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Originally posted on October 12, 2012

I didn’t want things to come down to this. I didn’t want to be typecast. I consider myself a well-educated, well-rounded person with scholarly knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. I would like to be taken seriously as, not only a writer, but as one of the best, coherent minds of our day. But, as literary Mafia boss Michael Corleone said, with teeth clenched, in The God Father, Part III, “...just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...!” [1]

It would be nice to write about something as insignificant – but as popular – as, what I think the best movie of the year is, or how the replacement referees botched the game for the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Unfortunately, I’m not given to things inconsequential; or for that matter, popular. It is my calling – and compulsion – to engage in subject matter that might possibly leave the reader disturbed; left in a state of contemplation.

Circumstances are no different now. They could have been, except for that heading I read that stoked the fire within me. You know... the one that read, “Jon Hubbard, Arkansas Legislator, Says Slavery May 'Have Been A Blessing' In New Book.” [2]

This article referenced a book by Republican Arkansas State representative Jon Hubbard titled, “Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative.” [3] Excerpts from the book include [4]:

Slavery was good for black people:

“... the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)

If you think slavery was bad, you should have seen Africa:

African Americans must “understand that even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub- Saharan Africa?” (Pages 93 and 189)

Black people are ignorant:

“Wouldn’t life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education?” (Page 184)

Integration was bad for white people

“... one of the stated purposes of school integration was to bring black students up to a level close to that of white students. But, to the great disappointment of everyone, the results of this theory worked exactly in reverse of its intended purpose, and instead of black students rising to the educational levels previously attained by white students, the white students dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.” (Page 27)

It's basically hopeless.

“... will it ever become possible for black people in the United States of America to firmly establish themselves as inclusive and contributing members of society within this country?” (Page 187)

Really...? Seriously...? This can’t be real, can it? In 2012...? By a United States lawmaker...? Really...?

Let me start by saying, “Yes. Really.” I will continue by saying that I commend the top Republicans in Arkansas who condemn this book and who are looking to distance themselves from being associated with such absurdity. [5] Having said this, I must follow that statement with a few questions:

1.    Why is this not national headline news?
2.    Where is the outrage?
3.    What the hell is wrong with people?
These questions, of course are up for discussion. Why this is not national headline news, I have no idea. Especially in light of the presidential race going on right now. I’m sure there are those who would debate that the presidential race has nothing to do with skin color, but then, there are people still waiting for Elvis and Tupac to do a nationwide tour together after their collaborated album comes out later this year.

We have not come nearly as far as we think we have. There may be less racists and bigots in America today as, say, 50 years ago, but not as few as we would like to believe. I believe – and would like to insist – that people should just come out of the closet and admit what they are. Call it what it is and stop hiding behind coded terminology and dog whistle politics. Having honest discussions about the severity and consequences of race related issues – and understanding that this problem took years to evolve to its strongest momentum and that it will take years to have its back broken – is the only way we as a people are ever going to stop this madness. But, as with any other psychosis, we have to first admit that we have a problem... I’ll admit it for us. America! We have a problem!

Of course, Jon Hubbard, more or less admitted that he has a problem (whether he thinks he did or didn’t). How else can one who writes from such a standpoint be described? The harm comes from those who might believe that the excerpts listed above are only isolated stanzas that might not reflect the entire book, or that if they are, Jon Hubbard is only one of a few who think this way.

Which leads to the next question: where is the outrage? Why is this not a big deal outside of Arkansas? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that those who control education would rather not teach about such issues, and have what little subject matter they do have on slavery, or how Blacks (a term I like you refer to myself as, because it denotes my “race” without taking anything from my mixed ethnicities), Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, American Indians, Arabs, etc., have been treated by the Eurocentric Americans throughout American history, out of the textbooks our children study from.

Maybe it explains the ignorance shown by 8 year-old Colorado second grader Sean King and his parents, who thought nothing was wrong with a European American child wearing blackface [6] to “honor” one of America’s more popular Civil Rights martyrs, and who are still waiting for an apology for a school suspension because of the offensive nature of their ignorance. [7] Now that made national news, but only because the negatively construed, so-called race police, the NAACP, showed up to support the school and its principle. Now what’s wrong with this picture?

In answering an inquiry with an inquiry, we move to the third question: what the hell is wrong with people? I would love to know how Jon Hubbard would like to have been a slave – in the slavery era or any other era. I wonder how he would like to be taken forcefully from his homeland and people; separated from his loved ones; forced by gunpoint and whip to labor from sun-up to sun-down; to be forced to watch the women of his culture and ethnic be raped; to watch his mother, father, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters be sold on an auction block and moved away from him – never to be seen again; to be barely clothed and cared for – because his replacement was only a few dollars away; to have his culture and religion stripped away; to be told that he had no soul and was in fact, an animal; and live not as a second, third or even fourth classed citizen, but as a piece of property? Why would he or anyone else even consider the possibility that slavery be a blessing for Black people? Because that’s the reason given for how Blacks came to America? How asinine a thought.

