From the very beginning of the practice of human slavery in North America, it was the practice of the masters to keep their slaves ignorant. It was illegal to teach slaves to read, though a great many slaves did learn, and in fact, there were many slave schools on plantations. After Nat Turner’s Rebellion, in southern Virginia in 1831, the laws designed to keep slaves ignorant were much more stringently enforced. There is anecdotal (i.e., diary) evidence that after the Turner revolt, literate slaves were killed in the belief that being able to read and write made them too dangerous to be kept. Of all the hysteria that followed Turner’s revolt, this one point may actually have some validity. Turner was literate, and may have communicated with his troops through the written word.
When the 13th Amendment was ratified, and the peculiar institution finally destroyed, the vast majority of freed slaves were pathetically, tragically ignorant and illiterate. They were also conditioned to believe that their masters were their only source of security, food, shelter, and care. The masters had so successfully “tamed” them, that even after emancipation, many returned to their former plantations and, for all practical purposes, submitted themselves to their masters again. That they were technically free made no difference, at all, in their status or their lifestyles.
In 2012, however, the lessons of that awful past have been learned well – by the masters. All Americans, but most especially Blacks, are kept ignorant of current events and the reality of the circumstances in which our nation finds itself. Illiteracy and shocking ignorance are more common among American Blacks, especially inner-city Blacks, than any other group. This is most emphatically NOT a racial trait! It is a cultural trait – the culture of the slave on the plantation. Modern masters have not kept Blacks ignorant by banning schools, but rather by controlling what is taught in those schools. The goal of American public education, as an institution, is to make our children docile believers that their masters are their only source of security, food, shelter, and care. Even as those slaves of old. (I do not for an instant mean to say that all American teachers subscribe to this goal! The existence among us of so many highly-educated people stands as testimony to the integrity and moral courage of thousands of American teachers. It is the institution and its masters that are corrupt.)
There is another parallel to Nat Turner’s time: loyalty to the masters. At several points in Turner’s march across Southampton County, his men were fired on by slaves. No, slaves did not customarily have firearms, but some of the masters felt sufficiently sure of the training of their slaves that arms were issued, and the slaves made sincere efforts to kill those who wanted to free them. How unbelievable is that? Ask Stacy Dash, Mia Love, Allen West, or Thomas Sowell.
Depending on whom you read, between 93% and 97% of Blacks voted for Obama. Even if the lower number is true, this should give us all, especially Blacks, pause. Is it possible that 93% of the members of any race have the same values and goals? Is it possible that 93% of the members of any race think the same way about economics, morals, family, patriotism, and freedom? These are very complicated, abstract ideas, and the claim that such a huge number of people, defined solely by skin color, would agree on them is beyond absurd! Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of a time when his children would be judged by the content of their characters, rather than by the color of their skin, and I believe that in these words he gave us the quintessential definition of racism. Anytime 93% of any race agree on anything, it’s because they are voting something other than the content of their characters. Either they have betrayed what they think, or they have, literally, been trained to not think.
So what do we see today? Millions of Americans who have been trained – brainwashed is too generous a term – to believe they must vote their skin. (In a campaign when women were encouraged to vote their vaginas, I guess this doesn’t seem too far-fetched.) These same Americans literally howl for the blood of any member of their race who dares to think differently – who makes even a gesture toward rejecting the modern plantation – a desolate and sterile plantation of the soul, in which the minds of men and women who were capable of great things and great ideas have been shackled to a corrupt and despicable belief that their only salvation lies in the magnanimity of their masters. And they shoot at Ol' Nat.
I have lived most of my life in Albuquerque, NM, where there aren’t many Blacks. I have, however, spent time in the Deep South, and was exposed to various aspects of Black culture when I was in the Marines in the 1960’s. I work with a number of Blacks today, and see others around town. Knowing, as I do, that most of them voted for, or at least support Obama, it is an effort to restrain myself from saying to them, “Do you need the government’s permission to be as good as I? Do you need the government to hold you up so you can look me in the eye as an equal? Do you need to point to some two-bit Chicago street punk with an overpriced education to convince yourself that you can deal with me man-to-man?” It is my deeply-held belief that these questions ought to be answered with a level gaze and a firm, "Hell, no."
How corrupt and downright evil is this thing that has turned such otherwise admirable human beings into such self-doubting and –loathing creatures, and done it supposedly in the name of lifting them up? During what is called, “The Jim Crow” era, many Blacks were lifted up, and not by the intellectual and moral nooses that lift so many of my countrymen today. It breaks my heart. It wounds my nation. We must change this legacy of servility.