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The Long Tail of Slavery

Posted by Roberta Grimes • June 20, 2020 • 57 Comments
Slavery, The American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,
Nobody knows but Jesus.
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,
Glory hallelujah!
– From a pre-1865 Negro spiritual, author unknown

Every human being of every shade is a member of a single race. Modern Europeans are in fact east Africans. This scientific certainty has been achieved only very recently, and from the standpoint of history it changes so much! The anatomically modern ancestors of Europeans began to enter Europe in large numbers following the most recent ice age, which ended less than fifteen thousand years ago. And these African immigrants to Europe didn’t fully lose the melanin in their skin until well into the historical period. Scientists have lately begun to sequence the DNA in ancient skeletons. Thanks to them, we now can meet three Europeans who lived in about 8000 BCE, 5000 BCE, and 3700 BCE respectively. All of them had blue eyes and dark skin, and the reason for their blue eyes is amusing. Blue eyes came from a single genetic mutation in about 8000 BCE, and apparently the trait was such a sexually attractive novelty that it rapidly overspread the continent.

The primary genes that allowed most Europeans to lose the melanin in their skin so they could better produce Vitamin D arrived in Europe with Neolithic farmers, and in much of Europe light skin did not predominate until after about 3000 BCE. These dates might change a bit as more information is developed. But the point is that there simply has not been time enough for Europeans to have genetically diverged in any meaningful way from their east African brothers and sisters.

So now we know that every apparent difference between black and white Americans has to be the product of our recent history. Once we understand and address the causes of these artificial differences, there is no reason why we cannot all live in harmony, as one big family.

Slavery is not just an ancient evil. It is estimated that there are more slaves on earth today than there ever have been before. And slavery is not a matter of skin shade, since people with light skin have been enslaved. Slavery has taken many forms, but it always has been common. It has been estimated that when the Declaration of Independence was signed, most of the people living on earth were being held in some form of servitude.

The history of slavery in the United States is riddled with myths and misinformation that need not concern us here. It should be noted, though, that the Founders inherited slavery just as we have inherited the mess that followed slavery. And they hated it. Thomas Jefferson inherited scores of slaves, and he saw this situation as such a shame and a burden that in his youth he was determined to rid himself of it by ending slavery altogether. His first draft of the Declaration of Independence contained what John Adams wryly referred to as “Jefferson’s Philippic against the slave trade.” Slavery was the most contentious issue that America’s Founders had to resolve as they worked to create their union, and they were forced to make what they hoped were short-term compromises with slavery or they could not have united the colonies.

After the Civil War, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were meant to end slavery. But they did no such thing! There was in fact a sensible and loving reason why people of good will worried about emancipation, and it was a problem that especially concerned the Founders. Most slaves were very different from whites in appearance and in behavior, so many people assumed there had to be innate differences between the races that would make it impossible for them ever to live together amicably. If the Founders had known that we are all one race, identical in every way, they would have done things differently! But as it was, even those eager to end slavery were worried that emancipation might precipitate endless race wars. They worried, too, about freeing the slaves into a white community that treated freedmen horribly. As Jefferson said, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.”

After the Civil War, this fear remained that there were real racial differences, so what began in 1865 was a long tail of subjugation of the descendants of slavery that continues to this day. The merciful among us now have the chance to altogether solve our racial problems! Knowing that there is just one race, we can discover and address the causes of all the difficulties that still plague slavery’s modern descendants. I urge others to study this history as well. But here are the causes of our racial mess as I see them:

  • The United States never emancipated its slaves. Making chattel slavery illegal was less than half the task. And in the bitter chaos of Reconstruction, we made no attempt to help the former slaves, but instead we simply abandoned them into a stronger white culture that feared and despised them. Without the protections, education, and personal empowerment that a real emancipation would have provided, the legally freed slaves and most of their descendants have been stuck at the bottom of American society ever since.
  • The Black Codes that began during Reconstruction promptly re-enslaved many black men. The Thirteenth Amendment contained a loophole through which the former slaveholders could drive a truck! Among other things, since there were few jobs available to former slaves, many men were convicted of vagrancy and enslaved on chain gangs with sentences which included fines that they had no way to pay. They were therefore often bound for life.
  • For a century after the Civil War, Jim Crow laws enforced segregation and severely limited opportunities. Blacks in the South were denied the right to vote or be well educated. Any who seemed “uppity” could be imprisoned or even lynched at someone’s whim.
  • The War on Poverty destroyed the black family. While the Civil Rights legislation of the mid-Sixties was bringing a better end to slavery a century after it had been legally abolished, the War on Poverty was launching the dissolution of the black family and thereby beginning today’s third version of slavery’s awful subjugations. From 1870 through 1960, roughly the same percentage of blacks as whites were married; but by 1980, most of those black marriages had broken up. The stalwart and courageous men who had brought their families through Jim Crow were still so stuck in slavery’s mindset that apparently they believed they were being ordered to surrender their loved ones to the care of governments that could better provide for them.
  • Few have understood the power of the first five years of life. For those few years, children’s minds are in download mode as they uncritically learn a lot of core facts, including learning their status in life by very closely observing their parents. This information then becomes hard-wired in us. And since the United States never actually emancipated its slaves, a version of the slavery mindset has been passed down in some American families for generations.
  • Our criminal justice system is an abomination. We talked about this problem briefly last week. Unless we make some radical changes there, nothing else that we do is going to be of much help.

