In the past I read standard writings on American history, politics and economics, stuff largely written by white America, stuff meant to persuade the reader into seeing America as heaven on earth. I, more or less, considered myself fairly well informed on America. In the past several months, however, I found myself living in a black section of town and since I had habituated myself to reading several books a week, I naturally visited the local public library. The library was stocked with books written by black Americans. Without consciously intending to read up on black America I found myself doing so. Once I began there was no stopping me for once a subject takes hold of my mind I must fully investigate it and get to the bottom of it. Thus, I have been reading up on black American history, politics and economics.
One of the books that I read is Lerone Bennett: Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company, 2007). This book gave black American perspective on familiar themes in American history (English settlements in the new world, slavery, the war for independence, the civil war, reconstruction era, industrialization of America, America’s rise to world power and her current status as the hegemon of the world etc.). However, I am not here to write a review of the entire book but to expand on an idea that the author mentioned without elaborating on it. He referred to slavery as terrorism. My mind has been chewing on the notion of slavery and racism as terrorism hence this essay.Before we proceed, let us get a clear understanding of what terrorism is. Terrorism is any attempt to use force to intimidate human beings into going along with policies one would like them to go along with that they may not want to go along with. Terrorism does not rely on reason and persuasion in getting people to embrace the policy one wants them to embrace but instead on force.
The terrorist recognizes that human beings are prone to fear of harm and death and that they want to live at all costs. Therefore, he exercises violence on them hoping to intimidate them into doing what they are told to do. The terrorist randomly harms and or kills a few persons hoping to strike the fear of harm and death into the minds of the rest of the people, and out of fear of being harmed or killed they do what the terrorist asks them to do.
People have a built in desire to live at all costs and to avoid whatever could harm their bodies and or kill them. If you point a gun at people and show that you are serious by killing a few of them the run of the mill humanity will be stricken by fear and would do what you asked them to do (may be one or two persons will charge you and do not mind your killing them but the rest of humanity are driven by fear of harm and death and will do what you ask them to do if you exercise credible violence on them).
The terrorist is a good psychologist; he understands that people, despite their bravadoes, are really cowards and would obey any person pointing a gun at them and actually killing some of them to prove how serious he is willing to kill. If you exercise real coercion on people only a few of them would stand up to you.
In sum, terrorism is the deliberate manipulation of human tendency to fear of harm and death by harming and or killing some persons to get the many to go along with the terrorists preferred social policy.In this light we can easily see that there are many sources of terrorism in our lives. Folks tend to associate terrorism only with Middle Eastern Muslims out to convert the world to their tribal religion, Islam, and or to get the West to desist from supporting Israel by randomly killing a few Westerners so as to intimidate Western governments into not supporting Israel and eventually intimidating Westerners into giving up their Jewish religion of Christianity and embracing the Arab tribal religion of Islam. No, terrorism is more than that.
Terrorism is found in many aspects of our lives. Governments can be terroristic. Governments do deliberately use coercion and violence to get the people to embrace policies that are not in their self-interests. The former Soviet Union used intimidation to get Russians to acquiesce to communism. The American government currently uses terrorism to get the people to believe that what in nature, land, belongs to all people, belongs to only a few persons hence less than ten percent of the population own much of America and the rest go along with that socially constructed reality (which is not natural reality); if the people challenge it they are quickly arrested, tried with laws that support the current unnatural political-economic system and sentenced to prison or even murdered, as in capital punishment.
In Africa overtly criminal gangs seize governments and use their military goon squads to intimidate the people into not challenging them while they loot the continent’s resources for their personal use. Fear of harm and death keeps Africans from challenging their criminal rulers; by the same token, fear of harm and death keeps Americans from demanding a more equitable distribution of goods and services in their country.
Religious organizations do engage in terrorism. Religions use threat of expelling their members and threat of their living in hell to get them to embrace their largely unproven god hypotheses.
Simply stated, there are many forms of terrorism in our world; my goal here is not to exhaust all the sources of terrorism but to focus on the idea that slavery and racism is terrorism.
