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Morality, And Being Authentically Black

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Let Get Understanding 

News outlets in America speak sympathetically about the opioid epidemic affecting Europeans today. But, I was around when the heroin and crack epidemic gripped the black community. News outlets featured Black people smoking crack, and shooting heroin, which had the effect of choreographing how to smoke crack, shoot heroin, and participate in the destruction of black families and communities.

Black people were again faced with a system of chattel, a system wherein they were enslaved and owned by drugs and drugs culture. It was just what news outlets and politicians needed to suppress and destroy the progress that Black people paid for with the lives of millions of their ancestors.

Our ancestors built homes for white people, worked land Europeans stole from Indians, and cared for their children.  As the European population grew, laws and rules were created to ensure American socioeconomic, educational, political, cultural, and law enforcement structures would accommodate white Europeans, while simultaneously legislating the exclusion of Black people from any semblance of political, economic, and educational mobility. 

In reading the US Constitution, which was drafted to secure liberty and prosperity for Americans, we find that of the 56 men who signed the document, as many as 41 of them owned Black slaves.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams were numbered among the slavers.

These signers of the Constitution acknowledged the wrongs of enslavement, but their greed, lust, criminal, and laissea-faire thinking took precedents over their morality and sense of right and wrong. 

As they drafted the Constitution to ensure the independence of the United States of America, they deliberately excluded Black people from citizenship rights, liberty, and the prosperity it guaranteed to Americans.

Black people were given the status of chattel, put in chains, and actioned to white people to be exploited in ways that make the crack and heroin epidemic comparable to a Sunday school class.

And, as of 2019, no meaningful effort has been made towards reparations, neither has there been a sincere effort to make amends for injustices suffered by our ancestors. When ideas or programs are proposed to make right the wrong of the past, they are quickly met with opposition from whites, Sambos, and Uncle Toms.

Consequently, the injustices suffered by Black people are perpetuated in policies and norms facilitated by political, economic, educational, religious, and social structures that continue to foster European domination and racism. 

These structures make it possible for Europeans to continue hoarding stolen riches and power, and in doing so, control news cycles that perpetuate their stronghold on the world’s resources, while constantly, subtly, and deliberately dehumanizing non-white cultures the world over.

Black Psyche

After centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and marginalization Black people cannot relent in their pursuit of justice, equality, and reparations. 

Their children were snatched, taken, sold, and shipped to plantations owned by white people. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles, all met the same fate. Families were rounded up and scattered to all parts of the globe.

White people criminalized themselves as they created the institution of chattel, an institution that denounced the humanity of Black people. Family relations, bonds, feelings, and attachments did not apply to black people. Black families were not be allowed to exist, not even in death.

After centuries of being physically dismembered and psychologically terrorized by Arabs and Europeans; black families battle domestic disfunction. For generations blacks passed on messages of helplessness, culminating in patterns of isolation, chemical dependency, and abusive behavior toward one another.

The wounds are deep and have not healed. The wounds scared both their bodies and minds. Life in the black community is like walking into a dark room full of people.  You know the people are there, but you cannot see them. In the same way, the wounds are there, but they are not in plain sight. None are exempt, as the wounds inflicted by white supremacy and racism have scared the lives of all Black people.

The scares transcend time and flesh; they have metastasized into physical, psychological, and social diseases. Lives, families, culture, and heritage have been devastated by the diseases. The pain caused by these diseases is alive causing black people to feel and experience pain over and over again.

Many black people walk through life psychologically broken, and suffering from: feelings of depression, self-hatred, inadequacy, sense of meaninglessness, and nothingness.  

Having lived with pain for so long, their sensitivity is diminished as it relates to hurting others.  Lack of self-control, violent and addictive behavior run rampant, resulting in the destruction of family, friends and social unity.

The dark clouds of pain and suffering are the impetus of many of the self-inflicted wounds among black people. These self-inflicted wounds reflect and are nourished by centuries of thoughts and fantasies about destroying white supremacy.

The nightmare of white supremacy encourages black people to withdraw and ignore the mental pain they experience every waking minute of the day.  White supremacist culture fosters the impotence of the black psyche. White supremacy physically, spiritually, socially, and economically destroys the inner being and psychological stability of black lives.

And so, black people must acknowledge this psychological assault, pain, and suffering; it is not weakness to say that it exists.  For, if we deny that it exits we disallow ourselves the opportunity to heal. The prerequisite for psychological healing is to acknowledge the assault, injury, and pain.