We can address the effects of all these mistakes and cut at last this long tail of slavery. The problems listed above may not be all the ways in which we have hampered slavery’s descendants, but to remove just these most obvious chains would be a way to launch a new beginning! Reparations might seem to be indicated, but we have spent more than half of our national debt in trying to help the descendants of slavery and only made things worse. It is time to begin a dialogue about how we can create one peaceful country where brothers and sisters of every shade can prosper in mutual love and trust. Next week we will begin that dialogue by looking with creative mercy at how we might address each of these longstanding problems.

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down, Oh, yes, Lord.
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground, Oh, yes, Lord.
Although you see me going ‘long so, Oh, yes, Lord.
I have my trials here below, Oh, yes, Lord.
If you get there before I do, Oh, yes, Lord.
Tell all-a my friends I’m coming too!
Oh, yes, Lord.
           – From a pre-1865 Negro spiritual, author unknown

 

Mount Vernon slave cabin photo credit: jcbwalsh <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/36520408@N02/5915261480″>Mount Vernon Slave Cabin</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Slave cabin – South Carolina photo credit: denisbin <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/13705673934″>Slave cabin at Magnolia slave plantation South Carolina. It used West African slaves with knowledge of rice cultivation in Sierra Leone to cultivate rice on the plantation.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Oak Alley slave cabin photo credit: denisbin <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/8983033124″>Slave cabin Reconstructed at Oak Alley</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Old cabin photo credit: MIKOFOX ⌘ Reject Fear, Go Outdoors, Live Healthy <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28648755@N07/48556523822″>Hand Hewn Logs & Dovetail Corners!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Alfred’s cabin photo credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94502827@N00/40092299983″>Alfred’s cabin – The Hermitage</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Cabin photo credit: MIKOFOX ⌘ Reject Fear, Go Outdoors, Live Healthy <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28648755@N07/49156210882″>Leaning Back For The Final Rest</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Roberta Grimes

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57 thoughts on “The Long Tail of Slavery

  1. Dear Roberta, a wonderful analysis, as ever! My son Lewis (17) has been doing a project analysing the thinking of the southern confederate leadership (not entirely involving critical appraisal, more affective bias). A particularly striking instance is the Confederate States’ covert effort to manipulate British public opinion using agents in the Anthropological Society of London, who argued the case for slavery and fly posted Confederate flags on London streets .

    I am also interested in the sugar production which was intertwined with slavery. Very lucrative for all (including the transporters across the Atlantic). Until Napoleon assisted a German scientist to produce sugar the year round from sugar beet. This led to a major loss of income to the American sugar industry, with slaves being furloughed, arguably hastening their emancipation.

    Interestingly a european ‘sugar mountain’ developed leading to tax on sugar in Britain being rescinded by Gladstone, with rapid escalation of consumption across the social divide. About 30 years later a syndrome called ‘Dementia Praecox’ was noted, needing large asylums; the progenitor of the mental health industry we see now.
    Thank you again for your work.

    1. Dear Prasanna, I haven’t really studied the details of American history just before the Civil War, but I seem to recall that it had become far less economically productive by then. And meanwhile, the north had for the most part gotten past slavery and into the early industrial revolution, so by then the north was considerably richer than was the south. It never was an even contest, and we can be glad of that fact!

  2. Science and inequality: after Darwin -Francis Galton (Statistician and anthropologist)
    Charles Darwin’s cousin, born in 1822, Galton made his name as a geographer of Africa. His later research in statistics and anthropology led him to apply his relative’s breakthrough findings to human differences. As a strong proponent of the role of heredity in variations between individuals and groups, his championing of “nature” versus “nurture” was developed in the 1869 book ‘Hereditary Genius’ and then via the study of twins. In 1883, he coined the word “eugenics”, and advocated strategies for improving human stock to give “the more suitable races or strains of blood” a better chance of success. His idea of “negative eugenics”, designed to restrict the reproduction of less “fit” populations, would eventually feed into the policies of sterilisation followed by many from Nazi Germany to Social Democratic Sweden.

