Why do we need all those damn Black people anyway?

“Einnie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney moe.”   

Portrait of Happy Family In ParkBetween 1868 and 1969, 3,446 African Americans were lynched in the United States.  Some for looking at a White woman, some for being uppity, some for not getting off the sidewalk when a White person was coming, some for smiling, some for laughing and some for no other reason than they were Black.  Today of course, we point with measured pride to the fact that the President of the United States of America is an African American man.  I say with measured pride because President Barack Obama is perhaps one of the most reviled and hated men to ever hold the office.  Gun sales have gone through the roof since his election along with an increase in hate groups.  If Obama says the “Sky is blue today,” he is called a liar, thief, scoundrel, socialist, anti-American and worse.

“Einnie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney moe.”  

Abraham Lincoln was reported to have investigated or at least contemplated the idea of resettling newly emancipated slaves in another country.   Thomas Jefferson freed some of his slaves but not all of them and had a slave mistress by whom he had a number of children.   Strom Thurmond, a US Senator from South Carolina who long opposed desegregation and civil rights had a child by his Black maid.  The list of hypocrisy concerning the value of Black folks in America is as long as the Mississippi river.  Is it a fair question to ask “What is the value of Black people?”  One could well ask the same question for White people.  Would the answers differ?  Is there some inherent value for the color of a person?

“Well” some would say:  “Look at how those Black people can play football, baseball and basketball.”   We managed to make the Russians look bad in many of the Olympic Games through the contributions of Black Americans.  African Americans have made numerous contributions to science, humanities, arts and literature.  The list of African Americans in any of these categories would take up more room than I have in this blog and would be insulting to even think of listing.  For those White folks who see no value in Black people, a list as numerous as the stars would not change their minds.

“Einnie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney moe.”  

The Black Holocaust generally refers to the persecution, enslavement and murder of millions of Africans during the period of legal slave trade that existed from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century.  It is estimated by some scholars that over ten million Africans were killed in this period by murder, beatings, malnutrition, disease and other tortures suffered during their enforced imprisonment and transportation to slave pens and slave auctions.quincy-auction

“Some Afrocentric scholars prefer the term Maafa to African Holocaust, because they believe that the indigenous African terminology more truly confers the events. Other arguments in favor of Maafa rather than the term African Holocaust emphasize that the denial of the validity of the African people’s humanity is an unparalleled centuries-long phenomenon: The Maafa is a continual, constant, complete, and total system of human negation and nullification.” [1]  — Wikipedia

Well, you say, all this was a long time ago.  “My daddy didn’t own any slaves.”  “Black people should be held to the same standards as White people.”  “What about reverse discrimination.”  “Why don’t they just act like White people?”  “I’m not prejudiced; I just don’t want to live with a bunch of Black people.”  “Why should I have to pay for something that happened long before I was born?”  “When are they going to start taking responsibility and put this slavery business behind them?”  “They all want special treatment.”  “They always play the ‘race card’ when things get tough.”

“Einnie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney moe.”  

You know they didn’t really have it so bad.  Many of the slaves down on those plantations were happy and proud to have a White master and three square meals a day.  They make it sound like things were really awful but they had it better than many White folk in the good old South.

“Old Black Joe” (Click on the Link and listen to the song)

Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away,
Gone from the earth to a better land I know,
I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe”.
Chorus
I’m coming, I’m coming, for my head is bending low:
I hear those gentle voices calling, “Old Black Joe”.

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” ― Abraham Lincoln

The following is a description of routine slave treatment from “A Runaway Slave.”   © 2003 This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

lynching“One night towards the last of the week, our allowance was gone and we were very hungry.–So I and two others went into the musk-melon patch and took three or four melons apiece. The next day they measured our tracks and then measured our feet, and whipped some of us, till one told who did it. There was a man and woman besides me. The man’s name was Reuben. They carried the man into the woods, where they had four stakes driven into the ground, and stretched him out and fastened him there. The driver whipped him for a long time. Afterwards they washed him down with brine and then put him in the stocks. I was tied round a log. They tied me as close as possible with strings round my neck and hands and feet.–They put a cap on my head and drew it down closely over my face. It covered my whole face, and was tied under my chin, and was not taken off till the whipping and washing were all over. After whipping I was put into the stocks. They tied the woman up to a tree, and made her hug round it. She was whipped more than I was, though I was whipped badly enough. They put her into the dungeon, a dark hole under the house.”

So much fun, it makes you wish that you too could have been a slave and lived on a plantation.  I can imagine working in the cotton fields with the other children from 5 in the morning till 9 at night.  Getting a chance to sing and dance for my White masters before drifting off to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning to the tune of a whip snapping across my back and my White master gently singing “Get your Black ass out of bed and into the fields.”  So much fun!  I don’t understand why we just don’t start some new plantations and allow White folks who think they were cool to take vacations there.  Instead of going to a spa, White folks who think plantations were fun spots could book a vacation at a plantation.  They would all be run by Black people who were descendants of slaves and had some first-hand knowledge of plantation life.  White people could get a chance to experience plantation life first hand and pay for the privilege.  All the proceeds could be donated to a Black scholarship fund and then we would not need any Affirmative Action quotas.  It would be a win-win for everyone:  more scholarships for Blacks and more fun vacations for Whites.

“Einnie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney moe.”  

