Category Archives: slavery

Missy Ann Coulter Allegedly Owns Slaves

I’m not surprised that Ann Coulter said “our blacks are so much better than their blacks” when she  appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Monday (video below).  I’m not shocked by the uproar that has ensued.    She didn’t back down from her comments when HLN’s Joy Behar asked her about it on Tuesday. I’m not shocked by that either.  Ann Coulter is a straight up, tell you to your face BIGOT.  She’s been that way for years.  She’s been saying the same type of racist garbage for years.  The shock is that..

A. People are shocked by her most recent comments in light of what she’s said in the past.

B. Networks like Fox and HLN still give this bigot a podium.

When I heard her comments from the Fox broadcast I wanted to say, “Oh, so Missy Ann is a pundit now?!?!”.  Really?  Do you own blacks, Ann?  How many Negroes do you own?  How long have you been the mistress of the plantation?

Damn.

Dear African-American Republicans, You need to take off the watermelon suits and tap dancing shoes and listen to what the party really thinks about us.  Yes, US.  Don’t act like you’re special because you get to live in the house and master thinks you’re smart…for a negro.  Yes, that’s right.  Not as smart as ole masta, but smarter than those Democratic field coons.

Oh, you don’t think that is what is actually being said?  Well, then I think the Republicans surely “own” the right blacks for the job.  So many of America’s politicians are “owned” by corporations and special interests that I guess you guys would say “At least we got some Good white folks.”.

Yall betta run on.  I hear Missy Ann uh calling.

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Django Unchained: I’m not interested in any movie where black women are repeatedly raped

I don’t know about you, but a movie featuring mildly thought out black female slave characters who are repeatedly raped at a club for white slave owners is not my idea of a great film.  I don’t want to see a female slave raped in front of her husband.  I don’t want to see her tortured and degraded…or locked in a cage naked.  OH and I’m not too keen about this content combined with a whole lot of other blaxploitation style slave torture (Whippings, beatings, etc).

What am I talking about?  Django Unchained.  The upcoming Quentin Tarantino film set to be released in Dec 2012 that black women need to start protesting now.  I mean really!!  We need to get on this, SIS. (I’m not going to even start on how I’m not for this movie coming out the month after Obama wins…again.  Let’s be real, no black person will want to see this if he loses either.)  Remember when Disney tried to give the first Black Princess the name “Maddy” (Too close to Mammy)?  Yep, WE got that changed and that wasn’t as bad as this.

Some sistas are ready to organize: “If all goes as the leaked script has planned for this “comedy”, audiences will get to see the character “Broomhilda”, an enslaved Black woman, naked for almost her entire time on screen, flashing her breasts on a slave auction block, and graphically raped – repeatedly – throughout the movie, at least 4 or 5 times, by individual and groups of white men. It’s also reported that this character is degraded in other ways throughout the movie, like being doused in mud, locked in a cage, and raped in front of her husband. Supposedly, all in good fun. And judging from Tarantino’s history of extremely graphic and offensive imagery in his past “comedic” works such as “Pulp Fiction”, the imagery used to degrade Black women in this so-called “comedy” will not be lighthearted fare. ” (Stop The Media Smear Campaign Against Black Women)

The script leaked and the reviews are all over the internet from those who have seen it.  Sure, Sure, a script can change and this one should if what I’m reading is correct.  Jamie Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington have been named as potential actors interested (Here is a list of the roles in the movie).  I don’t think they would sign on to something as terrible as what I’ve read, but you never know.  The economy is bad.  Hell, Jamie did star in “Booty Call”.  He’s apparently up for the lead role.  Funny thing, people who’ve read the script are saying that the lead is not the “Mandigo”/Nat Turner role people think it’s going to be.  He’s playing second fiddle most of the film to a German bounty hunter who takes him under his wing.  Think of Tommy Lee Jones working with Will Smith’s character in Men in Black…but make Will a slave.  Yeah, something like that.  A slave revolt/retribution movie with a white male lead as the star.  That’s Hollywood.

Shadow and Act says: “I’ve Read Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” Script, And, Well, It’s Not Nat Turner’s Revolt…”

“Speaking of its blaxploitation influences… regarding the lead female character in this, named Broomhilda, Django’s slave wife, whom he’s separated from, and seeks. She’s the lead female in the film, but her part is limited to really just physicalities. She has the most screen time of any other woman in the film, which is why I call her the lead female character, but, really, there’s no Shosanna in this one, as there was in Inglorious Basterds. The black female “lead” here doesn’t get the same kind of dignified treatment that Tarantino gave Shosanna. Not even close. Yes, I know it’s a different time altogether, but, I’m sure he could have afforded Broomhilda some complexities, and maybe even made her a heroine in her own right.

