Friday, March 02, 2007
Open Letter to Kenneth Eng
For somebody that graduated from NYU, you are breathtakingly ignorant to paint an entire race of people with a stereotypical brush based on two movies and a rap radio station as you did in your recent February 23 column. (Personally I prefer classic R&B and jazz myself.)
I guess you forgot about the story of Joseph Cinque and the Amistad revolt? That wasn't an isolated incident. Many slave ship voyages didn't get too far away from the African coastline before the rebellions started. There were far more successful slave rebellions and revolts than the 'happy darkie' pro-slavery revisionist forces care to elaborate on and the first one happened in 1733. They feared slave rebellions from 1792 onward. Haiti's slaves liberating themselves from French rule in 1803 made them even more 'scurred' of us replicating the feat on US shores.
I see you're also clueless about Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad and the various ingenious ways that African-Americans escaped from plantations. They fought for their freedom in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
While were on the war tip, ever heard of the Buffalo Soldiers? The 761st Tank Battalion AKA the Black Panthers? The Tuskegee Airmen? The 54th Massachusetts Regiment? You desperately need to hop on the subway and spend some time at the Schomburg Institute.
And in which one of your science-fiction universes did you come up with that asinine statement? I'm tired of peeps like you dismissing our very real historical experiences in this country as 'whining'. The Christianity that the slavemasters forced on us was infused with our own religious experiences and traditions we brought with us from Africa. From that Christianity came some of our greatest leaders in the late 19th and 20th century.
Kenneth, what I don't get is your disjointed rambling about some obscure high school debate and what connection it has with African-Americans in general. But then again racists were never known to have logical linear thinking processes.
If you didn't see any African-Americans in your honors or AP classes, then you must have attended school in the 'burbs or went to a private one. I was in gifted and talented classes in junior and senior high along with many of my friends. Education was stressed in mine and many other households in my neighborhood.
George Santayana was right. If you don't study the past you are condemned to repeat it. That's why we just spent 28 days commemorating our history. African-Americans are painfully familiar with that statement more than anyone else in this country because we've seen the effects of neglected or ignored history disproportionately impact our community. For example, our experiences during Reconstruction in the late 19th century have eerily replicated themselves in the late 20th-early 21st century.
And it is rather troubling that this kind of virulent racism is alive and well in the early 21st century, especially in someone who is a 21 year old college graduate. I'm even more angered over the fact that you chose Black History Month to write such disgusting tripe.
We are heroes, Kenneth. I'm descended from peeps that survived the Middle Passage. Despite violent opposition, nattering naysayers and countless obstacles placed in our paths over the last 400 years that would have broken less sturdy peoples, to quote Maya Angelou, 'and still we rise.'