I started this blog with the intent of identifying the worth of a “Black person.”  Once upon a time one of my students said that “life was invaluable and
you could not put a value on the life of a human being.”  I cried “Bullshit, insurance companies do it all the time.”  So if we can put a value on the life of a human being, why not subdivide humans into categories or minority groups and ask what each of the members of these groups would be worth?  Something like this:

White Person:             3, 000, 000 dollars

Black Person:             2, 000, 000 dollars

Latino Person:            1, 500, 000 dollars

Asian Person:             1, 000, 000 dollars

African American HistoryI suppose we could argue about these numbers some but I suggest them simply as a starting point.  Perhaps there could be subcategories to help narrow things down: Tall people versus short people or old people versus young people.  With such a value system we could even initiate trades.  I could trade you two old White persons for one young Black person or a few tall Latinos for one short Asian.  A system like this might make trades between sports teams easier.  It would certainly be embraced by insurance companies when it came time to paying out death benefits.  I am also sure lawyers would gravitate to the system when civil lawsuits for damages were unclear.

“Einnie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney moe.”    (Listen to the song War by Bob Marley)

These dam Black people.  They act like prejudice still existed.  Don’t they know that prejudice, racism, discrimination and race hatred are things of the African American Soldierpast?  Us White folks have now become racially indifferent, non-prejudiced, non-racist and extremely tolerant of Black people.  Why some of us even let our daughters date Black men.  Just listen to some of the ideas that you can now hear said about Black folks by our elected leaders.  I am not talking about out and out racists like the KKK, Aryan Nation or Rush Limbaugh.  I am talking about elected political leaders who hold office and have responsibility to represent all the citizens of this county.

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry is an ambiguous bigot whose records and affiliations are not blatant enough to call him racist, yet the racist tone of his politics straddles the line. Just recently, Perry came under fire after it was learned that his family’s leased hunting compound in West Texas was named: “Niggerhead Ranch.”
  • Minnesota US Senator Michele Bachmann endorsed a pledge that claimed Black families were better off during slavery. She also railed against a government settlement paid to Black framers, who claimed the federal government discriminated against them for decades. In another instance she claimed, “Not are cultures are equal, not all values all equal.”
  •  Mississippi State Representative John Moore has ranted about the special interests of “one group of people,” and has advocated against a bill to make teaching civil rights mandatory in Mississippi schools. Moore has also given speeches at various rallys sponsored by the Council of Conservative Christians, a group that has worked hard to deny its racist sentiments, but who the Republican National Committee has openly condemned in 1999 and that the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as a crudely white supremacist group whose website has run pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to Blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.”
  •  Arkansas State Representative Loy Mauch, a former head of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, proved the present day political clout of white supremacists, winning a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives.  Never one to back away from his white supremacist views, Mauch declared the Confederate flag a symbol of Jesus Christ, and has even said he believes Abraham Lincoln did not follow the Constitution.
  •  South Carolina State Sen. Jake Knotts went on a racially motivated tirade against then-gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and President Obama. “We already got one raghead in the White House. We don’t need another in the Governor’s Mansion.”

So what is a Black person worth?  I guess the answer would depend on whether he was a good Black or a bad Black.  A good Black is a Black person put the white back in the white housewhom I know, like and trust.  He or she might be someone I work with, a neighbor or a friend whom I have met through some mutual activity.  A good Black person has a lot in common with me.

A bad Black is a Black person whom I don’t know.  I don’t have much in common with these bad Black people.  There are many more bad Blacks in this country (since by default we all know fewer Black people than we don’t know) then there are good Blacks.  That makes it hard for most White people to feel kindly towards Black people, since there are so many more bad Black folks.  What can we do about this situation?  If only we had some universal skin dye that could make those bad Black people all White that could help solve the problem.   Of course, us White folks could all move back to Europe and leave them Black folks here.  That would fix them.  The Indians might appreciate this latter idea as well.

Time for Questions:

How do you treat people who are different from you?  What do you value in a human being?  Does it depend on the color of their skin?  Does it depend on whether or not they belong to the same groups as you do?  Does it depend on whether or not they belong to the same church as you do?  Who are the “good” people in your life?  Are your “good folks” based on character or race?

Life is just beginning.

“Einnie, meanie, miney Joe, catch a Honky by the toe.  If he hollers, let’em go.  Einnie meanie miney Joe.”  

I think the lyrics to Marley’s song are worth thinking about.  Following are the lyrics for those of you who might want to print them out.  I am guessing Mr. Marley would not mind more widespread distribution of his song.

“War” Lyrics and Music by Bob Marley

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Inferior
Is finally
And permanently
Discredited
And abandoned –
Everywhere is war –
Me say war.

That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes –
Me say war.

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race –
Dis a war.

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained –
Now everywhere is war – war.

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
that hold our brothers in Angola,
In Mozambique,
South Africa
Sub-human bondage
Have been toppled,
Utterly destroyed –
Well, everywhere is war –
Me say war.

War in the east,
War in the west,
War up north,
War down south –
War – war –

Rumours of war.
And until that day,
The African continent
Will not know peace,
We Africans will fight – we find it necessary –
And we know we shall win
As we are confident
In the victory

Of good over evil –
Good over evil, yeah!
Good over evil –
Good over evil, yeah!
Good over evil –
Good over evil, yeah! 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeanine
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 00:45:57

    I find it very painful to think that prejudice and bigotry still exists in this world. I think we have come a good way, but we have a long, long way to go. I could never understand why a person would judge another based on the color of his skin, ethnic background,or religious preference. Great blog. Maybe it will shine some light.

    Reply

  2. johnpersico
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:20:37

    Thanks Jeanine, I hope so.

    Reply

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