There are some 4 or 5 scenes in which the she’s, shall we say, “exposed”… i.e. naked; and they felt gratuitous to me; 2 in which she’s raped by white men. When we first meet her, she’s on the auction block and asked to bare her breasts to potential buyers; later, she’s chased through a hotel, through hallways, and lobbies, etc, by a slave master, completely naked, after being woken up from sleep, with a whip across her naked body; and still later, she’s locked up naked in a steel box as punishment for trying to run away. Yes, I’m sure these are all scenarios that very well likely could have played out at the time; however, Tarantino could have opted to depict her in another light altogether, but instead chose this less flattering, exploitative one.”

I feel a campaign a-brewing to get the makers of this flick to scrap some of that exploitative sexual violence towards black women.   Oh and I’m sure that people (Spike Lee) will be mad about use of the N-word.  It will be Roots all over again for some of you, since it’s a period piece. If people thought there were a lot of N-words thrown around in “Jackie Brown” or “Pulp Fiction”, they haven’t seen anything yet.

I hope the script is a dry run because the concept his potential.  Hey, I’m up for a slaves vs. masters revenge movie.  Sure Quentin, show or all the brutality and violence.  Put it in people’s faces.  However, historical accuracy doesn’t call for this level of sexual violence against black women.  It’s not funny.  It’s in bad taste.

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Christians Only: Is the Black Community Tolerant of Other Religions?

Don’t tell Grandma you’re an atheist.  You’ll make her pressure go up.

I would like to think that Black people are tolerant, but when it comes to homosexuality and religion I have to say that many Black folk can be very prejudiced.  Today I’m dealing with issue 2: religion.

If you say you’re a Hindu or following Buddha, you might as well say that you joined the Klan in some circles.  If you say that you don’t believe in a God or divine being at all and you prescribe to Athism…cancel Christmas (no pun).  I know people who have had to hide their faith from their families.  I know people who’ve followed time-honored faiths like Islam or dabbled in Metaphysics and have been told they are in a “cult”.  I also know people who follow traditional African religions like Yoruba and have been told they “worship the devil”.

For many Blacks there is one way…C-H-R-I-S-T.  There is no other option.  Period.

Don’t try to argue with them.  It’s a losing battle.  No point you can come up with is stronger than, “I believe in Jesus and the Bible, and that’s all I have to say.”  You can’t even bring up the fact that Christianity is the religion of our oppressors or note that the early church approved slavery of Africans and indigenous peoples.

In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas, granting Afonso V of Portugal the right to reduce any “Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers” to hereditary slavery. This approval of slavery was reaffirmed and extended in his Romanus Pontifex bull of 1455. These papal bulls came to serve as a justification for the subsequent era of slave trade and European colonialism.

They were giving the “savages” religion so I guess they felt it was a fair trade.  We all know it was about greed and conquest not spreading the good news. These justifications were the seeds of slavery which spawned the institutional racism that now exists around the world and of course here in the US.  Having faced discrimination here in America, you would think Black people would understand how tolerance is needed.

Let me say, I’m not anti-Christian.  I’m not pro any particular religion either.  What I am for is respect.  We can’t condemn foreign states, fringe movements, military, or other powers when they force their people to believe and worship in a particular way, if we don’t practice racial tolerance here in America.  Respect should not have limits and boundaries.  No geographic, racial, or religious boundaries.  Religion is a choice that in America we are blessed to have.

I am so glad that many of my Black, Christian brothers and sisters have found peace in their salvation and are believers.  What I find most troubling is that when those who are called “Christian” are unable to walk in love and compassion when dealing with unbelievers. However, there are many who are able to take on the “mind of Christ” and not discriminate, but engage in ways that honor the principles of their faith.

What do you think about Religious tolerance in the Black community?

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Once Upon a Time, You Were Not White

Once upon a time in America; Italians, Jews, and Irish people were not considered White.  Yes, it’s surprising.  Some people who are classified as White may not consider themselves Caucasian.  Many people consider the concept of race to be an illusion, a construct to be defined and re-defined.  For example, you may consider yourself white until you find out that your great-great-grandfather was a Louisiana born Black Creole who passed for white in the north.

Last night I saw author  and Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter was on “The Colbert Report” discussing her new book  “The History of White People” [Read some of it for free on Google Books].  She talked about how race is not permanent, how definitions of race are affected by education, class and sex, and the history of the definition of whiteness.  The interview was a lot of fun, but I [like Colbert] had no idea what the book was really about at the end of the segment.  Her interview with NPR provides A LOT more information.

