism that we have, or, you know, the dilemma is kinda, probably instilled by the time we're three or four years old. Cause I try to think back of, you know, where my prejudices came from and I you know I think about my family and uh and I think about all sorts of things in church, and I guess my neighborhood and T.V. things like that. Stereotypes that I had even by the time, you know, I got to kindergarten. So I doubt really that would help much, but, I'd like to at least try to see what I could do. You know I, just, I don't know. People ask me that question, I feel like I have to come up with an answer cause I don't want to sound just, almost like a malcontent, but, I really don't have any good idea, that, you know, basically what I could do on my own.
BR: Mr Solomon if you had I hear you saying that, you would, you would teach but you feel that it wouldn't work. first why do you think that it wouldn't work. And then, the second question would be, if the problem was a problem, was a problem of resources, if you had uh infinite resources, what would you direct those resources at, in terms of, if you had say superhuman power how would you then address the problem.
Solomons: Geez! like you know, there's two ways I guess to look at it, and when I first came back, I talked to a professor, Cornell West. I had, kinda had some contact with him and we had talked many times before I'd written him and I was really mad at him cause I, you know, how can you kinda preach this, continue to preach this integration stuff when you know that this is impossible. That black folks will never be treated with the respect that white folks are, I mean, well so realistically I think, well, I don't know, I hate to say this, but, well I just don't know if, you know, we'd ever be, white people ever capable of, I mean living right, yeah
uh but, if, if, I guess if I did have all the money in the world and some power I think I'd trash the education system that we have and I mean, start all over. I think people that know, I read a book about the hundred most influential African Americans and I mean, just what a phenomenal role they played in American history, despite the you know the racism they encountered every day, which is amazing to me. And, I think that's the stuff we need to be filling our history books with, and, you know, we still don't do that at all even if its, whatever multi-cultural (with sarcasm) type of setting that we try to create in most schools. I think that's what I'd do if I could do anything. I mean, why don't I think that it could happen because I think the problem is too big. Its beyon-, I think we've created a monster that's beyond all of us.
BR: Well, you say that you would teach, African history or uh accentuate history of black people. I'm hearing you say that you feel that white people won't change. If you had any suggestions for actions with an imaginary superhuman power, what changes would you make for white people.
Solomons: What changes, oh, if I could, oh, actually do something to white people?
Bilal: If you had superhuman power.
Solomons: I don't know, (chuckle), I don't know, mayb-, geez, I have no idea.
MS: In your experiment or in your life, have you been able to identify what it is that passes this concept of superiority down to other generations.
Solomons: Pass-, sure, I mean, its, like I said, its everything, its the, I mean, first of al-, I remember going, we went, my family went to Hispaniola a couple of years back and we visited a church down there that they had for the pope and I remember seeing a you know, basically all these people of color under this golden dome, they were praying to a white god that they had posted up on the front stage. I remember thinking how odd that is. That this is, you know its, its ridiculous, like I thought to myself, if that doesn't tell someone they're inferior then I don't know what does. But, and I mean, take that and you get in the education system, the parents, we're contin-, I mean, every single message a white kids get, every single one, I mean, media, like in church, education, parents, society as a whole, tells white kids that they're in fact superior. I mean its almost neurotic, its a delusion, but every thing about this society bolsters that.
TL: For your week experience, how were you treated by the opposite sex, as a black man as opposed to a white man?
Solomons: well, geez, see I didn't have too much interaction with black women. A majority of it, I guess, I had a lot of interaction with black men, and white women and, and white men. The majority of it was just kinda just talking in small conversations and stuff, and actually, now that I think about it, no, I never had one conversation with, a black woman.
Fuller: What was your interaction with white women?
