Which came first, the African or the Racism?
It is useful to go back to the beginning on all this. It is what the 1619 Project alleged to do, but they didn’t even get the date right: the first slaves being brought from Africa to the Americas some time in the 1520’s. Of course, the 1619 Project isn’t history – it is Propaganda. An attempt to make out that the United States was uniquely responsible for slavery and that slavery and racism were central to our being as a people. But it isn’t like that, at all.
The only reason there was an African slave trade to the Americas is because labor was wanted; lots and lots of labor. And not skilled labor, either; what was wanted was a huge number of strong backs and arms to do the intensely physically demanding labor of plantation agriculture and mining. The reason Africa became the source of the labor is because it was the closest, non-Christian population to where the labor was needed. If the people of Africa had been white, they still would have been taken as slaves. It was just happenstance that they were black.
And that is very important to realize, because it shoots down entirely the concept that white people are inherently racist or motivated by animus towards other races. That all whites are racist is an article of dogma on the Left these days: you are not allowed to question it and you must accept it and proclaim, if you are white, that you believe it and will thus “check your privilege” for all time to come. But the historical reality just doesn’t support such an interpretation. We didn’t come here to be racist: we came here to build a new civilization. Labor was needed to do that. And when there is a market for something, that market will be filled.
Now, you can still say that it was wrong to enslave anyone – and you’re right by the standards of today. Not of the standards of 1520 or 1619 or even 1776. It was only about the time our nation was founded that people started to question the heretofore never questioned concept of slavery. And I mean really heretofore: prior to the rise of the Abolition movement in the Christian West no one on Earth had ever proposed the notion that no human being may be owned by another under any circumstances.
It was a very new and radical idea: that we all, being the sons and daughters of the same God, have an inherent right to our liberty. It was a very good idea and it is splendid that it was thought up and adopted as a guiding principle. But to blame people for not adhering to it before it was even thought up is absurd. To be really at liberty to do as you please, live where you want, think as you desire is still very new in human history. It really only dates as a concept to the middle of the 18th century and even to this day is only partially applied, but most broadly in the United States.
If you were a commoner in, say, 17th century England, you could be forced to work if the authorities thought you were a vagabond. Every country on Earth in one manner or another pressed down on ideas it didn’t like. There were many restrictions on where you could live and what you could do for a trade. Until the early 19th centuries, you could be impressed into Naval service (especially by the British) entirely without your consent and if you bucked against it you would be mercilessly whipped until you accepted your fate.
And that’s another thing to remember: extraordinarily brutal punishments were not reserved merely for African slaves: anyone who wasn’t high up in the socials strata was at risk of suffering the most astonishing punishments for crime. Whipping, of course: but also being branded with a red-hot iron; having your nose slit; your ears cut off; being placed in stocks to suffer abuse from the crowd; a host of offenses were capital and if you really did something the authorities didn’t like you would be hung, drawn and quartered (that is; you would be hung by your neck until you nearly suffocated and then you would be cut down; your living guts would then be ripped out of your body and while you were still alive, you’d then be tied hand and foot to horses who would be induced to rip your limbs off: a jeering and cheering crowd would watch all this). It was only after such punishments started to be eliminated from the criminal codes of the west in the late 18th century that people started to get offended that slaves were still being whipped. Prior to that, nothing would be thought of it…lots of people were whipped for all sorts of offenses.
If you were of the lower orders of society you were expected to serve and be obsequious. No talking out of turn and no back chat. Employers could use sanction in the law against you if you were insubordinate or substandard in your performance. It is true that you couldn’t be sold – but you could lose your position and wind up shipped to a colony or sent to a workhouse. Most people grovelled. They had to: it was that or starve or be subjected to horrible things. It was only with the birth of freedom in the late 18th century in the United States and France that people started to get off their knees, look the upper classes in the eyes and start talking back.
And that is another key thing to remember: things started to change after the United States became a nation (and, later, France had her Revolution). That’s the dividing line: that is when the worth of people as individuals really came to the fore. Prior to that time, even the Church was only really concerned with your soul, not your social condition. The Church would insist that all people be treated humanely but the Church wasn’t about you being free like a modern American is free. The point here is that it was only after common people learned that they didn’t have to grovel to upper class people that they started to see slaves, who were still required to grovel, were being treated unjustly. And that is where racism stepped in.
