Friday, January 15, 2010

Time to be Heard Part 2--Slave Drivers and Slave Catchers of the 21st Century: Glenn Beck's Special on Black Conservatives and Dr. King's Dream

The black garbage pail kids black conservatives are at it again.

I firmly believe in highlighting the ideological diversity that exists within the black community. I also subscribe to the idea that there are as many different ways to be black as there are black people. However, I do not confuse "Black" with black. The former is a certain understanding of political blackness (linked fate or group consciousness), a sense of race pride, and an obligation to truth telling against power. The witches coven of black conservatives that Glenn Beck repeatedly features on his show (with brazen provocativeness in honor of all days, Dr. King's birthday) lack these attributes as they enthusiastically enable the inherent racism and racial resentment that undergirds white conservatism.

I have often suggested that black conservatives are psycho-racial projections for and of the white conservative racial id (note the use of "white conservatives" as opposed to "conservatives," as there is a substantial and real difference between the two ideologies). These black folk are the "good ones." These black conservatives are not "confused" by the liberals and Democrats. These black folk are not "angry." Nor, do "they" make "trouble." All the while these happy black conservatives are just pleased to be at the party, to have some table scraps thrown to them by their white conservative masters as they enjoy their positions as 21st century colonial intermediaries who can translate the drums of the natives.

Consider--and this would be my qualifier for distinguishing between principled black conservatives and the peanut gallery of jesters that is Beck's court--why did these guests not call Beck on his own nonsense? Why did not one of them ask Beck if Dr. King was a "Socialist" or "Communist" according to the former's criteria? How about asking Beck about Dr. King's support for the poor, world peace, affirmative action, and health care as a human right for all peoples? What of Beck's assertion that President Obama is a "slave owner" who wants to put Americans in "shackles?" Or how Beck through his support for the Tea-Parties, the seditious 9-12 militia project, the Birthers, etc. has encouraged a particularly venomous white nativism that sees Obama's presidency as being inherently illegitimate because he is not white? Ultimately, why not call Beck on his lecturing Black Americans that they should "just stop using African American" because it is a "meaningless" term anyway?

History echoes through to the present. It is the sea in which we swim, the ether that we all breath. In reaching back through history, it has become fashionable to call black conservatives "slave catchers." The more I think about the term, the more appropriate it seems. But, these racial apologists and collaborators also fit the role of "slave drivers": black bondsmen who worked under the overseer and/or managed the plantation when master was away. Accordingly, in researching the term I came upon The National Humanities Center's helpful entry on the topic:

On large plantations, the person who directed the daily work of the slaves was the overseer, usually a white man but occasionally an enslaved black man—a "driver"—promoted to the position by his master. Some plantations had both a white overseer and a black driver, especially in the deep South or on plantations where the master was often absent. Of white overseers, former slaves relate harsh memories (see the narratives in #1: An Enslaved Person's Life). Of black drivers their memories are more varied, reflecting the ambiguous state between power and impotence inhabited by the black slave driver.

The National Humanities Center also has a handy teaching guide. Ironically, I would suggest that it is a quite fitting tool with which to analyze the black conservatives on Beck's show. A selection of questions from that resource follows:
  1. What news items, forms of respect, requests and questions, etc., occur repeatedly in the drivers' letters?
  2. What tone do you identify in the slaves' letters to their masters?
  3. What construction of reality—information and impressions—do the drivers relate directly in their letters?
  4. What information and impressions do they convey "between the lines"?
  5. What information and impressions do they convey without their awareness?
  6. How would a distant master read and interpret these letters? What would he learn?
  7. How do the masters exercise control from afar? How effective are they as absent masters?
  8. What forms of initiative and power are the drivers allowed to exercise?
  9. How do the drivers differ in using or displacing this power?
  10. What words do the letter writers, slave and master, use in place of "slave"? Why?
  11. How do the black drivers relate to their fellow slaves over whom they hold authority?
  12. How do they adapt to their vulnerable (or empowering) position between master and slave?
History's echoes. Quite fitting, no? What do we make of Beck's trotting out of these black conservatives? What is their agenda? How do these questions help us to interpret the game that Beck's black enablers are running? Is it a profitable shtick, a type of race hustle, that Beck's guests are perpetrating (along with folks like Michael Steele, Clarence Thomas, et al.)? Or do these slave catchers actually believe what they are saying?

Quick addendum:

This second clip makes me want to throw up in my mouth. I really want to go Mau Mau on these folks as they dare to let any allusion to our honored ancestors come out of their mouths. Disgusting. Truly disgusting. Notice the Freudian slip by the "hip hop Republican"--yes my dear, you will indeed walk chest deep in feces for a job:


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Black Americans who identify with the GOP are strange lot indeed.

BC Cook said...

The quickest way for a black person in the US to get rich is to become one of these Black Conservatives.
There's only a few dozen of them as far as I can tell and they all have regular TV gigs as pundits. They all have jobs as "consultants" and "authors'" And none of them appear to have missed many meals.

RiPPa said...

Awesome Chauncey... truly awesome!

Was it me, but after watching the entire show today (I've uploaded all the videos to my YouTube channel). It seems to me like there was a conscious effort in production so as to not make these "enablers" seem as angry as they did on Beck's first installment back in November. I noticed many of them reference Barack Obama as "our president," and I found that shocking. So yeah, what exactly are they up to?

Citizen Ojo said...

Beck cares about black folks!! That is so touching..ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

Democrats care about black folks!! That is so touching…ha ha ha