Public Employee Press
Author Anderson J. Franklin speaks
the black invisibility syndrome
BLACK BUT INVISIBLE: Author A. J. Franklin addresses an
attentive union audience
March 29 on a key problem that afflicts
African American males.
The lecture series sponsored by the DC 37 Campus of the
College of New Rochelle and the DC 37 Education Fund got off to an auspicious
start March 29, when Dr. Anderson J. Franklin addressed an attentive audience
on problems of African American men.
His talk was based on his new book, From Brotherhood to Manhood:
How Black Men Rescue Their Relationships and Dreams from the Invisibility
Syndrome. The book is available at the fund library, Room 211 at
Campus Director Dr. Gwen Tolliver-Luster introduced Franklin. She said,
The cultures of oppression, poverty, the sense of powerlessness
and the resultant culture of invisibility, have significantly inhibited
the journey to manhood for minorities generally, but have almost arrested
the journey to manhood for Black American males.
Like comedian Chris Rock, Dr. Franklin grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and
went on to achieve success. He directed the Clinical Psychology Program
at the City University of New York and at its Graduate Center and was
president of the New York Association of Black Psychologists. Like Chris
Rock, he left the neighborhood, but it hasnt left him. The experiences
of the people he grew up with infuse his lifes work.
Dr. Franklin said that what he calls the Invisibility Syndrome
was at the core of Ralph Ellisons classic novel, The Invisible
Man. In 1947 Ellison wrote: I am an invisible man. I am invisible,
understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Dr. Franklin
spoke of a March 20 front-page New York Times story that was full of devastating
statistics on unemployment, incarceration and education statistics for
Black men. These statistics are frightening. They speak to the crisis
in our community, he said.
Dr. Franklin spoke about daily micro-aggressions and the presumptions
that occur in individual encounters. Over time, it begins to eat
away at peoples souls. It weakens you, he explained. His work
has centered on helping people deal with these daily experiences that
act to make people, and in particular, black men, invisible. The
results of these daily indignities form an ever-increasing cycle of problems,
including the inability to form relationships, he said.
His book provides a roadmap for the journey From Brotherhood to
Manhood a way of overcoming things that contribute to failure.
A provocative question and answer session demonstrated that his lecture
had touched a responsive chord with his audience.