Attribution of Symbols: Frances Cress Welsing

In our third and final segment on the Afrocentric psychologist, Frances Cress Welsing, BHM 365 introduces to you Welsing’s take on the Attribution of symbols, objects and racial analogies.


A significant section of Welsing’s work within the Isis papers, pertain to Freudian theory; particularly to his work on the analysis of symbols. Whilst Welsing’s work closely resembles the sexual connotations presented with many objects, she does present an extensive interpretation across a number of categories; covering objects such as: guns and weapons, Christ and the Holy Cross, ball games, boxing, smoking objects, paper money and gold.

Other explanations on the origin and functional mechanism of White supremacy are described in her collection of essays concern the meaning and symbolism of rape and of unjustifiable homicide.
Unjustifiable homicide covers instances varying from lynching, to mass homicide and genocide. Welsing’s interpretation concludes that the Holocaust and the systematic destruction of Jews was caused by a ‘white fear’ of genetic annihilation by “non-Aryan” peoples. Therefore, the action of carrying out a genocide against the Jewish peoples was to illustrate to all non-white ethnicities that they are in peril of extermination:

“No matter how much you may shrink the size of your nose, no matter how many doctors, lawyers, judges, professors, scholars you may produce, no matter how many Einsteins, Freuds, Marxes, or Rubensteins you produce, no matter how much money, diamonds, and gold you may obtain, if you are classified as “non-white” under the conditions of white supremacy domination, when the hammer of white supremacy falls, you will be under that hammer.”


Objects and their racial analogies

According to Welsing, various cultural practices express white people’s sense of their own inferiority:

“On both St. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the white male gives gifts of chocolate candy with nuts…. If his sweetheart ingests “chocolate with nuts”, the white male can fantasize that he is genetically equal to the Black male…. Is it not also curious that when white males are young and vigorous, they attempt to master the large brown balls (American Football), but as they become older and wiser, they psychologically resign themselves to their inability to master the large brown balls? Their focus then shifts masochistically to hitting the tiny white golf balls in disgust and resignation — in full final realization of white genetic recessiveness.

Welsing further contended that white male sexism is rooted in envy, “because Black is always genetically dominant to White”:

“[…] I have said all of the above to state that, yes, there is envy in the white supremacy culture, but it began with the white male’s envy of the genetic power residing in the Black male’s testicles and phallus. Perhaps there was also envy of the comparatively longer length of the Black phallus. The sense of his relative genetic weakness and inferiority compared to Black males (because Black is always genetically dominant to white) caused the white male to attempt to project “inferiority” on white females as well.”

It is because of Welsing’s close proximity to Freud that her work receives criticism, as well as her American-focused critique of it’s culture. For example, the claim that ‘when white males are young and vigorous, they attempt to master the large brown balls’, the comment is made regarding a sport typically only Americans play. Meanwhile, others find that the explanation that because American Footballs are made of leather, their colour is justified.

However, some have pointed out that there is a degree of fascination with the phallus of other men with regards to historically ‘White occupations’ in foreign countries, organised crime and individuals committing acts that brutalise their victims- giving some regard of truth to some of Welsings claims.

Overall, Welsing’s theories and success with the Isis papers may not have garnished much positive attention from the general public or sections from the scientific community. However, despite these rather significant hurdles, her fundamental scientific ability and experience in the field of psychology was not undermined, overshadowed or has since been refuted with solid evidence.

As such, Frances Cress Welsing’s success was not in writing a book which sold well, nor was it successful because it pandered to a demographic. Instead, Isis Papers and Welsing are successful for changing our conversations on racism. Transforming the questions of ‘what’ and ‘who’ to why racism exists, how it occurs and what is the driving force in sustaining it’s relevance, even in the 21st century.




Looking for my lost tape of her radio interview with State University of Dominguez Hills professor of African American Studies.
Any help out there?

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