Category Archives: slavery

Rep. Trent Franks: African-Americans were better off under slavery

Oh Wow.  RACIST!!   I want to thank Think Progress for posting this.  This is some straight BS!  If you are a black person living in AZ you need to campaign really, really hard to get this man out of office.  Here’s the info:

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) — one of the most conservative member of Congress, according to a new National Journal ranking — decried the strained state of political discourse in an interview today with blogger-activist Mike Stark. While defending hate radio host Rush Limbaugh, Franks said bipartisanship and “true tolerance” is about “being halfway decent to each other in spite of the differences.” But when the conversation turned to abortion, Franks made a clearly indecent comment, claiming that African-Americans were probably better off under slavery than they are today:

FRANK: In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say “How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.” And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?

What?  Huh?  Don’t believe me?  Watch it (beginning 6:20):

Franks continued by saying, “[S]ometimes we get angry and say things that we shouldn’t say, and I apologize…[for saying things] that are intemperate. But I don’t want to hide from the truth.”

Truth? Readers, is this the truth? AZ, is this the truth that you want your Representatives to believe in?

Update: Salon.com has picked up the story.  They report this: Abortion-rights opponents like to compare abortion and slavery; the Dred Scott vs. Sandford case is often seen on the right as the 19th century equivalent of Roe v. Wade. Still, the comments caught the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“To compare the horrors and inhumane treatment of millions of African Americans during slavery as a better way of life for African Americans today is beyond repulsive,” said Stephanie Young, a DCCC spokeswoman. “In 2010, during the 2nd year of our first African American president, it is astonishing that a thought such as this would come to mind, let alone be shared. The next time Congressman Franks wants to make assumptions about what policies are ‘best’ for the African American community, he should keep them to himself.” [Full Article]

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The Simpsons Celebrate Black History Month and Their Racially Mixed Heritage

I’m sitting here watching the Black History Month Episode of “The Simpsons”.  The title “The Color Yellow”.  Um…really?  Must they co-op the title of one of the most beloved pieces of fiction in the black community?

When Miss Hoover asks her students to research their family history, Lisa is horrified to discover that most of her ancestors were bad people – a motley crew of horse thieves and deadbeats. But while rummaging through the attic, Lisa happens upon a diary kept by her ancestor, Eliza Simpson. As Eliza’s story unfolds, Lisa learns that her family was part of the Underground Railroad, a group that helped slaves escape to freedom. Eliza recounts liberating a slave named Virgil (guest voice Brown), but when Lisa presents her findings at school, some of her classmates refute it, leaving Lisa determined to exonerate her family’s name.

Wow, one of Mr. Burns ancestors just checked over one of Homer Simpson’s ancestors like a slave on the auction block.  He noted that if anyone knows how to estimate the value of a man, he does. I don’t know what to say, but I think I like this episode. Wouldn’t you just know it, Antebellum Marge was an abolitionist who fell in love with a brother and ran off to Canada! Oh as a descendant of their union, Lisa is 1/64th black.  She says, “That’s why my Jazz is so smooth!”. Homer says “That’s why I make less than my white co-workers!”.  Wow. Good episode, but I like “Nate, Peter’s black ancestor” on Family Guy better.

I guess I get the title now.  Are they saying that the Simpsons are yellow in the way black folks commonly use the word…yella gal or high yellow?  Interesting.

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And now a word from Brother Cornel West

After I got through laughing at Darius Spearman’s hair (LOL LOL…what is going on on the right side of his head?) I was able to focus on the message.

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Slaves in the White House

From a very interesting article in the International Herald Tribune

“…Slaves who worked inside and outside the White House were known for their labors. Washington planner Pierre L’Enfant rented slaves from nearby slaveowners to dig the foundation for the White House, and White House designer James Hoben used some of his slave carpenters to build the White House.

President George Washington forced slaves from Mount Vernon to work as staff inside “the President’s House” in Philadelphia during his term, starting a tradition of enslaved men and women working for the president in his residence that would continue until the 1850s. Not only did they work in the White House, enslaved men and women lived there as well.

According to the White House Historical Association, the slave and servant quarters were in the basement, now called the ground floor. The rooms now include the library, china room, offices and the formal Diplomatic Reception Room. At least one African-American baby was born there, in 1806 to Fanny and Eddy, two of Jefferson’s slaves. The child, who was considered a slave too, died two years later.

History values these slaves for more than just their labor. Continue reading

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Thanksgiving: The ugly truth, slavery connection

The REAL story of the “first” Thanksgiving

In December of 1620 a splinter group of England’s Puritan movement set anchor on American soil, a land already inhabited by the Wampanoag Indians. Having been unprepared for the bitter cold weather, and arriving too late to grow an adequate food supply, nearly half of the 100 settlers did not survive the winter.