What is slavery, really? In Africa criminal gangs roamed their land capturing their people and selling them first to Arabs and later to Europeans. The people sold did not willingly ask to be captured and sold into slavery. Right from the beginning force was exercised on would be slaves. The slave did not ask you to enslave him and you used force to enslave him; you have used force to get him to go along with what he did not want to go along with. Fear of harm and death made him to go along with your desire to sell him and make profit out of him (those who resisted were generally bound, chained and eventually their resistance broken).
The slave was packed into ships and exported to America where he was sold (or walked across the Sahara desert to Arab slave markets and thereafter sold to Arabs). He was not a willing participant in this transaction involving his life and liberty (yet the slave master said that he legitimately bought the slave and that he is his just property…how can you legitimately buy someone who did not volunteer to be sold…there is no reason to what slave masters say).
Both the slave seller (Africans) and the slave buyer (Arabs and Europeans) are guilty in the crime of slavery. Only the slave is the innocent victim.
Those who did wrong generally feel guilty. Guilt feeling is a painful emotion; therefore, to alleviate their pain, guilty persons play mental tricks on themselves. They deny their guilt or project it out or rationalize it (that is, offer pseudo reasons for it).
Africans deny their guilt in slavery and rationalize it by blaming only Europeans for it (they forget Arabs whom they do not blame).
White folks rationalize their guilty conscience by telling themselves that slaves were primitive and that they gave them a smidgeon of civilization; they rationalize racial discrimination by saying that black folks are less intelligent than white folks hence should not be given access to equal jobs.
Africans are still committing crimes against black Americans by marrying and using them for green cards and thereafter dumping them. Africans have no love and respect for their fellow black folks. This lack of self-love led them to sell their people and currently lead them, especially their leaders not to care for their people; African leaders mostly are thieves who redirect moneys they could have devoted to their peoples development to their personal pockets.
For our present purposes, the salient point is that both the slave seller and slave buyer were guilty in the crime against humanity called slavery.
Despite their fear of harm and death human beings desire freedom; they want to do things when they want to do to them. Slavery, by definition, means taking away liberty from the slave.
Since people like their liberty the slave master had to find a way to persuade the slave that he is no longer at liberty to do as he wished but must now do as the slave master wanted him to do. How was this accomplished? You guessed it: through terrorism.
Violence was exercised on the body and mind of the slave and out of fear of harm and death he eventually learned to go along with his slave master’s wishes. As in all terrorism the slave master deliberately harmed and or killed some slaves, especially the “unruly and stubborn” ones so as to intimidate the rest into docile acceptance of his rule.
In time, the typical slave accepted his fate and went along with his master’s wishes. As Lerone Bennett showed in his book, however, slaves were constantly rebelling against their masters: think of Toussaint L’Ouverture in Haiti, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner in Virginia.
(Toussaint’s war with Napoleon led to the loss of over 60,000 French soldiers in Haiti. Apparently, that loss so frustrated the little Corsican Consul that he decided to end French interest in the colonization of territories in North America and in 1803 sold the Louisiana territory to Thomas Jefferson’s America at pittance…that territory constitutes what is now called the Middle Western USA. The territory’s entrance’s into the USA more than doubled the USA and opened up the movement to the West Coast. In effect, Toussaint was responsible for the expansion of the USA from the original east coast colonies to the entire USA. Black men gave America the gift of an expanded America and yet Americans do not appreciate the role played by black men in the American saga; many cities in the USA were founded by black men. There is no such thing as America without the contribution of black Americans.)
Question: Do you have any problem with my defining slavery as terrorism? I would imagine that some persons would take issue with that definition. Their logic would pretty much be like the logic of the slave master who believed that his action is legal and legitimate because he bought his slave and the slave ought to do as told to do and designed courts and had judges return runaway slaves to him because they are his legitimate property. They are his legitimate property when they did not willing sell themselves to him! If you say that because other persons captured them and sold them they are still your property I say that we ought to capture you and sell you into slavery so that you become the legal property of other persons, for one must be willing to be done unto as one does to other persons.