As humanity advanced in its concept of freedom and human dignity in the last 18th and early 19th centuries, it became ever more untenable to hold slaves. It was viewed a hidebound and corrupt: and it was also being shown that free labor was simply better than slave labor. But those who held slaves and who felt their livelihood and social position were dependent upon holding slaves didn’t want to change. And that’s when you started seeing people cook up the idea that Africans were inferior to whites and only suitable to be slaves.
To be sure, strands of what we call today racism started to appear earlier – but mostly in relation to the sexes. European women didn’t want to compete with African women for the most-prized males and so made it socially unacceptable for a white man to marry a black woman. It still happened, of course; but over time it ceased entirely to happen in the upper classes. Sexual relations went on, but marriage didn’t (a similar pattern happened in British India – in the 18th century British men would often marry Indian women…but as British women started to arrive in India in the 19th century, that practice became socially unacceptable; once again, competition for mates was the guiding force here). The real racism – the blacks are inherently inferior sort of vicious racism – that only started to appear in response to the growing clamor against slavery, as such. It was a rationalization made by people who simply didn’t want to lose what they had. After a time, a whole bizarre mythology of racism was created to buttress the argument of retaining slaves and it started to seep into the general population with even many of those opposed to slavery conceding that black people were inferior.
So, we aren’t dealing with a 400 year old legacy of racism nor are white Americans inherently racist and racistly racisting their way through life trying to keep the black man down. What we’re really dealing with is about 200 years old and the crucial aspect of it – the main American failure on the subject – happened post-Civil War when we failed to craft a just settlement for the freed slaves. We weren’t stained from the beginning with it: when we were founded in 1776, hardly anyone was yet on board with the idea that slavery was inherently wrong and no one was writing books trying to claim that black people are inherently inferior.
It was that post-Civil War failure which is really at the root of the problem: because we failed to secure the basic civil rights of black Americans, we laid up the legacy of woe that we are actually dealing with. Had we done it right back then, then by now most problems would be ameliorated. Because Jim Crow endured in law until the 1960’s, we’re still rather fresh into this problem. Immense strides have been made – we did, after all, elect a black man President, something that would have been inconceivable 80 years ago; and that is very fast change for a social organism. But, the bottom line is that there’s still a long way to go until a time comes when it doesn’t matter. That is, when what a person’s skin color isn’t even thought of when dealing with a person. We’re much further towards that then anyone had a right to expect 50 years ago, but still a long way away.
And that brings us to one of our crucial problems of today – just as, once upon a time, the slave owners twisted themselves into knots trying to justify holding slaves, so we today have people twisting themselves into knots trying to justify retaining a level of anger about, and contempt for, the United States of America, as such. For a lot of people, there is no upside to black and white people living peacefully together. In fact, there’s a lot of downside: hosts of people make their living off of continued racial animosity. What on Earth would Al Sharpton do for a living without it? How would Democrats keep 90% of the African-American vote? How would scores of critical race theory professors and hangers-on justify their fat salaries?
And so the fires are stoked. A few genuine racists are also still at it, usefully providing a patina of justification for the Left to assert that racism in inherent. And there is no solution – mostly because no solution is wanted. If white people are inherently racist then no action and no amount of time will change that. There will always be things to be offended about. The killing of George Floyd probably had no race aspect to it. I really doubt the cop got up that morning and said to himself, “man, I’m gonna kill myself a black man today”. But because the cop was white and the victim black, it is cast as proof that America is inherently racist…and let’s go loot Target because Reasons…and when order is restored well, whitey, you’re still inherently racist and no amount of you saying “Black Lives Matter” actually changes that…but your guilt is useful because it means you won’t look into things too deeply and thus the race grifters will stay on the gravy train and everything will keep going until the next incident which can be cast in racial terms.
And more’s the pity on that – because we do need a lot of reforms and all that gets buried under the rubble of a looted shop. We do need to reform the police. And the prosecutors. And we do need to find ways to bring about increased minority ownership of productive property.
I don’t know quite how this comes out. I’m hopeful that especially under Trump’s second term, great strides can be made in minority prosperity, which always lessens tensions (people with plenty don’t cause a ruckus and money buys you entree into even the most exclusive clubs). But we’ll just have to see.
I’m hopeful that especially under Trump’s second term, great strides can be made in minority prosperity.
I think that is the key to whether the immediate future is bright or dark. It was actually a Democrat, JFK, who said “a rising tide lifts all boats.” He wouldn’t even be welcome in today’s Democrat Party.
The Democrat Party has been hijacked by globalists and thieves.
