Slavery and Racism
Editor, Thought Bombs Magazine
I'm sure many of you feel that abolitionism is an anachronistic
idea. Slavery is over. Why would people consider themselves
abolitionists today? That's what I hope to explain. I want to
present a brief history of abolitionism - their teachings, goals,
effect on history and how their tactics and principles can and
are being utilized today. First, I would like to define a few
terms. Let me quote Ron Daniels, a long time activist in the
"Racism is the systematic discrimination against or exclusion
or oppression of a group, based on an accidental set of qualities,
like skin color, or hair color or hair texture or shape, size
of lips, nose, etc. It is often institutional in character.
It is not confined to individual acts. It is something deeply
embedded in American society. One of the things we need to do
is explode the myth of 'black racism,' because one of the things
that happened over the course of the last twenty years, particularly
with the Reagan administration, as the white backlash against
the civil rights movement began to reach its zenith, is Reagan
began to change the terms of the debate. He began to talk about
'reverse racism,' 'reverse discrimination' and something called
"Well, it is true that all human beings, including African-Americans,
are not exempt from being prejudiced. Prejudice is the ability
to pre-judge or the capacity to pre-judge and it is regrettable
that people pre-judge things. People base their behavior and
some of that behavior is not nice. Or, we might be chauvinist.
This is the belief that one is better - one's group is better.
Or, we might be bigoted. One might set out, out of hatred or
mean-spiritedness, and do acts that are unkind, or on the basis
of prejudice towards other groups. All these things are bad,
but they are not really what we are referring to when we talk
about racism. Racism really is the capacity to translate attitudes
of superiority into customs, practice or law. The fact of the
matter is, we are talking about the capacity of a group of people
to take that animosity, that anger and hostility, that feeling
of superiority and translate it into something that deprives people
of the capacity to fulfill themselves."
The abolitionists were the most effective revolutionaries in American
history aside from the founding fathers. The founding fathers,
however, codified, embedded and sanctified racism and slavery
into the laws, customs and practices of American life, making
it constitutionally legal. The abolitionists fought to destroy
this most vile reality. The American revolutionaries of 1776
were very lucky to throw off the usurious influence of England,
who was pre-occupied an ocean away. They set up a system which
mocked their very own flowery words. They declared, "All
men are created equal" in one breath and with the other sanctified,
codified and legitimized human slavery. This may very well have
been the most gallingly deceitful set of documents ever conjured.
To his credit, Thomas Paine was one of the very few at this time
to openly denounce this scourge. In his disgust, he went to France
to continue the struggle for human liberty.
There are two ways of looking at race in this world. One is the
big lie of racial superiority of so-called "white" people
over those of color, particularly, the blacks. This somehow justifies
genocide, slavery, racism, systematic oppression, degradation
and the exploitation of most of the world's people, for the enrichment
of a tiny minority of white, male capitalists. Most whites are
less oppressed workers, used as pawns to perpetuate these practices.
Many of them are neutralized into acquiescence to this system
by the confusion and timidity systematic brainwashing forces upon
them. The other take on race is the big truth of racial equality
and the struggle for its realization.
Capitalism has long relied on slavery and slave ideology - racism
- to exploit the workers and poor of this world. Hitler based
his attempted takeover of Europe on the successful model of the
racist conquering by white invaders in the Western Hemisphere.
He groveled only to German capital. They approved his racist
megalomania as they saw their dreams of ultra profits being realized,
through genocide, slave labor and military conquest. America's
capital has brought the war on the world's people home - to white
people. As blacks and others of color are being herded into prisons,
white workers are discovering they are no longer capitalism's
darlings. Indeed, they never have been. The crumbs of white
privilege have always been an empty smoke screen to keep whites
ignorant of their real enemy - their own bosses. This has served
to keep the blacks super oppressed and the white workers unable
to understand their historical role of uniting with their brothers
and sisters of color to overthrow the enemies of all mankind,
U.S. dominated, world capitalism.