I do not believe that any rational person would disagree with the conclusion that slavery was based on terrorism. If that is the case it follows that white Americans and Arabs who owned slaves were terrorists!
Mohammad, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others owned slaves. Because they owned slaves these men were terrorists!
Do you have any problem with this description of Mohammad, Washington and Jefferson as terrorists? Those you hitherto saw as your heroes may have been villains who belonged in prison!
Those who designed an economic system whereby wealth is given to a handful of the people while the rest of humanity lives in poverty are not the heroes of mankind but the villains of mankind. A better economic system is one that looks after the interests of all humanity while recognizing the need to give folk the incentive to work hard via the profit motive (an attenuated capitalism, a mixed capitalist and socialist economy, as I pointed out elsewhere, is the most appropriate economic system there is in the extant world).
What is racism? Racism, especially institutional racism is a practice based on the notion that some races are superior to other races. The white man judges Africans as unintelligent. Who exactly gave him the right to do so? God?
God’s existence is not self-evident. God, as far as I know, is the individual’s idea. You define what God means to you and I do the same. Our various constructions of God are exactly that: social constructs, not reality.
If God did not tell white men that they are superior to black men who then told them? They told themselves so. They gave themselves the right to feel superior to other men. Feeling superior to other men serves their interest for it justifies their using other men to do what serves their material interests.
Western civilization is based on using people to serve the material pleasure of some men. This is not a humane civilization but a cruel one. And when you think about what they are doing you wonder whether they are even intelligent at all. They exploit other men to provide for the welfare of their bodies. Their bodies live, age and die and rot and smell like feces. They exploit other men for that which will decay and become food for worms.
So, their white bodies, white sepulchers, are superior bodies, eh? Food being prepared for worms is superior to other bodies that are also food for worms? It does not make sense, does it?
I tell you, the white man is dense. If he had any smidgeon of intelligence he would seek what really makes human beings beautiful, love. It is love that makes our lives worth living, not the exploitation of each other.
The white man talks about love alright but does he really know what love is? To him love means serving the human body’s needs, the needs of that which would die and decay. Real love means nurturing the growth of the human spirit.
Although I am agnostic yet I suspect that there is something in us that is higher than our bodies. A few weeks ago I attended black churches in Los Angeles. As I saw the folks sing to their God, the women really singing with their mouths and bodies, the lovely cadence of their music, the rhythms of their swaying bodies etc., I momentarily lost my doubt and believed that there is in fact God! (Of course, after leaving such church services I reverted to my agnosticism.)
If you want to believe in God go to black churches, not the old, staid white church service where the pastors propagandize the current political theory that serve their nation-state interests rather than worship God.
If you accept the hypothesis that some races are superior to other races then let competition prove it. Let all people compete and may the best win the chase.
But is that how racism works? Of course not. Racism works on deliberate effort to prevent real competition and to make sure that only members of the favored race win the chase.
When the American Civil War ended there followed an era (1867-1877) called Reconstruction. Briefly, black folks were given some sort of freedom and could compete. Some began to win the chase via competition. Then what happened?
The Ku Klux Klan formed in Pulaski (1867), Tennessee; and Jim Crow (1896) came into being. What were those? They were outright efforts at intimidating black folks via harming and or killing them. Racist folk used violence to prevent black folks from exercising their nascent freedom.
Institutions passed laws preventing black folks from competing in them. Laws were used to shut black folk out of the avenues of opportunity in America. In other words, terrorism was used to keep black folks in their place: second class citizens.
In the 1857 Dred Scot Case Chief Justice John Taney ruled that no black man has rights that a white man should respect. In the 1896 Plessey versus Fergusson case the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of separate but equal, ruled for segregation, for Jim Crow.
