Chris Rock ‘White People’s Day’ July 4th Tweet Sparks Controversy
Chris Rock’s tweet about the fact that American blacks did not secure any freedoms on July 4th has caused a lot of white racial butt hurt. Minimizing slavery nothing new and the drama around Rock making a joke about historical fact is an excellent opportunity to examine the multiple ways that some whites minimize the history of racial oppression in this country. White apologists for slavery, Jim Crow and institutional racism need to have a convention to come up with some new talking points. The ones they repeatedly circulate are time worn, ignorant and twist history beyond all hope of recognition they use really needs an update. Here a ten nifty ways to debunk these tired tropes.
1 – Other nations had slaves what’s the big deal?
America is the only nation that espoused freedom for all citizens while legally denying people of color the same rights. The Constitution specifically marked blacks and Native Americans as non-citizens. Native Americans did not become citizens until 1924 and blacks did not receive full citizenship until 1968.
2 – Africans sold slaves, so blame them.
First of all Africa is a continent, which is composed of hundreds of ethnic groups. Can you get a little more specific? The African empires that supported the slave trade had many communities within them who fought against enslavement. Empires like Dahomey were in a state of constant civil war over this practice. Many seem to forget that whites bought slaves, created the chattel slavery industry in the Americas and continued it by making a child’s condition depend on the status of their mother. White men created their own slave stock and sold their own offspring. Antebellum white men where the original dead beat dads. Whites get so busy blaming Africans for slavery they forget the the Greek and Roman ancestry captured and sold slaves for a millennium. Historical amnesia is not your friend.
3- Blacks owned slaves too!
Mulattos in Louisiana had slaves but they were considered a different racial category by state law. In other slave owning states, free blacks bought their relatives but were unable to free them. It became illegal for recently free slaves to stay in Southern states so they could not manumit their wives, parents or children. No black slave owner maintained plantations with hundreds of slaves. No black slave owners rallied to keep chattel slavery the law of the land.
3- Mentioning anything slavery, Jim Crow and institutional racism or anything about blacks is racist.
Most whites have a habit of seeing whiteness universal and generic. They do not notice that most whites live in all white neighborhoods, go to predominantly white schools, work at all white jobs and socialize with whites only. When a crime is reported on TV a caucasian suspect is always described as male or female without a racial designation. You can look at any mainstream magazine and you will see a dearth of people of color. The majority of films, TV shows, books and plays produced in this country have all white casts despite the fact that over 36% of Americans are not caucasian. When this is mentioned it drives white apologists into a frenzy! The rant usually ends with a mention the fact that there is not a WET, because that would be racist! Those who deny the long history of legalized white supremacy in this country fail to recognize than traditional black institutions havenever banned whites from inclusion. Acknowledging these facts is recognizing history not racism.
4- The Civil War was not about slavery. Whites died to free blacks. Why do blacks always have to make things about them?
The Ordinances of Session of every Confederate state prominently mentions the hostility the North has toward the slave owning states. The Conerstone speech given by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens states that the “natural state of the Negro is slavery” and proudly declares that the institution is an essential part of the new nation. Apologists also fail to consider the thousands of black union soldiers who fought for less pay and substandard equipment and faced being killed on the spot if the were captured by the Confederate military. Despite these facts many cannot see that ending the slavery of black slaves the most important outcome of the Civil War, even though this was not the President Lincoln’s intention.
5- Slavery is over! Get over it! Why do blacks have to live in the past?
Millions of whites run around in Confederate garb while flying the battle flag of a treasonous nation. Tea Partiers dress up in gear from 1776, yelling “I’m taking my country back.” Some of the post popular shows on TV (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Tudors, The Borgias) take place in the past. White Americans go to renaissance fairs and participate in battle reconstructions. Apologists seem to forget that the Civil War was followed a hundred years of legal segregation and racial terrorism. Yet, its blacks that are living in the past?
6- But the Irish were slaves too!