Who is to say that Blacks would not have found their way to the Americas without the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade? As a matter of fact, they did. Historians have found artifacts that place Blacks throughout North, South, and Central America as early as the years 800- 1500 B.C. [8] [9] [10] Columbus himself found Black in America [11], before he discovered that he and his fellow Europeans didn’t know as much about the world as they thought they did, and decided to change the course of history as they knew it by claiming that he had found a new world. Okay, so now what?

“African Americans must ‘understand that even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa.’”

“Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?”

Should the question be what we know today about life on the African continent or what we’ve been told about what we think we know about life on the African continent...? First, let me say this, since times before Christ, Africa has been a great continent. I’m not just saying that or spitting out clichés that cannot be proven. I’m speaking about the great kingdoms of Mali, Timbuktu, Ghana; about the Nok, Zulus and Dogon peoples. [12]

In Mali during the 12th century, their king Mansa Musa was the richest man in the world. During his travels to Mecca, he flooded the market with gold, so much so that he threw off the Egyptian economy. [13] Timbuktu and its university were renowned for its academic prowess and achievement. It was known as the center of learning throughout the world as scholars worldwide traveled there to either validate their work or learn what they could for the purpose of accreditation. [13] [14] The same can be said of Egypt, as the Greeks would travel there to learn history, mathematics and science. Plato himself said so in his famous stories Timaeus and Critias – the dialogues from which we get our knowledge of the ancient lost continent Atlantis. [15][16]

And just for the sake of saying it, Egypt and North Africa are part of the African continent, so let not split Africa up because those who own the world say it’s so. Sub-Saharan, like the Middle East is a term created to import a sense of superiority and dominance over the world. It’s like saying that there are seven continents on earth when there are only six (Europe is not a continent. It is part of the Eurasian continent. It is not a separate landmass surrounded by a great body of water, which by the way is the definition of a continent).

This is not an argument about whether the people there were black or white. It is a statement, however, about the power of Eurocentric racism. To say that not much has been learned about the interior of Africa is a lie. To say that the people of Africa were savages, as the racist images of the antebellum South would suggest, is a lie. To suggest that the native people of North Africa are Caucasian is a lie. Especially in this case... Not only did the Moorish peoples of Morocco and Algeria rule Iberia (Spain and Portugal) for over 700 years (from 711 AD to 1492 AD), [17] but civilized them by introducing hot and cold running water, bathhouses, irrigation, architecture, street lights to light the night, science and mathematics. [18] [19] Those who find it hard to believe that Africans could even find their way into Europe should also know that it is only an 8-mile (14 kilometers) ferry ride through the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain (Europe) to Morocco (Africa).

And this is just the tip of the iceberg for discrediting Jon Hubbard’s logic.

“Wouldn’t life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education?”

“... one of the stated purposes of school integration was to bring black students up to a level close to that of white students. But, to the great disappointment of everyone, the results of this theory worked exactly in reverse of its intended purpose, and instead of black students rising to the educational levels previously attained by white students, the white students dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.”

These two statements, for the sake of argument, must be taken together. Now let’s think about this for a moment. Bear with me… Since the landmark 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, European Americans at large (not all) have done everything in their power to resist integration. Sure we can shop at the same stores and sit together at a ball game, etc., but how integrated are we? For the most part, Blacks from all economic backgrounds tend to live more in urbanized areas, while Asians, Latinos, and European Americans tend to live in more suburban areas. If you think that poverty has something to do with it, it doesn’t, as even poor Asians, Latinos, and European Americans tend to live in more suburban areas. [20] According to a US 2010 Project report, segregation has on dropped 14% from 73% to 59% since 1980. [21] That’s a 30-year window for change, people.

