I started researching my African-American ancestors sixteen years ago. As I traveled back in time to explore their southern landscapes, what I learned of their character was no less than amazing. My heart filled with admiration as family after family seemed to have overcome the man-made hardships of their hostile, white supremacist environs. Well aware as a youth of that culture’s self-portraits, I anticipated the despair, though not necessarily the personnae, of grinning prisoners, janitors, tap-dancers and bootblacks made famous in popular novels, films and television. I instead encountered the sterner stuff of farmers, ministers, teachers, laborers and soldiers rendered invisible by hypocritical public chroniclers. Likewise, where I expected to encounter General Ulysses Grant, “the drunk and clumsy butcher” of my conservative textbooks, I found a military genius and compassionate statesman. And where I anticipated gentlemen the likes of Rhett Butler and Ashley Wilkes of “Gone With The Wind” in Georgia, instead I found brutes like General Nathan B. Forrest engaging in troop massacres and klan terrorism in Tennessee. I even saw claims that the gracious God of my Christian faith had ordered “white angels” to spill slave blood in colonial Virginia, nigger blood in reconstructed Mississippi and thug blood in urban Florida. The contradictions abounded..so much so that they could not be mere irony. They are, in fact, blatant propaganda and lies…with a purpose!
Such hate falls into three categories, each its own pillar of conservative justice… (1) lies of omission and commission to whitewash terrorism, (2) lies of omission and commission to denigrate or kill fair-minded white liberals and moderates and (3) lies of omission and commission to mask and discredit black competence. Today, after nearly four hundred years of shouting those lies across southern plantations, sharecrops and urban neighborhoods, the shouting is no longer needed. Legend’s whispers are processed by primed and willing racist minds. The lies have become myths that now goad armed vigilantes into street assassinations and guide biased jurors in court deliberations. And just as myths fill bigoted minds, myths’ elephants fill their rooms - school rooms, board rooms, court rooms, jury rooms and TV rooms. The elephants in those rooms remain unacknowledged even today as black reality fades yet again to racist surreality and denial.
Elephant #1: God’s Plan - They Say The Bible Authorizes Their Hate God’s curse on Canaan empowered Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn to “contain” black savages loosed in their Camelot. Black women like Sally Hemmings, Myrlie Evers and Mamie Till should be grateful for rape of their mothers, murder of their husbands and slaughter of their sons as their matriarchies of neutered men became the latest slave pens boosting their tormentors’ wealth. Supremacists now demand that blacks revert welfare and voting rights back to whites, get over slavery and get out of their way as proud rebels build still more memorials to brutal slaveowners and lost slave treasure.
Elephant #2: Kill Bill - They Denigrate Whites Who Challenge Their Hate Whether Bill is Garrison the Abolitionist or Sherman the Union General or Clinton the President, conservatives fabricate lies as needed to deride, defeat and destroy white liberals. Northern carpetbaggers and southern rabble-rousers alike are attacked with innuendo and bullets, if necessay, for opposing white dominion. Nigger-lovers are as hated as niggers.
Elephant #3: Role Modeling - They Push Negative Black Images to Sustain Their Hate White supremacists showcase on their stage the least of us while denying that stage to the best of us as they orchestrate their lies about us. They are right, though…we are not equals. Jefferson Davis, meet Barack Obama. Black Sheep Squadron meet the the real black sheep. Dixie Walker, meet Jackie Robinson. University of Kentucky, meet Texas Western.
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