On March 16th, 1621, a Native Indian named Samoset met the Englishmen for the first time. Samoset spoke excellent English, as did Squanto, another bilingual Patuxet who would serve as interpreter between the colonist and the Wampanoag Indians, who, lead by Chief Massasoit, were dressed as fierce warriors and outnumbered the settlers.

The Wampanoag already had a long history with the white man. For 100 years prior to the Pilgrim landing, they had encounters with European fishermen, as well as those who worked for slave traders. They had witnessed their communities being raided and their people stolen to be sold into slavery. They did not trust the newcomers.

But Squanto was an exception. He had lived with the British, after being captured by an earlier sailing vessel. He had a deep fondness for the Europeans – particularly that for a British Explorer named John Weymouth, who treated Squanto like a son.

Chief Massasoit and Samoset arrived at the colony with over 60 men, plus Squanto, who acted as a mediator between the two parties. Squanto was successful at making a peaceful agreement, though it is most likely that there was a great deal of friction between the Native community and the colonists. The Englishmen felt that the Native peoples were instruments of the devil because of their spiritual beliefs and trusted only the Christian-baptized Squanto. The Native people were already non-trusting of the white man, except for Squanto, who looked at the Europeans as being of “Johns People.”

It was Squanto who then moved to the English colony and taught them to hunt, trap, fish and to cultivate their own crops. He educated them on natural medicine and living off the land. A beloved friend of the Pilgrims, for if it wasn’t for him, they would not if survived. The Puritian Pilgrims thought of him as an Instrument of God.

Several months later the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims decided to meet again to negotiate a land treaty needed by the settlers. They hoped to secure land to build the Plymouth Plantation for the Pilgrims. The Native people agreed to meet for a 3-day negotiation “conference”. As part of the Wampanoag custom – or perhaps out of a sense of charity towards the host – the Native community agreed to bring most of the food for the event.

The peace and land negotiations were successful and the Pilgrims acquired the rights of land for their people.

In 1622 propaganda started to circulate about this “First Thanksgiving”. Mourts Relation, a book written to publicize the so-called “wonderfulness” of Plymouth, told of the meeting as a friendly feast with the Natives. The situation was glamorized by the Pilgrims, possibly in an effort to encourage more Puritans to settle in their area. By stating that the Native community was warm and open-armed, the newcomers would be more likely to feel secure in their journey to New England.

The sad, sad truth (what happened next)

What started as a hope for peace between the settlers and the Wampanoag, ended in the most sad and tragic way. The Pilgrims, once few in number, had now grown to well over 40,000 and the Native American Continue reading

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Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible

I think Hillary Clinton would benefit from watching this series in light of her recent comments.  It’s a great video and really gave me some interesting incite on how white people perceive [or don’t perceive] white privilege.


[5 parts]

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible is a brilliant documentary and a must-see for all people who are interested in justice, spiritual growth and community making. It features the experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States.”

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Racism goes beyond lynching [racial slur here]

An article from South African writer Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya aka the F-Word aka one of my new heroes.

From Mail and GuardianRacism goes beyond lynching niggers
One Sunday afternoon the news editor at my previous paper sent me to cover a dog show at Gilloolies Farm, east of Johannesburg. When I got there the woman behind the ticket counter ignored me and routinely focused on people who came after me.

When she did pay attention to me she asked me: “What are you here to deliver?” In her mind the idea of a black guy enjoying the sight of dogs jumping through hoops was a bridge too far.

The woman and the people she paid attention to were white. I was (and still am) black. I called her action racist and people who commit racist actions, racists.

I might have been wrong. Perhaps the lady at the dog show is a nice woman who has never said an unkind word about people of other hues.

But that is where part of the problem lies.

Somehow we have developed the idea that unless you lynch niggers in a plantation or bang the heads of uppity black detainees against the prison walls until they die you are not really a racist.

Hold on, not even beating up darkies qualifies as racism. As one Pumas rugby team supporter, JR Nagel, told The Times when asked his opinion about the team fielding Gert van Schalkwyk (not to be confused with the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder of the same name) who is on appeal after he and his friends were convicted of beating a black man to death. “We all, even myself … my chommies [friends] and I have beaten up a couple of kaffirs. You are young, that’s what you do. In those days your dad told you that’s kwaai [cool].

“The only reason this is an issue is because it’s a kaffir who died and it was a white laaitie [boy] who hit him,” Nagel said.

Granted, the last statement reflects the unique idiocy of the speaker rather than a general trend of thought. Still, the unfortunate reality is that there is simply too little respect by our white compatriots for black people’s sensitivities to colonialism and racism. Or they are just too shy to show it. Continue reading

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