    Arthur Jensen, Psychologist
    The dispute over race, intelligence and heredity crackled into life again in 1969 when Jensen published, in the ‘Harvard Educational Review’, a paper entitled “How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement?” He concluded that heritable differences in intelligence between white Americans and African Americans meant that schemes to improve black children’s performance would fail. His claims provoked lasting controversy both scholarly (in rebuttals such as Stephen Jay Gould’s ‘The Mismeasure of Man’) and practical (student protests outside his office in Berkeley) as critics accused him of reviving 19th-century “scientific” racism. Jensen has continued to promote the genetic components of intelligence variations but, in 1996, his synthesis of research and arguments, ‘The g Factor’, was refused by publishers. It finally appeared in 1998.

    1. Dear Prasanna, thank you for profiling these racists. It’s really eye-opening! In literal, objective fact, every black person is on average the intellectual equivalent of every white person on average. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER! And that is big news. I wish we could say otherwise, but the “inferiority” of black people is the great unspoken lie that most of our governing class still believes.

      Some have said in emails to me this morning that “of course we know there is only one race! No need to reiterate that!” But indeed, the insidious effects of this present third stage of American slavery include our allowing black children to receive vastly inferior educations, and then pushing them through college with “affirmative action,” the very existence of which confirms that there is this unspoken assumption that they couldn’t do it on their own. The great news is the fact that there is no intellectual difference whatsoever between the races! None! And that means that at very long last, we can together build one equal and truly just nation.

      1. Where can I find the sources that say Modern Europeans come from East Africa?

        Also, why are Indians (South Asians) so culturally different from all the other races?

        1. Dear Ali M, there are links in the first few paragraphs above to articles that should include information about how Europe was populated with anatomically modern humans following the last ice age. The science on this continues to develop, but you will find as you do the research that anatomically modern humans developed on the African continent just under 200,000 years ago and overspread it, and some of those near its east coast began to wander out of Africa in numbers around 40,000 years ago. Their way north was still blocked by glacial ice, so many of them went east; some, however, stayed put and entered Europe gradually as the last ice age ended and the glaciar receded north. The official date on that is about 9,700 BCE. In the near east, in Europe, and along the way farther east, these east Africans encountered, interbred with, and diplaced Neanderthals, Denisovans, and perhaps other closely related groups that are all now extinct. (For comparison, you should know that both Neanderthals and Denisovans are apparently more closely related to modern humans than are polar bears related to Alaskan brown bears, and those two strains can freely interbreed and produce fertile offspring.)

          Your question about the natives of the Indian subcontinent confuses me. First, of course, there is no separate “Indian” race. And second, every ancient civilization that developed largely in isolation – in this case, primarily because of the Himalayas – developed its own individual and often very rich culture, remnants of which still survive today. These different flavors of human life from place to place worldwide are part of what makes humanity so wonderful!

          1. A small point but worth exploring, I read in a ScienceDaily article of some recent anthropological evidence that anatomically modern human artifacts dating closer to 300,000 years ago—but still, in Africa. Our genetic kinship goes back a long way.

  3. Hello Roberta,
    Good morning! I have read your books, love your book “Liberating Jesus”, and posts and value your opinion. Thank you for all you do. I have a question. In your opinion, how would Jesus react and what would he do if his country was being destroyed by looters and innocent people being killed who are trying to, in my opinion, destroy our country’s history. It is a confusing time. I see white people bowing down to organizations such as BLM, who are not friends of the US. I feel we are losing our precious country. It is a sad time and I pray we do not lose our Christian culture to people who hate our way of life.
    Thank you,
    Carole

    1. Dear Carole, it is hard to say what Jesus would do, beyond saying that the only way to fix these problems is to raise humanity’s consciousness vibration enough to bring the kingdom of God on earth. And since His teachings are by far the easiest and quickest way for us to begin that process, He likely would be urging us to right away get started!

      Personally, I see the present political nastiness as the vile fruits of a deeply corrupt educational system that we have trusted for far too long to pass down the values that can yet raise up all the people of the world. We have trusted in the goodness of people who were not good. So now we have our work cut out for us.

    1. Dear Millie, thank you! And I believe in the innate goodness of the America people. I think that for the most part people have feared that there might be differences, so finding that there are not and there cannot be any differences surely comes as a great relief to so many of us!

  4. Roberta, this blog is very thought-provoking. In particular, I would like to focus on “Every human being of every shade is a member of a single race.”, and we know that as a result of DNA testing of ancient skeletons. But, we should have known that some time ago due to the advent of color TV.

    A precis of the Wikipedia article “YIQ” begins as follows: “An image along with its Y, I, and Q components. YIQ is the color space used by the NTSC color TV system, employed mainly in North and Central America, and Japan. I stands for in-phase, while Q stands for quadrature….”What you won’t find in the Precis or the main article, or even the “Talk” discussion is that the hue of the I component is very close to skin tone. Black people have a stronger I component than white people, but the hue is the same. I ran across this information as a young engineer working on a digital color display. My (inadequate) response to this was a “hmm”. This happened about 1970. I, like so many others, failed to draw the deeper inference of the essential sameness of Blacks and Whites. Shame on me.