Painter is the author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (1996) and several other scholarly works on the history of slavery and race relations in America, most recently Creating Black Americans (2006). Her latest selection examines the history of “whiteness” as a racial category and rhetorical weapon: who is considered to be “white,” who is not, what such distinctions mean, and how notions of whiteness have morphed over time in response to shifting demographics, aesthetic tastes, and political exigencies. After a brief look at how the ancients conceptualized the differences between European peoples, Painter focuses primarily on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There, the artistic idealization of beautiful white slaves from the Caucasus combined with German Romantic racial theories and lots of spurious science to construct an ideology of white superiority which, picked up by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other race-obsessed American intellectuals, quickly became an essential component of the nation’s uniquely racialized discourse about who could be considered an American. Presenting vivid psychological portraits of Emerson and dozens of other figures variously famous and obscure, and carefully mapping the links between them, Painter’s narrative succeeds as an engaging and sophisticated intellectual history, as well as an eloquent reminder of the fluidity (and perhaps futility) of racial categories. –Brendan Driscol, Booklist

Video – ColbertNation.com

Here is part of an awesome documentary that aired some years ago on PBS that deals in detail with the evolution of race

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The Black and the Irish: My 4 leaf clover is covered in bling

LOL. Moving on…

In honor of St. Patricks day, I looked into the connections between the Black and the Irish.  Here is some interesting info I’ve found.

  • A white buddy of mine had this to say about St. Patricks day:  “The history of Africans and Irish goes back much further than most people think. When the Roman Empire fell, Irish Christians preserved the last bit of Christianity in Western Europe for centuries. Irish monks actually kept in contact with Egyptian monks (by way of voyages on the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar and the North Atlantic). It is thought that the Celtic Cross was derived from the Egyptian ankh. “These would be the Egyptians of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
  • TangledRoots @ Yale.edu: Tangled Roots is a research project about the shared history of African Americans and Irish Americans.  They share some very interesting information about Africans and Irish in Barbados.
  • During the 1600’s, African slaves and Irish natives shared a common fate on the island of Barbados. Slaves first arrived on the island in the 1620’s with the first white settlers and continued to be brought there as the need for labor created a new market for the international slave trade. By 1645, the black population on the island was 5680, and by 1667, there were over 40,000 slaves on the island. In the early years of the colony’s growth, Barbados also became a destination for military prisoners and Irish natives. Oliver Cromwell “barbadosed” Irish who refused to clear off their land and allowed other Irish to be kidnaped from the streets of Ireland and transported to Barbados. Those who were barbadosed were sold as slaves or indentured servants, to British planters. They lived in slave conditions and had no control over the number of years they had to serve. The number of Barbadosed Irish in not known and estimates very widely, from a high of 60,000 to a low of 12,000.
  • The Healy Family : A question of Racial Identity
    An Irish immigrant and a mixed-race domestic slave raised children who became priests, including the fist African-American Bishop in the United States, a President of Georgetown University, a religious sister and a Coast Guard officer. These site documents the family history and consider the question of their racial identity.  Prologue: Racial Identity and the Case of Capt. Michael Healy

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Harriet Tubman Could Write and So Can I

One of Philadelphia’s and the nation’s leading collectors of African-American artifacts has given the Smithsonian over historic artifacts owned by former slave, abolitionist, and Underground Railroad Conductor Extrodinaire Harriet Tubman to a to be a part of the National Museum of African-American History scheduled to open in 2015 here in Washinton, DC.

Charles Blockson, curator emeritus of the Charles Blockson Afro-American collection at Temple University, received 39 personal items from the estate of Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman from Tubman’s great-niece, who willed them to Blockson two years ago because she believed that he, Blockson says, would know what to do with them.  source

When I took a look at some of the photos posted of the items in the Tubman collection, one of the struck me in a way that I can’t explain.  You see, in her hymnal Harriet Tubman Davis wrote her name.  She would write her own name!  She didn’t leave and X as her mark and this was more than a meer scribble or attempt at writing.  I saw the handwriting of a woman who shouldn’t have been able to clearly create letters with pen, let alone bring hundreds of slaves to freedom.  I felt for someone who knew the true power of being able to read and write.  It made me think a little more about the words I’m able to write.  And about the fact that it is a privilage that my ancestors fought for.

I write here, on this blog.  I’m not a freedom fighter in the way that Harriet was, but I do want to make others think.  Perhaps I can even inspire or motivate others to action.  Perhaps something here will make someone’s mind a little more free.  Make them question and reflect on race, racism, blackness, and our community.  I know that words, typed, written, or read…they have power.  Thank you Harriet, for that little reminder written in a church hymal.  They are a blessing to me.

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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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