The black counter-frame (1600s- ) is the set of ideas, images, narratives, history and so on through which many Black Americans see and understand America. According to white sociologist Joe R. Feagin, it is what counters the white racial frame among blacks.
- The white racial frame is spread to blacks through white-controlled spaces: public school, white universities, the mass media.
- The black counter-frame is spread through black-controlled spaces: family, friends, church, beauty salons, barber shops, bars, HBCUs, etc.
Some blacks use only the white racial frame, like Clarence Thomas or Uncle Ruckus of the “The Boondocks”. Some use only the black counter-frame, like Rev. Wright or Huey Freeman. Most blacks fall somewhere in between. There is no hive mind.
Even the black counter-frame itself is not the same from person to person, but these elements frequently appear:
- We are all God’s children. The common humanity of all people regardless of race. No one race is better than another. Therefore:
- Freedom, equality and justice for all! Straight out of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. What America should be, but not what it is:
- The main thing wrong with America is white racism. Whites do not live up to their political ideas of freedom, equality and justice. They talk the talk but do not even try to walk the walk. They got rich off of slavery and genocide. America was built on racism. Still is.
- Blacks are every bit as American as whites. The country was built on their blood, sweat and tears.
- Moral outrage. See above.
- Radicalism. America can and should be changed from within, through protest, revolution, etc. There is no such thing as Magical Progress. Nothing is going to change unless blacks do something. Thus: slave uprisings, abolitionists, John Brown, NAACP, SNCC, Black Panthers, etc.
- The stereotypes are not true. They are self-serving lies made up by white people.
- Black is beautiful. Blacks are fully and beautifully human, every bit as good as whites or anyone else. Black pride to counter the black shame taught by the white racial frame. Valuing black beauty, courage, achievement, etc.
- How to deal with white people. At work, at school, at government offices, etc. How to deal with the police. How to deal with white ideas of beauty. Sharing experiences of racism.
- Gendered racism. Racism affects males and females differently. Whites see black men as dangerous, black women as ugly yet oversexed. Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire and Welfare Queen stereotypes. Black women get hit with both racism and sexism.
- Afrocentricity. To counter the blind Eurocentrism of Western culture.
Some who have clearly expressed a black counter-frame at length:
- 1820s: David Walker (“The Appeal”)
- 1840s: Henry Garnet
- 1850s: Martin Delaney, Frederick Douglass (especially his Fourth of July speech)
- 1880s: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Anna Julia Cooper
- 1900s: W.E.B. Du Bois (“The Souls of Black Folk”)
- 1930s: Oliver Cox
- 1950s: CORE
- 1960s: Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton (“Black Power”)
- 2000s: Jeremiah Wright
– Abagond, 2013.
Source: Joe R. Feagin, “The White Racial Frame” (2010).
- white racial frame
- counter-frames – the black counter-frame is just one example
- black counter-frame elements:
- “Black is Beautiful”
- “Stereotypes have some truth to them” – in what they say about the white people who believe them!
- The oneness of mankind
- How White America got rich
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with being black