In this blog we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of Negrophobia.
Negrophobia is an irrational fear of the dark skinned race that originated from the African and Arabian countries. These people have been on the seat of learning since centuries, but undermined and oppressed throughout history.
Racism has an integral part to play in this. It is the belief that one person, community or race are inferior to the other. The negroes or Africans were considered untamed and savages, especially by the Portugese who discovered that these people were as civilized as Europeans, therefore, competition and rivalry ignited the slavery of these people that continued for a long time.
Negrophobia is an intense fear of the black skinned people that developed due to either genetics or an environmental trigger. It hinders the person’s academic and occupational life. Person suffering from Negrophobia will experience nervousness when he thinks of the dark skinned people or are around them.
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- Barack Obama
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Symptoms of Negrophobia
- Dreading the thought of seeing a negro.
- Avoiding TV programs or news that shows negros.
- Feelings of extreme panic and horror.
- Flight or Fight response
Physical symptoms of Negrophobes can include:
- rapid heartbeat
- dry mouth
- shortness of breath
- upset stomach, nausea
- tightness in the chest
- feeling of dread
Causes of Negrophobia
As with most phobias and anxieties, there is no clear consensus about what causes Hoplophobia.. The most common explanation is a childhood traumatic episode where a child may have been exposed to a dark skinned person who could have harmed him or who could have been responsible for harm to his loved or significant ones.
Therefore, the fear that developed was embedded that he cannot shrug it off and it had stayed with him. Due to the prevalent prejudice these people are shown to be negative characters in movies and books, although there are countless incidences and reviews of the heroic stories of these people. Person suffering from Negrophobia will suffer a full-blown panic attack at the thought or presence of the negroes.
Thus, the symptoms of panic can leave the person not in control of the situation. This inability to manipulate the situation according to one’s own whims might also push them to Negrophobia. Scientists believe that a combination of genetic tendencies, brain chemistry, and other biological and environmental factors could cause such fears to develop. As is common in specific phobias, the cause Negrophobia may lie deep in the person’s childhood or its onset may be due to an environmental factor.
Other causes can be as follow:
• Learned behavior
• Traumatic experiences
Etiological Models of Negrophobia
1. Biological (Genetic) Model
Genetics also determines how a person reacts and feels. Therefore, people inherit fears and phobias as well from their families. The brain cells (neurons) release certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin and Dopamine are two neurotransmitters that in depleted states can cause anxiety like symptoms.
2. PsychoAnalytical Model
If a person has suffered from a traumatic experience in early childhood it can have a severe dire impact on his later life.
A childhood traumatic experience could be where children often see a movie where people die in accidents involving gunshots or suffer before they die. This may leave a long lasting impression. Reading books that have a detailed account of deaths and dying by guns , can add to the fears.
People also get effected by the gory details of the slavery that took place in the early part of the century. The kind of cruelty that the negroes were meted out was abysmal. Therefore, the person who suffers from Negrophobia can exercise reaction formation, a form of defence mechanism of the mind to avoid anxiety and start fearing the negroes themselves.
This happens in extreme cases of anxiety when the mind does not know how to react and indulges in a phobic state to avoid what it actually fears.
3. Behavioral Model
According to this model, irrational fears may be caused through behaviors that are learned by replication. Children often replicate unique behaviors of their adults, parents or a favorite aunt or uncle.
If a family member is already suffering from anxiety or is scared of one or another thing, then chances are higher that only by observing this, the child may develop fears
Treatments of Negrophobia
Negrophobia can be treated through different treatments. These include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP), Exposure Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) and forms of meditation.
1) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
In CBT the therapist helps the client to amend his thoughts so that a desirable behavior can be achieved. This therapy is effective, because if the thoughts or cognitions alter then there will be a lasting impact on behavior.
The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought, his behavior in regards to death and dying. This therapy is goal oriented and short termed. Therefore, the results are seen soon. It changes the way a person thinks and feels. CBT does not focus on probing the past to resolve current problems, rather it concentrates on the present situation.
Our thoughts determine how we act or react to certain stimuli and situations. Therefore, negative thoughts bring about a negative behavior response or an undesirable behavior. Whereas, positive thoughts propagate desirable and healthy attitude and response.
For the treatment of Negrophobia, the therapist separates the problem into parts. These may include: thoughts, feelings and actions.
- What thought is invoked at the thought of negroes?
- How do you feel when you see a dark skinned man?
- What do you do when you meet negroes?
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT and designed by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” This is what subjective perspective is.
