Instead, it develops through the efforts of private and public authorities, all separately working to help citizens internalize societal norms and regulate their own personal conduct. Footnote 1. In limiting black access to psychiatry, institutional racism prevented productive power from being fully extended into Harlem on a more racially equal basis.
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This longstanding institutional neglect of black subjectivity was predicated by the assumption that non-whites were incapable of the self-regulation expected of normal, law-abiding Americans. In contrast, racial liberalism was animated by the faith that productive power could be generated in and through black minds and bodies. Perhaps with more psychiatric care in Harlem, its crowded streets would suddenly teem with individuals emotionally stable enough to avoid the temptation of gangs and crime. Psychiatrist Max Winsor spearheaded and administered this program.
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Racial liberals in juvenile justice speculated that delinquency rates would tumble if authorities could somehow identify, track, and treat potential delinquents before they had even committed a crime. Preferably, they hoped to identify and begin psychiatric interventions with these troubled youngsters in early childhood when, according to child guidance experts, humans were most therapeutically reachable.
Kindergarten was the first public institution all children were obligated to enter. Viola W. Bernard , the psychiatric resident who ran the kindergarten program, , recognized that P. Although the program lasted less than two years, Bernard hoped that the data could be securely maintained in a central registry and be made available to the police, the courts, and other agencies interested in a specific child Robison, , pp 47— Armed with this data, Bernard expected that authorities could tailor educational and clinical services for the children identified as at greatest risk for juvenile delinquency.
It was hoped that such personalized scrutiny could help each student to learn to control his or her impulses, mood, and behavior—primary goals within regimes of productive power Bernard, Starting in the s, advocates of what became known as slum clearance and urban renewal theorized that better urban planning and the destruction of older housing stock could eliminate the environmental conditions that gave rise to misbehavior.
The sensationalistic local news dailies reported the small surge as a major crime wave that had hit this predominantly black enclave of the city in November Brandt, ; Kelley, Local racial liberals and civil rights activists took advantage of the panic the press had generated in the city, politicizing this alleged Harlem crime wave as further proof that Harlem required better crime prevention and mental health services and an end to racial inequality.
In some sense, the CWCCH served as a kind of think-tank for local housing reformers, activists, politicians, academics, mental health experts, and public servants committed to ending crime, poverty, and socioeconomic disparities in Harlem. They imagined new policy solutions. Rather, according to Daryl Michael Scott , racial progressives had argued as early as the s that forces of racial and socioeconomic inequality made it that much harder for working-poor black families to promote the mental health of their children and serve as agents of personal growth and emotional stability.
They had normalized the financial stability, educational attainment, and parenting philosophies of middle-class parents as somehow essential to the promotion of optimal human growth--a problem that marred much early 20th century childrearing literature Stearns, The Harlem Project leaders expected that the desired changes in the curriculum, staffing, and administration of their three target schools would transform those buildings into therapeutic environments. The Project leaders even hoped that schools could stay open all day and all through the summer, providing recreation, athletics, meals, mental hygiene, role modeling, and medical services.
The idea was that the less time a child spent at home with their parents and the longer he or she spent at school with their parental substitutes, the odds of preserving any emotional breakthrough achieved there would increase. Essentially, the Project attempted to socially engineer an emotionally healthier Harlem and promote productive power by transforming its schools into spaces capable of producing self-possessed citizens less susceptible to the lure of crime. Harlem Project, ; Board of Education, —. By however, it had become obvious that both entrenched racial prejudice within the largely white faculty and wartime budgetary cutbacks had derailed the Project, preventing those three schools from ever serving as all-day, year-long community centers churning out law-abiding, well-adjusted Harlemites Wittenberg, ; Harlem Project, None of those school programs instituted between and were accompanied by concomitant efforts to reduce the poverty, housing discrimination, chronic overcrowding, price gouging, decaying infrastructure, hiring discrimination, police brutality, and gang activity that had plagued Central Harlem since it had first been redlined by banks.