According to the same study, along with the 2010 US Census Report, the city I live in (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is the most segregated city in America. [21] [22]

And I can tell you that it is painfully noticeable. There is a distinct difference between the ‘hood and the suburbs. It’s reflected in the quality of stores in the city – especially the North side which has the highest number of Blacks – as opposed to the suburbs (there are no departments stores outside of Wal-Mart), our eating establishments (the city only has low budget fast food restaurants), our health clinics (dare I say hospital? No, I meant clinics), and we have one of, if not the worst public educational systems in the entire US. The following is a small microcosm that speaks to Hubbard’s assertion that 1. Blacks should learn to appreciate a good education, and 2. Integration is bad for Whites because they are falling to the level of Blacks educationally. I will use Milwaukee and Wisconsin as the backdrop for making my point [23]:

The demographic breakdown of Wisconsin’s population is as follows: 84.6% white, 6.2% black, 5.3% of Hispanic or Latino origin, 2.2% Asian persons, 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native persons, and 0.7% other. Black Americans make up the largest minority in the state, with 40% being under the age of 18, and 5% being over 65 years old. 76% of the total populations of blacks live in Milwaukee County, 87% of whom live in the city of Milwaukee.

Black children in Wisconsin are six times more likely to live in poverty than white children, as the poverty rate for blacks (48%) is 38% higher than whites (10%) – which is the highest disparity ratio in the nation. Although the poverty rate for blacks in the United States is excessively high at 33%, the poverty rate in Wisconsin is 15% higher than the national average (Center on Wisconsin Strategy, 2006). These juveniles, along with Hispanic juveniles, are also disproportionately over-represented when it comes to failing to achieve academic success. Not only are they inclined to high dropout rates before reaching the 10th grade, but they also make up a large percentage of Wisconsin’s population who are charged with crimes, convicted and incarcerated (Madison Preparatory Academy for Young Men, 2010).

Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and
Black Males states, “Over the last 25 years, the social, educational and economic outcomes for Black males have been more systemically devastating than the outcomes for any other racial or ethnic group or gender. Black males have consistently low educational attainment levels, are more chronically unemployed and underemployed, are less healthy and have access to fewer health care resources, die much younger, and are many times more likely to be sent to jail for periods significantly longer than males of other racial/ethnic groups. On average, Black males are more likely to attend the most segregated and least resourced public schools.”

Wisconsin ranks among the worst states in the nation when it comes to racial disparity. Racial disparities in Wisconsin include: poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration. White students usually score higher than the average national standards, while black students score significantly lower than their national counterparts. For public schools in 2007, Wisconsin’s black eighth graders scored 14% lower than whites in reading, which was the worst disparity ratio in the nation. In math, Wisconsin’s black students scored 16% lower than white students.  Nebraska is the only state that had a higher disparity gap between blacks and whites.

The Schott report uses the Schott Education Inequity Index (SEII), which shows the absolute level of graduation rates and the disparity gap between Black male and White, non-Latino male graduation rates. What was found was that poor performances were unusually high in New York, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. With the exception of New York, there was a significant gap between an almost average graduation rate for Black male students and an above average graduation rate for White male students in these states.

So if Blacks are more likely to live in poverty, the quality of their education is going to reflect that, am I right? So, basically, how can Blacks “learn to value a good education,” when they don’t have access to, not only the same quality of educational resources as European Americans, but when they also lack the same quality of life resources? It certainly didn’t help the cause that the governor of the state took $800 million (yep, almost $1 billion) from public education… [24]

That just goes back to the sentiment of one of my other articles [25]:

…many blacks have not really considered themselves a part of this great nation. Blacks have been on the outside of America trying to get in, but they have been repeatedly turned away, but because a few have been able to make it to the white side of town, they have been used as an example to those who will never be allow to get in, as the reason the world looks on them as the failing aspect, the black eye if you will, of America. They have been expected to catch up to a population that has had at least a 192-year head start on success. Blacks have had a little more than 40 years to make up the difference, and the overwhelming view is that, if they can’t do that, well, poverty, prison, a lack of education, etc., is their only other option, and if that’s the case, well, it’s their own fault. C'est la vie…
What I’m getting at is that we as a people need to do a lot more, if we are going to truly call ourselves a great nation. Pitting one group against another, especially when we are lawmakers whose influence amongst those who must be governed is great, is shameful. And for those of us who believe what we hear, well, shame on us. And if anyone is to speak about being educated, let’s upgrade our ethics, and history books to include the truth about life, the law, and our people – all of them.