Solomons: I wrote about one lady basically who had told me not to go to Forsythe County. and I thought that she was protecting me, she told me don't go down there, you know its bad, and of course I played it off, I said I don't think that it could be that bad she, she went on to tell me, Forsythe County is where they have no black people, they drove them off in 1911 after a white girl was raped still to this day there's not one black family that lives in Forsythe. And, I thought that she was protecting me, but, she went on to tell me that, basically you know, black folks moved into that town what they did would be like Gainesville. How the black folks moved into Gainesville and brought drugs and crime and poverty with them and turned this once beautiful little town into a miniature ghetto, and she would, you know, that, you know, I kinda, when she was telling me that it was obviously what she felt, you know, and it was true and genuine and I almost respected it cause she didn't bother hiding it, she didn't bother hiding it. what disturbed me lot, you know, was the covert kind of racism, its like they tried to act kind and friendly to you and wind up following you around. Or when they, you know, be nice to you and then right as I left, call the cops, things like that. But, the majority of my interaction with white ladies was similar to the interaction with white men, I mean very hostile, confrontational, this one lady, I think, I, I wrote about, she was very nice to me. I tried to go back to find her last week when I went to Georgia to find out why she had treated me right, you know, for as much as I could see then, she didn't realize that I was a black person she saw right through that, I don't think that she did really, but, she treated me with the kind of respect that I got as a white person.
Fuller: Do you think that the difference in treatment had to do with the way that you articulated?
Solomons: Sure, yeah.
Fuller: In other words, you were the unique black person.
Solomons: Right, you see, I was neither black nor white at this time, because, you know, on the inside, basically, this white person is making decisions that this black, -pause- person was seen to be bearing the brunt of the burden. Even though people treated me like a black person I still thought and acted, you know, the way I had for twenty years of my life. So I like, I said what was disturbing was I knew how things should have been, I knew the way I would have been treated, the type of respect that I would have had just walking into a room or into a store into a hotel or restaurant and I never once got that. That's what was disturbing, that's what I talk about the difference in Robert, you know, he doesn't know that he's not supposed to receive it, he knows that things are bad and I think he has, I don't want to say a vague understanding, but, he knows quite well how awful it gets, but, I think for Robert to get really know, and what would probably blow his mind, I mean light him up, you know, turn white for a while and see, just how very different it is for white people.
TL: One last personal question . . . are you counting your blessings now?
Solomons: Oh, sure, Yeah, (laughter). Coming back is extremely difficult, that's why I refused to write about it for a long time, I wanted to put it behind me. You gotta, I mean, realize, how strange this is, you come home one day, and you look in the mirror and you're a black person and several weeks later you look like you're a white person again. I had a lot of hostility towards whites, you gotta realize how weird that is and I would wake up and look in the mirror and see exactly what at times that I hated most looking right back at me. You now still, I had to leave the store a few days ago, cause, I was walking around this fancy store in Rockville and I saw these two, I mean, these two, black men that mind you walking around this very fancy looking for clothes and they're in suits and this white young, I mean this, kid, this clerk following them around. I mean, it was obviously what he was doing. I would have never noticed stuff like that before, I had to really physically take myself out of that store cause, I mean, my, I thought my heart was going to explode. I, there's this anxiety that kind of runs my life now. this sense of urgency almost, you got, I mean its very strange to look at yourself like that.
AC: Do you feel that you would have had an easier time if you had been able to be, portray yourself as a black women. How do you think, that as a white male, society views black women and/or treats them with respect to black males.
Solomons: It would be even more difficult, cause not only would you have to deal with the racism, but, the sexism, from both, you know, black men and the white men. I think that would have been extremely difficult. to see the way white men see black women is, you know, if you could magnify the racism with black men, I think that's what you would get. you see, and you also gotta like, I've been in the company of several white men recently who, you know, a lot of, I haven't let any of the newspapers or the magazines articles run pictures of me, cause I'm really, you know, kinda trying to protect my anonymity and so I'm kinda still able to kinda sit down and talk to people about this stuff and, you know, and they were talking about these black women who walked by, I mean, as purely sex objects and telling how they would never ever consider marrying one or having a relationship with one, but, you know, the thought of having sex with them was perfectly fine. And, you know, I hear that often. I mean, that's common. I think it common with white women too, but, not to the, I guess, there's a certain animosity there that makes it unique.
MS: In situation like that, in like you just talked about in the store, what do you suppose would happen if you sort of scientifically asked the person perpetrating this-
Solomons: Why he was doing it.