Thus, it came to pass that in America, to the present (2011) a black man is usually discriminated in employment. He is usually the last hired and the first fired from his job. Cockamamie stories were invented to justify these discriminatory practices. For example, it is said that he is less intelligent than white folks. Okay. Where is the evidence for that conclusion? We are told that he scores less than white folks on standard intelligence tests.
You ask: who designed those tests: were they by chance designed by white and black men? If they were designed by white men (Alfred Binet is a French man, Tallman of Stanford is a white man and Wechsler is a white man…those designed the three main IQ tests in America) since when is it the case in human history that if you are in competition with other folk you design the rules that make them less competitive than you? In games all the players participate in making the rules. If only one set of players make the rules then the game is not based on proper rules.
White folks have no right to design intelligence tests and use them to test black folks. To do so shows their racial arrogance. To do so show the delusion of superiority that is actuating racists. Racists are psychotic (they have delusion disorder; they believe in what is not true as true; their alleged superiority is not true; all human beings are the same and equal).
Put way the stupid tests designed by self-serving white folks and let folks compete for everything. If this is done any one with eyes to see knows that in a few decades all Americans would be equitably represented in every walk of American life. In open competition there is no way that whites can out compete blacks in anything, be it in sports, academia and or business.
Talking about sports, until recently there was segregation in sports and black folks were supposed to be no good at it. When racial barriers fell we all know what happened in sports. By the same token, when racial barriers in academia and business fall we all know what is going to happen.
It is simply not true that white folks are superior to other races. At any rate, if you believe yourself superior to others then let go of artificial barriers and let pure competition decide who gets what, when and how. The fact that you prevent completion means that you actually assume your inferiority relative to those you prevent from participating in the game (no human being is inferior to others: all of them, whites, blacks and Asians are equal; any and all talk of inferiority or superiority is psychotic).
As I pointed out in a different paper, much of what the Western man is proud of was accomplished after his encounter with black men. We know that in the mid-1400s the Portuguese, led by their sailor interested prince Henry the navigator, sailed to the West Coast of Africa and reached South Africa in the late 1400s. Eventually, they rounded the East Coast of Africa in the 1490s and reached India.
The Spanish, under the Italian sailor Christopher Columbus, a man who had sailed with the Portuguese in West Africa, reached the America’s in 1492.
The Spanish got to America with black sailors on board; those black men were probably responsible for the journey to America since there is strong evidence that Africans were already travelling to the Americas (discoveries of carved African heads in the America’s attest to that possibility).
In 1543 Nicolas Copernicus speculated that the Sun may be the center of the solar system. Galileo subsequently proved that hypothesis to be true with his telescope. Isaac newton posited the law of gravity and the three laws of motion. In the mid-eighteenth century Lavoisier and Boyle brought modern chemistry (as opposed to alchemy) into being (the discovery of such elements as oxygen etc. were made).
By 1803 Robert Dalton rediscovered Greek atomic theory. Boyle established the law of gases. Young began the journey that helped us to understand the nature of light. His double slit experiment showed that light is both wave and particle. Faraday invented the electric motor. James Clark Maxwell unified electricity and magnetism with his famous equation. J.J. Thomson ended the nineteenth century with the discovery of electrons.
The twentieth century began with Max Planck discovering the quanta of light. That was followed in 1905 by Albert Einstein’s paper on the photo electric effect of light (he gave the name photons to the particles of light). Ernest Rutherford discovered the nucleus of the atom in 1911. Neil’s Bohr showed how electrons cycled nucleus. In the 1920s the wonder boys of quantum mechanics did their thing (Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli, Dirac, Broglie, Born, etc.). In 1932 Chadwick discovered the neutron as part of the nucleus (the nucleus has proton and neutron).
In the late 1930s Lise Meitner showed that if the nucleus is bombarded with the neutron that it leads to splitting the nucleus, fission, thus releasing tremendous energy. This was done in 1945 under Robert Oppenheimer led Manhattan Project. (Nuclear weapons were unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the Second World War in August of 1945.)
Eventually, protons and neutrons were themselves found to be composed of other particles, quarks. The current effort at CERN is demonstrating the various types of sub particles of matter.