References
1.       Hamill, Matthew (1990). Transcript: MARIO PUZO'S THE GODFATHER, PART III by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Paramount Pictures. Retrieved from: http://www.thegodfathertrilogy.com/...
2.    Celock, John (2012). Jon Hubbard, Arkansas Legislator, Says Slavery May 'Have Been A Blessing' In New Book, Huffington Post, October 7, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... hubbard-slavery_n_1946890.html
3.     Ibid.
4.    Brantley, Max (2012). Republican extremists, in their own words. Arkansas Times, October 5, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.arktimes.com/... n-extremists-in-their-own-words#.UG8Wr-XNpyk.twitter
5.    Bartels, Chuck (2012). Republicans Distance Selves From Jon Hubbard's 'Offensive' Slavery Statement. Huffington Post, October 8, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... hubbard-slavery_n_1946890.html
6.    A Brief History of Blackface. Retrieved from: http://www.black-face.com/
7.       Savali, Kirsten West, (2012). Sean King, Colo. Springs 2nd-Grader Who
Dressed As Martin Luther King, Jr. In Black Face Paint, Wants Apology From School. Huffington Post, May 22, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... 2n_n_1533803.html?ref=black-voices&ir=Black%20Voices
8.    Wuthenau, Alexander von, (1980). Unexpected faces in ancient America, 1500 B.C.-A.D. 1500: the historical testimony of pre-Columbian artists,
Second Special Edition. Published by Crown Publishers, New York. 252 pages. ISBN-10 05175168.
9.    Van Sertima, Ivan, (1987). African Presence in Early America, Illustrated. Published by Transaction Publishers. 338 pages. ISBN-10 0887387152.
10.    Van Sertima, Ivan, (1976). They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America. Published by Random House; 1st edition (November 12, 1976). 352 pages. ISBN-10 0394402456.
11.    Clegg, Legrand H., II (2003). Before Columbus: Black Explorers of the New World. Retrieved from: http://rense.com/...
12.    Medieval African Kingdoms, (2000). Retrieved from: http://ctap295.ctaponline.org/...
13.    The British Museum (2010). The Wealth of Africa: The Kingdom of Mali. Retrieved from: http://www.britishmuseum.org/... s.pdf
14.    Timbuktu Educational Foundation (2002). History of Timbuktu. Retrieved from: http://www.timbuktufoundation.org/...
15.    The Free Encyclopedia, (2008). Greek philosophers who came to Africa to study. Retrieved from: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/...
16.    Think Quest Library (No date). Timaeus and Ctitias. Retrieved from: http://library.thinkquest.org/...
17.    Spanish Fiestas (2012). History of Moorish Spain. Retrieved from: http://www.spanish-fiestas.com/...
18.    The Free Library, (2002). Spain reclaims its African heritage: after centuries of denial, Spain is reclaiming the heritage of Arab-African Moors who brought a high civilization to barbarian Europe. (Diaspora: Old Africa). Retrieved from: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/...
19.    Hub Pages, (2012). The History And the Age of The Moors in Spain: How The Moors Civilized Europe - The History of Africa. Retrieved from: http://ixwa.hubpages.com/...
20.    Turner, Margery Austin, (1997). Segregation by the Numbers. Urban Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.urban.org/...
21.    Logan, J.R. & Stults, B.J., (2011). The Persistence of Segregation in the Metropolis: New Findings from the 2010 Census. US 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.s4.brown.edu/...
22.    U.S. Census Bureau (2010). State and County QuickFacts. Retrieved from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/...
23.    Smith, Will, (2012). The School-To-Prison-Pipeline: Are the State of Wisconsin Policies Targeting Black Youth for Incarceration? Thesis, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
24.    Wisn 12 News, (2011). Walker's Budget Cuts $800 Million From Public Education. June 27, 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.wisn.com/...
25.    Smith, Will, (2012). Why, Exactly, Are We Celebrating? Third Smith Ramble, July 15, 2012. Retrieved from: http://3rdsmithramble.com/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bottom line is that education is Western-centric (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FourthOfJulyAsburyPark

    This guy really needs to read Edward Said and have his horizons expanded.  There is so much wrong here, that it is almost impossible to know where to start.  This may be one:  http://www.renaissance.com.pk/...

    An example of the slant most of us receive with our mother's milk and primary education was driven home the other as I read my granddaughter's text, which extolled the Roman Empire as the largest empire in history.

    This caught my eye as Africa had several rather large empires and India and China certainly had extensive empires, so there is this:  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Now the impact of Rome on the Western world is not to be denied but other empires in other parts of the world can make the same claim as to influencing their regions.  The question is why none of them made it into a World History text

  •  Please tell me why you are reposting this (0+ / 0-)

    diary again?
    The postulations Mr. Hubbard put forth in his book are rationalizations many white people have used in answer to the Abolitionists spanning Centuries, with some filth being spewed before schools were desegregated called Eugenics.
    Hubbard's book was covered by almost every news source and blog. I don't know if it made Faux because I don't care.
    This is old and tired crap from a diseased mind and Mr. Hubbard was soundly defeated in the last election.
    Which brings me to my question.
    Why did you feel the necessity to republish your Diary?

    "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

    by Cruzankenny on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 10:56:44 AM PST

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