In the nineties, one of the new groups of revolutionaries is the
abolitionists. We've taken up the challenge of ratcheting up
the level of understanding, which the abolitionists of yore were
so famous for. Wendell Phillips said boastfully, but honestly,
"We have facts for those who think, arguments for those who
reason; but he who cannot be reasoned out of his prejudices must
be laughed out of them; he who cannot be argued out of his selfishness
must be shamed out of it by the mirror of his hateful self held
up relentlessly before his eyes." Racism as a crippling
mindset is a white person's problem. Blacks generally understand
what racism is and black intellectuals have been at the forefront
in the understanding of this pervasive plague, but it is white
people who must change their way of thinking for this country
and the world to have a legitimate chance at societal advancement.
It behooves white intellectuals and white activists to concentrate
on this ubiquitous problem and enlighten whites to racial equality,
to empower them to clearer thinking and a sense of belonging in
the struggle for racial justice which is really the struggle for
all human beings to attain freedom, equality and an opportunity
to achieve their potential.
Modern day abolitionists have taken up the mantle and unabashedly
endeavor to "identify, challenge, defy, disrupt and finally
destroy the institutions that reproduce race." We want to
take the lessons and examples of last centuries abolitionist movement,
their deep commitment and unrelenting dedication, their moral
fervor and powerfully cogent wording, speeches and direct action,
expand upon them and make these lessons and guidelines usable
in today's world.
Today, racism is a lot more subtle. The propaganda machine of
the state is much more adept at hidden mind control and the techniques
of social brainwash are much more appealingly streamlined and
homogenized. A thorough expose of this sham that makes many whites
consider young black males as criminals and black females immoral,
is absolutely vital for the empowerment of our struggle. Fighting
racism it is not only the morally right thing to do, but it opens
the door to all of society's screaming problems, as the fog is
lifted from people's thinking. As this racial awareness helped
spell the doom of the slave system, so too could it prove the
Achilles heel of modern day capitalism.
The abolitionists emerged as the forces opposed to the accomodationist
position of gradual anti-slavery thinking. It was a radical break
with the liberals. It demanded an immediate end to slavery and
full human rights for black people. They believed in the concept
of immediatism, which held that focused concentration should be
applied to the problem until the goal of emancipation was achieved.
It was a personal commitment to keep the pressure on, daily.
They were uncompromisingly opposed to anything less than the
total destruction of the slave system. Their tactics included
disrupting church meetings, operating slave-freeing operations,
such as the underground railroad, agitating against and violating
the fugitive slave laws, etc. Their constant legal and illegal
agitation and direct actions, writings, speeches, books, etc.,
never let the awful reality of slavery be ignored, despite the
often tiny number of adherents they could boast. What they lacked
in numbers, they made up with intensely worded truth, relentless
agitation and uncommon courage.
Not until 1831, did white people begin to take it upon themselves
to organize legitimately to fight slavery, tooth and nail. William
Lloyd Garrison began his brilliant career with the first issue
of the Liberator. Nat Turner's slave rebellion occurred
in this seminal year. It was the largest slave rebellion in U.S.
history. A black thinker, David Walker, issued a powerfully reasoned
appeal to slaves, calling for them to realize the legitimacy of
their right to revolt. Garrison's famous thunderbolt challenge
read, "I am aware that many object to the severity of my
language; but is there no cause for severity? I will be harsh
as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject,
I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation. No!
No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm;
tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher;
tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire
into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in
a cause like the present. I am in earnest - I will not equivocate
- I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - AND I
WILL BE HEARD." Those were the passwords of liberty. The
gauntlet was laid down. Although in Boston, he was surrounded
by a sea of ignorant, racist white society, who were often whipped
into a frenzied mob, by the local rich and their bleating papers.
Abolitionists were unremittingly besieged by mobs and occasionally
murdered, like our own Elijah P. Lovejoy, who was gunned down
by a mob in his hometown of Alton, Illinois, as he was defending
his fourth printing press from destruction! A day earlier,
he had his murderers blubbering in tears from the power of his
oratory, as he refused to be run out of town. To remain in business
with slavers, they decided he had to die.
