Slavery IS A Choice. Now, Fix Your Face And Keep Reading… (Part 2/2)

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years…for 400 years? That sound like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all?”


Sooooooo…

After watching the two interviews I mentioned in the previous post, I came to the conclusion that, yes, slavery was…AND STILL IS…a choice.

[Insert unbothered face here, bwahahahahaha!!!]

What made the enslavement of our people so effective wasn’t its physical brutality.  The beating, raping, and killing of our ancestors were only a means to an end.  It all served to instill a specific mentality.  In order for slavery to accomplish its goal, we, the enslaved, would have to be made to believe that we were inferior and incapable of anything substantive.  We had to believe that we were less than our masters. We had to be forcefully severed from everything that identified us as sons and daughters of our Mother Land; our dress, our language, our culture, and our spirituality, among many other things.  Their aim was to break us so thoroughly that we could never put ourselves back together.  Our oppressors executed this well, except for one problem…

It didn’t work completely.  AND IT NEVER WILL.

And this leads me to my first argument about why slavery was a choice: Too many of our foremothers and forefathers fought back.  From the moment we saw ourselves fighting for our survival on our home soil, to the moment we were hoarded onto slave ships, to the moment we were herded off those ships, and beyond, our resistance to bondage has been documented, not just by us, but by our oppressors.  From the Amistad slave boat rebellion to the Haitian Revolution, from Nat Turner to Harriet Tubman, from Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X, MLK, Jr, and everywhere outside and in between, we’ve shown a willingness to fight for our lives.

I CANNOT, in good conscience, sit here and let y’all so called defenders of the Black race push this ideology that our people were powerless in their situation.

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The whole “mind control” argument, in my mind, casts aside the people who stood up and resisted in whatever way they could.  This line of “defense” asserts that the slaves were so thoroughly brainwashed that it made it impossible to choose to resist or escape.  Anyone peddling that train of thought might as well say that our most celebrated heroes, in any era of slavery, were simply anomalies.  They must have been sick.  How could they possibly resist such mind control so much so that they try to leave?  Drapetomania much…?

This defense dismisses the intellectual capacity of our people.  For starters, let’s be clear: “slaves” weren’t taken from Africa.  Doctors, spiritual healers, priests, scholars, queens, kings, artisans, warriors, and many other people of prestige were among the innumerable souls kidnapped from their homelands.

They.  Didn’t.  Kid.  Nap.  Dummies.

Our people fought and died to keep our history, knowledge of self, and dignity alive through generations of the most brutal treatment in history.  Total annihilation of our people would have been the only way Willie Lynch could have subjugated us.

This “choice” the slaves had to make wasn’t an easy one.  Escape could bring punishment and death not only to the escapee, but to those he/she left behind.  Retribution usually awaited those who stayed behind.  Would it have been selfish for a slave to remain in captivity, understanding that it was all but inevitable that nothing would change for him/her or his/her family for perhaps generations to come?  Or would it have been more selfish to make a run for it?  Should one go alone or should one take his/her family?

Simply asking, “what would you have done?” verifies that you also believe slavery is a choice.

And no, I don’t know what I would have done back then.  I wouldn’t expect you to know, either.

When I say slavery is a choice, it isn’t something I say lightly.  A choice is a choice, no matter how dire the options are, and I don’t blame them with either selection, because we wouldn’t be here if they made the wrong choice.

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I can’t end this without addressing the Black social media #IfSlaveryWasAChoice clapback.  As I mentioned before, the pushback was hilarious, and I definitely saved a bunch of those memes and shared even more.   I know we meant well, but our response revealed something deep within our collective psyche that we need to dig up and confront.

It revealed a sort of hopelessness, hidden behind satire and humor, that we still cling to, that no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we won’t ever shake our chains completely loose.  There’s a definite air of contempt for any line of thought that even suggests that we may have assisted in our continued capture, absolving our oppressors of any guilt and responsibility for our past and current state.

…the NERVE of y’all to think I’d let’em off that easily.

We’re still in a mental state of slavery, one that discourages us from getting uncomfortable.  It holds our hopes and dreams hostage.  It restrains us and our families.  And it convinces us that it’s the safest, most surefire way to live.  We’ve seen in our history countless examples of how our leaders have been violently dispatched without having pointed a single firearm in any direction.  This type of terror seeks to keep us in submission, to accept crumbs when there’s enough out here for everyone to eat well.

The response to Kanye’s words, in my mind, proved that we still have a long way to go to convince our masses that, if we work together, we can wage the kind of war that will eventually end our subservience.