    More relevant than ever before is the book “The Fun of Living Together”, written by Roberta and her co-author Kelley Glover. (This is a YASP (Yet Another Shameless Plug). It’s a plan for Blacks and Whites to live together in harmony. I bring this up for the fact that Kelley, a young Black Woman, was in a previous incarnation a Black Man. If this doesn’t give us all the idea that skin color is irrelevant, I don’t know what will.

    Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I had forgotten about Kelley’s previous lifetime as a traveling black minstrel who knew Thomas Jefferson. And thank you for mentioning our book, which was an act of love for both of us to research and write. I’ll be delving into sharing its solutions next week.

      I should add, though, that we do tend to change skin shades from incarnation to incarnation with fair frequency. We are told, for example, that many slaveholders judged themselves harshly in their post-death life reviews, and many then sentenced themselves to come back fairly quickly and incarnate as a black American, perhaps as an act of spiritual balancing. It therefore seems that some of the victims of Jim Crow had been white slaveholders in their previous lifetimes.

  5. Thank you for this and I will be sharing it.

    As someone who majored in History and continues to study the subject, especially African-American and Indigenous American history, I’ve been trying to explain this to my white family and friends. I keep getting accused of being fooled by ‘revisionist’ history. Maybe if our K-12 school system did a better job of teaching real history, more people would understand they only know half the story!

    1. Oh dear Vincenza, since you know this history well, I’m especially glad that you approve of what I have said here! And I agree totally that our schools are minimizing and botching the second greatest story ever told, but I think that the current political mess is a wake-up call that likely will lead to a much better and more balanced teaching of our nation’s real history.

  6. Roberta
    I appreciate the tight rope you walk on and still opened a necessary subject.. Your certainly correct on all the injustices that you’ve covered. The Most insidious was the welfare state and the removal of the father from the family. I believe, many of us understand this was a calculated Political Move to destroy the Black Family System.
    Before anything can be changed for people of color, I believe, we must change: 1. The welfare State 2. Completely tear down the Public School System & start really education our children and not just cramming old fake facts into their brains. 3. The entire support of citizens must be rethought- The citizens MUST be made responsible for self 4. Religion must change more toward Spiritualism and awareness of the self and GOD.
    What has happen, on purpose, to the black community has also targeted the poor white community. Starting with 1 – 4 will allow individuals to be more responsible for educating the SELF.
    Throwing money at this issue never works. Not is the past nor will it in the future. Individuals of all RACES must change together.
    Thanks Again Roberta for this forum and your heart felt work.
    Skip

    1. Dear Skip, it’s great that you are thinking about potential solutions! I’ll be interested to see what you think of what we are going to propose next week.

  7. Thank you for this weeks post. I knew it would be thought -provoking.
    I read your book ” My Thomas” May we continue to learn and act in love and mercy.
    Have a great week, Happy Father’s day to your husband.

    1. Oh dear Marilynn, thank you for thinking of my husband! When I told him that one of our commenters here had wished him a Happy Father’s Day, he said, “What? Only one?” 😉

  8. Even if there was no relationship at all between blacks and whites, how the whites got these slaves in the first place was unbelievably cruel. They would silently dock their ships a little way down from the villages in the early hours of the a.m. when everyone was sleeping and surprise them. They then took the younger, stronger ones leaving the older ones behind, as they would be useless to them, and forced them onto the ship. Usually, these ships were overcrowded, and many future slaves died of dysentery etc. or became ill from other causes. They would be thrown overboard like trash. The rest would be taken to a slave camp where they were fed stale bread and water for several days until another ship came and picked them up. They would then be taken to places like Alabama and Georgia etc. where they were almost always separated from the rest of their families, never to see them again. Then, of course, they were sold to the various plantation owners. Their new life then began which consisted of working all day in the heat on farms and cotton fields, usually without a break. If someone stopped working for a little while just to regain some strength, they were brutally beaten by the sadistic overseers who were paid to keep them in line. The younger women were sometimes sold for sexual favors under the guise of “needing help on the farm.” When the “emancipation” occurred, these former slaves were totally unprepared for any meaningful employment. Since it was a crime (with a heavy penalty) to teach these people to read, they were stuck doing jobs that no one else wanted (at a ridiculously low rate of pay). If it is true that we choose what we will be in our next incarnation, no one could make a worse choice than this. It was strictly a no-win situation

    1. Dear Lola, I generally answer comments here in the order in which they are received, but I cannot let this stand. I have no idea where you got these ideas, but for the most part you are spouting venal nonsense. Please, please better educate yourself! There is no way to say that there was anything good about slavery, but there also is nothing whatsoever of value to be gained by your sharing this inflammatory garbage now! Here are some facts:

      1) Nearly all the slaves who made it to the western hemisphere were captured by blacks in the interior of Africa – often as the spoils of war – and then trekked to the slave-trading enclosures on the coast and purchased there by white traders. For you to say they were all captured by cruel white people and not cruel black people is an unnecessary calumny.