In the South, the response in part, to abolitionism, was to step
up the suppression, driving anti-slavery advocates Northward and
tightening the chains on the slaves. Sicker, anti-human laws
were passed and enforced. Women joined the movement and added
their life-affirming eloquence and indomitable spirit of human
decency and moral righteousness. Full equal rights for women
was an even more blasphemous concept than full rights for slaves!
This involvement by women presaged the struggle for women's rights.
A split in the ranks of the abolitionists occurred in 1840 over
the involvement of women. The moderates foolishly didn't want
women advocating for human freedom and were thus cast by the wayside
of ideas and marginalized.
Abolitionists attacked religious collusion with slavery and went
to the churches to challenge their pious hypocrisy. They produced
books, pamphlets, anthologies, journals, newspapers, etc., documenting
the evils of slavery, constantly advocating for racial equality.
As the U.S. Government proved more and more to be a slaveocracy,
the pressure by abolitionists was increased. Thirteen out of
the first fifteen presidents were slave owners, being waited on
hand and foot -- in the White House! -- as were
innumerable senators, legislators and Supreme Court justices.
Abolitionists set up the illegal underground railroad to help
fleeing slaves reach the freedom of Canada, and joined to prevent
the abduction of blacks by slave bounty hunters. They raised
money for provisions and guns for anti-slavery fighters in Kansas,
such as John Brown, and kept up their pressure of moral shame
and detailed expose of the abomination of slavery, and the awful
sham of "respectable" Southern society. They attacked
Northern complicity in slavery's continuation and the evils of
capitalism's wage-slave system. They railed against the genocidal
extermination of the indigenous Americans and the imperialist
invasion of Mexico. They endeavored to educate children, writing
abolitionist children's books and information on ways to treat
children as human beings instead of as tiny, super-exploitable
The abolitionists contributed mightily to the world of literature
and advanced thought. Lydia Maria Child was a prolific abolitionist
author as were many others. Harriet Beecher Stowe's masterpiece,
Uncle Tom's Cabin, has few equals as a socially impactful work
of fiction, nor many literary equals. So you see, although the
abolitionists concentrated on race, they opened and explored the
Pandora's Box of all the evils that define capitalism. Their
contributions to revolutionary theory and practice are rich.
Lessons we can draw on, brought to our attention by these abolitionists
are 1) Their relating to children, teaching them to fight injustice
and advocating for their decent treatment. 2) The prominence
of women in the anti-slavery battle and the legitimacy of women's
rights. 3) Their attacking the complicity of the churches with
slavery. 4) The fearlessness with which abolitionists advocated
their positions and the intensity and depth of their argumentation.
If you want to read brilliant, manly argument on this subject,
check out Wendell Phillips! 5) This would be their attack on
business and their collusion with slavery and their inhuman treatment
of "free" white labor, and the grossly underpaying of
the labor of freed blacks. 6) Would be the abolitionists solidarity
with other struggles in America and abroad. For example, they
supported the struggle of the Irish, who were, and to a large
extent still are, the "niggers" of Europe.
The abolitionists were prolific writers, producing many newspapers,
journals, pamphlets, flyers, books, exhaustively researched resource
manuals and reams of poetry. They were early zinesters, getting
the word out in a d.i.y. (do it yourself) manner. Although having
different ideas on various issues and differing temperaments,
they supported each other as they all held firm on the one basic
idea, the abolition of slavery. They refused to
be cowed by the police or the mobs that hounded them. They possessed
an emotional honesty and a willingness to admit to their weaknesses
and mistakes which reflect back on their honest, basic human decency.
