Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, a psychiatrist whose ideas on racism and domination inspired hip-hop artists and civil rights activists, was mourned when she died in 2016 but her message barely broke through the consciousness of white people.
Welsing believed that white people have a genetics problem. They are genetically dominated by Black people and that’s the basis for racist or white supremacist behavior around the world.
Born in Chicago in 1935, Welsing was the child of physician Henry Cress and teacher Ida Mae Griffen. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Antioch College and graduated as a medical doctor from Howard University in 1962.
Her career in child and general psychiatry included working for 25 years as a staff physician for the Department of Human Services in Washington, D.C. Welsing was also the clinical director of two schools for children with emotional troubles and opened her own private practice in D.C.
Welsing started becoming famous after publishing an essay in 1970, “The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy).” In it, she said that racism is a global behavior and the status of whites as a global minority creates fear that leads to violence and oppression. In the essay, she offered her interpretation on the origins of what she described as white supremacy culture.
Through her published works and research, Welsing tried to solve the mental health problems of the Black community by understanding racism.
Welsing died at age 80. Here are 10 things to know about Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.
Her definition is, “Racism (white supremacy) is the local and global power system dynamic, structured and maintained by those who classify themselves as white; whether consciously or subconsciously determined, which consist of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thoughts, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war; for the ultimate purpose of white genetic survival and to prevent white genetic annihilation on planet earth, a planet upon which the vast and overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white, (meaning black, brown, red, and yellow people) by white-skinned people, and all of the non-white people are genetically dominant in terms of skin coloration compared to the genetic recessive white-skinned people”.
Welsing said she had to understand racism to solve mental health problems in the Black community, according to BlackPast.org. In a 1985 segment with talk-show host Phil Donahue, Welsing said that her thinking about racism stemmed from her work as a psychiatrist. “I knew I had to understand racism to help solve the mental health problems of black people,” she said.
In “The Isis Papers”, Welsing described white people as genetically defective descendants of albino mutants. They may have been forcibly expelled from Africa due to this defective mutation, Welsing wrote. Racism, in her view, is a conspiracy “to ensure white genetic survival”. She attributed AIDS and addiction to crack cocaine and other substances to “chemical and biological warfare” by whites.
Welsing theorized that melanin deficiency among whites is what’s driving a white inferiority complex and racism. She talked about the genocide of Black people globally, along with issues Black people face in the U.S. According to Welsing, the genocide of Black people and people of color is caused by white people’s inability to produce melanin. The minority status of whites has caused what Welsing called white genetic survival. Racism, in view, is a conspiracy “to ensure white genetic survival”.
In “The Isis Papers,” Welsing said she believed that injustice caused by racism will end when “non-white people worldwide recognize, analyze, understand and discuss openly the genocidal dynamic.” She tackled issues in the Black community such as incarceration, unemployment, murder, teen pregnancy, infant mortality and drug use. White supremacy caused these issues, according to Welsing.
Black men are at the center of Welsing’s discussion because they “have the greatest potential to cause white genetic annihilation,” she wrote.
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Welsing caused controversy when she said that bisexuality and homosexuality among African Americans are a ploy by white males to decrease the Black population. She said that the emasculation of Black men prevents procreation of Black people — one of the goals of racism (white supremacy). She described this effeminization as a form of oppression.
She was largely unknown and/or caricatured when discussed at all in white public discourse, according to NPR.
In a 1974 TV interview with William Shockley on Tony Brown’s “Black Journal,” Welsing said: “I think that… even though most white people are not consciously understanding their problem in genetics, they are certainly aware that they are genetically dominated by people of color – that’s why there’s the statement that one drop of black blood makes you black. Because people of color have the genetic capacity to annihilate white people.”
When Welsing died in 2016, Greg Carr, head of Howard University’s Department of Afro-American Studies, said, “The fact that she was largely unknown and/or caricatured when discussed at all in white public discourse reflects the tremendous gap that continues between black and white public spheres.”
In “The Isis Papers,” Welsing described a “planetary game of chess” and stressed the importance of understanding racial behaviors and symbols, NPR reported. The name “The Isis Papers” was inspired by the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis, sister/wife of Osiris — the most significant god. Osiris means “lord of the perfect Black”. Wesling wrote that she chose the name Isis for her admiration of “truth and justice” that allowed for justice to be stronger than gold and silver.
Public Enemy, known for its political and cultural consciousness, was influenced by Welsing’s color theory and views on genetic warfare. Much of the 1990 album, “Fear of a Black Planet,” is lyrically and conceptually based on Welsing’s research. When Welsing died, Chuck D tweeted, “RIP to the elder Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.. the inspiration behind Fear of a Black Planet.” Public Enemy member Professor Griff often praised Welsing’s work and research, paying respect to the effect she had on the band’s music and lyrics.
You can see more of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing in the documentary “500 Years Later” (2005), written by M. K. Asante and directed by Owen Alik Shahadah. Welsing also appeared in “Hidden Colors: The Untold History of People of Aboriginal, Moor, and African Descent”, a 2011 documentary film by Tariq Nasheed.