      2) The Middle Passage was horrendous, true, but nearly all the slaves who came to the western hemisphere ended up in South America, and primarily in Brazil. Just 6% of all the slaves who survived the voyage from Africa came to North America, and it cannot be said often enough or forcefully enough that all the Americans who are being demonized now INHERITED this evil, just as you have inherited the evils of the War on Poverty, the appalling criminal justice situation, and routine abortions, all three of which have proven to be disastrous for the modern descendants of slavery. Is any of these problems your fault? Didn’t you just inherit them, too? Should future history condemn you for not having done a lot more to end these evils?

      3) The way that slaves were treated by the Founders, in particular, is eye-opening. We tend to imagine whipping and branding and murder – all sorts of horrors – but Thomas Jefferson, for example, would allow none of that. He didn’t break up families – in fact, he spent money to unite at least one slave couple of which we are aware. He gave his slaves weekends off to tend their own plots of land and otherwise do as they liked, and he routinely purchased vegetables, chickens, and eggs from his slaves. The account books still survive. When he was young, he made Virginia the first place on the face of the earth to ban the importation of slaves, and when he wrote the Declaration of Independence he DID mean that every human being is and should be free by divine right. He inherited slaves. That was the wolf he had by its ear. He couldn’t figure out how to end slavery peacefully, but more than anyone else in his day, he did try.

      4) Your use of the word “emancipation” feels like a jab at me. Is that how you meant it? As I say above, there never was any attempt made at emancipating the slaves, but that is something we actually can do something about now if we can stop obsessing about the things that it is impossible for us now to change.

      Dear Lola, history is lived forward. You don’t know how tomorrow will judge today, and neither did the people who lived in 1776, 1676, or 1576 know how eagerly some of us would distort and then judge our spurious versions of a past we never knew. If we cannot now free ourselves from this pornographic obsession with the hot mess that slavery and Jim Crow undeniably were, then the future of this nation will be even worse than its past. And for the sake of the living and future descendants of American slavery, I flat reject that option. From today, we start to work all together in love and as one people to do what we can to finally make it right!

      1. Yes, every culture had their hand into slavery at one time or another, and I never meant that white people were the only ones to blame. I wrote what I read in a long article about slave camps years ago. I know that most slaves were captured as a result of wars etc., but the article explained that taking them by surprise on ships was done in the very early days. If what I read is not true, I had no way of knowing that.

        As far as the word “emancipation” is concerned, I meant that after the slaves were freed, there was no attempt to prepare them for a life of independence and productive employment. I think that this was a big mistake that still haunts us. Thomas Jefferson inherited slavery through no fault of his own, and it is a known fact that he did his utmost to do right by them. I didn’t mean to imply that only white people were responsible for slavery, as that simply isn’t true. I was referring just to the black slaves in America, but slavery was an actual way of life for quite some time and involved many cultures including the American Indians.

        1. Dear Lola, our problem is that there are some truly venal people at the moment who are trying to gin up pointless racist rage and counterfeit guilt rather than doing anything constructive for the descendants of American slavery. What you wrote above was the sort of thing that they might write, and my reaction to it was reflexive and perhaps a bit over-the-top, as witness the fact that I came back and toned down my response to you twice before you responded to me. But it really will take all of us of every shade, mustering all the love and forgiveness and plain mercy that we can find to command, if we ever are to make this any better!

          1. I know that it is hard to believe, but I never experienced any serious racial conflict in the area I live in. Although I know it exists elsewhere and has for a long time, I have never seen it actually happen except in movies and on TV, even when I was a kid back in the Martin Luther King days, and I think I know why. Black and white people in my area have been intermingling for so many years that it is just no big deal. There have been a few exceptions, as there always is, but by and large, there is nothing to be concerned about around here regarding racism etc. The fights that break out here are mainly about drugs and whose territory belongs to whom, and this involves both black and white drug dealers. However, race is not the issue in those cases either – just mostly money. Anyone who wanted to start a racial problem near where I live would be considered a little crazy, and no one would actually take them seriously. Again, I am pretty sure that this is because the two races have been interacting for so many years around here that no one considers that there is any major difference between us except for skin color. Even that isn’t a big issue, as many are part black and part white, but no one seems to care, and why should they?.

  9. Everyone, Read the book” The Fun of Living Together” for an detailed and very well thought out solution to get the world started (especially the United States) on how to finally tackle this horrible situation we have gotten ourself in. It’s a good, easy to understand read that can be done in an evening. I’m in my mid 60’s and have never thought of this approach.

    1. I too recommend this fine book. What I like best about it is that it is an action-oriented proposal for a solution. And it is clearly written and easy (although not comfortable) to read.