So, when I say slavery is a choice, it has nothing in common with any politically conservative, Fox News-esque ideology.  It is the most empowering thing I can say to my fellow Black man, in America, and the world over.  It’s saying that we have the power to deliver what it is we seek: freedom, for ourselves, for our families, and for our future.  No situation is hopeless.

‘Ye reminds me of so much of Andre from “Get Out.”  When you hear him speak, you know something is off.  But just when you think all is lost, he yells with his proverbial last breath…

“Get out.  Get out.  GET THE FUCK OUT!

Kanye’s “slavery is a choice” may be his “Get Out” moment. Make your choice, Chris.

I love y’all.

#BlessedBeTheGrind

5 Threats to The Black Man In America Part 3: Education

Mental genocide.

This is what the educational system is to Black people in America.

In his book, Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, author Jawanza Kunjufu opens the first chapter by defining the word, “genocide.”  It’s imperative that we look at the education of our youth in those terms.

Our children are dying before they ever pull a trigger, push a drug into their veins, or travel down the road of sexual promiscuity.  Our history is given to us in a few shattered pieces, with no thought given to whether they even fit together.  Many of us know little, if anything, about ourselves and our contributions to the world prior to our kidnapping and enslavement.  Our history is whitewashed in both fact (i.e., the study of Egyptian history separate from the rest of African history) and fiction (i.e., cinematic depictions of ancient Egyptian historical figures).

This ain’t education.  #IssaIndoctrination.

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We are indoctrinated to believe that our contributions to history only began after we were given freedom from slavery.  Our culture prior to European “intervention” is considered backward and counter-productive.  Our pre-Christian and pre-Islamic spirituality is derided as demonic and unrefined.  Many of our advances in medicine and in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) were stolen, copied, and mishandled, and the original innovators were thrown away and buried.

We’re told in history that the Greeks were, for all intents and purposes, the original philosophical thinkers.  What we’re NOT TOLD is that many of the most well-known philosophers studied in Africa.

Archimedes, widely regarded as the “father” of western mathematics, studied in Egypt.  Hippocrates, the world-renowned “father” of modern medicine, was highly influenced by the teachings of Imhotep.  Untold thousands of Greek and other European scholars either traveled to or were influenced by teachings based on ancient Egyptian knowledge.

Just so we’re clear: Egypt is NORTHEAST AFRICA.  NORTH AFRICA.  AFRICA.

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I’m a firm believer in the idea that all knowledge is for everyone in the world.  I’m just as firm in the belief that credit should be given where credit is due.  Don’t allow anyone to pass the BS line of “color doesn’t matter.”  If color didn’t matter, why was there such an attempt to white wash our history?  Why IS there an ongoing effort to continue colonizing free information?

Black people, we do a disservice to our children when we don’t teach them about who they really are, where they come from, and what came from them.  If anyone should be indoctrinating our children, it should be US.

This goes way deeper than simply telling them what they need to know.

Teach them why they need to know.  Anyone who’s been around a toddler more than five minutes knows how inquisitive they can be.  Use that to your (and their) advantage.  A parent is the best history teacher a child will ever have.

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We’re also taught to mistrust one another.  The divisions of this mistrust are many.  It includes, among other things, skin tone (“light” vs. “dark”), age, sex, and intelligence.  Commonly known as “Willie Lynch Syndrome,” this tactic has been used to our disadvantage for centuries to keep us divided from each other and conquered, unable to progress without the intervention and guidance of White people.  It has expanded to keep pace with the growing autonomy of Black people in America.

(Take a moment to read the letter allegedly written Willie Lynch.  I believe Willie Lynch didn’t exist in history, however I DO BELIEVE the letter to be an accurate psychological representation of what has happened to Black people in America, how it happened, why it happened, and how to reverse it.  Dr. Kwabena F. Ashanti may be the letter’s actual author.)

As long as we’re mistrusting and fighting ourselves, we’re manageable.  How does one standardize that manageability?

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It’s given freely to you by what they DON’T teach you.  You weren’t told about your history because to do so would jeopardize your physical and mental enslavement.  That’s one reason why reading was forbidden among slaves. Learning is rebellion.  It’s the most dangerous form of rebellion.  You can kill a million people, but you can’t kill an idea.  History has shown us that time and again.

I will always encourage you to learn more.  Don’t take what I blog here as gospel.  These are my beliefs based on what I’ve learned.  It does neither one of us any good if you don’t research for yourself, challenge your core beliefs, and act upon new knowledge and understanding.  Our continued existence depends on what we know and how we grow.  I love you.

#BlessedBeTheGrind

5 Threats to The Black Man In America Part 1: Diet

5 Threats to The Black Man In America Part 2: Religion