I received a comment a few weeks ago in response to my post titled Baby Grace. Baby Grade is an article centered around Riley Ann Sawyers, the little white girl who was killed by her mother and stepfather and then unceremoniously dumped into Galveston Bay. This wasn’t the first time we’ve heard about white people killing other family members. It happens a lot more often than people think even though we hear it in the news on a regular basis. But whenever there is a story about a black person committing a crime people are quick to invoke the black on black crime stigma and perpetuate the propaganda that black people have a propensity for committing crime. Generally speaking there appears to be a disassociation between what the public actually sees and what we actually believe.
While the white mindset is quick to dismiss any criminal behavior from people perceived to be their own, crimes from black people are met with the heavy hand of the law. A white man can be busted for using his commodities trading conglomerate to steal the life savings of people across America and he will be given every opportunity to keep his ill gotten gains and, if unavoidable, pay for his crime with the minimal restitutions. A black man can steal a thirty five cent donut and pay for his crime with two decades of incarceration at a maximum security prison. Black on black crime is out of hand but white on white crime is a rare phenomenon. This is nothing but pure propaganda.
One visitors believes that the institutions of media who perpetuate this propaganda are controlled by people who are no more powerful than the people in the black community. People in the black community should simply make the decision to stop being pawns with a victim mentality. We in the black community are not helpless bystanders. We can stop this propaganda simply by saying, no more. Said one visitor, “A slave can say no to oppresion and become either a free man or a dead slave. Either way he is no longer enslaved.” The theory is that all people in the black community has to do is just say no and everything will be equal. Suddenly we will have opportunities to be educated in America’s schools and we will be employed regardless of our skin color. We will be no different than the slave who says no to the master. We can either cease to exist or be truly free but we will use the power within ourselves to stop our subjugation.
But such naïve thinking doesn’t take into consideration the downright evil and controlling mentality of the slave owner in this analogy. I can see this conversation on the plantation.
Mastah Cha-lie! Mastah Cha-lie! Might I have a wurd wi’ you?
Why sure Jasper. What’s the problem?
Well you see mastah Cha-lie I jus’ ain’t happy here bein’ yo’ slave.
I jus’ don’t see how is right me bein’ yo’ slave ‘n’ all.
Well you know Jasper that I have paid good money for you to come to my plantation and work my fields and I really do need you to do your work.
I knows it. I knows it. But dis jus’ ain’t workin’ out fo’ me. I is gonna pu’ my foot down an’ say no mo’.
Jasper if you don’t work I’m going to have to kill you. I’m going to have to make an example of you for the rest. I can’t have my slaves thinking they can just go free.
I ain’t wontin’ to hear dat. I wuz hoppin’ you be lettin’ me and my family go.
I can’t do that Jasper. I’m going to have to kill you and hopefully you’ll family will continue to work for me.
You go and do wha’ you have t’do. Either way I is gonna be free.
I understand. Pop around the back porch in about an hour and I’ll just shoot you nice and quick.
It’s not like the slave master isn’t going to do everything in his power to change the thinking of his wayward slave. An enslaver would pay hundreds if not thousands of eighteenth century dollars for a slave and they’re not about to let such a significant investment simply go up in smoke because the enslaved person decides they don’t want to be enslaved anymore. The black person who would be bold enough to tell his or her master that they could go take a long walk off of a short pier to be broken. Like the spirited mustang that needed its will broken white people are more than willing to take up the challenge of getting an African back in line.
Slave collars and chains weren’t just ornamental decoration. These tools of incarceration would be used to shackle a black person in a single spot so they can be whipped to within an inch of their life. Or worse, the African would have to watch as a family member is beaten for their defiance. Or even worse, the entire family of the African would pay the price for refusing to go along with the program.
Some white people are nothing if not imaginative when it comes to ingenuity for torture and subjugation. During America’s period of institutionalized slavery instead of using a technique such as water boarding to simulate the sensation of drowning, white people bent on dominance would be more than likely to actually drown the enslaved African and then resuscitate him or her later. Nothing would be out of the question provided that the persuasion techniques don’t get too out of hand and results in a dead or too severely maimed slave. More than likely, the slave would be begging to go back to work. Anything to make the pain stop. And once the submission is made the first time, it’ll be easier to submit every time after that. It will be easy to make other people in the community submit in order to spare them pain and suffering. And once the submission was made, the relationship between the black person and the white person was cast in stone.
The more resistant the slave, the more persuasion applied. It’s always easy for people to say that all the slave has to do is just say no. Actually, saying no just so happens to be the easy part. The hard part is paying the consequences of just saying no. It would be nice to think that our ancestors were given the choice of liberty or death. But when the enslaved black was dealing with the white enslaver I seriously doubt if just saying no is all that simple.