Search

THE SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME 

The Civil Writer Magazine

On one of my trips several years ago to South Africa an elderly Indian man who was my driver and considered a colored person in South Africa's culture told me that the tribal African kings sold or traded their people, now African Americans for shiny objects. Not for valued diamonds and gold but things that were different like hats, scarf, knives and clothing that no other tribal kings would have. Let's define the psychological term for shiny object: It is anything new, be it a new business idea, car, clothes, jewlery, but in this case people are the shiny object who were different by race. It is about having something others don't have. From roughly 1920 through the 1960s, white society did not permit blacks to marry out of their race or to own or rent housing especially in certain areas in LA. When growing up in the 60s in LA well off Blacks lived in View Park the hilltop community nicknamed the Black Beverly Hills of Los Angeles, and nearby neighborhoods like Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, Baldwin Hills, and Sugarhill all made up of the most affluent African-American enclaves in the nation.

Many Black actors and musicians with racism going strong still seemed to find white women and men to marry in the 60s. Black Americans had the incomes to purchase anything they wanted in life but what was it- about wanting white women and men to marry to go along with that wealth? Like my driver said African kings wanted shiny objects things no others would have. These shiny objects in today's terms are white mates who were once taboo. It does go both ways once white women became liberated they wanted shiny objects in the image of Black men especially if they have money.

Laws banning "race-mixing" were enforced in certain U.S. states from 1691 until 1967 (though still on the books in some states until 2000). California was one of the first states since Ohio in 1887 to repeal its anti-miscegenation law. That was why you saw interracial marriages in California among Black actors. Black men and women marrying outside of their race from the 1960s to today is a shiny object syndrome. Beginning in the 1960s it was a matter of having a white woman or man because they were considered off limits. Even Dr. Martin Luther King jr. during his theology seminary years almost got engaged to a white woman until he was talked out of it by a family friend.

White women or men didn't provide anything domestically to a Black mate that a Black woman or man couldn't provide except for money or the appearance of it. Shiny objects syndrome is not an illness but a syndrome that's a combination of opinions, emotions, or behavior that they believed would be advantageous to fall in love with somebody white.