Mark I always appreciate the history lesson and of course you had to throw in the mandatory disclaimer that “white people really aren’t racist really really” particularly if the author is white. Who the f**k cares anymore. This IS NOT about racism. Nothing about this is racism. 5 additional black lives have been lost at the hands of protestors since the Floyd event and not one f***ing word is said about them. These riots are the confluence of Antifa (a predominately white, spoiled, rich, anarchist kids club) and Black Lives Matter which is nothing more than a political organization that fundraises during chaos. The Black Lives Matter leaders are well funded, well organized, and sip lattes over strategy meetings. We are being played and yet still most white people like Garcetti are begging for forgiveness. It’s pathetic. White people are not oppressing black people. Government, white rich liberals, and the education system are holding most black families back and that is purely by design.
This is not a racist country and it’s about goddam time white people stand up and say enough!!!!
I told the liberals on MSNBC the other day that in order to stop this “all white Democrats need to fall in line, apologize for your existence and give up everything you have otherwise you will be accused of white privilege and nothing is worse than that” …. and that’s really how pathetic this whole thing is. Again, this has nothing to do with racism. It’s all about the insurrection.
It’s about time a lot of blacks stood up and said enough as well.
Herschel Walker, on Glenn Beck’s show this morning, kept saying the same thing.
Just curious—what is the difference between “resistance” and “insurrection”? Various dictionaries seem to define the two in the same way, with some indicating that “insurrection” is sometimes accompanied by violence.
So we have had members of Congress openly supporting “resistance” to the Trump administration, participation of government officials and agencies in attempts to overthrow the president on various pretexts, the House of Representatives indulging in a blatant display of abuse of power in its effort to unseat the president, and now we have open violence in the form of riots around the country supported by most of the media and many in Congress. And the majority of citizens seem oblivious to precipice we are approaching.
There are people actually supporting defunding police departments. To that, I say “Fine—but before we fire all our cops and send them off to find new jobs, let’s try it out first. Let’s give all the police officers in any town proposing this two weeks off, with pay. All of them. At the same time.” And then have the people vote on whether or not they want this to be permanent. BLM wants its own police force—yeah, like what could go wrong with that idea? If they think black suspects only get shot by white cops, they would be in for a rude surprise.
I remember a sequence of complaints a few years ago in Denver. Denver has a poor black neighborhood called Five Points and the arc of the complaints went like this:
White people don’t care about black people and that is why they don’t send enough cops here.
White people are trying to intimidate black people by sending so many cops into our neighborhood.
Hiring black policemen and having them work in this neighborhood is just an effort to pit some black people against other black people and create conflict in our neighborhood
Reducing the number of both white and black cops in the neighborhood is just racist, telling us our safety doesn’t matter.
I used to spend a lot of time in Five Points. I dated a musician who was so talented he was accepted by black music lovers and musicians, and we used to go to an illegal after-hours club where he would jam with locals and visiting musicians till dawn. One night we decided to go to a Five Points bar and we were in the basement,with a black musician friend of ours playing pool when all hell broke loose upstairs—screaming, running and gunshots. When we finally went upstairs most of the crowd had gone, and the bartender was lying on the floor, bleeding profusely, and a few people were just standing there watching him.
I was the only one who tried first aid. I comforted the man, palpated his leg and assured him the bone was not broken and the bullet had passed through, and had my boyfriend get me some clean bar towels and applied pressure to the wounds. Not one black person lifted a finger to help. I said to call an ambulance, and no one moved to go to the phone. (This was before cell phones.) I repeated that we needed an ambulance and was finally told that ambulances would not go into the neighborhood. I was appalled, but then someone explained that when they did, people shot at them.
I was so ticked off I got bossy and just told someone to bring a car around, and my friend and I helped the injured man hop to the car. The most scared I have ever been in my life was when I walked out with this man’s arm across my shoulder, not knowing if the guy who had shot him (he’d been kicked out of the bar and come back to kill the bartender) was waiting across the street to finish the job. I never did find out if they took the injured man to the hospital. Or, as we joked over ham and eggs later that morning, if they bothered to slow down at the emergency room when they pushed him out of the car.
But they were innocent victims of racism and discrimination, right? And all their problems were due to the white man, right?
The thing is, in that after-hours club I never felt out of place, because we were just music lovers sharing magical experiences. Some were darker than others. That’s all.
