06 April 2008

Shades of Gray

My daughter, Jack, came up to me yesterday. Seems they were doing a section on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln and slavery in America. I, however, was mopping the kitchen floor, like all other menial tasks allotted to the female of the species… because we have boobs; I guess they keep us balanced from the weight of the broom/mop/dust rag… but I’m off topic.

“Mom, are we North or South?”

(clueless Mom)

“West, baby girl.”

“No, I mean. Are we on the side of the North or the South?”

I put down my mop and looked at the paper she held.

“OH! Um… Neither, babe, most of our ancestors were in Europe during that time… except, of course, our great-great something-or-other, Chief Red Eagle, who was in the West at the time.”

She looked at me as if I had said we were living on Venus.

“But were we on the side of the North or South? Do we believe in slavery? Were we racists?”

“Uh… Well, slavery is not a good thing, but it’s not a racial thing. It’s a human rights issue. Not all slave owners were white, and not all slaves were black.”

She looked at me like a fish in the headlights, and not for the first time I wondered what the history books aren’t teaching our children. Or how political correctness is re-writing history…

“Sweetie,” I said, “People were brought over here from all over the world, from all walks of life to work on the plantations, the railroad, the infrastructure… some were made to make dental impressions in clay to bind them into servitude. They called them ‘indentured slaves’ and once they came to North America, they found they were unable to work off their indebtedness, just like others who were sent here from their own counties; sold by their own people into slavery…”

I saw her blank eyes looking back at me…

“But were we on the side of the North or South?” She asked again.

And, seemingly that’s what they’re teaching our children – the “black” and “white” of it – so, like any good parent in this situation, I said:

“West. Get over it.” Then, I picked up my mop and continued mopping the grime from the floor and realized the only slaves left in America all have boobs and are all named “Mom” by their owners.

1 comment:

James A. Bowders said...

Just a quick comment because I really just don’t have the time to rant like I would like to on this point. To expound on a point made by Miss Sandi, The American Natives (in general this includes all three Americas) tribes went on raiding parties and took captives, they in turn were slaves. The tribes of Africa (in general) also made raids on there neighboring tribes for many reasons and they took captives that became slaves. The Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the plainsmen of the steps of Asia, and China and Japan. Pretty much in all of mans history you can find the injustice of slavery and forms of slavery. Even today there are forms of slavery that still exist.

I mention this because it has become convenient to forget about all that and remember only what took place here in what has become the United States in the last 250 years. So again, we exclude ourselves by our labels and we as a whole of society have twisted it into a racial issue as what it truly is a violation of human rights. Like the genocide that has taken place in our (our = referring to the human race) most recent history. There are still so many out there that disbelieve those atrocities even took place and are still taking place. Just as the very notion that slavery is as old as the human race has been able to stand upright, where brute force enabled one person to force their will onto another without regard for the rights of others.

Frankly, I am scared of what the future brings. Tribes are no longer raiding their neighboring tribes that are tens of miles away, now we are face with raiders wanting to enslave others from thousands of miles away.

But what do I know?

pass the popcorn, please!