Ultimately though, the racial liberals who penned this final report believed that, barring wholesale structural change, the best they could do was to help at least some individual children avoid making big mistakes in life by becoming more emotionally secure and stable. That is why the Project encouraged its staff, clinicians, and teachers to form intense emotional bonds with select students, especially girls, offering them the attention, nurture, and support they supposedly did not get at home. According to the tenets of child guidance theory, selfhood did not develop in isolation.
In line with child guidance thinking, the Report credited these relationships with producing healthier selves for some of the girls. Some of them responded well to therapy and adjusted much better to school. The Research Committee claimed that a relationship with a school mentor at school, most of whom were women, did not do enough to change the affect and behavior of troubled African American boys in Central Harlem. It reached the conclusion that essential gender differences explained the disparate results between boys and girls.
The Project worked well with girls, the committee contended, because the schools could approximate the conditions necessary for that sort of domestic relationship in a private office with a female teacher or case worker.
Drawing upon traditional gender assumptions once again, the same writers claimed that the boys of Junior High School were far less likely to have their emotional needs met in the confines of an office. Without enough after-school activities or male role models at school, there was little the Project leaders believed that they could do in Harlem for the most troubled young men living across th Street.
But they imagined they might have better luck finding a more suitable therapeutic environment in the Catskill Mountains. Eventually it became a year-round private reform school for pre-teen boys from New York City. In , the facility stood on the brink of closure. With arrest rates lower for young women, space was less limited in private facilities for women, and beds more available for black women in the House of the Good Shepherd and other private providers Hicks, Delany regularly assigned young black men from Harlem to Wiltwyck. Pooling their funds, these racial liberals and their allies took over the administration of the Wiltwyck School.
Under their watch it became a residential treatment center RTC. RTCs were supposed to offer psychiatric care, counseling, case work, and staff informed by child psychology. And in , one of those young men was Claude Brown. Bolin was the presiding judge. Instead, he was transported by train to Wiltwyck on March 4, Brown, , p 64, p It was there he met Ernst Papanek, the figure that Brown claimed had put him on the path towards the emotional health and stability racial liberals had been seeking to promote in Harlem.
An Austrian immigrant, Ernst Papanek was a psychiatric social worker the Wiltwyck board had chosen as its new executive director the same year Brown became a resident. Most of the time, I never told him what was really bothering me, but we would always talk about something. In these sessions, Papanek listened to Brown, praised him, encouraged him, gave him life advice, and counseled him on different strategies for getting along with his family Brown, , p , p Nonetheless, Brown never blamed Papanek or Wiltwyck.
He believed that he had failed them, indicating in his memoir that he sensed that he had not yet become the type of person that could stay out of juvenile detention. He partially attributed his successful transition into adulthood to his discovery that the modern language of psychology provided the best way to make sense of his interior self.
Through his association with the Wiltwyck School the author learned that his interior landscape was a hidden world of drives, fears, emotions, anxieties, stages of development, and complexes that motivated his behavior without his conscious awareness. Brown credited Papanek with helping him to both gain this modern insight into human interiority. Brown thought of Papanek as modeling a specific type of individual or mode of being, one that featured psychological insight into oneself as a key component of its assemblage.
In Foucauldian terms, he was looking to become an agent for the expansion of productive power into Harlem.
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Nevertheless, Brown found it difficult to maintain this emotional health in postwar Central Harlem. Remarkably, Brown learned something that many academics had not yet embraced in different types of selves or subject positions are difficult or even impossible to implement if a given culture or social system does not recognize, nurture, and reinforce those subjectivities Hacking, , pp 22— Throughout the memoir, Brown intuitively grasped the proposition that subjectivity was conditional, fluid, and situational.
