Part I: Objecting Slavery
Tell me if you’ve heard something like this before:
“Why do you bring up slavery? Why do you blacks (if it were a more polite conversation) always bring it up whenever you whine? It happened a long time ago! It’s no longer a big deal! Get over it, already!”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? More or less, you’ve heard or read something similar to this from several people when the topic of racism against blacks is brought up.
Anytime there is a mention of slavery concerning the history of black folks in any given conversation, there is that one person, in most cases white, who will throw a hissy fit that one of America’s most terrible truths is brought up. They immediately tell people to “get over it!” for one simple reason, it happened a long time ago.
Some will object to any and all theories that slavery was a major indicator to the conditions blacks face today. There are also arguments that other people owned slaves and the descendants are “doing fine”. Of course, the usual suspects tend to be Africans as the other slaveowners. For whatever reason, slavery is never a factor. Black people are just fucked up.
Yet, it seems to be the only factor to many objectors.
Part II: Other Forms of Oppression
From what I’ve seen, many objectors never bring up or discount the continuous forms of oppression that occurred after slavery. The Black Codes is one form of oppression that created laws to limit the human and civil rights of free blacks after the Civil War. It is here that the term “Person of Color” first because a designation for blacks. Second, blacks were forbidden to vote, serve on juries, or serve in the military. Third, they mandated for poor (usually blacks), unemployed people to be arrested for vagrancy. Fourth, they regulated labor contracts between blacks and whites. And fifth, prevented interracial marriages.
Do any of those still happen today in some way, shape or form?
Then, we have the Jim Crow laws which brought forth the “separate but equal” status for Black Americans. It is here that blacks are regulated as second class citizens bringing forth a racial caste system.
Under Jim Crow, anti-black racism was legitimized. Religious and scientific racism was approved…and taught. Integration was dangerous to society according to white politicians. The print media at the time was free to referred to blacks as niggers, coons, darkies, and helped to strengthen anti-black stereotypes. In short any and all social institutions supported and enacted the oppression of Black Americans, keeping them down, and helped to uplift the myth of racial supremacy for White Americans.
Again, do you still see any of that still happening today?
Finally, there is the so-called War on Drugs, a campaign of prohibition against drugs in America that first began during the Nixon years. It was supposedly a law enforcement and military opposition against illegal drug trades that are seen as destructive to American society. However, it is revealed that it is not a “war on drugs”, but mostly a war on the black community.
During the 1980′s, anti-drug campaigns illustrated that the most dangerous drug dealers in America is a young black male on any inner city street corner. It became highly publicized and circulated through the mainstream media that black men are the root of the problem, and must be captured. Drug sweeps across the country became more frequent, and as a direct result, the prison population skyrocketed. As of right now most blacks who are in this country’s prisons are there for nonviolent drug offenses.
There is another side to the drug problem that is not often shown or known to the general public. That is the fact that most drugs and drug dealers within this country is largely found within White communities.
Nevertheless, police departments all over the nation justify the Stop and Frisk policies and hyper-police presence within black communities. Politicians still believe that the state a particular drug is in decides who gets more prison time (crack vs. power cocaine).
Because of the War on Drugs, generations of black families are broken. Neighborhoods are decaying through poverty and crime. Disenfranchisement continues because of the new stigma of being a convicted felon. And, the white-controlled Prison Industrial Complex became a multi-billion dollar industry.
Brilliant author and activist Michelle Alexander coined it The New Jim Crow.
Part III: My Two Cents
And yet, there are naysayers who still oppose that the horrific past and the not-so-pleasant present has nothing to do with the state of black people. There are those who object that oppression against black people never existed or doesn’t exist. The flimsy argument mostly relies on the fact there are famous and rich black people in the country. Oh, and don’t forget we have a Black President.
We know that there will always be exceptions to the rule, but that doesn’t necessarily cancel that rule. Oppression is still happening. Maybe not as severe or overt as it was in the past, but there is still a significant black underclass in this nation. But the argument will be that those black people don’t want to work as if being poor is something they prefer over a descent living.
We are expected to simply shut up and not only grin and bear it, but enjoy it. We are expected to simply get over one of the worst human atrocities in history because forgetting about it not only preferable but mostly advocated. We are to just like the fact that we are black folks living in a white racist society. We are expected not to get upset, angry or even vengeful about these and other truths.
Even now, there is a fear among some whites that black people, especially President Obama, are getting back at whites for slavery through politics and street violence. There are many things wrong with that statement alone. Guess what they are.
I will say this: In response to those of you telling blacks to get over slavery and the past in general, I will say that maybe, just maybe blacks will get over it, if you get over the following:
- That you are a superior “race” of humans simply because of your skin.
- That you, and only you, are a superior “race” based on archaic pseudo-scientific and racist religious information from decades ago that have long been outdated.
- That you somehow deserve to be on top.
- That you are now victims worthy of most or all of the attention.
- That only you and your thoughts, stories, views, opinions and feelings matter above all others.
- That you don’t have a problem with skin color or blacks especially when your actions say different.
- That having a black friend, lover, wife or husband means you can’t possibly have a racist bone in your body.
- That you don’t “see color” especially if you claim that you have a black friend.
- That your skin means that you are naturally intelligent, benevolent, holier than thou and free from sin or crime.
- That forgetting the awful moments in history (the genocide Native Americans and slavery of Africans) while knowing its “best” moments, i.e. white accomplishments and white achievements, is the best way to learn.
- That blacks somehow deserve the awful treatments they get from – anywhere at anytime from anyone.
- That whenever blacks complain or express their pain and frustrations, it is considered whining.
- That blacks are inferior or were born with some kind of “glitch”.
- That you know what’s best for blacks and that you know us better than we know ourselves.
- That blacks are the cause for everything wrong in this country.
- That this country or most of White America is not racist against blacks.
Unless, you can do all of which was listed and more, I must humbly and politely ask you to please shut the fuck up.