Larry Elders does an excellent job of putting facts on the line in respect to racism. I like how he backs the host Rubin in a corner (about the 29 minute mark), as Rubin tries to defend his statement about systemic racism (made a few minutes prior). Elders basically tells him, unless he can back it up, to stop using that talking point as though it were fact, because it just isn’t so, even if the left incessantly spouts it, and it’s considered by many to still be true.
Instead of using population, (Professor Joseph) Cesario analyzed variables such as the race of the police officers, crime rates, and the racial demographics of locations where police shootings happened in 2015. From that, he derived that black and Latino victims of police killings were more likely to have been shot by black and Latino cops, and that ”might not be due to bias on the part of Black or Hispanic officers, but instead to simple overlap between officer and county demographics.”
In other words, in areas where there is a higher concentration of blacks and Latinos, there is also an increase in the number of black and Latino officers. This then takes us to an uncomfortable resolution; those who insist racism is the driving force behind police killings of black victims are assuming the race of the police shooter is almost always white. The statistics do not support their assumption. Ironically, it becomes a prejudicial assessment of police activity, made by those railing against prejudice.
Ironically, it becomes a blatant illustration of racism, coming from those preening in their assumed moral superiority based on their denouncement of racism.
The truth has no place in this current hysteria. It’s all about the staged productions made for tv. The protests, the discord and chaos, and now George Floyd’s funeral are all designed to shield the truth and enflame the passions of the ignorant. Completely predictable. And knowing that Mr. Floyd is a convicted felon shouldn’t it be known that Democrats are celebrating the life of a convicted violent felon, while the life of a decent honorable black man in Capt. Dorn is going without any media lights or recognition. It’s reprehensible.
OK, I don’t do this very often, but “sadly profound?” That’s OK, we still love ya.
That’s my dyslexia kicking in. Thanks for pointing it out
Actually I got a chuckle from it. And I KNEW what you meant.
Then you must have heard about the insomniac dyslexic agnostic, who was up all night wondering if there is a dog.
I really doubt the cop got up that morning and said to himself, “man, I’m gonna kill myself a black man today”.
Agreed. But what has not been addressed to any extent is the fact that the two men knew each other, had worked together. That was mentioned, briefly, and then just disappeared. It does seem more likely that Chauvin was acting out some personal feeling toward Floyd rather than just wanting to kill a black man or being too caught up in the cheap thrill of dominance.
I think what we’re witnessing is a confluence of hatred of the police by a not insignificant portion of the population and individuals and groups working behind the scenes to foment a race war. I can’t begin to imagine the consequences of such a clash except for the fact that it will disproportionately negatively affect predominately Democrat areas. I have to fall back on one of my favorite quotes: “when your adversary is engaged in self-immolation the best strategy is to hide the fire extinguishers and get the hell out of the way.”
Many of us had the sense that Obama was working toward a race war in this country, and we were very relieved when a Democrat was not elected to continue his efforts. I don’t think any of expected today’s success of the Left in fomenting such a conflict, given the calming effect of rising income and opportunities for black people under the Trump administration, but then we always underestimate the power of the Left when it comes to sheer determination, and we seriously underestimated the absolutely stunning degree and level of not just ignorance but stupidity on the part of so many Americans.
The Left is succeeding in expanding this from a race war to include a culture war. They have succeeded in removing any concept of political structure from political affiliation, leaving only a strange seething core of wildly irrational but powerful emotions that, in its hubris, is wildly misjudging its appeal and its support. And the result, as you say, is going to hurt a lot of people.
The message to people in Dem strongholds is basically, whether we say it out loud or not, is: “Either get your s**t together and get rid of the political leaders you elected, who are dragging you into dangerous territory, or get out while you still can before it blows up.”
Colorado, with its new Dem power core, isn’t going to blow up—-it will just wither away economically and lose a lot of its base of rational people who are already disgusted with the way newcomers are destroying the state. People who contributed to the decline of their states will continue to flee to Colorado, where they can pick up where they left off and do the same thing here till Colorado, too, is lost. But states and cities with more well-established Leftist control are dangerously close to imploding.
We need the message out there that “You are a mess. You are overrun with unsustainable debt, you have destroyed once-great cities that are no longer safe and now have streets filled with human waste, you have an economy that is failing, and now you have uncontrolled rioting and looting that is supported by many of your elected officials, who are telling the military to stay out and let this happen and who now want to defund the police departments. You need to think about what your life is going to be like without police, without the possibility of the National Guard to come in and restore order, with the possibility, now openly threatened, of uncontrolled gangs rampaging through not just the city but its suburbs looking for victims and property to steal, Because this is what YOU have created with the way you have chosen to decide on who to elect to run your cities and your state.”