Solomons: He wouldn't admit it, he probably would say, well you have to be careful cause, alright, I hear this all the time, people wrote me some letters trying to, I guess, explain their racism. That blacks commit crimes much more than whites and every one knows this. I'm sure that he would have thought that despite, like, you know, these were grown men dressed in suits, that they perhaps had a greater chance, or, you know, of committing some violent crime. I hear, people are always trying to, I guess, reconcile that with me. I think its all a matter of perspective, I think that we look at every thing like that, like I, just, I was watching a lady the other day, she was crossing the street and it was nothing new, but, she was, holding up traffic a little bit. People were beeping the horn, and I have to admit even I felt, you know, I was very angry. And the first thing that popped into my head before, oh that, you know, arrogant woman just basically does what she wants, was that she was black. Like, you know, people, I guess they say, well, still have the gut level, you know, reactions this racism. like, all white folk, but, like its the first thing that pops into our head. That's why you never about, you know, rarely do you see anybody they'll call a black person a, you know, an asshole; what they want to say is NIGGER. The color, you know, paints that picture first.
MS: With that kind of, thought, you know, with white people reacting like that subconsciously or consciously, immediately, how is it that you keep constantly saying publicly that you're not racist, its just sort of a contradiction when you know-
Solomons: You never heard me say that.
MS: Oh no, I mean, not you personally, I mean just in general, politicians-
Solomons: It the biggest, I mean its, the biggest, I mean its absolutely ridiculous. And that's what, I mean, disturbs me the most, I cannot, you know, I meet people all the time and they tell me, I met this girl recently and she tells me, I have black boyfriend, I'm not racist. And that's, I mean its impos-, that is BULL, that is totally impossible. Which, I mean, basically she's fooling her self. I know that she gets those same gut level reactions also, I try to trade some scenario to get her to admit it, usually I can after, you know, talking with them. Like I said before, blacks have different definitions of racism, like I heard one author explain it one time, "Whites see racism as a sin of commission and blacks see it as a sin of omission". Like you know, if a white person doesn't go out and 'lynch' a black person, or like I said, do something overtly racist, then he feels pretty good about himself. He tends to feel that he's not a racist. But, you know a black person sees racism as not standing up in the face of this, you know, these every day, you know, I mean, the types of every day manifestations of racism, I mean even the little things that even perpetrate themselves as racism, that's more common, that's what they feel, you know, on a regular basis. So, I, I think that's the problem, whites define racism totally different than blacks. I mean, whites look at racism as the KKK. And, you know, very few of them have every burned a cross or 'lynched' a black person so they feel really exhilarated about themselves, but, they don't realize, that racism is, now, its very subtle, its -pause- its more sophisticated than is was, has been in the past, because its been forced, you know, kinda, I guess, metamorphosed in that way, but, it is still there. And probably just as much, cause we haven't changed anything as far as the motivation goes, so its impossible to believe, its ridiculous to believe it would go away. I mean, its just more sophisticated now.
Fuller: Would you say that one of the first steps toward a solution would be a program or a situational setup wherein white people were emboldened, or encouraged, or enticed to confess that they are indeed racist.
Fuller: If they are indeed racist. That that is first. The very first step.
Fuller: And that every so-called educational program or every approach to it has to have that as the first requirement. Would you say that?
Solomons: Yeah, oh, 100 percent. the worst person, the worst racist is the one that goes out and says he's not a racist cause he has no battle to fight. He has no problem. I mean the first step is to admit that you are a racist and come to terms with it. Cause if you don't see that you have a problem then, I mean, there's nothing, you know, to do about it. You're not even looking for anything. I mean, everything is gonna fail unless they actually get you to concede to that. Get white people to concede to that yes they are racist.
Fuller: So all programs have to be geared to bring about that result.
Solomons: Right, almost like, like I guess, the twelve steps in alcoholism, the first step is realizing you are a racist, or, you know, an alcoholic and almost powerless to it. And, you know, until you come to terms with that you can't even begin to at least try and control it.
Bilal: Mr. Solomons, in as far as interracial relationships are concerned, do you feel that when a black person and a white person are in a relationship together that regardless as to who is who, whether the white person is, male or female. That the black person is always compromised?