An individual could inhabit a particular mode of being but only in certain environments. There was no place for me. At Wiltwyck he had begun to develop a different kind of subjectivity, one that was more reflective and less volatile. Yet at home in Central Harlem, he found it difficult to sustain that healthier kind of self. In Harlem, he found that his parents did not understand or meet his emotional needs. Among his old friends, he slipped into bad habits. He resumed skipping school, fighting, stealing, and smoking marijuana. To me, home was the streets.
I suppose there were many people who felt that way. Similar to the Harlem Project writers, Brown partly blamed his parents for his delinquency. They did not model behavior for their children, relying instead on instilling fear and shame through aggression, insults, and corporal punishment.
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They had done it. He deemed them ill-suited to help him and his brother adjust to modern, urban life. For Brown, his family became a burden he just wanted to escape. Racial liberals would have expected as much. Slum family dynamics and the lure of urban excitement would sabotage any therapeutic successes made with any young man recently released from an RTC. After his release, Brown visited the office when he was in emotional distress, fearing that he would get in trouble with the law.
Albans, Queens and one on 18 th Street named for champion boxer and former Wiltwyck student Floyd Patterson Doyle, Aftercare was now far more intense and psychiatric in orientation. Instead his memoir provides evidence that he was nowhere as bullish on the idea that reintegration back into Harlem ought to be the aim of therapy and followup care. Brown came to a different conclusion, one that the liberals at Wiltwyck were unwilling to completely accept. Taking stock of his neighborhood, especially the cultural assumptions his Southern-born family members and neighbors shared about human selfhood, he became convinced that a healthy psychological self could not be adequately grown and sustained in Central Harlem.
Describing working-poor Harlem of the s as a culture rooted in pre-modern folk ideas transplanted from traditions of conjure, rural Southern small-town life, and evangelical Christianity, Brown found his neighborhood ideologically and culturally ill-prepared to sustain the type of self he was trying to cultivate. Some people needed religion. The junkies needed drugs. Some people needed to get drunk on Saturday night and raise hell. A lot of people needed the numbers. He did just that. In the memoir, Brown became the kind of emotionally stable, law-abiding citizen deemed essential to regimes of productive power—but only once he moved out of Harlem.
He left the underground economy behind and began a new life in an environment that left him with less anxiety and conflicted feelings. He found steady work, graduated night school, played jazz piano, read books, listened to poetry readings, and began to interact with other young people who understood interiority in the same modern psychological terms he had picked up at Wiltwyck.
These critics regarded his analysis of his subjectivity, existential angst, psychological turmoil, and relationship with the Wiltwyck School as pointless navel-gazing that drew attention away from the larger, more practical issues of institutional racism, housing segregation, wealth inequality, and governmental neglect of black communities.
Rotella, , pp —, Tochterman, , pp — And both authors traced these developments to an unhealthy black family structure characterized by domineering matriarchs and emotionally weak fathers emasculated by racial discrimination Herman, , pp —; Martin, , pp 21—38; Scott, , pp — In the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion, policymakers both in California and in Pres.
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Lyndon B. Ryan recognized that if slum-life was psychologically damaging and the culture of the black poor was the culprit, then legislators had no reason to fight economic and racial inequality. In the fight against both the culture of poverty thesis and the urban disinvestment it justified, scholars and activists pointed to the existence of thriving communities in the midst of poverty.
They held out hope that psychiatry still held the key to break the cycle of poverty and enable some Harlemites to live emotionally healthy lives even in the midst of poverty. From to , Wiltwyck psychiatrist Salvador Minuchin and his colleagues relied upon the new modality of family therapy to help recovering delinquents maintain their therapeutic gains in aftercare.
Brown however expressed skepticism that Harlem could either be redeemed or at least become a site where some lost souls could be saved. Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, c W4 S : Interprets the life of Booker T. Washington, exploring his rise from slavery to become an influential educator and African American leader. New York : Doubleday, c Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the s. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama all interviewed for this book , and also covers numerous up-and-coming figures from across the nation.