Sunday, March 1, 2009
The 300 Year Curse
So yesterday was my friend's 30th birthday. To celebrate in style (well we thought we were stylin') we started the night with dinner. Somehow everyone started talking about racism. Then that somehow led to me making a comment about slavery. I guess everyone thinks I'm extremely prissy and incapable of dealing with a hard life because they laughed at the thought of me being a slave. Well I told them. If I had ever had the opportunity to be a slave, I would have killed my master by seducing him and poisoning him with some cotton tea. Now, there is no such thing as cotton tea, but I was talking out of my ass. I digress, I digress.
On a more serious note, I attempted to start some dialogue on slavery and the holocaust. It was too heavy a topic for dinner, so I decided to save the comparison for my blog....
In college I took a graduate course on the politics of race and ethnicity. My final paper was a comparison of Jews to African-Americans. This was relevant to me because a lot of the course materials addressed concerns over why African-Americans are not like Jews even though they had a similar struggle.
Let me tell you why since none of these intellects and professors can seem to put their finger on it.
The top 5 reasons why African-Americans are not as "successful" as Jews:
1) Slavery lasted 300 freakin' years ---- I don't mean to deviate from the significance of the Holocaust, but imagine three hundred years of separating mothers from children and fathers from families. It is a pretty good explanation for the "breakdown" of the African-American family unit. They've been breaking for 300 years.
2) Slaves had no alliance to back them up ---- So after the rest of the world discovered the atrocities of the Nazis in Germany, they flocked to the rescue of the Jews. Ummmm no one was trying to rescue slaves. Of course we want to acknowledge all the abolitionists and thanks to Harriett Tubman and others, a lot made it to Canada. However, there was no army raised for Negro liberation. I never learned about France or England coming to save slaves from American atrocities.
3) Slaves did not have old money ----- African-Americans were dragged to the New World against their will. They had nothing. They were the property. To make matters worse, they didn't have any gold to melt into their teeth and therefore nothing of value to pass down to later generations. Furthermore, this lack of property was exacerbated with the emancipation of slavery when no one got 40 acres or a mule!
4) Jews are unified by religion ----- Judaism is such an ingrained part of the culture of Jews that it is a strong identifier for them. African-Americans are Christians for the most part, but there are sooooooo many denominations that no one can keep track of them....Greater Emmanuel of the Faith A.M.E. Baptist Church, the Church of God, Amelia E. Featherhoven Temple of God. I'm trippin' but you get the idea. The only unique identifier for African-Americans is skin color. That has proven to be a deal breaker more than anything else. Thanks to slave rapes and the other racist propaganda that were rampant during slavery, black people are not one shade of black. There are many variations and complexions. Just watch Spike Lee's "School Daze" and you will have a better idea of what I'm talking about.
5) Jews are basically white ---- I'm not saying that Jews have not faced any adversity, but it is easier to get by in America when you have white skin. You don't have to deal with that double taxation. Now I understand that our society has constructed its own stereotypes about Jews, but nothing is worse than that black skin. Think of it this way. If you are white or even brown (cuz y'all front like you aren't ninjas when you really are), would you like to trade in your skin color for some of that negro melanin?
I didn't think so!
There you have it folks! These are the differences. I personally think all African-Americans of slave descent deserve at least 150 years off work with pay for all those 300 years of cotton picking in the hot sun. Just thinking about that hard work makes me tired and what I do isn't even 0.1% of what they did.
Of course this is only my opinion, so feel free to hit me up with some comments. I wanna know what you think about the Jew/Black debate.
*Photo 1: taken from http://www.sonofthesouth.net/slavery/photographs/slaves.htm
*Photo 2: taken from http://blueherald.com/2007/04/holocaust-remembrance-day-2007/