Solomons: Sure, yeah, all the time, he's forced to, he or she, I mean is forced to. I mean, its impossible. I think to kind of, well, you know, I guess, I think about this, from the people that I know who are in interracial relationships and you often hear to term 'sellout' well, in regard to the black person in the relationship, and I didn't really understand that until I came back, because I think that, yes, he is compromised, he is forced to sell a piece of him. Because the white person, I don't think, can deal with the total black person. Like this one girl, that I talk about frequently, here the one who told me she wasn't racist because she had a black boyfriend, I can see what she'd done. I mean, basically she almost, she takes the black out of her boyfriend. He's a nice guy and everything, and that's what she, you know, she takes his culture, she takes everything about him that makes him unique, and forces him to, I guess, hide it. Cause I just don't see, I, you know, I mean, that's racism, you know, and the only way, kind of, for some way for black folks to deal with it, or white folks to demand from this, is that they hide it, they hide their blackness. You know, that's what I see happening, I think, or at least that's what I feel is happening in these interracial relationships.
Bilal: Mr. Solomons, do you feel that black people and white people should avoid relationships with each other.
Solomons: As far as dating, or marriage, or just interaction.
Bilal: Sexual Intercourse.
Solomons: -pause- geez, well, you know, I guess, you gotta, I doubt, I don't believe really that the white person could ever totally respect the black person in that situation. And you know, anyone who doesn't totally respect their partner, I think, is no good for them. So, I, you know, unless this is some white person who is some kind of 'messiah' character who doesn't hold these racist, these prejudices, I mean, that's fine, but, other than that, you know, I just you know, I'd kinda, be reluctant to ever tell anyone to proceed like that. you know, I look on it and I kinda get, you know, I'm irked when I see it now. Cause I just can't see the way how that white person could ever respect his or her partner.
TL: Mr. Solomons, after your week you say that you felt rage when you became a white person who was sensitized to the black experience and existence at that particular point, how do you feel about Malcolm X and the whole movement in that range, and Louis Farrakhan, how do you feel about those types of people.
Solomons: Yeah, I read Malcolm X that was a book that Robert gave me a long time ago, in junior high school, and I remember reading it then and it kinda pushed me towards, actually more towards my faith which is Judaism. And you know, I always, I felt he was a great man ever since I first read him before I did this. But as far as Louis Farrakhan, and I kinda, get some heat from this when I talk about it, my white friends, they don't, you know, I really don't have a problem with Louis Farrakhan or with the Nation of Islam. Because I see them doing the greatest work out there, and although I do think that sometimes he succumbs to racism, like the rest of us. I think if you look at him in the, you know, the total sense, I mean I guess, his wrongs outweigh his, or his rights outweigh his wrongs. Like most people, I mean, you know, if we're gonna hold anyone to the type of scrutiny we hold Louis Farrakhan, we'll find the same things. I mean, you look at, I was reading, about Nixon, I think, and they were talking about Billy Graham. Billy Graham was notoriously anti-semitic, a racist, I mean, but, still, I mean, we consider him and the president counsels with him on numerous occasions. basically, he's no different than Louis Farrakhan in that sense, or any other man. But, why we fry Louis Farrakhan and not him is not beyond me but, you know, its a double standard.
Bilal: Mr. Solomons, do you believe there's any other functional type of racism other than white supremacy, existing?
Solomons: What, other, white, you mean, I don't know, how, you're gonna have to clarify that.
Bilal: Can a black person or non-white person be racist under a system of white supremacy.
Solomons: I look at, my definition of racism is, I guess, is racial prejudice, and if you use that definition, then yes, it is a possible but, see, the point is, you know, sure, a black person can hate a white person. You know, just cause he's white, but the problem is, he has absolutely, he doesn't have the power to subjugate the white person like the white person has to subjugate the black person. So, I mean even if he does hate white people its, its almost pointless, unless he actually commits some hate crime, goes out there and kills them. I mean that really the only way I see that happening. Technically yes, but, realistically I don't think that its, you know, true.
JD: Yes Mr. Solomons, do you feel that the U.S. government are displaying racism against black or African governments in the world?
Solomons: You see, I don't know too much about world politics and you know, our governments interaction with African countries, so I don't know what they've done.
