As the song goes, a very good place to start. I have been trying to sift through the drama, the personalities and the name calling to try to figure out how the hell we got here. If you are not emotional you are from another planet. But rhetoric and vitriol do not find a solution.
I am going to ask you to get in my time machine and go back about 400 years. The continent of Africa was an active one. The Dutch some 200 years earlier had found some very advanced societies in play. There were also wars aplenty. Prisoners were traded back and forth and they became a source of free labor. The Europeans started trading arms for bodies and the slave trade was born.
These poor souls were put in irons and loaded on ships for the New World. They faced wretched conditions and if they died or became ill they were merely disposed of overboard during the long voyage. An interesting fact is one of the first slave marketplaces was in Massachusetts. All the colonists saw great opportunities in this new land but not nearly the manpower to tame it all. Slaves were the answer. Entrepreneurship at its best and worst.
Now we can view all this from the comfort of our arm chair while perusing articles on the internet as I have, but if you have the guts to think about it, their plight truly becomes abhorrent. You are not human by any standard. You are chattel to be done with as the owner wants. You are whipped and thrown into a dark abyss. You have no idea where you are. There is no way out.
As time goes on the process and principle of slavery becomes enmeshed in the fabric of our country. Plantations in the South bring a lot of wealth to the landed aristocracy. Towns, counties and states take hold and people come to realize the ancillary livelihoods of the butcher the baker and candlestick maker are totally dependent on the success of this evil venture. Everyone looks the other way until it literally becomes normal if you can call it that.
Back on the farm slave women are there to resupply the stock, entertain the dalliances of the boss man and then go back out in the field. Kids don’t get an education because daytime is work time and there is no sense in schooling. Men are valued for their brawn until they can no longer work. Medical care? Give me a break. You will get over it. Were there nice people? Of course. But they were still owners.
Fast forward to the Post Civil War era. The downtrodden finally got their freedom only to be taken in by sharecropping. The Southerners in the new Constitutional Congress saw a chance to profit once again off their former chattel’s new found freedom. With all those residents they would be able to get a lot of representatives in Congress. The Northerners cried foul and it was decided that a black man only counted at 3/5 of a white man. What a wonderful country.
All throughout is intertwined that blacks are subhuman or as we like to say, animals. We don’t want you despoiling our gene pool. So let me get this straight. As a black I am not a full white. I can’t go to school. I really don’t have access to medical care because I don’t have insurance because I don’t have a job that pays me anything. I have to live in a particular part of town but other than that I am free at last. Just pick yourself up by your bootstraps boy and hard work will get you through.
Roadblocks were many. Many others including the Irish, Chinese, Indians and yes women were considered lesser and should be kept in their place. But their plight was over a period of time and not sewn into the fabric of our society. And still there was this overriding sense of contemptible acceptance not capitulation. After all as white males we were superior in all ways.
I remember as a kid looking at the news from Little Rock or Montgomery. The German shepherds and red neck cops with a wad of chaw in their cheek. The beatings and the fire hoses. I watched women screaming racist slurs and spitting at a little girl in a pretty dress and pigtails. Just like my granddaughter who was just here.
How did we get here? The above is part of it. The Civil Rights Act is a little over 50 years old. I didn’t believe the stats but they are true. A black is just as likely to be using and yes dealing marijuana as a white person but he gets thrown in jail more often for it. If you convict a black and a white of a same crime the man of color does a lot more time.
The lot of the black person today is a sorry one and yes they are in some ways to blame. The Great Society was an abject failure and rife with scandal and waste. Black fathers are absent. But can you look me and probably more so yourself in the eye and say we are all equal? Part of the problem is admitting to the problem. I think both sides have to be honest.
To solve this problem you have to feel it. You cannot accept the grist of either side. You have to read stories and incidents of both protest and looting. You have to imagine what it is like to be black…and white. You have to get so confused with the words and emotions, you don’t know which end is up. It’s where I am. I just had to start at the beginning. Here’s hoping there is an answer in there somewhere. To be continued….
Ted The Great
There are more than three million differences between your genome and anyone else’s. On the other hand, we are all 99.9 percent the same, DNA-wise.
