No Race Is Blameless

Thursday, November 28, 2013

“The Birth of a Nation,” This appalling movie premiered in 1915. It was more than blatantly racist. It was written and produced with the intent of glorifying The Ku Klux Klan, trying to make them appear heroic. This revisionist propaganda became a recruiting film for The KKK. Its membership grew.

This film may be the most racist film ever made in America. It was wrong to ever allow it to be shown. The animosity it caused and the harm it did… may never fully be known. Later, this slanted style of journalism also worked very well in Europe.        

Every clan, tribe or race of people have committed their share of self-serving acts. Not all of which… merits pride. It is well understood that Caucasians from every ethnic persuasion have done their share of bad deeds. Of this I have no doubt.

With that said, it is equally wrong for radio, television, newspapers or film, to present an unbalanced view when dealing with matters of public concern i.e. racial harmony. It is especially wrong to give a slanted view of America’s conflicted past. By doing so, it rekindles hostility we have striven long to allay. 

Many millions both black and white have (for a very long time) championed the cause of equality. They demand equality for all races. To constantly parade film after film of one-sided injustice belies their noble effort to achieve racial harmony. 

When it comes to racism, no race is blameless.  Racism … is a two edged sword, which clearly cuts both ways. It wounds all concerned. Selective journalism or other media can cut very deep if wielded by prejudice. This weapon of choice, is wielded by bigots and honed by the bias they use to justify anger. If information is slanted to only one side, how can we form good relations with people of other color?

I am but one of the white folks who get verbally slammed in every conversation that concerns race. As of late, I’ve become a convenient target for politically correct, social indignation. Believe me when I say, I don’t like being profiled either. Enough about all the harm caused by whites. We fairly demand that other transgressions be shown. 

What would cause anyone to attack someone purely because their different i.e., The Knockout Game? If young people (in this case young blacks) are spoon fed a constant diet of reasons to dislike or out and out hate the white race, nothing good can come from it. 

I do believe that in the last few years a consorted effort has been made to purposely paint the White race in a very bad light. I am not speaking entirely about racial animosity but how useful it is when used as a tool to achieve Divide and Conquer. Are all of us poor folks taking part in somebody’s “Fake Rasslin match” and we don’t even know it? 

Humans, especially those of us who live payday to payday, seem to be the most easily affected when it comes to emotional matters. 

Racism-Racism-Racism. If they know where or buttons are… they will surely push-um. More often than not, the people who pose the biggest threat to any of us regardless of color… come from our on race.

I can assure you that my family never owned slaves.  Although--- they may well have been indentured slaves themselves at one time.

In fact fewer than five percent of whites in the U.S. owned slaves. Coincidently, by 1830, there were over 3,700 free black families living in the south that did own black slaves. 

According to leading black historian, Professor John Hope Franklin (himself a black man) there were in New Orleans alone, over 3,000 slaves that were owned by black families before the Civil War. Some of these black slave owners were known as “Negro slave magnets,” such as Antoine Dubuclet and the widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards, who owned as many as 150 slaves. These slaves provided the labor force needed to operate hugely successful sugar plantations.

According to the census report of June 1, 1860, of all blacks living in the south, 261,000 were not slaves, some of these were in fact slave owners. How come most don’t know this fact? 

Would you be surprised to learn the first person in colonial America to legally own a permanent slave (not to be confused with indentured slave---who was as likely to be white as black) was Anthony Johnson, himself a free black man (formerly an indentured slave) that purchased John Casor another black indentured slave, who became indentured with a guarantee that after seven years (maximum) he would gain his freedom along with 50 acres free and clear. 

After the indentured contract was satisfied, Anthony Johnson (a free black man) refused to give John Casor his promised freedom. Instead of staying with Mr. Johnson, Mr. Casor left and became employed by (the free white man) Robert Parker. 

Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in the Northhampton Court in 1654. In 1655, the court ruled that Anthony Johnson could hold John Casor indefinitely. The court gave judicial sanction for blacks to own slaves of their own race. Thus John Casor became the first permanent slave and Johnson the first slave owner. Whites still could not legally hold a black servant as an indefinite slave until 1670. In that year, The Colonial Assembly passed legislation permitting free whites, blacks and Indians the right to own permanent slaves. 

When we point the finger of blame at other races, we should remember that people of all color, have at some time been subjected to abuse and slavery. And those same people, have also been--- abusive slave catchers, owners and traders themselves. No race is blameless.  

Throughout America’s history, it was the minorities among us who guided us toward decency. I’m not speaking of racial minority but the few of all races that stood their ground on decent principles, which in turn gave others the courage to do the same. Multitudes of folk, from all races have held this nation together by their belief in a basic standard of morality. It’s not just one race of people that stand strong against wrongful acts, it is good people from every race that holds our nation together. Their concept of right prevailed over the foolish ones of all races. 

Convenient memory rebukes another’s transgression but refuses to acknowledge its’ own. People from all races have been… and are… guilty of the same things. When are we going to see the movie that shows Africans capturing and selling other Africans? Were they not slave traders too? When are they going to show the documentary about black slave owners especially the black females who owned slaves? Or the documentary that shows Native Americans killing and subjugating other Native Americans as well as whites and blacks. I don’t hear much about the Cherokee that owned slaves, do you? No race is blameless.  We have all done wrong.  We must work harder to reconcile the differences. We’re in this together. Graceful acts of forgiveness, no doubt will carry us through. 

James A Bolt

 


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