Bilal: Do you believe that white supremacy is a global dynamic.
Solomons: I would say, yes, but, I don't know, I haven't traveled that much, I don't know what it is. Basically, what type of interactions white people and black people have over the country, but, you know, from what I do or what I've seen from just the small parts, you look at South Africa, or you look at Paris, I was reading something about Paris, I mean, you know, similar circumstances seem to prevail all over the world. I, you know, I haven't really, I don't know much about it as I should I guess.
Bilal: Have you ever read, anything by Dr. Francis Cress Welsing or by Mr. Neely Fuller.
Solomons: No, is, Francis Cre-, that name sounds familiar.
Bilal: She is the person who developed the Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and basically it says that all of this spins out of a white persons fear of genetic survival.
Solomons: Right, yeah, no, I haven't read her, I think I read an article about her recently, and a couple of reporters that I was doing an interview with in the last two weeks ago told me about her and apparently she was on Tony Brown last week and they were talking about what I did. I got a call from the P.R. office from someone down there, I don't know if it was her. But, I do know her theory, and I haven't read her book. You were gonna ask me about how I feel about that?
Solomons: You know, its strange, but, the more, I guess, I study kinda the psychological aspect of this thing, I kinda have greater faith in that and I realize so much of this is subconscious or is, you know, a lot of this is coming from places where we're not necessarily sure of, and that, you know, to believe that doesn't trouble me. because you know, the nature of things, I see kinda that, runs the way that we do things, survival of the fittest. and that doesn't, some people, not me, I've heard white people just balk at that theory, but, it doesn't, I realize here that there is something so terribly core about our racism. That is beyond me, I try to sit down and think how possibly did it ever come in, and you look at white people across the world and all, I mean, over the place, but, you know, in Europe or everywhere, and basically, and this goes to your last question, you see similar circumstances. You know, I try to think scientifically about that I don't think that its to crazy, to think that, you know, she might have a point. I'd like to read her book and see kinda of, her evidence it doesn't seem too far off the mark to me.
Bilal: Mr. Fuller, I wonder if you could give a brief definition of what you feel is the central or bottom line reason or cause for racism and see if Mr. Solomons agrees.
Fuller: Oh, basically, I use the, not the genetic approach, I approach it from the functional or the social approach. And from the social approach, its an ego trip, but its ego trip that have a lot of drive. It has more drive to it than any other type of, philosophy and or religion that has yet been conceived in the minds of people. And the proof of it is the fact that it is a very dynamic type of philosophy that causes the adrenalin to flow in a white person to the extent that a white person becomes very dominant and wants to be of a very conquering type posture. And has actually, those white people who have adopted the concept, or who have been born into it, have this drive, or they get it. What the key to it, from a genetic standpoint is, it may have its genesis in that survival instinct, but, now it is on such a road that its just a giant ego trip. And that's the way that I see it. That's the driving force behind what we call loosely 'white supremacy' and theres no other force, no religion that is as powerful as what I call the religion of 'white supremacy'.
Bilal: Mr. Solomons, what would you say to that?
Solomons: It sounds right to me. This white supremacist thing is delusional, its out of hand, its ridiculous, its neurotic almost. I mean, this is not a black problem this, this is a problem with white thinking. But, one thing that I was, he said that the root of it might be the survival of the fittest, I don't really see, a kinda, us saying that, I don't remember her name, but her theory that its wrong.
JD: Mr. Solomons, based on relationsh-, based on what you're saying nowadays, twenty years from now, what do you think would happen between blacks and whites? Do you foresee a major fight to end this?
Solomons: Do I see any major fight?
JD: I don't know, when I think of the future of this country, I'm not very optimistic, I think whites will probably end up doing what they always do, and leaving in large numbers when minorities start to becoming predominant. I don't know if I see a fight, I think also, it more difficult to fight, what like, my problem was, right as I got back was I really didn't understand black patience, the ability, you gotta unders-, like white people are raised almost and that nobody ever, god forbid, treats us like dirt. And when they do, you have all the right in the world to fight back, that's you know, kinda like, white education right there. that's totally different from blacks, they learn that you stand up and you start fighting, there's only a couple of things that can happen to you, you go to jail or you get killed. And I think that, I mean, the still pride is constantly beat out of them. So, as far as rising up its, suicidal, you see it happening all the time and I think that whites have, they've got to the point where, almost they can control it. I mean, maybe you'll see the riots every once and a while, but, other than that, I doubt that it'll get any worst, the whites have just gotten too good at fighting it.
