A definition of the word Taboo: A custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, topic or thing.
Spotlight on the Taboo is a series of articles that discuss a variety of topics that people sometimes or even perhaps often think about, but haven’t the confidant or forum in which to engage the forbidden subject with.
For example, are poor people in India still considered by Indian elites as “Untouchable”? Is there any honor in Muslim “Honor Killings”? And, did the U.S. Government allow JFK and MLK Jr. to be assassinated?
If you have an idea for a topic for Spotlight on the Taboo, feel free to drop a comment, in return an effort to accommodate the idea will be made in terms of developing it into a future editorial piece. As always, thanks for tuning in.
An Analysis of makes an Uncle Tom
The word “Uncle Tom” as defined by the Urban dictionary: “A Black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with “the white man” including betray his own people.”
Over the last sixty plus years within African American communities has there ever been a more offensive word to call a Black man than the mentally-shackling, slave-branding word “Uncle Tom”? For the majority of people that aren’t infected with / afflicted with Negrophobia and actually make the time to associate with Blacks (outside of work) the answer would be an empathic “Hell no”.
Used interchangeably as both a noun and an adjective the word “Uncle Tom” conjures in the minds of most adult Black Americans, images of an overly giddy Black male slave whose exaggerated dancing and grinning before his White “master” is a part of his own personal ploy to surviving / living in a society dominated by Whites and their European culture.
The Uncle Tom rationalizes that if he can’t “beat them” (living equally amongst his White slave masters) then to ensure his own survival, why not foster the belief that (1) he loves his master(s) more than he loves himself / his own people and (2) Blacks and Browns are second class citizens who should “thank the Lord above” that slavery brought them to the New World, away from that “heathen” continent called Africa.
To up the value of his “personal stock” in his master’s “world” the Uncle Tom will not hesitate to snitch on, to lie on and even denigrate the worth of another Black should that “uppity” Black person(s) “threaten” the well-being of the Uncle Tom and the delicate world that he lives in.
Oddly, in Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s 1852 award winning American novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the character “Uncle Tom” is not a “sell-out”, instead he is a hero. Rather than disclose the hiding location of recent runaway slaves to sadistic slave overseers, Uncle Tom nobly sacrifices his life in order to protect their secret.
No one knows exactly when the word “Uncle Tom” evolved from being a word that was synonymous to being a Black hero in the late 19th century to it’s current / modern day definition of being a Black sell-out. What is certain is that the word itself is loathed in Black and Brown communities and it’s very mention rekindles not so pleasant memories of Black men past and present that sacrificed their own dignity and the well being of other African Americans for a chance to “enter the master’s home” (through the back door) and receive in payment for their loyalty, 30 pieces of silver.
Which brings us to today’s question, is (by today’s modern definition) Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain an Uncle Tom? Let’s review some of his most recent comments…
Herman Cain on the African-American “Experience”….Quotes from a “Tom”?
In regard to Blacks ability / inability to think for their self:
“African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view.”
In regard to prejudices:
“I have received some of that same vitriol from the Black community simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it’s just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple.”
“I don’t believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way.”
In regard to what a “real Black man” is:
“The liberal mainstream media, notice how they have tried to destroy Sarah Palin, notice how the more popular Michele Bachmann gets, the more they try to destroy her? You want to know why they go after those two ladies more viciously? Because they know that Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin is going to draw a lot of the women vote away from the Democrat party. They are scared to death of that if they were to run and get the nomination. They are doubly scared that a realBlack manmight run against Barack Obama.”
In 1712 the notorious Caribbeanplantation owner William Lynch addressed a group of slave owners in Virginiaand explained to them that the “secret”to controlling Black slaves was to set them against each other. It’s obvious that Mr. Cain has chosen to feign that he’s ignorant of the infamous history of Willie Lynch and his diabolical plan to dominate Black slaves by purposely / forcibly injecting fear, emasculation, rape and distrust within an already disconnected and disenfranchised Black community. In Cain’s eagerness to attract White conservative voters, he shrewdly calculated that it’s far better to blame Black America for it’s overall disinterest in his beloved Republican party than it is for him to honestly examine and then critique why ultra conservative ideology is an instant turn off in most Black and Brown communities.
For Cain to insinuate that the majority of Black and Brown America reject his brand of conservative politics solely on his personal belief that Blacks have been “brainwashed” by an army of liberal “Pied Pipers of Hamelin”, implies that Mr. Cain in his quest to prove his loyalty to the GOP is willing to nationally portray / insult Black people (his people) as mindless welfare loving zombies that are just too dumb to recognize conservative ideology as the panacea for their economic and social woes.
A Black man in “black face makeup”?
Within a growing number of Black circles Herman Cain’s refusal to acknowledge conservatism’s antipathy towards unemployment, women rights, gay rights, Muslim Americans and immigration is tantamount to a Black man performing in “Black face” before a sold-out conservative audience. Is Herman Cain displaying symptoms of Uncle Tomism? You be the judge.
It’s clear that Cain has accepted the role of being the main deflector of unflattering accusations made against the far right by progressives. Indeed his personal story of rising above poverty to eventually becoming the successful CEO of Godfather Pizza is both encouraging and engaging, however setting aside his rather remarkable biography, it’s Cain’s statement that in comparison to President Obama, he’s the “real Black man” in the race for the U.S. presidency is what’s most disturbing and disappointing to those of us that recognize how dangerous Uncle Tomism is within a community. Being able to occasionally enter the GOP “plantation house” through the front door while steadily denigrating minorities that don’t share his love and admiration for conservatism is not every Black / Brown persons interpretation of obtaining personal success. In closing, the jury is still out and the votes are still being tallied on whether or not most of Black / Brown America considers Herman Cain to be an Uncle Tom. Perhaps in Mr. Cain’s mind he is an Uncle Tom, but only in the context that Harriet Beecher Stowe intended her character to be remembered as. You be the judge.
As always, the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Is GOP Herman Cain an Uncle Tom or just misunderstood by most of Black and Brown America? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.
Until next time Louisianans, Good day, God Bless and Good fishing.