The lucky black man that is me
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2006
It’s funny how whenever I decide to take my own community to task for irresponsible behavior, I’m great journalist, but whenever I throw President George Bush and his crew under the bus, all of the sudden I don’t know what I’m talking about.
So let me give you the history of how I came to dislike the current administration.
Are you familiar with the term &uot;Maafa&uot;?
Maafa means Holocaust in Swahili.
It is the term used to describe the Atlantic Slave trade, when at least 55 million African natives were kidnapped from their homes and families and transported to the United States of America to live and die as slaves for early American settlers.
I’ve heard that the number of stolen Africans is probably closer to 100 million, but for the sake of giving my detractors fewer facts to debate, I’ll go with the low-ball figure that encyclopedias would like for us to settle on.
According to Wikipedia, the internet’s largest online encyclopedia, at least 20 million Africans died in what is called &uot;The Horrific Middle Passage&uot;, which was the waterway vessels traveled when transporting Africans to this continent.
Horrific really doesn’t do the journey any justice as a descriptive term.
Africans were forced to lie in their own urine and feces, cramped together like cattle for months, being fed in a trough system the same way farmers feed hogs.
With no available medical treatment or sanitation system, many were thrown into the Atlantic Ocean if they fell ill or, God forbid, had a child in the bottom of the ship.
I don’t really have the space to get into many more details, unfortunately.
Nevertheless, many Africans did in fact survive the journey.
What waited for them was a group of people that had arrived on a continent that was new to them and promptly proclaimed that God had ordained this continent for their use, regardless of the fact that there were already civilizations living here.
These people then informed these stolen Africans that they were here to work, for free, and if they disagreed then a brutal beating or death would follow.
The complexion of my skin and many other light skin blacks tells the rape and sexual abuse story, so I’ll leave that alone.
Couple that with the fact that the stolen Africans had never heard of the &uot;Son of God&uot; before they arrived and it is easy to see how those Africans must have been in shock for what, maybe four hundred years?
Those Africans that I speak of were my ancestors.
The reason that I am here is because my ancestors were stolen and forced into a life of servitude and brutality, unparalleled in the history of modern mankind.
So when I hear our government condemn the plight of Kurds in Iraq or women in Afghanistan and use those atrocities as a cause to go to war, excuse me if I sneer at the hypocrisy.
Over the hundreds of years that the U.S.A. has been in existence, much has changed.
Slavery died a slow death and a civil rights effort, led by both blacks and whites, eventually elevated the stolen African to a modicum of humanity, albeit a humanity still unequal to his former slave masters.
I do not hold the history of slavery against every white person in America; that would be insane.
I do, however, recognize that at the height of the civil rights movement, when blacks in this country were still being attacked with high powered water hoses, having police dogs set upon them and ducking and dodging a Ku Klux Klan that had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, some of the same people who read my column on Saturday’s may have participated in those actions.
Today, those same people shake my hand when they see me and send me e-mails telling me how great of a writer I am.
I’m cool with that too.
Anybody can change into a better person as they get older, but not everybody does.
During the Hurricane Katrina crisis, rapper Kanye West was caught on television saying that George Bush doesn’t like black people.
West was attacked by every media outlet on the face of the earth except black media outlets.
Because most blacks agree with him, present company included.
When we see the three-headed monster that is Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, it takes many blacks back to the days of slavery, when there were always one or two blacks that could serve master in his house, but the majority of slaves had to stay out in the field.
I don’t have a problem with Republicans anymore than I do with Democrats, but there is a gene inside of my body that screams to me every day.
It says, &uot;Curly, I am your great, great, great, great, grandfather and I don’t want you to ever forget what I had to endure to allow you to be here.&uot;
Unless you are black in the United States you will never have any idea what it is like to walk down the street being black, pass by police officers being black, get into elevators with all white people being black or have to work three times as hard to prove that the baseball cap on your head doesn’t mean that you are about to sell crack and start eating watermelon while break dancing.
And you will never understand how we see the president that some of you think is a hero.
But we already know that, our ancestors embedded it in our hearts and minds hundreds of years ago.
Our enemies (who still exist today) have managed to get some of us to buy into the system and either act like buffoons or sign on to help the system grow.
But you know what, they didn’t get Curly.
And until the good lord decides to take my last bit of air, I will represent my grandfather.
Just like President George Bush represents his.
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