June 13, 2007

Why whites stereotype minorities

Book Review:  Jabari Asim’s The N WordThrough the lens of the “N” word, from first recorded usage through today, Asim makes the persuasive case that whites could not deal with the dichotomy of being good, God-fearing men of noble purpose AND slave owners. Instead of abolishing slavery at the birth of the nation, our glorious founding fathers created a myth around those they had brutally imported from Africa to MORALLY justify the Africans’ enslavement. To do this, they created the “N—–”, and bent reality to fit their story. It helped the whites sleep at night AND get their cotton picked. Africans were not the same race as whites. They were animalistic in their joys, passions and fears. Because their pleasure was only base sexual gratification and their pain was “transitory”, there was no moral imperative to keep families intact, honor their history, allow them to keep their names or grant dignity to them in any way. Because they were “fearful” of freedom, and too stupid to be of use, slavery was, in fact, a COMPASSIONATE alternative to freedom.

W.E.B. Du Bois cleverly called this “racial folklore”, and insisted that its presence made the “color line”, as he called it, transcend simple economic exploitation. For example, while other ethnic minorities have been or are being exploited for their labor, it is unique to the black experience to have an identity manufactured by the dominant white society and then brutally and systemically imposed—even imprinted—onto them, the “…belief that somewhere between men and cattle, God created a tertium quid, and called it a Negro—a clownish, simple creature, at times even lovable within its limitations.”
Comment:  The same applies to the American Indian.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I'm a bit late in commenting, but amen, brother. It's all too easy to apply a stereotype to ease your conscience, isn't it? Hopefully that trend will decrease given time...