The thickness of the epidermis varies in different types of skin; it is only .05 mm. The color of one’s skin is due to long term changes to exposure to sunlight by inhabitants throughout the world. . Yes it is that thickness that separates black for whites or browns or yellows. It is fascinating we all like to have a tan.
The New York Times 100 page “1619 Project” was assailed by the left and the right. Noted scholars said they got it all wrong. The idea was valid but the facts did not fit. How am I (we) supposed to figure this out?
Only a little more than 300,000 captives, or 4-6 percent, came to the United States. The majority of enslaved Africans went to Brazil, followed by the Caribbean. A significant number of enslaved Africans arrived in the American colonies by way of the Caribbean, where they were “seasoned” and mentored into slave life and then brought to the states. 25% of Southerners owned slaves. .
Terrific analysis. It started with slavery but then got ingrained by those who wanted to maintain superior status over blacks or Irish or Chinese, you name the group.
Aren’t we cool…
Well done. But a conundrum on how to fix. My view—need to return to Judaeo Christian foundational values, have complete families, better education starting really early, community/police cooperation, taking sex off the internet, taking sex and violence out of games, movies, rap songs, etc. Would take 2-3 generations but is the only real solution to this ingrained epidemic. My hope—in 500 years we’ll all be brownish in skin color. Happy days. P >
I just replied to someone else who felt I was brazen to say that we ALL have some blame in this. The fact that 73% of babies of color are born to single mothers bespeaks volumes. That the Rev Al Sharpton is the only person of note as a speaker for the blacks and role model. The fact that black people were burning down black businesses strikes m as part of the problem.
Unfortunately I have to see when my kids and grandkids are here this entertainer or that writhing in some sort of beyond sensuous getup and we give the a grammy for it. I am not above being titillated every now and then but this is non stop and taken as a given.
Bottom line is we all have to address it in all its fury. S9t down and put it all out on the table. I hope this is the sea change. I really do
Ted — You need to do more reading and watching of movies, documentaries, books. To start with: How do you not know that the Dred Scott case was decided in 1857, and upheld by President Buchanan in a failed effort to avoid the Civil War? Buchanan was largely regarded by later historians as the worst president ever …
And the history channel’s series of three programs on Ulysses Grant and his efforts to quell the KKK in the first years of reconstruction is mind-boggling! It’s a must- watch series for better understanding —
Regarding black families and your criticism: How do you not know that white slave owners routinely sold off the husbands and sons of the black women they fancied??? Even Condoleza Rice notes that her DNA is 40% European!
In our quarantine we’ve watched the Ken Burns series on Major League Baseball, leaving me incensed with all the owners who refused to allow Negros into their game—and yet how were those owners any different from the NFL billionaires today???
We’ve also watched and highly recommend Just Mercy and Selma — free for viewing through the month of June. And the number of novels and biographies that you need to read for more insight —YIKES!
Since you seem to do better with recent history, let me recommend Michele Obama’s Becoming for starters. And Jon Meacham’s Soul of America.
As usual, I commend your curiosity and am often fascinated with your factoids, even as I recoil at your arrogant “Both sides have much to review.”
It’s time for us privileged white folks to acknowledge the systemic racism — and join our fellow citizens of all skin mutations in more than prayers and protest as our nation finally confronts the lingering evil of its original sin of slavery. Though we in the North weren’t part of the KKK/lynchings/Jim Crow era, what have we done about the continued absence of justice due the “warrior” cops hiding behind their union contracts as they prove that “might makes right” over and over again? A discussion tobe continued, I’m sure — but first, less arrogance and more viewing on your part, please!
Very interesting Ted…..attending The Citadel in Charleston, SC in the late 1950’s, I witnessed first hand how blacks were treated….had to sit at the back of the bus, my baseball team mates could not stay in the same hotel as the white players, etc….obviously there have been considerable improvements, but I know all to well that my peers haven’t really changed their feelings although they would not admit to it……perhaps our generation needs to die off and hopefully our kids generation are getting more tolerant…..I definitely see a different attitude with some of my grandkids, but they are somewhat influenced by where they live….i.e. Pittsburgh vs. Charleston SC….
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