Today, I write this entry in a very somber mood. I'm in a somber mood because my mind is running, thinking and dwelling on the fictional book I'm currenty reading, "Roots." Ironically, the "fiction" is actually a reality and a history shared and suffered by our forefathers that were taken from their native land and brought to a new place to serve their White masters until the day they died.
I haven't gotten very far in the book. I'm at the point where Kunta Kinte is describing his passage across the Atlantic Ocean en route to North America. His descriptions are so vivid that they make my stomach turn and my heart wrench reading all that he and his brothers and sisters endured on the slave ship. The conditions- as I'm sure many of you are aware of- were horrendous: being made to lie down on your back for months chained to the person next to you by the ankle and wrist; rats and lice eating at your most private parts; having to defecate and urinate on yourself and others chained to you; suffering constant sickness without access to medical or herbal relief; as a women, being used whenever and however by nasty men; being whipped, cut, and scarred every single day. All of this on top of the agonizing thoughts of being torn away from your relatives, loved-ones, and the culture you're so closely connected to- the culture that defines you.
Just imagining Kunta's descriptions are sickening and leaves me with many questions: how could this happen and why did it continue to happen? As history already tells us, it started with after White Europeans landed on the shores of the beautiful continet of Africa (in the west) in search of the precious natural commodities and began to build fortresses -approved by local chiefs- under the auspices of posts for trading natural goods between Europe and West Africa. From there, the Europeans began to trade their natural and mand-made goods for human goods- our ancestors. It is known that many African societies practiced slavery, though it was different from that of the Americas. First off, both the slave and masters were of the same color -Black- and the conditions of their "slavery" were much more lenient. And even though these slaves were obtained from the enemy that lost the war, they were afforded such rights as to marry within their new socieites, to own property, and to end their slavery after a certain number of years of service. As more and more slaves were being captured and taken away from their homland, naturally, locals also began to get involved in the lucrative business and started helping the Europeans to take more slaves.
The European involvement in the slave trade has always conjured up feelings of disgust and anger with the White race -feelings I'm sure many other Black Americans still share today. Not only because of what they've done to my own people, but also to the natives of other lands; not only the ENTIRE continent of Africa but also the lands of North America, South America, Asian and numerous Caribbean islands. What gives a whole race the audacity to travel to places that were homes to millions of people and cause havoc and chaos that many countries are STILL trying to recover from today? Everywhere that colonial Europeans touched were raped and damaged by these intruders that were welcomed by the natives and instantly turned against for their profit and greed.
This ungodly greed and savagery is well-known and documented among many history books and in the oral histories of those that experienced their wrath first-hand. But what is confusing and saddening is how and why did our own brothers and sisters turn agaist their own to support the slave trade? What was it that made the locals turn from their culture of solidarity and a culture deeply connected to a long history of people to turn on their own and submit them to the Europeans. My theory is that one of two things happened: these locals were already slaves to the Europeans and made to participate in slave raids or they had somehow developed the greed for money and property from the Europeans and also became involved in the slave trade, immulating the Europeans. Either way, the consequences for the captured were a life-long suffering -whether short or long- at the hands of the European slave masters.
Unfortunately today, even though slavery has been abolished, the same racist doctrines still exist today in many communities, particularly in the south of America. Still today, there exists an unspoken barrier and hatred between Blacks and Whites in the US, of course, not everywhere, but it does still exists. On the contrary, today Europeans and Whites are still welcome on the African continent with open and arms and the relationship between locals and the Whites are amicable. I'm quite sure it has to do with the money Whites are perceived to have and give to the natives as well as aid in the form of money and food.
Very recently, there are ample examples to exhibit that racisms still exists today, blatantly. The situation with the Jena six in Louisiana where 6 Black kids are being tried for attempted murder and 2nd degree aggravated assault after a fight that broke out between the six boys and one White kids. The fight came after students hung 3 nooses were from a tree where White students usually sat during lunch but where Black students sat the day before. In another incident, a black lady in West Virginia was kidnapped by six White folks, held against her will and tortured for one week.
Is it just me or is it CRAZY that in the most free country in the world these things exist?
Posted by pennstatepeanut
at 5:12 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007 4:30 PM EDT