Monday, May 29, 2017

Who are the 85%?

In the 1950s a Psychologist by the name of Solomon Asch did a series of social experiments on human conformity called The Ash Conformity Experiments. These experiments began with a perceptual exercise. A group of 6 people were asked to participate in a study where they would all sit at a table and be shown a series of cards with one target line on one side and three comparison lines on the other side.

The participants would then be asked one by one which comparison line matches the target line. One by one they all choose the correct answer when the first and second card is shown. Of the 6 people participating, 5 of them were previously instructed to unanimously give the wrong answer when the third card is shown. This is unknown to 1 participant, the subject, who is now positioned to either say what they know to be correct or go along with the group just to fit in, knowing that the answer is wrong. There were 18 different cards shown and the 5 participants unanimously gave the wrong answer on 12 of those cards.

While most people said they would say what they knew to be correct and not go along with the group, researchers found that 75% of the subjects conformed and gave the wrong answer at least once. When the experiment concluded it was then revealed to the subject that the 5 other participants were instructed to unanimously give the wrong answer. When the subject was asked why they went along with the group just to fit in the answers Asch received ranged from self doubt, fear of being ridiculed by the others and the honest belief that the majority’s answers were correct. There were others who did not conform and of course they were in the minority. Keep in mind that this study was conducted on white male undergraduates of the same age range; a conformed racial, gender, cultural group. Given different racial, cultural, gender, age and socioeconomic backdrops researchers may see different results. Although this was the case, there is much to learned about conformity and one's sense of justice, especially when there are no visible signs of a reward or penalty for not conforming. 

Asch’s primary reason for conducting these experiments was to study how group behavior can influence an individual. What researchers recognized in these experiments are two forms of social conformity: Normative and Informational. Normative Conformity happens when people want to be accepted or liked, such as peer pressure and following music/fashion trends. Informational Conformity happens when people go along based on the belief that others are right or have more accurate information. Whether it was normative or informational social influence, the 75% of the subjects Asch identified as conformists are similar to the 85% within the Five Percent lexicon.

Within our lessons, some of the characteristics used to describe the 85% and their susceptibility to normative and informational social influence are, “poisonous animal eaters” [poor diet choices/not health conscious], “slaves from a mental death and power”, “do not know their origin in this world” [disoriented/lacking a cultural identity], “worship what they know not” [blind followers/non-critical thinkers], “easily led in the wrong direction but hard to be led in the right direction” [naive/easily manipulated], “worshipping that which they cannot see, invisible”, "do not let the 5% teach them" [stubborn/incorrigible], “they believe -in the 10%- on face value” [naive/easily manipulated] and others. In our language of Mathematics 8 is Build [and Destroy] and 5 is Power so the 85% are often referred to as a “Build Power” because this is exactly what they need to do in order to be a master of their destiny, not be mastered. Note that 8 + 5 = 13 and the 13th letter in our Alphabet is “M” for Master; the apex response to “What is his [or her] own self?” as our 13th degree in our section of lessons known as the 1-36 asks us. Not all normative and informational social influence is bad. Some social pressure is important to maintain the integrity of a community against social decay and some of us do have more accurate information we should trust in after further investigation. As the 5%, or free thinking minority in Asch’s experiments who did not conform to the group, we teach, train and learn from others what’s necessary to rise above the gravitational pull of negative normative and informational social influences. This requires more than personal integrity or the audacity to stand out or stand alone. Among other things, it requires a sound premise [Knowledge = Foundation] of facts to stand upon, self confidence, the skills to defend our position and being inoculated against the potential ridicule, sabotage and loss that can come along with being a non-conformist. 

 Sheeple and Social Economic Engineering

Allah, affectionately known as “The Father”, who started the Five Percent Nation in 1964 began as a non-conformist. He stood alone and didn’t claim affiliation with any religious, political or Black Nationalist groups during one of the most turbulent times in American history. He taught youth that many in society perceived as incorrigible without a college education, a program grant, a paycheck or for community service hours. He just cared enough about his community, especially the youth, to do everything within his power to help transform its condition and help inspire, empower and educate them to be its future leaders. It's a tough path that demands resilience and the knowing that we may very well lose our life standing out or standing alone for what we know to be true. As evidenced by the problems we see in this world, most aren't willing to do this. Most people, we refer to as the 85%, means "the majority" or those who go along to get along even if it's wrong; like the silent majority who voted America into the mess #45 is making. Being of the majority doesn't make a person inherently evil, inferior, untalented nor are the names 85%, Build Power or Eighty Fiver a coded racial epithet Five Percenter's use to discriminate against or ridicule people. This, among other words/phrases we use in our language, is a sociological term used to coherently define how most people function within society; a society where a crony capitalistic minority, often deemed The 1% [we call the 10%], use social influence to monopolize its resources, institutions and economy. A question I always get from people who are striving to learn more about the Five Percent is, "Can the 85% ever become the Five Percent?" and my answer has been consistently the same: HERE

While many within the Five Percent commonly consider "Who" are the 85% as a means to define those who fit the description within our lessons, as evidenced by what some of us choose to do and how we choose to do it, it's clear that we may overlook the "When", "Where" and "How" are the 85%. There are moments or ways of thinking about ourselves and the world that are of the 85%. There are places that are Build Power domains. There are also procedures and social norms that dictate the function of an Eighty Fiver. In many cases, and without recognizing there's a difference between Who, When, Where and How, it's hard to even tell the difference between the 85% and those who call themselves the Five Percent. Either because of a person's social media persona, their close affiliations or the sheer lack of youth advocacy and community outreach in their neighborhood and city as a whole. So this question, "Who are the 85%?" is our 14th degree for a reason: it's synonymous with knowing our culture as 1 is Knowledge and 4 is Culture. It's about self evaluation, growth and development, not sitting on a high horse pointing our fingers to ostracize a segment of our human family. Besides, an Eighty Fiver may be the very one to save you or one of your family member's life while your Five Percent bestie is only in a position to say "Peace!"


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