  10. A couple of years ago I was part of a church group that went to Bristol R.I., where we met up with a group called the Linden Place organization, http://lindenplace.org. Linden Place is the name of the mansion erected by George deWolf, one of the infamous (and most successful) slave traders based in Bristol. If you are really interested in how the slave trade operated, I suggest you get in touch with the Linden Place organization who have lectures, a bookstore and walking tours of the area. You will see how the deWolf Family’s involvement in the slave trade really distorted the society right up to the present day.

    For a quick overview of the deWolf family, take a look at https://www.lindenplace.org/about-us/history.

    Cookie

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Cookie. Fascinating! One of our many distortions in understanding is the way that slavery is often blamed on the South, when in fact New Englanders were primary participants in the slave trade. The more information we all have about that period, the better!

  11. Hi! Thank you. I wonder if understanding how we are enslaved to our thoughts is worthy of consideration. Understanding the self and the encryption of learned beliefs in the sub conscious might help us see our shortcomings. We need an ethical balance between awareness of our thoughts and what we feel when thinking the thoughts. Measuring the feelings of inequality and demanding harmony with love as a turnaround would demand we address our feelings that are in service to self over humanity. We are slaves to our thinking unless we can consciously evaluate and choose what would be better thinking processes for all. Slavery is trauma inflection of the worst kind. Plenty of trauma to heal before love can evolve.

    1. Dear Jane, a lot of what is downloaded by observation during the first five years of life doesn’t really seem to be accessible for significant change in this way. A lot of what we might perceive as real differences between the races are nothing more than postures, attitudes, and ways of interacting that were necessary in order for slaves to survive and for people living under the oppression of Jim Crow to even remain in the South. Helping to resolve these behaviors and mindsets was part of what a real emancipation would have done for the first free generation, so since we have done so little to address these artificial differences, they have simply been passed down in each generation’s early childhood.

      Actually, I discovered this problem as I was trying to understand how subservient and, frankly, duller some black people seemed. It was almost as if they still felt like slaves? Then I did some research, and it was one of the biggest AHA! moments of my life when I found this perfectly sensible but little-known fact that explains so much!!

  12. Dearest Roberta,

    If deWolf overload hasn’t set in yet, you might be interested in the movie “Traces of the Trade” which is about a group of deWolf descendants who gathered at Linden Place in Bristol R.I., then travelled to Ghana which was a stopping point for the slave trade, thence to a Cuban Plantation where the deWolfs founded a Sugar business with slave help.

    Check out

    Yours,
    Cookie

    Here is a precis of the movie:
    “In Traces of the Trade, Producer/Director Katrina Browne tells the story of her forefathers, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Given the myth that the South is solely responsible for slavery, viewers will be surprised to learn that Browne’s ancestors were Northerners. The film follows Browne and nine fellow family members on a remarkable journey which brings them face-to-face with the history and legacy of New England’s hidden enterprise.”

    Yours,

    Cookie

    1. Oh yes, dear Cookie, there were New Englanders very active in the slave trade! It was called “the triangle trade” at one point; and I believe the route was to pick up slaves in Africa, take them to the sugar plantations in South America, bring the sugar north to New England to be made into rum, then bring the rum to Africa to trade for slaves. Something like that. Extremely dismal, wouldn’t you say?

  13. Dearest Roberta,
    Of races and humanity, only two things come to mind.

    Firstly, a beautifully produced BBC series that I viewed while living in London in 1995, was about the Great Rift Valley that stretches right down East Africa. In one episode of this visually stunning series, I remember one fact that has remained with me ever since:

    Geneticists studied humans from different corners of the earth; from many continents, islands and topographical zones. They also studied gorillas from just one mountain in Rwanda.

    They concluded that humans from all over the world were much more closely related, than those gorillas were to each other on that single mountain in Rwanda. For instance population samples from Iceland and from Mozambique, from Mongolia and Egypt, showed these people were genetically closer than any two groups of gorillas running riot around that same forested mountain.

    The implications of that hit me like a whack with a 4×2 to the back of the head! (IE: like a hit with a wooden plank.)

    Secondly, I often see someone compliment a gardener for the beauty of their blooms of different colors. Or someone might admire a litter of kittens for their diversity of stripes and shades. Or even regard differing types of dogs with fondness and cheer. However, when it comes to humans of different colors some people have a problem!!

    Why is it when some people view a person of a different race, they see something ugly instead of the beauty and the wonder of Mother Nature’s diversity? Where does that ugliness within the racist come from?

