Black people have been forced to live with injuries and pain resulting from the cruel institution of slavery. Black people built homes for white people, worked their land and cared for their children.
As families and communities grew, laws and rules were created to ensure American socioeconomic, educational, political, cultural and law enforcement structures would accommodate white people, while simultaneously facilitating the oppression, marginalization and brutalization of black people.
When we examine the U.S. Constitution, which was drafted to secure liberty and prosperity to Americans, we find that of the 56 men who signed the document as many as 41 of them owned Black slaves. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams were among numbered among the slavers.
These signers of the Constitution acknowledged the wrongs of enslavement, but to secure the unity and independence of the United States they drafted the Constitution and subsequent amendments with the intention of excluding Black people from citizenship rights, and the blessings of liberty and prosperity guaranteed to Americans.
Black people were given the status of chattel, put in chains and actioned to white people to be exploited in ways to hideous to describe with words.
As of 2019, no meaningful effort has been made towards reparations, neither has there been a serious effort to make an amends for injustices suffered by Black people. When ideas, or programs are proposed to make right the wrong of the past, they are quickly met with opposition from whites, Sambo and Uncle Tom.
Consequently, the injustices suffered by Black people are perpetuated in subcultures of socioeconomic, sociopolitical and corporate structures of white supremacist ideology and racism. These structures allow whites to hold on to wealth and power made possible by centuries of enslaving Black people (i.e., free labor).
After centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination and marginalization Black people cannot relent in their pursuit of justice, equality and reparations.
Their children were snatched, taken, sold and shipped to plantations owned by white people. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, all met the same fate. Families were dismembered and their bodies were scattered to all parts of the globe.
White people lied to themselves as they created the institution of chattel, which was governed by the denunciation of Black humanity. Family relations, bonds, feelings, and attachments did not apply to black people. Black families could not be allowed to exist, not even in death.
After centuries of being physically dismembered and psychologically terrorized by Arabs and Europeans; black families battle domestic disfunction. For generations blacks passed on messages of helplessness, culminating in patterns of isolation, chemical dependency, and abusive behavior toward one another.
The wounds are deep, and have not healed. The wounds scared both their bodies and minds. Life in the black community is like walking into a dark room full of people. You know the people are there, but you cannot see them. In the same way, the wounds are there, but they are not in plain sight. None are exempt, as the wounds inflicted by white supremacy and racism have left scares on the lives of all Black people.
White supremacy created wounds that transcend time and flesh; it has metastasized into physical, psychological and social diseases. Lives, families, culture and heritage have been devastated by the diseases. The pain caused by these diseases lives, causing black people to feel and experience pain over and over again.
Many black people walk through life psychologically broken, as black life is a mosaic of symptoms: feeling of depression, self-hatred, inadequacy, sense of meaninglessness and nothingness. Having lived with pain for so long, their sensitivity is diminished as it relates to hurting others. Lack of self-control, violent and addictive behavior run rampant, resulting in loss of family, friends and social unity.
The dark clouds of pain and suffering are the impetus of many of the self inflicted injuries among black people. These self inflicted injuries reflect and are nourished by centuries of thoughts and fantasies about destroying white supremacy.
The nightmare of white supremacy encourages black people to withdraw and ignore the mental pain they experience every walking minuet of the day. White supremacist culture fosters the impotence of the black psyche. White supremacy physically, spiritually, socially, and economically destroys the inner being, and psychological stability of black lives.
And so, black people must acknowledge this psychological assault, pain and suffering; it is not weakness to say that it exist. For, if we deny that it exits we disallow ourselves the opportunity to heal. The prerequisite for psychological healing is to acknowledge the assault, injury and pain.
American culture represents dominate social norms. Norms that don’t allow structures to acknowledge black victimization, pain and suffering. Blacks are subversively required to be silent, and accept and suppress their pain. Black people are even told to stop having thoughts about their pain and injuries.
As long as cultural values implicitly forgive, even admire white supremacy, their will be little incentive to stop the assault, and focus on healing injuries and treating symptoms suffered by black people. And until the assault stops, and we really begin to heal our wounds, we will continue to passively witness the destruction of black life.
