Have you ever wondered why so many white Americans joyfully talk about how wonderful American slavery was? Who say that the people who firmly believe that the Civil War was about “State’s rights” and the ability of honest hardworking farmers to do as they pleased without government interference?
You have heard the stories of the noble Southern Generals and their heroic troops who fought for and with honor and for the glory of the south.
You have seen the monuments, statues, and movie and television specials that highlight the men who embodied the bravery and the women who showcased the elegance and manners that set the standard for women even until now.
The movies such as Gone with the Wind which is lauded as one of, if not the greatest movie of all time. Or Birth of a Nation which holds an esteemed place in America history. There are an equal number of television shows, from Dukes of Hazard, to Hee Haw, all the way to every show streaming that has this basic plot: City girl/boy gets divorced/burned out, returns to hometown that is in an fictional southern city, with fictional white people, and one Black person who all the white people love and respect. Our character is at first a fish out of water before meeting an old flame who helps them remember how wonderful southern life and southern people are.
White American’s fixation with slavery extends beyond movies and television into books – The Handmaid’s Tale and Game of Thrones are just two books that are emblematic of white people’s slavery fixation.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, right-wing religious white men take over America and enslave white women while forcing women who can still bear children to be baby-making machines. In the book all Black people have been killed or removed from the country, but in the television series, the few Black people in the show are side characters while the show’s star, a white woman, assumes the role of The Great Emancipator, and spends the series trying to first free herself, then free her baby, and then she takes on the entire system and creates an Underground Railroad and frees other women/slaves.
The writers have taken Black history, ignored it and ignored white history, flipped it, and made white women the reason slaves are close to getting freed.
And in Game of Thrones, a young white women buys the freedom of a race of Black warriors. The Black warriors have no penises so to the white author and readers/viewers, they are the “safe” Black men. Slaves to a white woman and incapable of having sex with her or anyone else.
Whatever the plot absurdity of those shows, or the harmless comedy of a Green Acres, or Designing Women, the subtext remain: white people have a fascination with slavery.
If you read or watch science-fiction or fantasy, do an inventory to see how often the institution of slavery comes up and who fears it – it is almost always white characters, even in the extremely rare cases there is an identified Black character.
The same people who consume books that tell the hero’s journey that often includes escaping slavery, will fondly tell Black people slavery “wasn’t that bad” in real life.
How many times have you heard a white person say:
Slavery wasn’t that bad
Most slaveowners were nice
They treated their slaves well
Slaves had jobs and a home
Slaveowners cared for and loved their slaves
Slaves didn’t want to leave after the war because they loved their slave owners
You have heard those rationalizations all your life if you live in America, went to school in America, or consume American media. You have also heard the following:
I was working like a slave
My job treats me like a slave
I’ve been slaving away all day
Don’t treat me like a slave
If I don’t have free healthcare I may as well be a slave
Without college debt elimination I am just a slave
Those words used to hurt to hear and read, but they no longer need to have that kind of power over anyone.
Change how you hear those words so that they are no longer rationalizations or justifications, but words of yearning, longing, wishing, and fantasizing.
Some white Americans want to be slaves.
So that begs the questions: Should Black America grant their wish?
What may seem like an inflammatory, ludicrous, and outlandish question and solution may just be the thing that finally settles the slavery question.
The *majority of white people support slavery – (73m Trump voters + libertarians + some white democrats) – they feel the institution wasn’t so bad, and that the slaveowners were kind and benevolent people. Why not give them their wish, then?
I could probably round up a few hundred Black people who will take on the burden of being slaveowner to white people.
They will be kind and benevolent slave owners. They’ll use their massive tax breaks and other government subsidies to ensure white slaves have a roof, a sun up to sun down job, healthcare, and no rent or other bills. You, dear white people, will have it made, right? No responsibilities, no banks or creditors, and no worries. Isn’t that what white people frequently say?
Oh, and no guns, right? There’s no need for those because all your wants and needs will be taken care of, remember? We will protect you from yourself so, no guns.
White people are so confident slavery wasn’t that bad, so it just seems they wouldn’t mind being on the other end so they can, once and for all, prove their point and show the rest of us just how easy being a slave was, and how good and noble the institution was and can be again.
We will be wonderful slaveowners because we have your ancestor’s examples to emulate. And as you have been saying since 1619, slavery is good.
Well, now you get your chance to prove all the historians, social scientists, archeologists, and others wrong and lacking in understanding about the true nature of slavery. We have your word that slavery was good, ideal, easy, and supported by Black folk. So, your turn.
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends. Website | Bookshop | Twitter
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