    Roberta my dear, it seems impossible to really understand such a deluded mindset!🌺🌸🌼🌹

    1. Dear Efrem, thank you for this – it’s yet another beautiful way to see these truths! In fact, every person on the face of the earth shares a single female ancestor who lived in Africa not much more than a hundred thousand years ago, and one male ancestor who lived in about the same place at around the same time. There was apparently a population choke point there, perhaps caused by some rampant disease. Then about forty thousand years ago the ancestors of everyone now living on earth outside Africa began to leave from east Africa and overspread the globe, with the glacier delaying their entering Europe in any numbers until less than 20,000 years ago. If we go back just a thousand years – halfway to the time of Jesus – every person living on the face of the earth except Australia’s Aborigines is related to everyone else. Go back to when Jesus walked the earth, and we can include your beautiful country’s Aborigines as well. We are one big, beautiful, and delightfully colorful family!

      Racism is at its core nothing but fear. And fear can be eradicated. It seems to be incumbent on all of us to spread as broadly as possible this delightful certainty that we are not only all one race, but in fact we are all one single family!

  14. Thanks Roberta for so bravely taking on this topic. Isn’t it ironic that there has been such a problem with racism in this and other Western countries, yet the vast majority of white folks have admired or followed religions or spiritual traditions founded by people, such as Jesus himself, who were from those same so-called races that many of those white folks so looked down upon, and that the eugenicists wanted to weed out? I hope there will come a day when ALL will accept how alike we humans really are biologically, and will also accept that God created us ALL in His own spiritual image. I am intrigued to see what you will be proposing next week.

    1. Dear Scott, there was a lot of fear-based racism half a century ago, but in recent years a greater familiarity with those who simply look different from us has fostered a rapid decline in racism and a considerably increased comfort and daily familiarity with people who just look different. I would go so far as to say that at this point, individual racism is more an easy political epithet to throw around than it is anything real. There still is some institutional racism – Sen Tim Scott talks about being turned away from entering the Senate, even when he wore his identification – but the awful days of Jim Crow hatred are no more.

  15. Dearest Roberta,
    Thank you for such an accurate summary of humans overspreading the earth. I realize that genetics and archaeology agree with your account (as I’ve looked at some of the evidence of this human journey too). You have a canny way of making complex things easily understandable in pithy, summary form. 🙂

    What bothers me about long-standing racial problems is the shrill, injurious and openly destructive clamor of mass demonstrations in modern times. Of course the actual problems themselves are of grave concern and they must be solved, first and last. Sadly though, these pressing issues often become obscured by the black smoke and flash-bangs of frenzied accusations and counter accusations. Clarity is all too soon lost to confusion. Clamor drowns the quiet voice of reason and peace is shattered by wild eyed hatred.

    However, should the people decide to take the issue away from extremists who have their own agendas, and work on solutions within mainstream society there is a model for conflict resolution I’d love to share:

    It’s a method of resolution called The Three Circles. It’s something that is attempted in middle or senior high school, yet it can be seamlessly applied by adults.

    In short there are three concentric circles in which the debate of a chosen issue is brought to resolution. (NB: The enacting of the newly found resolution is the practical solving of the problem itself. This is the actual goal.) Each of the two outer circles are rings around the perfect inner circle; it is the outer and middle circles that choose people for the inner circle who will bring the problem to resolution. Should the issue have two sides then each side will have equal members in each circle. Moderators can choose the individuals to sit in each circle, or peers can choose them via a vote.

    The members of the outer circle debate the issue with respect to; clear & timely uninterrupted speaking, sincere listening, self control and an honest desire to resolve the issue. The speakers are encouraged to respect one another and try to empathize with each other. This is where many grievances and tales of injustice on both sides are given voice. Then the speakers who have proven themselves logical, articulate and respectful to others are chosen to carry the debate to the middle circle.

    In the middle circle, the discussion of the key issue generally becomes more complex and nuanced. It is here that the deeper, underlying problems emerge, now that all overt descriptions have been aired. This one is harder than the first circle. It is a struggle to acknowledge common goals of both sides that start to appear here. Then a number of the keenest, most respectful and empathic individuals are chosen for the inner circle. Equal numbers from each side are chosen.

    Now the other two circles have worked hard to enable the third circle to exist. It is here that resolution MUST take place, however many sittings may need to happen, over different days to reach it. Here maximum empathy, active listening, compassion and mercy are emphasized. These things underpin the logical reasoning involved.

    The inner circle is often the hardest circle to bring to its fruition. However spite, anger, prejudice and conscious obfuscation has been expunged by this stage. The victim/victimizer roles have been replaced by positive attitude and a need for deep healing pervades the discussion.

    In conclusion, those shepherding the discussion (teachers) and the audience (students) are astonished at the change in the participants. The observers realize that they too are changed and that even the most intractable problem can be solved.

    Ideally, now the practical, nuts & bolts hard work must begin; the actual effort to solve the problem in the world. This is the true purpose of The Three Circle process. (NB: Naturally, a group of students cannot fix the world by themselves – but they can and do try to fix the resolved issue in their own living environment.)

