Frances Cress Welsing is a D.C. psychiatrist and completely batshit insane. She is particularly noted for her afrocentric “Cress Theory of Color Confrontation,” and The Isis Papers; The Keys to the Colors (1991). Welsing claims that there is a system practiced (consciously and unconsciously) by the global white minority to ensure their genetic survival by any means necessary, a system that attacks people of color (particularly of African descent) in all areas of activity, and that it is, accordingly, imperative that people of color (particularly of African descent) understand how the system of white supremacy works in order to dismantle it. So far, so good, perhaps – some over-the-top formulations, but that can probably be excused when dealing with a real issue.
But no. In The Isis Papers she formulates her pseudoscientific melanin theory, the gist of which is that white people are the genetically defective descendants of albino mutants, a mutation that may have caused them (justifiably, it seems) to have been forcibly expelled from Africa. And it is because “pure whitness” is so easily genetically lost during interracial breeding that light-skinned peoples have developed an aggressive colonial urge. She also ascribes plenty inherent and behavioral differences between black and white people to this “melanin deficiency,” since melanin is apparently a superconductor that absorbs all frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, can convert sound energy to light energy, and work as a minicomputer to process information; a deficiency would accordingly be bad). Her evidence is apparently restricted to “her experiences as a psychiatrist”.
White people’s (accurate) sense of their own inferiority is exhibited in various cultural practices: “On both St. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the white male gives gifts of chocolate candy with nut … If his sweetheart ingests ‘chocolate with nuts’, the white male can fantasize that he is genetically equal to the Black male … Is it not also curious that when white males are young and vigorous, they attempt to master the large brown balls, but as they become older and wiser, they psychologically resign themselves to their inability to master the large brown balls? Their focus then shifts masochistically to hitting the tiny white golf balls in disgust and resignation – in full final realization of white genetic recessiveness.” I suppose such gibberish is standard fare in some branches of post-modern Freudianism – big claims are justified by vague associations between words in any manner the practitioner may fancy – but it is no less loony for that.
According to Welsing psychiatry (that is, her brand of psychiatry) seems to be some sort of primary science. Her “Unified Field Theory Psychiatry” encompasses and grounds biology, psychology, and physics, and is a prerequisite to understanding the etiology of a unified field of energy phenomena, in particular the “behavior-energy” underlying racial conflict (yes, it is quantum woo), as well as homosexuality and sexism. And no, she doesn’t like gays. According to Welsing black male homosexuality was imposed on blacks by the white man in order to reduce the black population; it is a sign of weakness, and homosexual patterns of behavior are simply expressions of black male self-submission to other males in the area of sex, as well as in economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, and war.
But this, readers, is just the beginning of Welsing’s “scientifically based” theories of race. According to Welsing there is a correlation between high blood pressure and blackness of skin due to the fact that melanin picks up energy vibrations from other people under stress – the darker the skin, the more melanin, and thus the more vibrations would supposedly be picked up. This apparently explains why George Washington Carver was so successful in discovering useful products from plants – he owed his success not to his MA in chemistry, but to the fact that he was dark-skinned: The plants “talked to his melanin and told him what they were good for” during his early morning strolls. It is hard to see how such ideas, if incorporated in a school curriculum (which is what Welsing and her group try to achieve – just like creationists, the point is to get the rubbish into schools, not to gather evidence), would have any long-term positive effects for the target groups.
But melanin can do more than talking to plants. According to Welsing (and repeated in particular by Hunter Adams) the Dogon of Mali discovered a dwarf companion of Sirius, Sirius B, which is invisible to the naked eye. They did so, according to Welsing, because the Dogon’s melanin, in addition to giving you ESP, functions in a manner similar to an infrared telescope, enabling them to detect Sirius B through the melanin in their pineal glands (yes, the pineal gland). Evidence, or plausible mechanism? Forget it – her justification is a matter of Freudian associations. She further claims that everything that happens on Earth is converted to energy and beamed up to Sirius B, and that the high melanin content of black people enables them to tap into that information. Thus, for instance, Greek oracles (who were apparently black, according to Welsing) were able to foresee the future, just as present-day blacks are able to do (but of course not melanin-deficient whites).
Diagnosis: Appalling pseudoscientific bullshit. And as with other pseudoscientce, it is all about outreach, not finding out what’s actually the case.