Now we know that there is matter and anti-matter; matter and dark matter, energy and dark energy (dark matter and dark energy compose over 96% of the universe and yet we know nothing about them!).
The West’s great literature was written after its earth shaking encounter with Africans (think of English literature before the 1400s and see if anything then is worth reading).
Western Music, too, was improved by the encounter with Africans (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart …the German classical musicians came into being after the white man’s encounter with Africans).
It was after those encounter that political philosophy or any kind of philosophy (other than Greek philosophy of Plato and Aristotle and Roman philosophy of Epictetus, Cicero, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius etc.) came into being in the West. The musing of folks like Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau etc. led to the overthrow of the ancient regimes, the European monarchies, and their replacement with more democratic institutions.
In economics folks like Adam Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes etc. wrote their seminal books in the post European encounter with Africans.
The various movements that built the modern West, such as Renaissance, Reformation, French Enlightenment, Romanticism, Industrialization, Urbanization etc. came into being after Europeans encounter with Africans.
Contemporary Western physics talks about multiverses. It says that where we are other universes are; each universe operating under different physical laws (have different dimensions and vibrations) hence unknown to others. Our universe is a three dimensional one and therefore does not know what is happening in universes with different dimensions. The West is now working hard to figure out how to worm-hole itself, tunnel itself to some of the other universes. Apparently, they had wanted to live on the moon or the other solar planets and discovered that there is no oxygen there and now want to live in other universes! For our present purposes, the important point is that Africans had ideas about the existence of other worlds and those may be influencing extant Western musings on multiverses.
There are probably other worlds and as science develops it would figure out a way to contact those worlds. It would take advanced, subtle science not current crude science to do so. One suspects that just as it was Africans that gave the West the impetus to embark on its scientific journey that it would be Africans that give Western science the entry to other plains of existence.
Western science is currently at an impasse waiting for paradigm shift to lead it to other discoveries; Africans would help in this process, as they probably gave Western astronomers ideas that led to Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Tyco Brahe, Huygens and Newton (astronomy was well developed by some West African peoples before the white man even came to the African scene in the 1400s).
Our universe, as far as I can see, is pointless. There is no reason why it should exist yet it exists. In a pointless universe every imaginable thing can exist in it, all the existents equally pointless. Therefore, whatever one can think of, whatever we can imagine probably exists in some of the infinite universes supposed to exist.
One can think of infinite ways to do anything and probably some of those ways are the ways things are done in the other universes.
Whatever exists in our universe probably exists in different forms in other universes. The individual, animal, tree etc. probably exists in different forms in other universes.
When people die in our universe they probably continue living in other universes.
All these are heuristic but will probably be demonstrated as true with the march of science.
The fact that everything that the white man is proud of came into being after his encounter with black men leads one to suspect that Africans probably influenced them?
This paper is not the place to enter that debate; let us just note that there is nothing of significance in the West before its epochal encounter with Africans.
In the Americas, black Americans’ labor was used to cut down the virgin forest of America and build the new civilization on the continent. If John Locke’s labor theory of property is valid, and one’s private property is justified by ones labor in transforming raw material into property, since black labor built America then black folks own America!
FEAR, SLAVERY, RACISM AND TERRORISM
It is self-evident that without human proclivity to fear that there would be no terrorism, slavery and racism. Terrorism, slavery and racism exist because all human beings are prone to fear; they are prone to fear because they live in vulnerable bodies that are subject to harm and death.
Human beings are aware that any number of things could harm and destroy their bodies so they fear harm and death.
Fear is an involuntary biological factor that alerts animals, human beings included, to what could harm them and urges them to take protective measures. Animals have flight-fight response to fear arousing stimuli. When something threatens their bodies their bodies release certain neurochemicals, such as adrenalin, and urge them to do something to protect them, to either run away or fight it. Without fear no animal would survive in this dangerous world (their lives are always under threat of eradication).
