#400 Chuck’s Place: America Chooses the Black Doll

Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences!

Jeanne and I fantasized that one day we’d open a club called, “Chuck’s Place,” since I always seemed to be a DJ who could set the mood with the right next song in the mix. The reggae sirens had drawn us to Jamaica for the better part of 1979, initiated by a thundering speech delivered by then Prime Minister Michael Manley who sought to bypass the colonial intent of the IMF, achieving financial independence for his struggling Jamaica. The deep spiritual energy and rhythms of the Rastafari religion, seeking and calling for one world, so deeply resonated with our own spirits, already awoken in the 1960s by John Lennon and Carlos Castaneda.

As the movie Life and Debt documents, Michael Manley’s efforts were ultimately squelched by the financial recolonization of Jamaica by the IMF, imposing such requirements as free zones. Nonetheless, the Rastafari, like the mature hippies and civil rights activists in other parts of the world, continued to patiently tend the flame of unity, hidden and protected, through the darkest of times.

When Jeanne and I returned from Jamaica she worked for Dr. Kenneth B. Clarke, whose seminal research on the choice of white dolls by black children was the compelling argument in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision which led to desegregation. What would Dr. Clarke think today, that America, including a huge percentage of white America, has chosen the “black doll,” Barack Obama, to lead the country, in effect, to lead the world? Is this not the true realization, the maturation of the dream for one world?

Early in my career, while working in the addiction field, I tried to share my discovery of Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow with a black colleague. He pointed out to me that Jung’s description of the shadow, as the darkest part of the soul, was always identified as black. He felt this contributed to a distorted and dangerous world view perspective, since it reinforced white fears and prejudice, as well as contributed to a negative black self concept. Take one look at the prison population, the ratio of incarcerated blacks to whites, as well as how and where people live, and you see the consequences of the projection of evil onto blackness. Though his observations were enlightening, the symbology of the collective unconscious is impervious to sociological tinkering or wisdom. That which is unknown, unaccepted, and perhaps most frightening lurks hidden in the darkness of night. Dreams universally reflect this symbolism. The challenge, however, is to discover and engage one’s inner hidden truths, rather than avoid, deny, and hatefully project them onto outer reflections of darkness. Furthermore, that which approaches in the darkness holds the seeds of tomorrow, our evolutionary destiny. Do we decide to seek unity within the rejected and unknown self, or do we remain segregated from our own deepest truths and potential?

Barack Obama is the symbol of our destiny, a united self, one world, the union of black and white, focused on right action. He is the realization of many world dreams. But let us not project the messiah onto this man, as between one to two hundred thousand Rastafari did to the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, whom they considered to be God, upon his arrival in Kingston Airport, Jamaica, in 1966. “I and I” are all the messiah, but the work lies within each of us to achieve true union of our white and black selves, all truths revealed, embraced, and integrated into evolutionary beings bent on right action. Let us truly mine the black gold of our souls.

From a synchronistic point of view, the coincidence of this message being number 400, is meaningfully reflected in the song, 400 Years, written by Peter Tosh, the reggae artist. Note the significance of the lyrics to now.

400 years (400 years, 400 years. Wo-o-o-o)
And it’s the same
The same (wo-o-o-o) philosophy
I’ve said it’s four hundred years;
(400 years, 400 years. Wo-o-o-o, wo-o-o-o)
Look, how long (wo-o-o-o)
And the people they (wo-o-o-o) still can’t see.
Why do they fight against the poor youth of today?
And without these youths, they would be gone
All gone astray

Come on, let’s make a move:
(make a move, make a move. Wo-o-o-o, wo-o-o-o)
I can (wo-o-o-o) see time (wo-o-o-o) – time has come,
And if-a fools don’t see
(fools don’t see, fools don’t see. Wo-o-o-o)
I can’t save the youth:
The youth (wo-o-o-o) is gonna be strong.
So, won’t you come with me;
I’ll take you to a land of liberty
Where we can live – live a good, good life
And be free.

Look how long: 400 years, (400 years, 400 years)
Way too long! (wo-o-o-o)
That’s the reason my people (wo-o-o-o) – my people
can’t see.
Said, it’s four hundred long years – (400 years, 400 years.
Give me patience (wo-o-o-o) – same philosophy.

It’s been 400 years, (400 years, 400 years)
Wait so long! Wo-o-o-o, wo-o-o-o.
How long? 400 long, long years.

On many levels, it is time now to enter the promised land, the land of liberty. Recapitulate, lift all the veils, embrace all the truths, and be free!