- “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
- “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”
- “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
- “Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Martin Luther King Jr.
In America, one of the taboo topics is race, especially if you are black. A society that refuses to listen to any segment of its poor would suffer the wrath of the poor, if not God.
On September 10, 2001 after browsing the net at midnight, I gathered that the USA had withdrawn its delegation from the Conference on Racism holding in South Africa. I was led to pen a poem describing the plight of the children of the good ole USA because they had neglected the poor children of the world. The next day at work I heard of the events of 9/11. The prophetic poem was stolen from my home; I have remained on the watch-list as a “Menace to Society” since then. A pastor colleague of mine who had become a prayer partner had drawn my attention to a written revelation of a Messianic Jew. It was explanation that he sought of the Lord regarding the hurricanes in the USA. I published the warning on the Internet. Shortly thereafter, the humongous hurricane Katrina hit and the good ole USA is still reeling from it. Have we learned anything?
A search of history would reveal that the Pilgrim Fathers set out for the New Lands in order to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. But history also says that one of the reasons Englishmen set sail to the Americas was to rid the Indians of heathenism. Then comes the excuse that while the Indian could be rid of his heathenism, the Black man could not, because he was different. He looked darker, had a broad nose and lived a different lifestyle. Because the Negro was so different, in the eyes of the Englishmen, he was likened to a beast. The animal called “Orang-outang” found in Africa was quickly concocted as the beast that copulated with African women to give birth to the Negro. At some point, it was fashionable to imprison the black man and sell him off as chattel. So to justify the inhuman practice of Slavery, a new theology was cooked, that the Black man was Canaan, whose father Ham, saw the nakedness of his father, therefore he was cursed that he shall be a servant of servants (Genesis 9:25). This is defective because Genesis 11 further says “And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech”. There was as yet no division into tribes and nations. The division was done only after the Tower of Babel. If we even go by lineage, the land of the Canaanites where the Lord led Abraham his faithful servant to inhabit, is not in Africa.
More interestingly, majority of the persons who called the Africans “heathen”, were themselves not Christians properly so called. Christ never urged anyone to shoot at “savages” or to forcefully dispossess them of their lands. After the New Testament, the so-called Christians could not use heathen methods of conquest to establish Christ’s teaching of laying down one’s life for the life of an enemy in the propagation of the gospel. In carving out personal empires under license from the English Crown, the pretenders of religion baptized their heinous acts with “Christian” tags to make them seem altruistic and honorable. Till date most “Christian” denominations founded on this false premise find nothing remiss in the treatment meted to the Blackman and as such would label any person who brings the issue up as a “troublemaker”. Not for these false “Christians” the spirit of repentance, retribution or reconciliation. At best they would urge you to live with it or to just move on; as if it never happened. It is this set of “Christians” who may worship ‘God’ with a fanatical zeal on one hand and still nurse deep seated bigotry and prejudice toward their follow-man – because they still do not regard him as fully equal to them. To quickly inform those innocently misled regarding the false theology of Africans being a cursed race;
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
If slavery were good and acceptable in God’s sight He would not have sent Moses to deliver His chosen people; God would have left them to continue being enslaved of Pharaoh. A slave has no rights. A slave is chattel to the owner, like horses and sheep and houses and fields. That so-called Christians who would pursue other beings, hold them down and build constricted holding cells to hold and to ferry the stolen bodies away from their homeland for sale or use in other new settlement is heinous, barbaric and unchristian.
Historically, there were slave markets run by Englishmen Christians where men and women were examined naked, haggled over and sold as chattel. To justify such behavior within Christianity is shameful. Also, in this age, to hunt down and brand all who write and bring these shameful acts to the fore as enemies is also unchristian. The fact is that the Western societies have not fully dealt with the evil of Slavery, Segregation and racism. When any African or person of African descent is interested in such issues, he is quickly branded and shut down in very ingenious ways. What it says to the world is; we shall not be mindful of our sins to you. Who are you to tell us of our shortcomings? On the other hand, these western countries go around telling every nation what is the matter with their system. What double standard! To the pretending Christians the Bible reports that the Lord knows the sorrows of the slaves:
And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows…
In the early history of the colonies today known as the United States of America, Slavery was considered a sin, a transgression against the word of God punishable under the Law.
“In Massachusetts the magistrates demonstrated that they were not about to tolerate glaring breeches of “the law of God established in Israel” even when the victims were Africans. In 1646 the authorities arrested two mariners who had carried two negroes directly from Africa and sold them in Massachusetts. What distressed the General Court was that the Negroes had been obtained during a raid on an African village and that this “haynos and crying sinn of man stealing” had taken place on the Lord’s Day.
But a people left to their own devise would always stray. That is why God sends preachers. But even the preachers are not always welco
me by a willfully sinful generation. At some point, the Englishmen thought they were God’s chosen people and not the Jews anymore. And if they were the master special race, Africans were at the other extreme end of the totem pole.
“Blacks were singled out for special treatment in several ways which suggest a generalized debasement of blacks as a group. Significantly, the first indications of this debasement appeared at about the same time as the first indications of actual enslavement”.