From an approximately 1600 to 1699 many Irish as well as criminals and debtors from all over the United Kingdom were sold into indentured servitude (there goes that blacks sold blacks excuse)and sent to America and Caribbean. There were abuses of this system and many suffered. But in 1664 blacks were made slaves in perpetuity in Virgina. Other states quickly followed especially after the leader Bacon’s Rebellion promised freedom to slaves and indentured servants who would join their cause in 1676. The threat of interracial rebellion led to legal enforcement of indenture contracts. When indentured servants were freed, many in the South joined the slaved based economy by buying chattel, becoming overseers or paddy rollers, informal bands of whites that patrolled their communities and captured runaway slaves. After emancipation in the British Caribbean former white indentures servant purchased Asian indentured servants, black Caribbean people did not. Some apologists claim that the Irish were treated worse than Africans because the black slaves costed more. I wish they would read slave narratives and then dare to tell me white servants were treated worse than slaves.
7- Blacks would be worse off if they all stayed in Africa.
This one is a favorite because it twists history like a pretzel. Most of Africa was devastated by the Trans-Sahara and Trans-Atlantic slave trade. This was exacerbated by the Scramble for Africa, where Europeans divided the Continent like it was a cake, destroying traditional empires and ties between ethnic groups. That did not work so well in post-communist Eastern Europe, so why is this so hard to understand what happened in Africa? The United States undermined African independence by killing political leaders & and supporting tyrants who supported the West’s political & economic ideology. The neocolonialist strategies of the IMF and World Bank has kept the wealth of Africa flowing into white hands. African countries would be major players on the world stage if whites had not landed on their shores.
8- If the Founder’s did not write the Declaration of Independence, blacks would have never been feed.
History is your friend get to know it. If America had remained an English colony the importation of slaves would have ended in 1792, America ended it in 1807. There was still an illegal slave trade in this country until the Civil War, while the British Army detained slave ships & sent captured blacks home. British ended slavery in 1834 31 years before the last American slaves were finally freed in Texas in 1865. The British never legalized segregation after ending slavery. Britain is not a racial paradise but since the majority of the Founder’s had a history of owning slave the idea that they were abolitionists (except for John Quincy Adams) is absolutely ridiculous.
9- Blacks are lazy, hypersexual, criminal immoral beasties who life off entitlements like welfare and affirmative action.
This must give white apologists a boner since they use it so often. It serves to disguise centuries of white affirmative action and the fact that affirmative action was put in a coma before its 45th birthday. It also serves as an excuse for white dysfunction which is on the rise. More whites are being jailed for meth related crimes and the majority of births by white women who do not go to college are to single mothers.
Whites lead the criminal pack in child rape & sexual abuse, serial, mass & spree killing, bank robbery, embezzlement & fraud. White men tanked the global economy playing dice with America’s savings yet none of them are in jail. Which leads to….
10- Blacks are more racist than whites!
This is usually followed by a sob story of a black kid took their lunch at recess 30 years ago. There is also the false moral equivalency rope a dope to put some punch into their crazy claim. Al Sharpton & Jessie Jackson Sr. are the same as Hitler, the NAACP is the same as the KKK and Ben Jealous is the same as Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of that racial terrorist organization. There is also the idea that every black person knows and supports the New Black Panthers a group that consists of four black men whose principle income comes from scaring white viewers FAUXNEWS. Very few whites want to have a substantive conversation about race in America. The live in fear of being called the “R-word.” Even former Grand Dragon & Presidential candidate says he is not racist, but a white civil rights activist! Neo Nazi/White Supremacist/KKK groups are much more brazen since the election of President Obama (who completes the Hitler trilogy). Just ask the good Reverend William Collier, who is hosting an All White Christian Conference in Alabama this weekend complete with KKK attendance and a “cross lighting ceremony” for religious purposes. Even a Middle Eastern Jew Like Jesus couldn’t get into this shindig!
Please feel free to use any of these facts the next time there is an outbreak of white whine & check out Derailing for Dummies for more ammunition against the racist trolls who spew their venom in cyberspace.