Bilal: Mr. Fuller, if there is some bottom line comment or question for Solomons, could you make it known now.
Fuller: I already asked it, I asked what could be done about it or what should be done about it and he answered that some time ago, he said he didn't know. If I recall correctly.
Solomons: Yeah, unfortunately I don't have any-
Fuller: And then you did allude that an educational process, change the educational system, changed the way that people are taught would have to be a requirement.
Solomons: Yeah, and I don't relate that just to a formal education, but, you know, every part of society that educates, that teaches us.
Fuller: Yes, that's what I mean.
Solomons: Okay, yeah.
Fuller: Yes, that's what I mean, every aspect, every area of activity, and how it is approached, and what people are taught as is relates to that area of activity and how it is approached and what people are taught in that area of activity, as it relates to people, has to be changed. Do you agree with that?
Solomons: I think the first step though, is to get white people to admit that they indeed are racist.
Fuller: Which means you have to change a lot of wording of things.
TL: Excuse me Mr. Solomons, what are you gonna do with all you new found wisdom?
Solomons: In don't know, I don't know. I think about where I'll be in a few years, I, I don't think of long term future any much more.
JD: Mr. Solomons how old are you?
Solomons: I'm twenty one, I turned twenty one in July.
MS: Have you been able to change the thinking of any one person.
Solomons: you see, that's the problem. I get, you know, some letters and phone calls from white people who say, oh you know, this touched me and made me think. I can remember even before this that I'd read something and I'd go oh man that makes total sense, racism is really bad, then I can remember, you know, always ending up kinda on the suspicious side. And whether or not its genuine or not I have no idea, I have my doubts cause, I know how white people think. I think that's also why I left that one day when I did cause I couldn't get Chris to understand. I mean, look at, I mean, some of the writers, just the great writers before me and how little in essence they were able to change white people and I know I'm not even on plane with them in whether or not I could, you know, have any effect with what I wrote.
BS: What about your, immediate associates just anyone that you talk to about this, have any of them changed their-, just changed what they believe, not necessarily one way or the other but had any change or thought at all.
Solomons: you know, they tell me that, but again, I'm suspicious, if its genuine. Its like, I've seen it too many times, its the same old thing, exactly what drove me to do this, is you know, the outwardly sympathetic liberal white person, and then, internally he's suspicious. I see that so often. You know, I talk to them and they tell me yeah yeah you got me to reach them. Or then we'll drive down to Washington D.C. and, you know, I mean, that's a good way to kinda see everyone's prejudices come out, you know, you could be anywhere. A black person walks up to their car, their hand creeps over their should to lock the door, you know, a million things.
JD: Mr. Solomons, what did your, church do about it, how did they take this experiment, if you go to church at all.
Solomons: No, I don't, I'm Jewish not Christian, and as far as the synagogue, well, they've started to talk about it, you know, last week we had some of the Ethiopian Jews, that go to our synagogue, talk about racism, what they believe to kinda show us, you know, Yiddish school is a place of study. I was glad to hear that they did that, unfortunately, I wasn't there, but, I'm gonna be there on the sixteenth, I'm gonna be talking about it again. If people just talk about it I think maybe we'll get closer, but, like I said I'm not very optimistic.
JT: Mr. Solomons, I'd like to commend you for even conducting this experiment, you're fairly young, also commend you for you're willingness talk objectively and share this with others.
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this has been done a million times, they should stay black
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aside from the book "black like me", c. thomas howell did this back in the 80s in a little movie called "soul man".
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Someone better tell Michael the experiment is over.
Wer ist dort?
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aside from the book "black like me", c. thomas howell did this back in the 80s in a little movie called "soul man".
and did a great prince impersonation to boot!
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P o o |/,
P o o |\
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Someone better tell Michael the experiment is over.
Talk about cut off your nose despite your face
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