Sunday, April 25, 2010

How Henry Louis Gates May Have
Effed Up Black America And Africa

Henry Louis Gates unwittingly has opened the door for the U.S. government to dig it's claws deeper into Africa, insured that Black Americans will nevah evah evah get reparations, and given ammunition to the Far Right, all in one essay of less than 1400 words. This is the kind of genius that places one more chain around our collective souls.

A few days ago, the New York Times published his article, Ending The Slavery Blame Game. In it, he brings up the issue of reparations, i.e., "the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage." He then ties it in with a grim history that few know, and writes:

"While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one...

"The historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University estimate that 90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred."

Gee, Skip, have you ever heard of something called timing? Here we are, a hair lengths away from the Racist Right dying for us to re-do the Civil War, and Arizona bringing back a revised version of the 1950s "Operation Wetback" law so cops can stop anybody they want to if the person could be an illegal immigrant suspect. Any Latino falls in this category, but so do blacks, because he or she "could be" from the Carribean or Africa. Arab-looking people are easy targets. Even whites could be illegal here as Canadians. Stopping (and harassing) people based on legitimate probable cause has been made into a joke. All of this going on, and you hand the haters ammunition?

WTF were you thinking?

Worse, we've got AFRICOM (read about it here, here, here, and here) digging into African nations that don't want them there, setting up military bases, along with numerous mega-corporations and Big Agriculture waiting to slither in to dominate the production of food.

Can't you see what I can see? America making a case that those countries have to pay for reparations, and not in cash, but in exchange for oil and other resources? And that blacks won't get a dime of that money because Uncle Sam will say they'll use it for corporate run, privatized welfare and the prison industrial complex?

On no bro, not even a nickel will black Americans see, unless you count working for foodstamps - which is a form of indentured servitude - and being free labor on the neo-plantations they call prison. Once again, white folks profit off black and brown sweat.

To add insult to injury, Dr. Gates threw this "complex" historical bomb to Barack, like the President ain't got enough problems to worry about.

I swear, I thought I had too much time on my hands without a full time job. I think Gates needs two.


  1. I hold little belief in the notion that the descendents of enslaved Africans will ever be compensated. How would that really work out for us?

    I am not suggesting that we shouldn't be compensated for our ancestors treatment. I just don't see it happening. The government cannot even compensate current class action cases. Look at what has happened to the Black farmers. They won a settlement of $1.15 Billion for discriminatory practices of the USDA. They were supposed to be paid in March of 2010. Not one dime have they received.

    Skip brings up a point that isn't clearly defined in my opinion. Yes there were Africans who were involved in the slave trade. But many of them did not realize that American slavery was so very different than the forms of enslavement that were practiced by them.

    I've reach the point in life where continuing to be a victim isn't my thing. If I live long enough to receive what's due-fine. But in the meantime life goes on.

  2. Deborah, My concern isn't about us getting reparations, it's about Skip wanting to close the matter but instead may lead to very unintended and negative consequences for Africa.

    I can see reparations suddenly become appealing to the new military branch of AFRICOM, and the corporate and defense industries to gain a stronger foothold into African nations for their resources.

  3. Thanks Kit, I appreciate your spelling out of some broader implications of his piece (piece of what, I guess I won't say) that hadn't occured to me.

    Strange days indeed.

  4. Timing... The MSM is going to keep blowing up this race stuff because it distracts us from issues of importance. And I can't help but think of the conflicts that will arise in Africa with AFRICOM and CHINA going head to head.

  5. I don't like Henry. There are any number of reasons for this, but the primary reason is that he uses the president and I don't like that. Then again I don't like that the president allows himself to be used. Of course it could all be just politics which would then make the point moot. Brilliant piece!

  6. Henry Gates should simply shut-up. His comments show that he is an elitist in thought as well as action.

  7. Look, this Negro is just simply trying to win back the favor of white America after crying wolf like he did last summer when he was arrested in his own home.

    But then again, maybe we should forget about the idea of racial profiling and all the other racist tactics in America. Yep, next time I get harassed by the cops, I'll think, "it's your fault Kunta."

  8. Villager, So, you're describing Gates as an elitist, eh? Interesting word choice.

    Rippa, Bro, you got me laughing in my lunch.

    Jay Midnight, Very astute, and glad you brought up China. Hope you do a post about that.

    Macon & Mad Mike, I'd really like to know the back story on this.

  9. I responded to this over at Rippas joint. I think that African's should shoulder some of the blame. But this fool's timing was way off. But I also agree with Rippa. This fool is just trying to get his seat back at the table.

  10. Kit, I am with RiPPa with this one. This fool is worst than those Republicans who hate Obama. We really don't care for the blame game on the slavery, but we also do recognize it. Bringing it up and blaming other African is no issue. I just wish he just STFU. Cause everything he say will help and hurt him. Might as well go to HipHopRepublican right now because he is sounding like them and we really don't give a fat A&* about reparations. Most southerners don't care. We just trying to make it without no excuses.

  11. Ace, Since I wrote this, there is a small part of me that wonders if he did what he did because *maybe* his motives are based on being true to history, ie, not omitting or revising what actually happened.

    Some occupations require this, like being a preacher or priest who can't cherry pick the 10 Commandments and say a single person's sex life isn't a fornication and a sin yet still be true to the teachings, and still be considered true to their profession, or a doctor who takes the Hippocrates oath to do the patient no harm, yet talks his patients into selling body parts for income.

    Skip Gates tying this in with reparations, however, was purely political and had nothing to do staying true to history. This is the piece that infuriates me. I've never given 5 minutes of entertaining the idea black Americans will ever see a dime of reparations either, but he should have thought of the consequences from the multitude of racists AND to African nations, who have had more than their share of being exploited by the US. If I can think of that shit, I can't believe that he didn't, and if he didn't, he wins this months prize as being the emotionally neediest black mah'fucka on the planet.

  12. The idea of being compensated for something your ancestors experienced is ludicrous. The irony of course is that although the slaves suffered, their decendants have benefited...for they now live here. If their ancestors hadn't been enslaved, blacks in America either wouldn't exist (remember the slaves where captured by other African tribes who have normally put them to death), or they would be living in Africa...a miserable hopeless place for most. So Blacks should be thankful their ancestors suffered the misery of slavery so that they now have the opportunity to live in this great country. Stop whining, stop looking for handouts...nobody owes you anything.


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