The concept of immediatism is useful for us today. This is the
life-long commitment to the goal of liberation, an indefatigable
spirit, a driven, motive-inspired dedication to the agitational
tasks. They demonstrated a fearless willingness to attempt to
reason with their enemies and even converted some by the power
of their ideas. They didn't just preach to the choir. They remained
steadfast in their militancy with a unique clear-sightedness for
decades! They advocated for education to be available for all
Americans. Let's not forget that it was illegal to educate slaves
and even free blacks up North, to a large extent. They advocated
for the humanizing and opening of prisons. They sought better
treatment for the mentally and physically handicapped, the blind,
mute, deaf and sick. They fought for the realization of international
peace. They pressured politicians into taking more and more radical
positions. Mostly, they hammered away at the major cancer of
this country - racial oppression. When the time came, many joined
the struggle bearing arms. Many abolitionists joined Northern
armies, leading soldiers into battle against the South, when it
became obvious it had become a war of liberation. Many fought
bravely and sacrificed their lives and for that, they are immortalized
in our heart of hearts.
Lerone Bennett, Jr., said, "There was in John Brown a complete
identification with the oppressed. It was his child that a slaveowner
was selling; his sister who was being whipped in the field; his
wife who was being raped in the gin house. It was not happening
to the Negroes; it was happening to him. Thus it was said that
he could not bear to hear the word slave spoken. At the sound
of the word his body vibrated like the strings of a sensitive
violin. John Brown was a Negro and it was in this aspect that
As the war clouds gathered, John Brown seeded them with his mythic
attack on Harper's Ferry, forfeiting his life and that of two
of his sons, along with many of his comrades-in-arms. This incredible
gesture of a white man trying to arm the slaves to revolt was
such a shock it drove the South into a paranoid frenzy and forced
the North to reluctantly respond. It electrified the anti-slavery
forces in the North. His life-sacrificing commitment to human
freedom lessened the time black people were forced to endure chattel
slavery. His memory lives on in the hearts of all black Americans
and other freedom-loving people throughout the globe.
When the war bogged down, as Northern whites refused to sacrifice
themselves for the aims of the rich, it became clear that the
union was dissolving. The government finally listened to the
abolitionists, as Lincoln was forced to come hat in hand to them
for a solution to the quagmire. Wendell Phillips addressed a
joint session of Congress, and instructed them to one, make it
a war of emancipation and two, train and arm black slaves to fight
for their freedom. Thus, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation
as a war expedient. It did, however, signal to the slaves, that
they were at long last welcomed. The black slaves had from the
first flooded the Northern armies, overwhelming the situation,
making themselves invaluable and impossible to ignore. Black
slaves, also undertook a general strike in the South, which paralyzed
the ability of the Confederacy to maintain a war machine. The
slaves, none-the-less made sure to care for the white women and
children of the plantations. With the impetus of the blacks fighting
in Northern armies, this tipped the balance in favor of the North.
With incredible bravery and tenacity, borne of the revolutionary
dynamism of the most oppressed on the march, one hundred and eighty
thousand slaves became soldiers, often forced on suicidal assaults
by their white officers. They spearheaded the defeat of the Southern
slaveocracy, saving the union.
With the leadership and continuous agitation of the abolitionists,
slavery was ended. They pushed for the ratification of the Thirteenth
Amendment, which abolished slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment,
which conferred full citizenship rights to blacks and the Fifteenth
Amendment, which granted them voting privileges, were also enacted,
greatly due to the efforts of abolitionists. Having these rights
respected was another matter. A period of partial radical reconstruction
was sporadically undertaken and some blacks were allowed a measure
of freedom and political participation. Some blacks even attained
a bit of land and were allowed to farm for themselves. However,
capitalism was not ended, nor was racism abolished. After a few
short years, anti-black whites regrouped to reinstitute a slightly
more subtle form of race-based oppression. For rescuing the nation
from its hateful self, black people were rewarded with an upgrade
from out-and-out slavery to a form of serfdom. Many blacks remained
on the plantations, working as hard as before with nothing to
show for it. Many wandered throughout the South and became victims
of vagrancy laws, jailed and worked as prison laborers. Jim Crow
laws, black codes and Ku Klux Klan lynch mob vigilante justice
became entrenched in the South and the North! Virulent
racist thought became ubiquitous. History was rewritten. The
abolitionists were explained away as mentally deranged. Racism
became as virulently oppressive a disease as ever. The work of
abolitionism did not end. World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam,
each saw a slight improvement for the lot of black people, who
always toiled mightily in defense of this country, only to see
a racist pendulum of reaction follow these kiddie steps of progress.