In Negrophobia, the person thinks of nothing else other than sheer panic, when he sees the negroes.
2) Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP)
In this therapy the client is asked to
- Access the phobia in a safe environment.
- Help them to replay the phobia along with happy emotions.
- Disassociate from the phobia.
3) Systematic Desensitization (Exposure)
This is one of the most common therapies used in treating phobias and an effective way to desensitize the patient.
In this therapy the client with phobia is exposed to the stimulus gradually with varying durations of time. Every time the ‘exposure’ of the feared stimulus is increased.
In Negrophobia the client is exposed to images of firearms first. For the fear to be invoked during therapy, the patient must be exposed to an intense stimulus (one that is feared). He is also asked to narrate any scene from a movie he has seen that involved diseases or hospitals.
It is a type of behavior therapy developed by Wolpe in the 1950s. The aim of Systematic Desensitization is to remove the ‘feared stimulus’ and substitute it with a ‘relaxation response.’
Initially a relaxation technique that involves deep breathing is taught to the client. Then the client is asked to present a list that has a hierarchical presentation of his fears, starting from the least fear evoking situation to the most.
The therapist takes the client through these situations via two methods:
a) In vitro – where the feared stimulus is made to imagine
b) In vivo – where the client visits the the feared place in reality
The exposure to the phobic stimulus is of varying durations, where the client exercises relaxation techniques and can revert to a previous non-threatening situation any time.
3) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reducing the interference from around the environment. We do not pay attention to how we process the various stimuli that affect us. We do not process the way our bodies feel and respond, there is no focus on our thoughts and how these thoughts are influencing our emotions.
In MBSR, the client is ‘woken up’ to actually experience the various senses. ‘Focus’ is the keyword!
For meditation to be effective during treatment, the mind is cleared off all the clutter of random thoughts. The mind and body are made to be ‘in sync’ with each other, so that the feared stimulus does not invoke a negative thought. The client will meditate during the thoughts of death and concentrate on his breathing patterns in the presence of the feared stimulus.
5) Self-Help Groups
Self Help groups are an effective type of therapy, in which the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer. These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias. They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping strategies. This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.
6) Changing Lifestyle
Breaking down the dullness of the daily, helps break down anxiety as well.
• Take up jogging or go for daily walks:
Developing a walk routine can damper the way our negative thoughts control our behavior.
• Indulging in an exercise regime:
Vigorous exercise like aerobics has proved to reduce or alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Exercise helps the mind to cope with stress and stressful situations better. This is what the American Psychological Association has to say about inducting exercise to eliminate stress or phobias.
• Altering eating and drinking habits:
Cutting down on fatty foods and caffeine can improve self-image, that in turn leads to a raised self-esteem. This finally diminishes the symptoms of stress to a bare minimum. With high intake of caffeine, the body resembles a ‘fight or flight’ response, thus giving way to anxiety.
• Improving the sleep cycle:
When we get proper rest, our concentration improves. When the mind is properly rested we think rationally.
7. Psychiatric Medication
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Negrophobia are severe.
- Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
These should only be taken after the consultation with the doctor and shouldn’t be initiated or discontinued as per personal discretion.
These medicines are not only used to treat depression, but also to alleviate the symptoms of Negrophobia as well as other phobias. Medicines alone might not be as effective, but if used in conjunction with therapies then the results will be better.
7) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This kind of therapy is used to regulate the emotions. A technique called “half-smiling” is used where the client is asked to lift the corners of his mouth when the feared thought comes to his mind. Apart from this the mind is to be trained to refrain from thinking about the painful stimulus.
Coping Ahead is another technique in DBT that requires the client to sit quietly and think of the feared situation and strategize what he will do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it ethical to be fearful of the dark skinned?
It is not ethical to be scared of anyone, dark skinned as well. Everyone deserves respect and should be respected in a dignified way.
What is Negrophobia?
Negrophobia is a fear of the negroes or the dark skinned people.
Who was Abraham Lincoln?
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States of America and officially ended slavery in America.
How did slavery start in the US?
In 1619 there were 20 or so Africans who were brought to the USA and thus the official slavery began..
Titles To Read
- The Comprehensive Clinician’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
by Leslie Sokol and Marci Fox
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry
by Seth J Gillihan PhD
- Phobias: The Psychology of Irrational Fear
by Irena Milosevic and Randi McCabe
- Mastering Your Fears and Phobias (Treatments That Work)
by Michelle G. Craske, Martin M. Antony, et al.
We will be happy to answer any queries.