Saturday, November 9, 2019

The New Slave Patrol

I get most of my news from Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, which means they show clips of what actually is happening and then help both fuel and soften the disbelief through humor and intelligent commentary. Recently, there have been some clips from Trump’s rallies and I’ve been astounded to see young black people in the crowd behind Trump. What are they thinking?

Or rather, “What am I thinking?” Of course, they are strategically placed there to send a subliminal message that this guy is representing them. Perhaps they get paid. I hope so. What self-respecting black person would do such a thing unless it involved some money that at least could help pay the rent or pay school fees? Of course, human beings are so painfully complex as to often think things and do things that make no sense whatsoever, that go against their best interests. Like blue-collar folks who get duped into thinking Trump is their guy and has their interests at heart. 

But we have a long history of carefully thought out deception. When poor whites realized that they were also the victims of a system that rewarded the rich and powerful and began to get together with black folks yet more brutally oppressed by the system, the rich and powerful put them on “slave patrol” and offered them money to capture escaped enslaved human beings. Later, they’d give them the 40 acres and a mule that they briefly promised as reparations for slavery and then took back. And finally, they invented the notion of whiteness and made them members of the club that put them one step higher than their black compatriots. No longer were people German, Italian, Polish, even Jewish, the way folks earlier identified themselves. They were part of the white race and that identity was their crumb of comfort as the system continued to beat them down, ignore them, use them, toss them aside. And we’re still trying to sort all of that out.

The slave patrol offer was so powerful that even some black folks got involved. (See the movie Harriet about Harriet Tubman for a good example of that—one repents, the other keeps helping and notice how he ends up). The machinations of this monstrous machine were so powerful and so evil that people would sell out their own brothers and sisters. And that machine is still grinding away at the very fabric of intelligent citizenry.

And so back to the black folks on camera behind Trump nodding their heads in agreement. Of course, no “white folks” should be there either and certainly no women and no working class folks and no Mexicans and… well, the list of people who don’t benefit from the Trump club’s antics and are actively vilified by him and then expected to cheer for him is long… but black folks have historically known the real deal and refused to be duped. What are they thinking?

Meanwhile, here’s a TV shot I can’t wait to see. Trump on camera with a few million folks behind him of all colors, class, genders, religions cheering wildly—as he’s escorted to jail. That’s  a shot that won’t need to be staged.

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