Tragically, the history of the white working class of this country
has been marred by the thorazine-like effect of racism. White
workers were, and to a large extent still are, crippled politically,
economically, socially, morally, and psychologically by the construct
of racism. This has greatly reduced their ability to organize
effectively, analyze society and build a more equitable, progressive
reality. This has allowed the capitalist class to establish itself,
uncontested basically, dig a foothold and entrench itself, eventually
emplacing the stranglehold of the rich which defines our society
today. They've had a whole hemisphere of unspoiled bounty to
exploit, to boot! White workers have settled for the meatless
bone of supposed racial superiority. They may have been destitute,
but at least they weren't slaves. Like dogs, they were often
trained to hate "niggers," above all else. This malignancy
is still terribly prevalent. White society, save for a small
counter-culture, is defined by ignorance, timidity, mindless racism,
and vacuous consumerism. Witness the high school-like cheering
for the senseless genocide unleashed on the people of Iraq and
the chortling over their awful suffering. It's pure alienation
for anyone with even a glimmer of thinking ability! Many young
whites abhor this excuse for a life and are looking for alternatives,
like the truth.
Abolitionists today have taken up the all-encompassing challenge
of black (read: human) freedom, justice, equality and the
pursuit of life with full dignity. We are taking the lessons
of our mentors to heart. After all, white society screams for
the liberating insight racial truth can provide them. Blacks
deserve their long overdue freedom. How are we to accomplish
these goals? We think they can only be accomplished with the
aid of focused, painstaking, educational methods, as so impactfully
demonstrated by the abolitionists of yesteryear. Slowly, this
awareness is spreading.
Today, as reactionary social fascism becomes more and more pronounced
and naked profit-seeking becomes more blatant, white workers are
beginning to realize that their so-called white skin privilege
is about as useful as a hundred marks in 1923 Germany. Virulent
racism (such as church burnings and police assaults) are on the
increase as capital records record profits and workers are increasingly
besieged. Many white folks still blame society's hardships on
the blacks instead of everyone's real tormentors, the state and
the corporations they service. But, on the other side of the
coin, many more whites have begun to reject these lies and identify
more and more with black people and others of color. This offers
hope that our children may experience an adult life based on racial
The civil rights movement, Vietnam and the social upheavals of
the sixties and seventies brought new opportunities for minor
improvements for blacks. Some words were changed in a few laws.
Social, educational and economic opportunities opened up a little
for some blacks. After the U.S. was defeated in Vietnam, the
U.S. beast retreated to lick its wounds for a little while before
it felt comfortable in cranking up the reactionary swing of racialist
capitalism. The facade of a phony communist monolith crumbled,
enabling the ruling class to accelerate its subjugation of all
the world's workers and resources.
Out of this reactionary environment, the New Abolitionist Movement
was launched in 1990. A new voice of focused understanding and
study of the role race plays in our society is being heard with
the aim of getting white people to reject the lies of racism and
embrace the struggle for black freedom, in effect, to abolish
"whiteness." These ideas are articulated in the journal,
Race Traitor, and the newsletter, the New
Abolitionist News. They are calling on whites to serve
as race traitors to expose , identify, attack, reveal and make
untenable the construct of racist ideology. Insight into race
will provide whites with the fog-lifting clarity to begin to confront
America's other social, economic and political problems. It provides
blacks with long past due allies in their struggle for freedom.
It also gives whites the liberating freedom of becoming full
human beings, no longer tied to self-crippling ideas.
Why am I an abolitionist? I consider myself an anarchist and
an atheist. In other words, I'm a rationalist. Why do I go around
advocating abolitionism? It's because this sickening, Earth-threatening
capitalist beast has always used slave ideology as its moorings.
If we can dissolve the white racist lies infecting so many minds,
we have a much better chance at effectively opposing all the other
systems of oppression under capitalism's umbrella - sexism, religious
nonsense, child-hating, homophobia, nationalism, militarism, ecocide
- everything threatening, degrading, poisoning, bulldozing and
killing this world of ours.
