Manipulation involves the attempt by the manipulator to elicit certain desired responses from his subject while concealing his efforts to do so. In this way the manipulator seeks to constrain, restrict, or prevent certain undesirable actions on the part of his subject and/or to subtly direct his subject to behave in certain desired ways outside his subject’s knowledge and awareness.

Manipulation involves a more “efficient” exercise of power than force, coercion, and influence because it is less likely to evoke resistance since the subject is unaware of the effort to influence him or may think that the manipulator is exercising his influence to achieve an end desired by both the manipulator and the subject himself, when in actuality the subject is being influenced toward an end which may be detrimental to himself and beneficial only to his manipulator. Thus, the manipulated subject may be led to perceive his own responses and behavior as expressions of his own free will and choice. Commonly, manipulation is achieved by skillfully presenting information, rewards, and deprivations in ways which shape the consciousness and behavior of the subject and motivates him to freely “choose” to act in ways compatible with the concealed intentions of his manipulator.

Wrong notes two important general forms where manipulation may occur:

First, the power holder may exercise concealed control over the power subject through symbolic communications designed to make veiled suggestions, to limit or determine selectively the power subjects’ information supply, or to inculcate without appearing to do so certain positive or negative attitudes… .

But an equally widespread kind of manipulation occurs where A alters B’s environment in such a way as to evoke a desired response from B without interacting directly with B at all.

Wrong further notes that manipulation may involve the most dehumanized, and as far as we are concerned, perhaps the most dehumanizing exercise of power of all because, unlike the exercise of obstructive physical force, visible coercive and authoritarian power where the intent of his adversaries and the sources of assault and frustration are known to the subject, manipulation “is a form of power that cannot be openly resisted by the power subject since he is unaware of the power holder’s intent or even sometimes of his existence. There is no visible command or him to disobey, no identifiable adversary against whom to assert his freedom.”

The manipulation of Afrikan American political and economic attitudes by the White ruling elite is designed to effectively secure, enhance and exercise power while not appearing to do so; while appearing to provide Blacks with power or options equal to that or those of Whites. The point of this type of manipulation is to win the acceptance of Blacks of the legitimacy of White power, its moral integrity, its legitimating ideology, and the acceptance by Blacks of their obligation to obey the directive of White power while believing their obedience to be expressive of their own free and moral will. Only by basing their behavioral orientation on their own Afrikan history, culture, values, interests, consciousness and identity can Blacks prevent their behavioral manipulation by self-serving Whites and act under the influence of their own self-generated enhanced power.

(Taken from “Blueprint for Black Power,” by Dr. Amos N. Wilson, pages 22-23)