I wonder how superior white people would feel if they knew the true severity of The Enslavement; how inhumane, loathsome and abhorrent The Enslavement was in their history?
I also wonder, if at this point in America's history, I am being too generous within my own humanity to suggest that white people would even care, given my knowledge and the circumstances surrounding the psychosis of white supremacy; what an ancestral lie generations ago did to the collective psyche of their entire cultural community.
If you are like me you are probably weary of the repeated references to “slavery” as the complete history of African Americans being owned and forced to work the fields for wealthy plantation owners. The simple fact is that The Enslavement was so much more treacherous than being owned and worked to death without pay.
As we know, the rationale for history written by white for white, is that it must be written with filters. It must be whitened. Whitened history is very careful in its omissions of the most important details of American history and African American history in particular. There is no reason to assume that the history of Enslavement would be any different.
Whitened history allows for arguments in academic and other discourse over the “moods” of the slaves, how they were treated, whether they would or would not prefer to be slaves, and other such diatribe. They provide images of enslaved Blacks out in the cotton fields in bandanas and hats, putting cotton into huge baskets. They offer text with exquisite detail of the cruelty of the slave owners, as the “slaves toiled in the cotton fields under the hot, unforgiving sun.” They write so that the reader feels the severity of beatings by overseers and slave drivers and the precious benevolence of mercy bestowed on the "good negro slaves” by their masters.
Conjured up are visions of dancing, singing and happy slaves congregating by a lighted campfire at night, even after working from sun up to sun down without a moment’s rest. There are even plenty pictures and text rich in detail about individual Black bodies on the block being sold to "other owners."
But Whitened history will never elaborate on the true purpose behind sales of Black bodies. Indeed, if my Whitened history serves me correctly, sales of slaves were mainly for the purpose of having more "hands" to work the fields. It wasn’t until I became a full adult with adult children did I finally come to realize the actual heinous nature of The Enslavement.
You see, Whitened history IS the story of “chattel slavery,” where our ancestors were "owned," "used" and sold on the "block" for the purpose of work without pay. All one has to do is consider incarceration and the 13th amendment, which allows for enslavement if convicted of a crime. In fact, all contemporary references, including those used today about “slavery” in any context have at their root, “servitude” or working without pay.
There are, of course, references made to the Mid-Atlantic Slave Trade. There is no way Whitened history could leave it out, however, it concentrates primarily on emphasizing the cruelty and odious nature of treatment of the slaves during the passage. It doesn’t explain completely and fully explain why the passage was so lucrative. While I am not in any way trying to dilute the importance of the cruelty of the Trade, I would submit, based on what I understand about racism today, that the reasons why the nature of cruelty perpetrated against the Black Africans was detailed so gruesomely, is to remind the descendants today of that very cruelty as a way to set a subliminal “example” of a potential future state of cruelty against Black African Americans should Blacks “get out of line.”
Whitened history will even suggest that racism was not the rationale behind slavery, which is true, since racism was designed after The Enslavement as a way to control and subjugate, and to deny opportunity, equality and justice. Nevertheless, their purpose in interjecting racism within the context of The Enslavement was designed to confuse the issue, and merely allows the real impetus, none other than White supremacy to remain hidden as the source.
The reason why Whitened history placed this chattel slavery in the forefront is because it serves white supremacy and is meant to bolster the system of racism in its skewed form as it exists in the minds of white people in America.
It provides, at the earliest ages of indoctrination, a feeling of superiority of white children over Black children. It is the story of "slavery" used for the purpose of damaging the virgin minds of Black youngsters in their earliest introduction to their history in this country, relative to their white counterparts. It provides the “we owned you,” and the “we gave you rights,” narratives that are echoed today by the more overt white supremacists and bigots.
It is the story of "slavery" for the ignorant masses of whites who are the descendants of poor white people as a way of continuing the legacy of their feigned "superiority" over Black people today.
Today, it continues to serve the community of white people who can point to this Whitened history and still feel that sense of superiority. White people whose ancestors likely didn’t own slaves or weren’t wealthy enough to own land as well as those who arrived and later assimilated into white culture, are artificially reassured by this Whitened history, even in the midst of their own continued economic misery at the hands of powerful white people who look like them but used their similar color to deceive their ancestors long ago.
The real story of the Enslavement lies in that part of the slave trade after the middle passage was outlawed. Without a continuous supply of Black African stock from the continent, the true insidious and barbaric nature of slave owners was revealed when Black bodies, who had already been stripped of personhood and humanity, were commoditized and sold like wheat, corn, soybeans and other commodities on the stock markets in New York’s Wall Street. Black bodies were insured because of their value as currency. Women were bred like cattle and the men studded like the bucks they were called to keep the supply of their “currency” available. Entire families were separated and sold away to the highest bidders and Black bodies were reduced to the first credit cards of the 17th-19th centuries.
This deserves repeating:
Black bodies were insured because of their value as currency. Women were bred like cattle and the men studded like the bucks they were called to keep the supply of their “currency” available. Entire families were separated and sold away to the highest bidders and Black bodies were reduced to the first credit cards of the 17th-19th centuries.
Imagine for a moment if Whitened history emphasized THIS aspect of The Enslavement. How superior would white people feel knowing that this was part of their history? I don't know. Perhaps I am being too generous with my own humanity here. Perhaps at this point in America's history, their collective psychosis is complete and irreparable.