by Rasta KEITH
Come to think of it, there seems to be nothing more racially offensive and culturally insensitive than a white person painting his or her face in black as a caricature of the African Race.
And the same is true whether the individual perpetrating that kind of conduct is a private citizen like Megyn Kelley, or a public official like Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia.
One may recall the haste with which NBC television network had shut down the “Megyn Kelly Today” show after the television host commented that she did not think it was such a big deal for a white person to put on a blackface for Halloween or for a black person to put on a white face for Halloween.
In the case of Governor Northam, the discovery of a 35-year old yearbook containing a photograph of the young medical student wearing a blackface alongside someone dressed in Ku Klux Klan regalia clearly suggests that, despite all appearances to the contrary, the physician-turned politician might have been a racist all his life or still might be sympathetic to the cause of white supremacy. Thus, arose a hue and cry for his resignation.
As history records, the practice of “minstrelsy” or attempting to belittle Black People through subtle kinds of buffoonish caricatures had its genesis during the Jim Crow era in the United States and was clearly intended to reinforce the idea of white superiority and black inferiority. Thus, it is broadly felt that anyone who intentionally or unintentionally engages in the perpetration of such kinds of racist stereotypes should be ostracized in the sternest and swiftest manner possible.
Needless-to-say, the White Race as a collective has engaged in some of the most unthinkable physical and mental atrocities against the Black Race as a collective during at least the last two millennia. And although it now seems that white folks are quite willing to go the extra mile in living side by side with peoples of other races as fellow human beings and to correct some of the errors of the past, old habits die hard. And so, it might hardly be expected that the likes of Megyn and Governor Northam would be equally capable of discontinuing their accustomed ways as readily as others. And the same is true of white people as it is of Black People, as well as of people of other races.
Accordingly, since the disparity in the rate of adaptation to change might be an inherent trait common to all human beings, the kind of hellish damnation to which folks like Megyn and Governor Northam are condemned might require a more deliberative approach. Thus, as has been suggested, the kinds of shortcomings manifested by such persons might be better dealt with as educational opportunities in the furtherance of interracial relations rather than as a motive for rushing to judgement and condemning the alleged offenders to perpetual ostracism.
Still, there seems to be no shortage of those who would blindly subscribe to a kind of zero tolerance and tough love policy for such kinds of political incorrectness.
And so, in the self-serving arena of U.S. self-aggrandizing, opportunistic, partisan politics, certain political hawks zealously pose as advocates of racial equality and convey the cock-eyed sentiment of being determined to leave no stone unturned in their effort to champion the cause of the Black Race, despite their antithetical racial immigration policies. The same holds true for Democrats as well as Republicans whose real motive would be to milk any such occasion for all that it’s worth. But Black People should never allow themselves to be caught off guard relying on arsonists to put out their fire.
Now, although the mea culpas offered by Megyn and Governor Northam for their alleged misconduct might yet be placed in abeyance, it seems reasonable to suggest that both parties should be given the benefit of the doubt since such apologies would have clearly driven home the point that the practice of “minstrelsy” has no place in civilized society. On the other hand, while most human beings seem to delight in the deceit of having transcended their human frailty and yearn for the heads of anyone who might otherwise succumb to any kind of human weakness, every person is prone to making a mistake in one form or the other.
And whether we may like to admit it or not, the only truly distinguishing characteristic between human beings and God is that: “TO ERR IS HUMAN WHILE TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE.”
Accordingly, anyone falling prey to the kinds of politically motivated machinations which seek the immediate destruction of other people’s career and life might eventually come to realize that they have, in fact, lost sight of the forest for the trees. In other words, while such kinds of short-sighted remedies might appear to be effective in addressing the problem of racial intolerance, it might be contended that the opprobrium heaped upon the likes of Megyn and Governor Northam might merely act as a smoke screen for distracting Black people from the reality of their systemic dispossession as a People. Thus, Black people should desist from being Cry-Cry Babies and acknowledge, once and for all, that the biggest obstacle to the progress of the African Race is Black people themselves, rather than any infantile display of white insularity.
The old adage that “truth offends” could never be more applicable than in the present context. And the plain truth is that although “All Men Are Created Equal,” and although there is no scientifically reliable basis for postulating the racist doctrine of Black inferiority, a significant number of Black People do manifest certain types of behaviour which might be construed as evidence of their inferiority to other races.
It might be proffered that after almost two centuries since the illegalization of African enslavement, and after almost a century of the dismantling of overt colonialism, Black people have absolutely no one else but themselves to blame for the state of affairs in which President Donald Trump had absolutely no scruples in characterizing African nations as “shit hole countries,” and the African Race as “hut dwellers.” (If that kind of characterization is not the racist equivalent of putting on a blackface or of adorning oneself in Ku Klux Klan attire, then it might simply be regarded as being even worse).
And so, Black people should never allow themselves to be duped into believing that the token stamping out of “minstrelsy” would be the panacea for all of the ills affecting the African Race. On the contrary, the only substantive remedy for the socio-economic ills of the Black race would be a direct assault by Black people themselves on the self-deprecating and insidious treatment meted out to their own Black brothers and sisters.
As the saying goes, the most valuable resource of any country is its people. And Black people have demonstrated time and time again that they are just as resourceful as any other ethnic group in almost every field of human endeavour. More importantly, Black people have been endowed with the most resourceful continent on Mother Earth. But unlike Caucasians, Indians, and Chinese who never lose sight of their broader collectivity, Black people revel in a certain kind of chronic individualism both in terms of their relationship as particular persons, and also with respect to a certain kind of sterile, nationalistic parochialism.
As a result, the only country and race which Europeans seem to have had any real success in completely subjugating is the continent of Africa and the African people. And although African leaders, both in the Motherland and in the Diaspora are fully aware that the global polity is premised on a racial hierarchy in which Black people are confined to the lowest rung of the social ladder, they are willing to play the game so long as they are allowed to bear the titles of President or Prime Minister of a particular land mass, and get the occasional invitation to dine with the Queen of England, or the Head of State of one of the many countries from which they might later succeed in procuring some kind of aid.
And so, to the extent that Black leaders may or may not be aware of the actual ramifications of their conduct, they are inadvertently adding credence to the view that Black people just might be inferior to other races. Thus, rather than finding a kind of illusive comfort in the sacrificial scapegoating of the likes of Megyn and Governor Northam, Black people might do themselves a favour by engaging in some serious retrospection and introspection with respect to the way in which they relate to each other, both as individuals and as so-called sovereign nations.
Meanwhile, as Black people go about the business of celebrating another Black History Month, it might not be too late to realize that, rather than singling out any particular individual, the stereotypical caricaturing of Black people in any manner is clearly meant as a portrayal of the entire race. For as President Kwame Nkrumah has said: “WE ARE AN AFRICAN PEOPLE.”
Accordingly, as the philosophy of Rastafari clearly teaches, it is only by embracing the kind of enlightenment espoused by His Imperial Majesty (H.I.M.) Emperor Haile Selassie, along with the inspirational works of The Rt. Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey and other African visionaries, that Black people could surmount the kinds of distractions, nay; decoys, occasioned by the conduct of the likes of Megyn Kelley and Governor Northam, and begin to take their rightful place as an equal among nations.
For although it might increasingly seem that all hope is lost for the African people, “WE ARE [IN FACT] A MIGHTY RACE.”