Perceptions of the Supernatural Among African-Americans

1472 Words Feb 1st, 2018 6 Pages
Individual differences will also inform different worldviews related to paranormal and the occult. In fact, historical evidence reveals a rich and varied spiritual expression, which was not tied down to or by any one religion. At the same time, archaeological evidence reveals a palpable spiritual unity, "a coherent, transatlantic belief system," ("Conjuring in the Big House Kitchen" 1). African syncretic traditions blended seamlessly with life in antebellum America, and would later be fused with African-American life also after emancipation. White perceptions of Black spirituality are bound to be problematic, as are any white perceptions of the Other. Projections of idealized exoticism and fantasies of powerful voodoo-men paralleled white fears of Black power. This was especially true after emancipation, as whites for the first time contended with the real possibility of coexisting on equal footing with African-Americans. One of the ways to contend with and conceptualize African-American power was through exoticism, which works much like Orientalism. It is a self-serving endeavor to project exotic power onto the Other, either for entertainment purposes or existential titillation. Another way to contend with African-American power was to presume that such power was primarily used as a vessel to benefit whites.…