From Plantation to House Negro, still Slavery!

In the days of systemised slavery the “house nigger” considered himself superior to his slave brother who toiled in the field. He had arrived. His days of toiling in the harshest of conditions behind him, he could trade in his filthy rags for ill-fitting hand-me-downs from his master. It mattered not that he or she was still the master’s property, to be returned to the field or sold for less than the price of a good workhorse.

Sad to say, not much has changed. Our society still comprises too many who represent the modern version of the house slave. With the smallest success, we quickly forget our roots; where we came from. We consider ourselves powerful, even though in reality what we have is a powerless power.

If we understand that we have been socially engineered for generations to fight over meaningless positions we will understand why we continue to vote for autocratic, ineffective leaders and why our women are continually debased and assaulted at every turn.

From the movie 12 Years a Slave: Patsy and Mistress Harriet enjoy some tea giving off a facade much like many of our women today who remain shackled by the house slave mentality.

From the movie 12 Years a Slave: Patsy and Mistress Harriet enjoy some tea giving off a facade much like many of our women today who remain shackled by the house slave mentality.

Deny it all you want but the slave-master mindset is still deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. We show little respect for the leader or boss who listens and acts for the common good. We save our adoration for the so-called “strong leader” who imposes his will on the people regardless of their aspirations. We point him out to our children as an exemplar worthy of emulation. As he passes by with hardly a word to anyone, we imagine he cares for us, feels our pain, and we whisper: Sa se nom!

Mindlessly we perpetuate the myth of his power. We celebrate his bravado, his bullying and machismo as indicators of his manhood and leadership qualities.

We identify with the oppressor and praise his every word and action in anticipation of some measly reward. We even turn on friends who say the emperor is naked. So much of the Kool Aid have we consumed that his reality has become our reality, regardless of what our own eyes might tell us. We are, in effect, his property, in time to be discarded like old shoes.

It is this colonial mindset and thirst for what we take for power that has led to what seems to be open season on Saint Lucian women. It’s so easy to cry out and express outrage at the news that a home has been broken into and its female occupant ravaged beyond belief. To cry out for vengeance when the latest rape victim is an 80- or 90-year-old does not take much. Demanding that the government of the day honours its promise to protect the populace is hardly ever done, for that might invite the wrath of a politician. And that risk most of us are not prepared to take. So again the slave in our DNA returns us to the plantation.

Consider the following: “Anytime I reach inside of the jam and I wining on a woman, that’s my property.” Let’s take another minute to examine the root of the quoted phrase.

Historically, black women did not have the right of consent. Their bodies were not considered their own, so they were effectively in no position to determine who should have access to their bodies. She with her body existed for the pleasures of the slave master, the overseer—just about anyone could take whatever they wanted from her, whenever they wanted. There was nothing she could say or do to prevent it. You could not rape a black woman because everyone knew “these oversexed whores want it all the time”. Forcefully penetrating the body of a black woman was just another way to assert your power and dominance over her. Is it any wonder so many rape allegations have been made against men with power, whether or not presumed?

In the face of this we continue to sing “Hurt It” and chuckle knowingly at other suggestive lyrics. But when someone actually “hurts it” we vilify them as brutes and heartless creatures. Thus continues the hypocrisy that feeds on the teats of ignorance and greed. We continue to complain halfheartedly, almost never demanding justice and accountability. When we do, such demands are short-lived. We continue to pretend our ridiculous quest for impotent status is an invention of modern times when in fact it is a perpetuation of slave-plantation propaganda designed to keep us in our place. We deny our history while pretending we’ve risen far above our slave roots. We choose not to see it is our history that renders us blind to what’s inches from our noses.

It is time to wake up and smell the coffee; time to wise up and put an end to the retarding hypocrisy. It is time to see the situation for what it really is. Just as we learned the “house nigger” was never an elevation, so too we must see presumed status for what it is. All the titles and imagined gold threads cannot help us if our minds remain stuck in the plantation mud whence came the vast majority of us. If I may borrow from our most famous “red nigger”, is high time to stop behaving like “dogs rooting at the trough for scraps of favour!”

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