According to the dictionary, character is a combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another.
At the age of one hundred and three, Frank Range was interviewed and talked freely about his life before and after the Civil War. Frank, the oldest of nine children was born of slave parents, Lenard and Elizabeth Herbert on the plantation of Mr. Jim Bolger, Newberry, South Carolina. He was sold several times, and is known by the name of one of his enslavers, John Range.
“During the Civil War his master, Mr. Jim Herbert, carried him to the war as cook, and when necessary, he was pressed into service, throwing up breast-works (stone wall fortifications); and while he was engaged in the work at Richmond Va., a terrific bombardment of their lines was made, and a part of their breast-works was crushed in, and his master buried beneath it. Frantic with fear for the safety of his master, Frank began to move the dirt away; finally he was able to drag him to safety. Though shot and shell were falling all around him, he came out unscathed.” (Slave Narratives a Folk History Of Slavery In The United States From Interviews)
For me, the words of Frank Range (slave, and former slave) epitomize the character Sambo in Harriet Beecher’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Sambo reminds me of a statue that mysteriously came to life. White people enslaved black people to the point that the slaves became clay in their hands. And with clay in hand, they molded it into Sambo.
Sambo’s mind and character was shaped by ideologies of white supremacy. The white master; and the black slave who would give his life for his master. Sambo was willing to pick up a weapon and defend his white master against the approaching Union army who was fighting to free him from slavery. And, with the institution of slavey coming to an end, Sambo was willing to hide his master’s money form Northern carpetbaggers.
Slavery stripped black people of their identity, and ability to develop character and uniqueness. Sambo’s character towers above the house slave, the monkey, the plantation nigger, and the minstrel man. He represents the epitome of social engineering of black people by white people.
The character of Sambo represents the ultimate goal and success of white supremacy. Sambo was stripped of his own personality and character, to have it replaced with fear and inferiority doctrines propagated by white supremacy.
Sambo, the white man’s work of art, beat Uncle Tom to death for refusing to whip a black female slave. He was the perfect snitch, as he would turn his own family in for plotting against the white slave master. I have lived among both Sambo and Uncle Tom, and having Sambo around is hundred times more dangerous than having Uncle Tom around.
The stigma and modern day existence of Sambo and Uncle Tom in the black family and community still exist. White supremacy was created to erase the social, cultural, and moral identify of black people all over the world. Therefore, we must be courageous, vigilant and purposeful in developing structures that facilitate the redemption of black people in America and the world over.
Black people throughout the African Diaspora are speaking up and participating in shaping a new era. It’s imperative that we incorporate a new moral tone into families and communities, one that seeks to affirm the individual as the visible manifestation of families and communities united, striving to secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity for Black people the world over.
Morality begins as we enter into conversation with ourselves. “Although I can do whatever I want; there are choices to be made; I can do this or I can do that.” “I will not be pushed like a leave blowing in the wind; it is my choice and I will make it.”
In taking off the shackles of white supremacy, “the external world no longer determines my fate.” “I will develop my own rules, and I will be guided and bound by the rules I put in place for myself.” “My goal is to be free, free to be an authentic black human being.” This kind of introspective conversation embodies norms and behavior that set a moral tone that guarantees freedom.
White people counted black people as less than fully human and made them their property. In this new era, “my goal is to be an authentic human being,” and so, the goal of morality is to authenticate my freedom to be me.
To be authentically black, is to encourage the exploration of mental, emotional and communal capabilities. The rules of morality I developed for myself are designed to find the best me, and make me better.
My better me is in control; my outward person is guided by self-control. Self control is possible because of inner checks and balances that exist in every breath I take. The bond I have with my checks and balances hold the keys to the demonic nature that is in chains, locked up within me.
Love is my ultimate test. Love is my guard, friend and constant companion; it is the standard for good and bad. If my life, living and conduct measure up to the love test; it is good, otherwise it is bad.
Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”