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Thoughtless Thinking

I wished I had recorded the name. There was a black man on CNN defending Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for his announcement designating April as Confederate History Month. The only thing the man had to say was the same tired old rhetoric about how it was good to see the other side of the story. The Confederate Army wasn’t fighting for the continuation of America’s institutionalized slavery. That was just an incidental benefit in their fight for state’s rights. If I understand their position correctly, the soldiers and supporters of the confederacy were fighting because they believed that individual states had the right and the freedom to deny black people the right to freedom.

The black man on the television thought it important to hear both sides of any argument. It is somewhat interesting that we never have to hear the other side of the story about pedophilia. No one needs to hear about the benefits of child rape or why it’s good for men to beat the shit out of women. There are just some things that are so reprehensible that there isn’t much that can be said to even attempt to begin to justify the act. There are crimes where the reasoning behind the commitment could hardly justify the crime itself.

Another rhetorical statement from the black man was the manifestation of his independent thinking. By showing his willingness to buck the trend that most black people have of turning up the nose at anything that wreaks of the confederacy or of people fighting for the right of anybody to enslave anyone, the black man was proving that he is courageous enough to do that which is unpopular. By showing his willingness to embrace the confederacy, he is proving he can think outside of the black community box.

But on the flip side, no one shows their independence by defending Germany’s Nazi Party’s attack on the Jewish community. No one sane proves their willingness to buck trends by saying that people should have the right to pick up a gun and blow the brains out of the first person they meet on the street. The independent thought processes condoning senseless murder is hardly looked upon favorably. Why does the black man feel the need to show his independence from the black community by showing his willingness to embrace the community of people who would be more than happy to allow our individual states the right to deny people their rights as human beings?

Independent thinking is so much more than just choosing an unorthodox result. If a house was on fire and everyone inside was running out to safety, no one would call the person who made a choice to stay inside the burning building an independent thinker. We would label such a person as crazy. Such behavior would never be admired or promoted. No one would label such independent action as independent thinking. In fact, considering the high possibility of injury, people would be more apt to suggest a lack of any thinking. But somehow, for some reason, we see the promotion of the black man who defends the confederacy and allow him to demonstrate his willingness to buck black community trends on CNN.

An independent thought process based on a review of information available can reach the same conclusions as people who might follow a collective decision making process. While everyone else might run out of a burning building because of the fire alarm, an independent thinker might be running out of a building because they actually see the fire. The independent thinker might be the one that causes others to take action by pulling the fire alarm on the way out.

Independent actions or results are hardly concrete evidence of independent thinking. In fact, it could be a sure sign that absolutely zero thinking took place at all. Such would be the case of the person who wants to show their independence by embracing a fire. The same can be said of a black person who embraces people who celebrate the ancestry of people who were fighting for the enslavement of black people whether it be a direct result of a choice to fight for the right to keep black people as white people’s property or if it is an indirect result of fighting against a federal government that just so happens to be trying to end the enslavement of black people.

The black man on the television was no independent thinker. This man was the modern equivalent of the house slave who is proud to be the one person of African descent the slave owner allows to live just one rung higher on the social ladder than the other people of African descent. Such a man is no independent thinker. He would quickly embrace whatever thinking the white man tells him. This is the type of man that would be more than happy to go inside a burning building if his master told him to do so. No independent thinking, no thinking at all, would be required.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I was starting to think I was crazy. How could there be two sides to the Civil War? Why in the world do we need to discuss the “heritage” of some fool who gets all choked up about the sacrifices of those who were willing to give their all so that others could remain enslaved? Why should we have to pretend there is a significant body of Black conservatives who defend the Confederacy? I ended up happily ending a friendship with a woman who was trying to argue that “lots” of Black conservatives agreed with her and who could even produce a couple of pictures of Black men in Confederate uniforms as proof that slavery wasn’t all that important to the confederacy. I didn’t mind ending the friendship but I was really surprised that very few other friends supported me. They thought I wasn’t being open minded about her “reality”. Dammit, some things are not open to interpretation. The enslavement of human beings is not one of many factors to be considered. It is the central fact.

    Comment by Jon | Thursday, April 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. A friend of mine pointed me to this post. So clearly stated. Nice work. It’s no accident that the KKK loves the confederate flag. Nobody should forget that.

    peace & blessings

    PS Your overall blog perspective is a beautiful thing. Alafia. I have 13 years of Obatala in a lukumi house here in NY.

    Comment by ish | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. I agree, but let’s not forget that there wasn’t much difference between the Confederacy and the Union, when it comes to attitudes towards slavery.

    After all, the Confederacy may have formed primarily in order to defend the institution of slavery from possible northern encroachment. But the northern and western states weren’t looking to launch a war in order to end slavery, and most northerners weren’t even interested in trying to end slavery through peaceful means.

    More important, the economies of the northern and western states were largely built around southern slavery, and most of the profits from southern cotton production flowed north.

    So it’s not as if antebellum southern society was corrupted by slavery, and northern society innocent. The fact that slavery had (mostly) died out in the north was an accident of climate, not of moral superiority.

    Comment by James | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback James,

      Trust me, if you knew anything about my views you’d understand I don’t celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday because he freed the slaves. If anything I recognize him as one of the biggest racists in America’s history and a proponent of second class citizenship for black people. But be that as it may, there is a tremendous difference between fighting for the end of America’s institutionalized slavery and fighting for state’s rights to continue slavery at its discretion. Moral superiority has nothing to do with anything here.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Reply

      • I’m familiar with your views on Lincoln, Brotherpeacemaker, even if I don’t quite agree with them.

        I’m curious: You say there’s a “tremendous difference between fighting for the end of America’s institutionalized slavery and fighting for state’s rights to continue slavery.”

        Yet the Union wasn’t fighting to end slavery. In fact, the Union couldn’t even agree that they would end slavery after the war, until January 1865, when the House of Representatives barely agreed. That was only after several years of bitter war, in which both sides were searching for new sources of moral justification for the war. Prior to the war, the north had been even less interested in ending southern slavery.

        Comment by James | Friday, April 16, 2010

      • James,

        While it might be true that the union was not fighting to end slavery, the end result was an end to slavery and an end to states thinking they had the right to continue enslaving the black community. You sound like the confederate supporter who wants to argue that the south wasn’t fighting to continue slavery, they were just fighting for the right to continue slavery if they wanted to. The result is the same. I’m not interested in splitting hairs. As a black man living in the post civil war United States, I certainly am glad that those racist union people defeated the racist confederates.


        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, April 16, 2010

      • I’m sorry that I sounded anything like a confederate supporter. We agree that it’s wonderful that, as you put it so well, “those racist union people defeated the racist confederates.”

        I’m just pointing out that the North, which is where I’m from, was every bit as complicit in slavery as the South. I don’t think this is splitting hairs: I don’t believe we can understand race in the U.S. today without appreciating this historical reality, and I think people tend to forget it, especially when we castigate the South as if it were alone in its support of slavery and racism. I realize that’s not at all your intent, of course.

        Comment by James | Friday, April 16, 2010

  4. My opinion is anyone who celebrates or embraces Confederacy or its flag hates America.

    I would say that the confederacy was blatant and physically cruel regarding slavery, racism. The North’s brand of racism is what we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying ever since. Not-so-subtle subtle racism.

    When will people realize that the Civil War was not about slavery outside of how it pertained to making lots and lots of money on the backs of slaves. My opinion is that the North only wanted to end slavery because it would destroy the South’s economic power.

    Comment by c | Sunday, April 18, 2010 | Reply

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