Just because a person's skin is white, doesn't mean he has to
think "white." If enough white people refuse to play
this game, the racist sea, which capitalism so relies on, will
begin to dry up. As more whites realize fighting for black liberation
is in their own best interests, a genuinely multi-racial force
can be mustered to revolt against all of capitalism's degrading
inequities. All these struggles are inter-connected, and I don't
mean to minimize the importance of the other ones, but I do feel
that racism is so fundamentally pervasive throughout America's
history, that it shrieks to be concentrated upon. Capitalism
has always saved its harshest, most devastating treatment for
black people, throughout this world. By focusing on this struggle,
the true nature of our enemy can be seen in all its depravity.
It keeps our hatred of the system pure and potent and insures
our concentrated attention. Remember, we are their next intended
victims. The struggle for black freedom is where some of the
most powerful writings and inspirational examples of selflessness
are shown, which can fortify and empower us. It is where the
real revolutionary action is being waged, daily. The massive
spontaneous revolt which greeted the Rodney King "verdict"
could not have come from the white community, or even the Chicano
community - at least not yet. I think it is important to note
that this insurrection enjoyed the support of some non-blacks,
others of color, and significantly, some whites. Our job is to
educate, propagandize, build coalitions, recruit fighters and
be involved in anti-racist actions. We hold forums, meetings,
conventions, seminars - anything and everything to get our message
known in a way that will advance the struggle against racism-propped
As for modern day abolitionism, it sprung out of the racial awareness
accumulating in the universities. Race Traitors' two main
editors, John Garvey and Noel Ignatiev, double as brilliant professors.
Garvey teaches at the City University of New York. Noel has
recently wrapped up his lecturing at Harvard, to devote full time
to the cross-country advocacy of abolitionist ideas. Issue #8
of Race Traitor just came out. I have a few copies for
sale, along with the first four issues of my abolitionist zine,
Thought Bombs, which I have just recently detonated. Staughton
Lynd, a well-respected historian, has written the first article
in this latest Race Traitor. It is entitled, "Black
and White and Dead All Over: The Lucasville Insurrection."
It is about the prison revolt in Ohio, in 1993, where the Black
Muslims and the Aryan Nation teamed up during this revolt, and
the brutal suppression meted out by the state when it was all
over. It's powerful stuff, believe me.
The best of the first four issues of Race Traitor has been compiled
into book form. It won a National Book Award last year. One
essay, "Three Days That Shook The New World Order,"
was written by Chicago's own, Franklin Rosemont. It details the
events of the Rodney King insurrection. Race Traitor is full
of insightful articles, essays, historical analysis and letters.
Their tenets are that race being the historically constructed
social formation that it is, can be dismantled by having enough
white people reject their "whiteness," which would make
the whole sham of "whiteness" untenable, opening up
the struggle across the board. We must get white people past
the stumbling block of race to empower them effectively in this
challenge against the state.
"The existence of the white race depends on the willingness
of those assigned to it to place their racial interests above
class, gender, or any other interests they hold. The defection
of enough of its members to make it unreliable as a predictor
of behavior will lead to its collapse." Race Traitor's
guiding principle is, "Treason to Whiteness is Loyalty
to Humanity." Whether this is realizable as soon as
we'd like, so soon at all, is anybody's guess. But, it's hopeful,
inspired and worthy of our most determined efforts. Last May,
an abolitionist gathering was held in New York City, attended
by 175 activists. Out of this was launched the New Abolitionist
News, featuring more insightful essays and news. The address
of the New Abolitionist News is P.O.Box 603, Cambridge,
MA 02140-0005. The journal is twenty bucks for four issues.
You can also call a local editor at (312) 794-2954.
Actions such as copwatches, where activists keep an eye on the
police, with video cameras, etc., in areas where the cops are
known to abuse people, are done in various cities across the country.
College campuses are beginning to form abolitionist groups such
as the one at the University of Texas, and at our very own University
of Chicago, whose group goes by the name of S.A.W. (Students Against
Whiteness). New activists are being energized to advocate for
racial solidarity. Books have been written recently about this
subject, such as "The Wages of Whiteness" by
David Roediger, and "How the Irish Became White,"
by Noel Ignatiev.
