We hate so much in this nation to talk about slavery and yet its progeny is with us each day. And periodically, it reaches out from the grave and claims lives, wreaks havoc and reminds us who the goddamned boss is. And not just black lives are lost but the lives of those who continue to work for this most malevolent of American spirits.
The town of Ferguson is a modern-day plantation, only the chains are not made of iron but of ignorance, the slave quarters are boundaries of class, color and opportunity, the big house is the state house and the discipline is not the whip but a policeman’s bullet.
If this imagery makes you nervous or angry, then really, you’ve proven the point. Slavery ended only 148 years ago, barely two generations and yet we are so tired of talking about it. Western Union is older than that and they are sitting in the modern age right next to the 7-11 and Pizza Hut.
And why are we so tired of it? White people are ashamed that each day they live with the legacy of this sin and they seem to be pissed that they can't enjoy their wealth and superiority without people (black and white) reminding them that it is ill-gotten gain and myth respectively.
Black people are ashamed of stereotypes and the sad truth at the root of some of them. And while we desperately want to be free of this stigma, we keep asking the descendants of slave owners for permission to be released. And the answer is "Sure, be free, I don't care." And then a foot is stuck out to trip you as you walk away. And then we get up, look around as if we don't know who made us stumble and ask again.
And so we run from the legacy of slavery in words, while holding on to it in actions and sentiment, hiding behind “tradition” or “culture” while the stench of it bleeds through these thin wrappings. And this is how you end up with a racially riot-torn town with a sitting Black President.
So in this time, do not look at the people who are the loudest, look at those who say nothing, do nothing and divert their interests to diversion and pretend that nothing is going on. These are the people who continue to support the plantation; only this one enslaves everyone who wants to be free of it.