Which came first, the African or the Racism?
I’ve talked about my personal observation that people who really ARE African don’t seem to have the same attitudes as the self-described “African”-Americans. Not to say there are no native Africans who are racist or violent—we saw enough of what happened in Sudan and the Congo to know better. But still, it seems that most Africans are far less inclined to be dedicated to victimhood, whiny, paranoid, etc.
I’ve talked about once living in a community in which a lot of real Africans settled. Their attitude seemed to be “Obviously, we don’t all look alike, but aside from skin color we’re all pretty much the same” and they fit right in. Without paranoia, surly resentment and chips on shoulders it’s amazing how little skin color matters when people start interacting with each other.
No, it has been the “institutionalized” (to use a new favorite word) grievance mentality that I think is responsible for most if not all of the “race problem” in this country. Offering up opinions here, as I don’t know if it would be possible to prove any of it—
(1) The portrayal of slave holders has become ingrained in us through constant repetition as a group of vicious people who not only owned people but brutalized them, beat them, whipped them, branded them, raped them, tortured them, and in general treated them in much the same way the Japanese treated their prisoners of war. That is ridiculous, but necessary as a foundation for the theme to follow.
Merely being part of a system and a culture that included owning slaves did not mean loss of humanity. In many if not most cases slavery meant no more than loss of freedom. Most slaves were given housing and food and clothing and while told what to do and where to do it were not routinely brutalized or treated as less than human. Slavery is certainly an atrocity, an evil in and of itself, but it is hardly the slavering monster of unrestrained vicious brutality it has been portrayed as by a movement that needs a pool of angry, resentful and above all malleable people to support it.
Slavery existed for thousands and thousands of year, in every culture, in every continent. Skin color seldom had anything to do with it. Light-skinned people had light-skinned slaves and dark-skinned slaves, and vice versa. The first black slaves in what became the United States were owned by black people, probably because slavery was such an accepted aspect of life in Africa. Most slaves in the American colonies were black not because of an inherent bias against black people but because there was a huge pool of readily available slaves in Africa, collected and put up for sale by fellow Africans. If Australians had decided to round up the country’s aborigines and sell them in large numbers there is a good chance the slave population of the colonies would have looked a lot different. But Africa had the only remaining large slave market in the world, and when you want something you go where it is for sale.
(2) In part because it was part of the culture in Africa and partly because it helped deal with the indignity of having no freedom and being treated as property, many slaves depended on and developed inner resources of personal dignity and a sense of family/community. When they were freed these continued to be vital to black identity.
(3) Yes, after slaves were freed and a war was fought to defend that freedom, some individuals retained their sense that black people were basically just livestock and a belief that they were inherently inferior human beings and should continue to be treated that way. They were in the minority, except in a few geographic pockets, and never had universal agreement or support among most Americans.
And here we get to the crux of my theory—that a political movement, which historically depended on a large pool of desperate and disaffected people to advance, didn’t have such a pool in the United States, where there was no trampled-upon peasant class that could be incited to rise up and overthrow the government. So one had to be created, and the raw material for such a created underclass was right there in front of them—–the growing population of black people susceptible to emotional manipulation. All the ingredients were there: a history of slavery, poor education, seeds of resentment that could be nurtured into full-blown rage, a relative few white people espousing hateful attitudes toward them and setting up conflicts, and a culture that had been degraded through a century or so of forced fragmentation and the imposed restrictions of slavery and which could be further corroded.
This required erosion and hopefully destruction of the basic cultural artifacts that had been the core strength of black communities, primarily the sense of personal dignity. Well, we’ve seen the success of that endeavor. We’ve seen the black family nearly destroyed, as illegitimacy moved from acceptance to celebration and black men were not only not vilified for failing to act as men in their families but admired for being random sperm donors. We have seen black women shift from the roles of wise and loving mothers to mere pleasure-seekers who either abandon the children this creates or just kill them before they can be born. We’ve seen the sense of personal pride and dignity that come from working and independence destroyed by willing reversion to the bad old days of being dependent on others for food and housing. We’ve seen the character weaknesses of rage and resentment reframed as noble, and encouraged and nurtured.
I don’t think any of this has anything to do with AFRICA. I think this is uniquely, and shamefully, American, with only a nod to the racial history of the demographic chosen to be remade into the resentful and hopefully violent mob needed to provide the cannon fodder for a political movement.