One need to stress that fear is a universal animal and human phenomenon for racists often see black folks as fearful and see white folks as fearless. White folks are fearless? Really? These are a people who were hijacked by a few criminals called aristocrats and ruled by threat of been killed if they did not obey the criminals calling themselves aristocrats.
How much observation does it take to demonstrate that the white man lives in abject fear? Just look at him and his world and see how those with the power of violence coerce him into living the unnatural existence of permitting a few to have all the wealth whereas he has little or none.
In Eastern Europe communist dictators terrorized the Slavic population into submitting to monolithic communist rule. Adolf Hitler terrorized his Germanic “superior” people into submitting to his fascist, totalitarian rule. In America white folks live under tremendous fear of what their government (police, courts etc.) could do to them; step out of line and you are arrested, tried and jailed; you must conform to what maintains the system, never mind if the system is just or not. Who talks about justice in America? In America folk talk about law, not what is just; they talk about law regardless of the fact that the law was made by the powerful to serve the interests of the powerful interest groups at the expense of the weak and powerless.
Fear is a human variable, not a specific black thing. We can imagine a world where there is less fear or even no fear.
People would live fearless existence if their bodies did not respond with fear to threats to their lives. For them not to respond with fear there would be no threats to their lives!
One can imagine a world where there are no threats to people’s bodies and peoples bodies therefore do not respond to fear.
But as long as there are threats to people’s lives fear response is adaptive to the realities of the world.
If the world is not a threatening place hence people are not fearful people would live different existence, such as the loving existence they are supposed to live in spirit.
Spirit, by definition, is outside matter. If we lived in spirit, not in matter, space and time, then we would not live in fear. Outside matter where there are no threats to our lives we would live in perfect love hence have perfect peace.
Perhaps, there are other dimensions of existence where there folks do not live in bodies hence have no fear (in our world if your body does not have quick response to fear you tend not to take measures to protect your body hence sustain injuries and die; children born with deficient fear and pain response mechanism tend to die from injuries…I have a hypothesis that athletes tend to have less pain and fear, have stronger bodies, and thus do not feel pain easily; because they do not feel pain easily they do not anticipate pain causing agents and avoid them and tend to sustain injuries and die from them…many of them eat foolishly and do drugs to stimulate their dense bodies hence die from cardiovascular disease).
Theoretically, it is possible to say that if people had less fear in them they would live more fully. On the other hand, if people have too much fear they tend to live more restricted existence (fearful, anxious persons tend to be hesitant and avoidant in their behaviors; they also tend to have fragile, big, egos and use fear to protect those from humiliation).
If there is such a place as heaven it is probably a place where folks did not live in bodies hence are not prone to harm and death hence live fully. Without fear people would live fully doing whatever they want to do with their lives.
All these, are, of course, hypothetical; let us return to the realities of our world, a world where human beings live in vulnerable bodies hence are prone to fear and are subject to intimidation by terrorists.
Black folks, like all folks, are prone to fear hence were easily terrorized by white folks (who, themselves, are prone to fear and are terrorized by their criminal leaders).
Our realistic task is to help people become aware of the fear that disposes them to tolerate terrorism and social oppression and encourage them to stand up and fight oppression and if needs be dying fighting for their liberty. There is no point living as slaves and or accepting racism.
Life is too meaningless for the individual to permit another meaningless living human being to use him for his own material good. If one is going to live at all one ought to live in liberty.
Give me liberty or death, Thomas Paine (in his book, Common Sense) said, and I agree. Africans must overcome the fear that disposed them to tolerate white terrorism, slavery and currently permit criminal leaders to rule them; they must look fear in the face and accept harm and or death and fight for their political liberty.
There is no such thing as liberty without sacrifices for it. We are currently witnessing the Arab spring; we are seeing what happens in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Yemen and Syria etc. where men are no longer afraid of death and demand liberty and democracy. When men are ready to die for liberty, John Stuart Mill, in his book, On Liberty, said, they get it. It is those who are controlled by fear that live in slavery, accept racism and oppression by their so-called rulers.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
August 30, 2011