Thanks to my Twitter timeline I found out Henry Louis “Skip” Gates wrote an Op Ed in the New York Times that was published yesterday. In discussing the possibilities of reparations – which is highly unlikely to occur under this administration to begin with – Gates feels the need to remind us that black people sell each other out.
Really? Gee who would’ve thunk it!?
While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa.
I found his Op Ed hilarious. No, it isn’t funny but it’s so ridculous to see a man who was elevated to prominence by white liberals, is married to a white woman, who has basked in his discovery of his 54% European DNA write something that denigrates his black heritage. He is clearly so ashamed of who he is that he’ll do or say anything to distance himself all the while earning a living at promoting blackness. That’s what you call irony.
I’ll never forget he was one of the main supporters of the filth spewed by 2LiveCrew by claiming degenerate behavior is in the nature of black males. Which for those following the motley crew of pathology flag wavers Steve Harvey also mentioned during the most recent Nightline segment continuing its half-baked conversation on black women and dating. This is an interesting deconstruction – however misdirected – of how black males have worked towards the demise of the black collective even before the first slave ship docked in the Americas.
I find it very interesting how certain blacks choose to ignore these openly hostile attacks from black males yet they fret so much over what black women are doing. We know black women are loyal to the ideology of the black community – nee black males to their detriment. I call that ironic. So, of course we can surmise the man who flipped out at being reminded he was a Negro during his selective confrontation with the Cambridge cops last summer would continue to reassure whites whose side he’s really on. It’s not the black hand side!
Of course we know that Africans were forced into slavery throughout the world, not just the Americas. Many people have conquered or been conquered by groups as they’ve fought for dominance. There’s been intra-racial and inter-racial conflicts galore. Focusing on blaming long-dead generations of people does little to uplift current ones. Deflecting responsibility for the impact of the brutality of those enslaved ignores how the enslavers uniquely benefited from the arrangement. It was they who maintained the system and fought against its dismantling.
Luckily, most of us already know this. I’d expect this type of rhetoric to come from a Teabagger, KKK member or other white supremacists. What will be surprising to some is how virulent the hatred of blackness comes from those who are black (males). I think it’s very telling that any random number of black males feel free to openly display their own racism. This is a patriarchal society and males that cannot compete and thrive under a system designed to benefit them are the worst failures. They’ve been allowed to display their own special brand of racialized misogyny against black women unabated thus far so it’s interesting to see it come full circle as they continue to publicly self-implode.
One other segment of this Op Ed that really belongs on the therapist’s couch is how Gates absolves President Obama from having to deal with this pesky reparations issue. So is he speaking on behalf of his friend in an official capacity or is this another way this administration is letting the world know black issues need not apply here? Of course one could argue that the behavior of the black collective does itself a disservice. Also the President is not African-American as Gates erroneously states. Obama is half-white and half-foreign black. He was raised by whites and clearly loathes having conversations about the embattled history of survival of the blacks that built this country.
I’m further reminded again of the efforts of those who fought so vigilantly for Civil Rights that allowed for the large-scale emigration of foreign blacks to the United States to begin with. Racist whites and other obstructionists will never be satisfied or be willing to accept certain truths. Our ancestors are owed a debt of gratitude not a kick in the head by the likes of Gates or the cowardly reluctance of others in being proud of their heritage or in acknowledging our contributions.