American culture represents dominant social norms. Norms that don’t allow structures to acknowledge black victimization, pain, and suffering.  Blacks are subversively required to be silent and accept and suppress their pain. Black people are even told to stop having thoughts about their pain and injuries.

As long as cultural values implicitly forgive, even admire white supremacy, there will be little incentive to stop the assault, and focus on healing injuries and treating symptoms suffered by black people. And until the assault stops, and we really begin to heal our wounds, we will continue to passively witness the destruction of black life.

Black Character

According to the dictionary, character is a combination of qualities or features that distinguish one person, group, or thing from another.

At the age of one hundred and three, Frank Range was interviewed and talked freely about his life before and after the Civil War. Frank, the oldest of nine children was born of slave parents, Lenard and Elizabeth Herbert on the plantation of Mr. Jim Bolger, Newberry, South Carolina. He was sold several times and is known by the name of one of his enslavers, John Range.

“During the Civil War his master, Mr. Jim Herbert, carried him to the war as cook, and when necessary, he was pressed into service, throwing up breast-works (stone wall fortifications); and while he was engaged in the work at Richmond Va., a terrific bombardment of their lines was made, and a part of their breast-works was crushed in, and his master buried beneath it. Frantic with fear for the safety of his master, Frank began to move the dirt away; finally he was able to drag him to safety. Though shot and shell were falling all around him, he came out unscathed.” (Slave Narratives a Folk History Of Slavery In The United States From Interviews)

For me, the words of Frank Range (slave, and former slave) epitomize the character Sambo in Harriet Beecher’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Sambo reminds me of a statue that mysteriously came to life. White people enslaved black people to the point that the slaves became clay in their hands. And with clay in hand, they molded it into Sambo.  

Sambo’s mind and character were shaped by ideologies of white supremacy.  The white master; and the black slave who would give his life for his master. Sambo was willing to pick up a weapon and defend his white master against the approaching Union army who was fighting to free him from slavery. And, with the institution of slavey coming to an end,  Sambo was willing to hide his master’s money from Northern carpetbaggers.  

Slavery stripped black people of their identity, and ability to develop character and uniqueness. Sambo’s character towers above the house slave, the monkey, the plantation nigger, and the minstrel man.  He represents the epitome of the social engineering of black people by white people.  

The character of Sambo represents the ultimate goal and success of white supremacy.  Sambo was stripped of his own personality and character, to have it replaced with fear and inferiority doctrines propagated by white supremacy.  

Sambo, the white man’s work of art, beat Uncle Tom to death for refusing to whip a black female slave. He was the perfect snitch, as he would turn his own family in for plotting against the white slave master. I have lived among both Sambos and Uncle Toms, and having Sambos around is a hundred times more dangerous than having Uncle Tom around.

Moral Freedom

The stigma and modern-day existence of Sambo and Uncle Tom in the black family and community still exist. White supremacy was created to erase the social, cultural, and moral identity of black people all over the world. Therefore, we must be courageous, vigilant, and purposeful in developing structures that facilitate the redemption of black people in America and the world over.

Black people throughout the African Diaspora are speaking up and participating in shaping a new era.  It’s imperative that we incorporate a new moral tone into families and communities, one that seeks to affirm the individual as the visible manifestation of families and communities united, striving to secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity for Black people the world over.

Moral Self

Morality begins as we enter into conversation with ourselves. “Although I can do whatever I want; there are choices to be made; I can do this or I can do that.” “I will not be pushed like a leave blowing in the wind; it is my choice and I will make it.”

In taking off the shackles of white supremacy, “the external world no longer determines my fate.”  “I will develop my own rules, and I will be guided and bound by the rules I put in place for myself.”  “My goal is to be free, free to be an authentic black human being.” This kind of introspective conversation affirms one’s humanity; it is from within that we find the guidance needed to rise above the delusion of white supremacy and strive for a way of life governed by strong moral traditions.

White people legislated that Black people could not be counted as authentic human beings. But, in this new era, “we can look the white man in the eye and tell him that we are authentic human beings,” and that we accept the moral responsibility that comes with freedom, as well as, our right to be an authentically black human being.

To be authentically black is to encourage the exploration of mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual capabilities. “The rules of morality I developed for myself, are designed to find the best me, and make me better.”

My better me is in control; my outward person is guided by self-control.  Self-control is possible because of inner checks and balances. “The bond I have with my checks and balances hold the keys to my good character and a positive attitude.”

Love is my ultimate test. Love is my guard, friend, and constant companion; it is the standard for good and bad. If my life, living, and conduct measure up to the love test; it is good, otherwise it is bad.

By, Stephen Small


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