21st Century Slaves and Loving It?By Shaheerah Farrakhan | Last updated: May 16, 2011 - 10:14:59 AM
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It should come as no surprise that our Black youth have a misconception about slavery when members of Congress refuse to keep history straight.
Congresswoman Michele Bachman of Minnesota made claims pertaining to slavery that were laughable and alarming. “We also know that the very founders (Thomas Jefferson, George Washington) who wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” she said.
It's statements like this that make the Tennessee Tea Party's idea blasphemous.
Consider the absurdity of a congresswoman naming Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as frontrunners for the abolition of slavery when in fact they owned many slaves. Actual abolishment of slavery came 63 years after Washington's death and 36 years after Jefferson's death.
It is truly horrific that the cruelest act against humanity which lasted for almost half of a millennium is reduced to an inconvenient stain in the minds of our former slave masters' children, and to our Black population it is an archaic issue standing in the way of success.
Due to a lack of knowledge by most parents, underfunded education systems, and lack of thorough teaching of Black history, descendants of slaves have no idea that today's behaviors are a direct result of the institution of slavery and the machine Willie Lynch outlined in his letter, “The Making of a Slave” in 1712. It was his belief that by focusing on the slaves differences he could use fear, distrust, and envy for control.
Differences like color, age, intelligence, gender, hair texture, and location of plantation, i.e. North, South, East or West, would make the slaves perpetually distrustful. “Distrust is stronger than trust and envy stronger than adulation, respect or admiration. The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds maybe thousands of years,” he wrote.
Scarily his assertion was correct and almost 300 years later we are still feeling the aftershocks of the earthquake called slavery. His concept “leave the body, take the mind” of the slave was effective. This means that we would be physically present but mentally absent. Other aftershocks include a full role reversal between genders, promotion of self hate, and destruction of Black identity while promoting White supremacy. Today we are like wild animals with no sense of function or self-respect. We are reduced to our most primitive selves, reacting with animalistic tendencies instead of like cognizant adults.
When confronted with the subject of slavery, textbooks give us a base overview. What they don't tell us is that when the Europeans were met with opposition they found the easiest way to enslave the masses was to offer Africans newer weaponry and alcohol in exchange for prisoners of war; thus creating wars between African tribes to obtain the proverbial booty.
It is true that Africans had slaves. However the form of slavery found in Africa was like an indentured servant. Sometimes African owners adopted slave children or married slave women. Slave men at times married their owners' daughters. Only in the U.S were slaves dehumanized and inferior based on race alone.
With racial inferiority and the manipulation of differences, the Black people of this world are deceived. People are bleaching their skin and relaxing their hair. This goes back to slave owners making Africans hate themselves and the idea that White is right. More often we are seeing celebrities plunge under the knife to transform their African features into keener European features thinking this is more beautiful.
We are programmed to appreciate physical excellence over mental superiority, another aftershock of slavery. Africans that were remarkable in physical labor due to their bodily capabilities were celebrated. However, those showing any signs of intelligence were beaten or killed off. Today we see parents push athletics instead of the importance of academics. This is because intelligence is discriminatorily attributed to the White race, despite the fact that in Ancient Africa there were empires with major advancements in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, medicine and climatology.
Prejudiced historians want you to believe that the Africa we are descendants of was overrun with savages possessing no insight into civility or class until the introduction of the European way of life. But many kings and queens in Africa were educated, draped in the finest silks and adorned with diamonds and gold.
There are celebrations for all kinds of ethnicities that stir pride. The Irish have St. Patrick's Day, Hispanics enjoy Cinco De Mayo, Americans celebrate Columbus Day, 4th of July, and President's Day. But where do we fit? We weren't with Columbus on that voyage; we didn't even ask to be here. July 4, 1776 was not the date of our independence, and until recently we had 219 years of no representation in the White House. There are many religious holidays, from Hanukkah to Christmas, Easter, etc. But how many holidays begin and end with us?
Do we know any celebrations of our ancestors? Are we actively searching for the ways of our ancestors to pay homage to them and what they accomplished and endured for us to be here? Where is our pride? Or are we just comfortable being 21st century slaves living by the rules this world has set for us and being the product of what they imposed on us?
(Shaheerah Farrakhan is a Final Call intern.)