Lest We Forget

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Image result for stark images of American slavery

This date in which 20 plus kid­napped Africans were brought to America is being com­mem­o­rat­ed in African American cir­cles as the begin­ning of slav­ery in America.
However, in an essay for the Washington Post, Eric Herschthal a post­doc­tor­al fel­low in African American and African stud­ies at The Ohio State University wrote; The arrival of those Angolans in 1619 has long served as the start­ing point of African American his­to­ry, even of racism itself. This year, the 400th anniver­sary of their arrival, the date shows no signs of los­ing its promi­nence. Across the coun­trysym­posiums are being heldexhi­bi­tions planned and books pub­lished. But overem­pha­siz­ing the date might, in fact, be dam­ag­ing to today’s fight for racial jus­tice.

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Correction, African kid­napped peo­ple, not African slaves.

Starting at 1619 means fore­ground­ing slav­ery and white dom­i­nance, eclips­ing the sto­ry of how Africans, both on the con­ti­nent and in the Americas, suc­cess­ful­ly resist­ed Europeans from the start. It also sug­gests a cer­tain time­less­ness to anti-black prej­u­dice, when in fact racism devel­oped over time, and was as much a con­se­quence of slav­ery as it was a cause of it. Finally, plac­ing the ori­gins of slav­ery in the South not only min­i­mizes racism’s reach — as if the South had a monop­oly on slav­ery and its jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, racism — but also deval­ues the impor­tance of Africa and the African dias­po­ra to black his­to­ry.

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What Herschthal did not men­tion in his Washington Post Essay, https://​abagond​.word​press​.com artic­u­lat­ed suc­cinct­ly what I per­son­al­ly believe is most impor­tant for us to start in order to estab­lish con­text on this sub­ject as well as to estab­lish the frame­work for the con­ver­sa­tion of American cit­i­zen­ship and maybe even repa­ra­tions.

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The Pilgrims were not even the first white peo­ple. There were white peo­ple already liv­ing in:

  • Albany, New York
  • Sante Fe, New Mexico
  • St Augustine, Florida
  • Jamestown, Virginia
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

There were already Jews in New Mexico, Filipinos had already arrived in California and there were blacks liv­ing in Virginia, Florida and Puerto Rico. People who would become Chicanos were already in the south-west. All here before the Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower. https://​abagond​.word​press​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​1​1​/​2​1​/​a​m​e​r​i​c​a​-​d​i​d​-​n​o​t​-​s​t​a​r​t​-​w​i​t​h​-​t​h​e​-​p​i​l​g​r​i​ms/
In writ­ing about Racism and social injus­tice in the wider Americas, and it’s per­va­sive intran­si­gence in the United States, I have con­sis­tent­ly argued that in order for the prop­er con­text to be estab­lished, there needs to be a once and for all debunk­ing of the myth that white Europeans dis­cov­ered the Americas.
The gen­e­sis of any intel­li­gent con­ver­sa­tion must be estab­lished on a base­line of facts, not on the non­sen­si­cal notion that Christopher Columbus dis­cov­ered lands on which exist­ed many dif­fer­ent races of peo­ple liv­ing, some for thou­sands of years.

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The cen­tral tenet on which the con­tin­ued sense of white enti­tle­ment to America, is premised is the false per­cep­tion it har­bors of own­er­ship.
There is an irrefutable case to be made for black own­er­ship of America on the basis of their shed blood, rape, and oth­er crimes com­mit­ted against them.
There is the ever com­pelling case to be made for hun­dreds of years of servi­tude and enslave­ment for which African-Americans are yet to be com­pen­sat­ed.
But out­side of those two fun­da­men­tal­ly indis­putable claims, there is the lit­tle issue that before they got here, our ances­tors were long here.
One of the ques­tions I have always asked is why are African-Americans so pas­sive in the land their ances­tors slaved and died for?
Who would have more right to this land than black peo­ple I have con­sis­tent­ly inquired?
Why have African-Americans adopt­ed a pos­ture of fear and sec­ond class cit­i­zen­ship when they have as much right, and arguably more right than any­one else to be here? It is there that I believe this con­ver­sa­tion needs to begin.
It is fun­da­men­tal­ly impor­tant that when a bul­ly steps to you that you hold your ground and ensure that your space is nev­er vio­lat­ed.
That inalien­able right to exist as a full cit­i­zen does not infringe on the right of any­one who wants to exist peace­ably.
Nevertheless, it should be a warn­ing to those who would seek to impose bul­ly­ing tac­tics as a means of infring­ing on the rights of oth­ers.

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