The question may arise, as to why I started a Taskforce against Racism and Modern-Day Eugenics and why with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR) a mental health watchdog group. Eugenics comes from Greek word, eugenēs which means wellborn or good “stock,” from eu- + -genēs, born. But what strikes me about eugenics was how it was used and is being used to make less of Blacks and other people of color.
I was born to parents that were proactive in our community. They were unique people; my father, a businessman, owned group homes for boys and mentally disabled children, and my mother, Marcine Shaw, was deeply active in our community. She was a councilwoman in the City of Compton and a senior deputy to former Los Angeles County Supervisors Kenneth Hahn and Yvonne Brathwaite-Burk. Because of my parents’ status, I walked among the rich and the poor, the powerful and the hopeless and was raised to be without fear of anyone or anything.
As a child I met Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X and noted author and activist James Baldwin, among others. My grandfather was best friends with Marcus Garvey and is the reason I carry the name Frederick Douglas Shaw Jr. He named a number of his children after iconic Black figures, such as Marcus Garvey and Frederick Douglass.
My father’s older brother, Rev. Alvia Shaw, was a pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church, a highly renowned activist church. My mother’s great uncle, Bishop Chester Nelson, was one of the founding members of the Church of God in Christ in Texas—one of the most powerful Black churches in America.
I have had people in my life of every color that have looked out for me, encouraged and inspired me. I was raised by parents and family members who were advocates for justice and were prominent in that struggle. I always knew that there was a price to be paid for freedom and justice and that a person or group must be willing to pay that price to have that freedom.
As a Black man, through the years, racism would display its ugly head. From not being allowed to get on the bus in Bellflower, California to constant harassment by law enforcement well into my adult life. I watched the unrest of the 1960’s (riots, civil rights marches, disturbing images of Blacks being water-hosed and dogs turned them, etc.). Year after year nothing changed.
We observe the events of today, the reoccurrences of abusive police actions against people of color. We see schools that seemingly can’t teach youth of color, more Blacks imprisoned than whites and a declining moral compass. Something is not right.
I left the Sheriff’s department in 1993 in search of solutions to the mass incarceration I witnessed every day. My sister and I opened “Boys to Men” group homes in the Compton and Lancaster areas, and focused on educating probation youth in a 24-hour residential care faculty. We found that education was the core to handling injustice, as we produced highly contributing members of society that no longer engaged law enforcement in negative ways.
Our programs actually worked, but we found a force working against us. Even though we were having great success, and were publicly promoted as one of the better facilities, we found the probation system punishing us for not using the “mental health model,” a model grounded in eugenics.
We were against mandated psychiatric assessments of our youths. We observed that they literally got worse after every psychiatric visit. These “professionals” doing the assessments had no clue how to deal with Black males and we were tired of psychiatrists hindering progress at every level. The probation department wanted to shut us down.
The Black community, including me, have always known that not all white people were bad, although some can be very bad. That seems to be the way of humans. There are those that do not seem to care and those that would risk their lives fighting for Black people’s rights.
This came to a head this year, with our streets filled with chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the George Floyd’s killing. One of the reasons I support CCHR—and have done for more than 25 years—is because they are relentless in finding the truth and to identify sources of social injustice.
It didn’t surprise me that they would find a Professor of Psychology, formerly from West Point, who has been teaching law enforcement agencies across the country for years, using his concept called “Killology.” This is taught to police and other law enforcement officers to enable them to kill without hesitation or guilt. Add to this modern-day eugenics, which fans the fire of racism and targets people of color, and it’s a powder keg waiting to go off. I believe this has helped put the police in a war with the community they serve, often the Black community. There are other mental health practitioners doing similar types of teaching and advising governments. It’s not in our best interests.
The Black community has always known there has been a conspiracy against them, but never fully found or named all of the conspirators. CCHR, with its factual information, helped to unravel this mystery for me. I had always suspected psychiatry and psychology because of its eugenics origins. The facts show that these pseudo health care agents spread eugenics throughout the world, profited from racial conflicts, and said Black people were inferior, unable to be educated, and all the other eugenics-based stereotypes we see today. Yet this is what is training our police?
This is not only in America. I have fought injustice in South Africa. I presented testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and know first-hand the role of mental health professionals and their eugenics theories played in Apartheid and psychiatric slave labor camps that allowed Black people to die from illnesses that proper medical care could have prevented.
From my experience, I know a key source behind the attacks on Black people around the world—it is psychiatry. Who made it “medically” okay to abuse Blacks and other people of color? If you think that whites are not also suffering at the hands of psychiatry, then think again.
Therefore, I launched the Taskforce against Racism and Modern-Day Eugenics in collaboration with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International. My friend, the late Isaac Hayes, the first non-acting African-American to win an Oscar, and a three-time Grammy winner, once impressed upon me that “CCHR has a commitment to improving conditions in the mental health field by exposing abuses like [racism.] That is why I became a Commissioner of their organization and why I ask that you listen to what they have to say.” It’s why I also became involved and why I not only trust CCHR’s research, but am also a spokesperson for them.
I want to do something about racism; I want change. I thank you for your support and joining us.