The Color Purple: The Social Psychology Of An Oppressed Culture

Submitted By Evelyn-Simmons
Words: 2485
Pages: 10

E. R. Simmons

Professor M. Lindsay

English 201.001

8 October 2014

The Social Psychology Of An Oppressed Culture

Ms Alice Walker's book, the color purple portrays many social issues that existed in the past and are

still present in the twenty first century. In the Color Purple the social psychology of the Black people

relate to the Hamitic Theory, by how people influence our thoughts, feelings and actions which greatly

impacts the thoughts of inferiority, lack of achievement and relationships.

I Thoughts of Inferiority, are considered Proponents of ethnology a pseudoscience popular in the

nineteenth century, claimed that races of people were, in-fact separate human species. Some southern

pro-slavery advocates used the notion of ethnology to support the belief that as a separate species

individuals of African descent were an inferior race according to Finkleman (2006).

A. The Hamitic Theory, an abstract in the journal of American history states, “ The Anthro-

pological and historical literature dealing with Africa, abounds with references to a people called,

“ Hamites. “ Hamite as used in this writing, illustrates an African population supposedly distinguished

by its race Caucasian – and its language family, from the Negro inhabitants of the rest of Africa below

the Sahara. There exist a widely held belief in the Western world that everything of value ever found in

Africa was brought there by these Hamites, a people inherently superior to the native population. This

belief, often referred to as the Hametic Hypothesis, is a convenient explanation for all the signs of

civilization found in Black Africa. It was these Caucasoid, we read who taught the Negro how to man-

ufacture Iron and who were so politically sophisticated that they organized and conquered territories into highly complex states with themselves as ruling elites. This Hypothesis was preceded by another

elaborate Hametic theory. The earlier theory, which gained currency in the sixteenth century, was the 2

Hamites were black savages, natural slaves - and Negroes. This identification of the Hamite with the

Negro, a view which persisted through out the eighteenth century served as a rationale for slavery using

the Biblical interpretation in support of it's tenant. The image of the Negro changed, deteriorated in

direct proportion to the growth of the importance of slavery, and it became imperative for the white

man to exclude the negro from the brother-hood of races. Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798

became the historical catalyst that provided the Western world with the impetus to turn the Hamite

into a Caucasian. The Hamitic concept had as its function the portrayal of the Negro as an inherently

inferior being and to rationalize his exploitation. In the final analysis it was possible because the pre-

vailing intellectual viewpoints of the times, according to (Saunders). In the Color Purple there may not

be a physical slavery but there is a mental slavery that resides and it is possible because of the prevail-

ing intellectual viewpoints of it's times. No one should have the right to beat another person down the

way the sheriff beat Sophia down.

B. Slavery in my opinion is the venue in which the white man uses social psychology to try and

influence the African American into an inferior frame of mind. In fact the Slave trade era is when the

Western Scholars attitude began to turn for the worst. Myths and stereotypes began to appear. European

Slave traders, geographers and explores described the Africans as