It's motivating to see whites finally focusing on their genuine
self-interests and battling alongside their brothers and sisters
of color, because after all, it is all of our struggle. The black
revolutionaries are stepping up their activities as well. The
Panthers are back! More clearsighted, fearless, articulate
and inspiring than ever, after being decimated by the death squads
of the U.S. Government. Other groups of women, blacks, punks,
Chicanos, Indians, etc. have stepped up the pace of the struggle.
There's a group called Black Autonomy out of Seattle. They're
black anarchists who also offer terrific leadership and insight.
I have a list of a couple dozen addresses and brief descriptions
of underground publications available.
Abolitionists strive to support and work closely with these black
fighters. It's for real! The fight is on. The commitment is
there! Slowly, a new multi-racial revolutionary movement is taking
shape. We have a world to reclaim from the racist rich. It's
time to knuckle down and do our jobs! There's no excuse for whites
not to be involved in this broadening of humanity.
I'd like to leave you with a few quotes. James Baldwin said,
"As long as you think you're white, there is no hope for
you." W.E. B. DuBois, perhaps the most brilliant intellectual
America has ever produced, said, "It was bad enough to have
the consequences fall upon colored people the world over; but
in the end it was even worse when one considers what this attitude
did to the (white) worker. His aim and ideal was distorted
He began to want not comfort for all men, but power over other
He did not love humanity and he hated niggers."
Here's Wendell Phillips again, "I claim for the anti-slavery
it has been marked by sound judgment, unerring
foresight, the most sagacious adaptation of means to ends, the
strictest self-discipline, the most thorough research, and an
amount of patient and manly argument addressed to the conscience
and intellect of the nation, such as no other cause of the kind,
in England or this country, has ever offered."
"Begin with the children and train their minds to habits
of just feelings and acting, and you may hope for great success.
But once you let the mind become imbued with the martial spirit,
which is the same as the spirit of slaveholding, a spirit which
leads man to domineer over his brother, to crush him and despoil
him, that mind will not depart from this diabolical spirit."
"But why is it that it seems so repugnant to marry your sons
and daughters to colored persons? Simply because public opinion
is against it. Nature teaches no such repugnance, but experience
has taught me that education only does. Do children feel and
exercise that prejudice towards colored persons? Do not colored
and white children play together promiscuously until the white
is taught to despise the colored?"
"Man can better stand starvation than the consciousness of
injustice. The consciousness that you are treated unjustly will
rouse you to protest and rebellion just as quickly as hunger,
perhaps even quicker. Hunger may be the immediate cause of every
rebellion or uprising, but beneath it is the slumbering antagonism
and hatred of the masses against those at whose hands they are
suffering injustice and wrong. The truth is that right and injustice
play a far more important role in our lives than most people are
"The sad drama of immigrants embracing whiteness while facing
the threat of being victimized as non-white would have many sequels
after the Irish experience."
"We first debase the nature of man by making him a slave,
and then very coolly tell him that he must always remain a slave
because he does not know how use freedom. We first crush people
to the earth, and then claim the right of trampling on them forever
because they are prostrate."
"If anti-slavery made me take one particle less of interest
in the sad music of the moon, the birth and death of the flowers,
and above all, in the rose colored dreams of youthful love, I
would abjure it tomorrow." -Lydia Maria Child
"Who can be serene in a country where both rulers and ruled
are without principle? The remembrance of the baseness of politicians
spoils my walks. My thoughts are murder to the State. I endeavor
in vain to observe nature, my thoughts involuntarily go plotting
against the State. I trust that all just men will conspire."
-Henry David Thoreau
"We do not play politics. Anti-slavery is no half jest with
us. It is a terrible earnest, with
life or death, worse than life or death
" My boy, Wendell
"Racism does not exempt white people from exploitation, it
reconciles them to it."
I tell you all this because history is the genetic blueprint of
present day reality. Thank you
all for your attention.