I had a few thoughts last night while watching the convention. First, my eyes glazed over from watching so many old, white faces gathered together. Those old, white grinning faces represent the face of the Republican Party. The delegates cheered, giggled and clapped while Obama’s experience was dismissed and/or diminished by the speakers.
How familiar the whole scene was… the dissing of black accomplishments by white Americans, unless of course, the black person is bouncing a basketball in one hand.
I thought about how easy it was for the Republican Party to pull off the whole dissin’ thing, ’cause whites don’t know and, some probably care little, about black history. Republicans, especially.
Obama is black. Who cares what he’s done? Isn’t that right Republicans?
Then I thought about how Blacks, more or less en masse, have good reasons for not supporting the Republican Party.
Ever heard of Estevanico, or Jan Ernest Matzeliger or Toussaint L’ Ouverture? No? They are only three of many black men who’ve made significant contributions to our world. Their stories are found within the pages of anthropologist and historian J.A. Rogers’ book, “World’s Great Men Of Color.”
Estevanico (d. 1540) was “one of in a party of the first three to cross the North American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. At least two American states owe their beginnings to him,” wrote Rogers.
*Jan Ernest Matzeliger (1852-1889) invented a machine that sped up shoe production by attaching the sole of the shoe to the upper. Wrote Rogers, “One of the special merits of the invention was that the pincers for pulling the upper were positively closed by a smooth movement and did not tear even the most delicate leather.”
Toussaint L’ Ouverture (1743-1803) led an army of Haitian slaves in a revolt that freed them from French oppression and brutality during the reign of Napoleon.
Little, if any, attention is paid to these or quite frankly many black historical heroes. History as it’s presented today by Europeans is mum on them. That’s actually to be expected by a culture that has systematically lied, short-circuited, cut-off, denied or ignored the contributions of other cultures to our world community.
History is always written by conquerers. To the victor go the spoils. Those victors for hundreds of years now have been European. Part of those spoils includes recording history. And history has been written to honor the conquerors, to quell dissent of a conquered population or to justify conquests and probably for many other reasons too.
History is written as it happens. History is also re-written as it happens.
The Republican ploy is to turn Barack Obama, whose own history is proud and full of excellence, into some sort of commie, coke-snorting, muslim terrorist fist throwing marxist. And the ploy is working in those circles that have never been told that great black men and women have made significant contributions to their lives. Or, if told, they can never believe such a thing to be true.
Republicans show much contempt for history and for black people by degrading Obama because it reminds blacks that they have, for the most part, been belittled since arriving to the shores of America. Republican tactics like this one reminds blacks that Europeans have always attempted to wipe out or silence the accomplishments of black culture as well as those achievements of other brown cultures.
I know full that they are playing “hardball” politics… but, “politics as usual” is what black people are all too familiar with in this country called America.
Republicans would never demean the history of another highly-esteemed “white” man the way they are demeaning the history of Obama.
The Republican ploy is stupid and is short-term thinking… ’cause Republicans, you are running out of old, white folk.
*I was looking for a free scholarly site for more information on great black achievements. Running late on time I settled for this one. It’s for children, but will give interested readers a good place to start research.
**HIstory has turned black heroes -using their one drop of black blood rule- fully white, which is what some blacks expect to happen should an elected Obama have a more than successful presidency.