Racism and Segregation
Merriam Webster’s online dictionary has this entry on racism:
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
– rac·ist /-sist also -shist/ noun or adjective
So in the mix between prejudices and superior airs, came the degrading treatment of Africans that was institutionalized as a lifestyle to oil the machinery of trade and cultivation in the New Lands. In quoting Winthrop D. Jordan, a white writer writing from historical records, you hear the story from the horse’s mouth:
“Virginia law set blacks apart from all other groups in a second way by denying them the important right and obligation to bear arms. Few restraints could indicate more clearly the denial to Africans of membership in the English community. This first foreshadowing of the slave codes came in 1640, at just the time when other indications first appeared that blacks were subject to special treatment.
“Finally, an even more compelling sense of the separateness of Negroes was revealed in early reactions to sexual union between the races. Prior to 1660 the evidence concerning these reactions is equivocal, and it is not possible to tell whether repugnance for intermixture preceded legislative enactment of slavery. In the early 1660’s, however, when slavery was gaining statutory recognition, the assemblies acted with full-throated indignation against miscegenation. These acts aimed at more than merely avoiding confusion of status. In 1662 Virginia declared that “if any Christian shall commit Fornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending” should pay double the usual fine. Two years later, Maryland regulated interracial marriages: “forasmuch as divers freeborne English women forgetful of their of their free condicion and to the disgrace of our Nation doe intermarry with negro Slaves by which alsoe divers suites may arise touching the issue of such woemen and a great damage doth befall the Masters of such Negroes for prevention whereof for deterring such freeborne women from such shameful Matches. Strong language indeed if “diverse suites” had been the only problem. A maryland act of 1681 described marriages of white women and Negroes as, among other things, “always to the satisfaccion of theire Lascivious and Lustfull desires and to the disgrace not only of the English butt also of many other Christian Nations”.
Some honest whites one encountered in modern times have expressed the fact that they have nothing against the black man; they just do not like them. There is a deep-seated fear that educated and achieving blacks prove that they are no different from white men under the skin. But those who preyed on this fear of the African made their best efforts (and still do try hard) to keep the so-called Races apart. “Indeed there were only two or three points at which whites and blacks were likely to come together in a social context which might have implied equality and hence have threatened the white man’s security. Specifically these were the church and the burying ground and to less extent the schools…”
“Mightily scandalized or not, white colonials in general seemed wary of opening their society to blacks, even to those who were legally free and whose ancestors may have been free (by 1760) for three or four generations. This exclusionary trend, if not principle, stood out all the more sharply in a society which by European standards was wide open to all comers.”
Miscegenation and the myth of Negro Sexuality
A scandalous theory held that; upon the chain of creation the White man is at the top of the human specie and the Black man at the bottom of the chain right next to the chimp. By this theory, the closer to the base, the more beastly the person is likely to be. “As for ideas or beliefs about the Negro, many seem startlingly modern. Least surprisingly, perhaps, was the common assumption that black women were especially passionate…Plainly white men were doing more than reporting pleasant facts. For by calling Negro women passionate they were offering the best possible justification for their own passions. Not only did the black woman’s warmth constitute a logical explanation for the white man’s infidelity, but much more important, it helped shift responsibility from himself to her. If she was that lascivious – well, a man could scarcely be blamed for succumbing against overwhelming odds”. However, the rules were not the same for the Black man, he was castrated if he committed some infraction to limit his libido. The Mulatto off springs of slaves was as a result of the chicanery of the white male raping the Negro slaves because even marriages and consensual sex was forbidden the Black male with a white female (it still might be unofficially in some circles in the USA). Miscegenation or “race-mixing” was forbidden in marriage or sexual relations but as usual enforced only against black men.
Current Prejudice in America
I once showed a white minister my credentials inclusive of my international passport that stated my profession; I sat in his class of Ministers, and was the best student. I was the very first person called upon for odd jobs, was also the first to be called to pray for others, but in a meeting with my white wife, the white man asked my wife if I was a “free-loader”. “Samuel Hopkins, the prominent minister of Newport, asked why white Americans saw blacks as “fit for nothing but slaves”. The reason, he explained, was that “we have been used to look at them in a mean, contemptible light; and our education has filled us with strong prejudices against them, and led us to consider them, not as our brethren, or in any degree on a level with us; but as quite another species of animals, made only to serve us and our children; and as happy in bondage, as in any other state…”
I submit that the black man is still looked at in the year of our Lord 2007 in a mean contemptible light with strong prejudices against him in modern America. The dream of being free at last remains just that, a pipe dream. Call the women and children, bring refreshments, and bring out the ropes for a hanging party of this writer on this MLK day. Are we going to pretend it does not exist or confront the challenges?
Jordan, Winthrop D.
The White Man’s Burden; Historical Origins of Racism in the United States Oxford University Press 1974 p.38
Op cit p.43
Op cit p.44
Op. cit p.67
Op. cit p.67
Op. cit p.79
Op. cit p.115