    Roberta, after looking at agonizing and longstanding issues like slavery and it’s long tail, I can’t help feeling that empathy, deep listening, compassion, mercy and the will to heal the world need concerted deployment by everyday people. We need to wrest these vital issues from the hands of reactionaries of all kinds. Then we will make real progress.
    🙏🏼❣️🌅

  16. Oh dear Efrem, your suggestion for working through our most serious problems by using an orderly way to manage discussing different points of view is wonderful! Very sadly, though, I think that, in the U.S. at least, we may have moved beyond the possibility of rationally discussing and achieving any reasonable resolution on race, and perhaps on anything at all.

    To be frank, I don’t think there is much (or any) factual disagreement on racial issues among people of good will in the United States. I do recall real racism, and undeniably it existed fifty years ago, but at this point those who are deeply racist make up less than 5% of this nation. I live in a state that is 1/3 black, 1/3 white, and 1/3 Hispanic, with liberal doses of Asians and east Asians to boot; and we all live together in such perfect harmony that I can truly say that in fifteen years I have not seen a single instance of any kind of racism.

    There are no above-board factual arguments about policy in the United States anymore. No, all this manufactured strife is nothing but ignorance, petulance, and hunger for power on the part of people who are using race as their handy pretext. We can solve our racial problems and come together as one free and equal nation, but we are going to have to do it in spite of the self-righteously ignorant rioters. And it grieves me to have to say that.

    1. But to this point, Roberta, your book, cited a number of places in these comments, offers a reasonable proposal. It’s only Wednesday, so I know we might have more to go with comments this week, but I look foreword to next week’s post. As you point out, there is an appetite among the general citizenry to transform; people will do this without institutions, and then the institutions will follow, which is the way all fundamental changes happen anyway. “One (metaphorical) funeral at a time.”

      1. Dear Mike, what is especially tantalizing to me is knowing that we really CAN fix these problems. It shouldn’t even be that hard! And – as you say – most Americans are eager to put all our racial issues behind us. But my suspicion is that the politicians prefer retaining racial strife as an issue, rather than helping the American people to heal. You are right, I think. The citizens may indeed need to take the lead on this!

      2. Hey Mike, 👋
        I agree that everyday people will take up discussions and act on key issues. In my country, people are sooo sick of cardboard politicians, that they have all but decided to bring restorative change without them!

        Hence the above mentioned Three Circles method is great for issues like homelessness, underemployment and higher unemployment of certain demographics, education opportunity and a host of things (including disadvantages of racial or cultural groups). This idea is suited for community resolutions that may then be put forward strongly to governments for swift action.

        However, I’m starting to realize one thing: Australians probably would sign up to such a guided method, if they believed real change would follow. As Roberta has suggested, perhaps Americans would not choose such structured guidance. The interpretation of liberty and the mindset of Americans would exhibit some differences from Aussies.

        So I’ve been nudged to just put the Three Circles idea out there for people’s perusal. I respect that the American psyche has its own nature and I’ll not presume to know anything about it.
        👍🦅🦘🙂

        1. Oh dear Efrem, would that there were one American psyche! Perhaps all that we share in this country is a profound insistence that our own ideas are right, rather than the milder Australian reasonableness that many of us so admire. Here what is revered is freedom of thought, and as that has developed of late it has devolved into a reverence for whatever I think, and then a certainty that i am smart so whatever i think must be right, and a further quick devolution into shutting down every other “lesser” line of thinking. It really is breathtaking and disheartening to watch! This nation has devolved into little more than a mess of schoolyard bullies who cannot be reasoned with. Our only option is to call in the grownups, but we are also a sufficiently generous nation that we are letting even the ignorant bullies have their say.

          1. Dearest Roberta,
            This is an arresting (and no doubt accurate) description of America today. And ‘calling in the grown ups’ sounds like it is a wonderful idea. Especially if you mean those elevated souls who, with the blessing of the Godhead, will give humanity our best shot at raising the vibrations of Earth! This does inspire me, it really does.

            And I agree with you that America is a very generous nation. There is a largesse about the US that is not only evident in history, but remains so today. With this American vision of saving the world from darkness (EG: WW2), the USA is the right place for this new movement of Spirit to originate and spread across the world.
            🙏🏼🦅🌅

  17. I wasn’t going to comment this week, but as a US citizen, I have deep concern with this issue. From my perspective, I live in a multi-racial neighborhood, although primarily white, and I don’t see any abject racism. That said, I see many comments in social media that indicate to me that many of my friends do not have a genuine understanding of institutional racism, and that has bothered me for a long time. But, I now I try to focus on myself and my own biases, and let others work on theirs in their own time. I am sad now to see statues being decimated, not because many probably should be removed, but they are not being removed by the right people for the right reasons. Knee jerk legislation or removal of offensive things cannot change the heart of the unwilling. Conversely, being controlled or offended by material objects is letting go of your own power. In the past I found tributes to Ronald Reagan offensive, but I came to recognize he was a good leader at a time we needed him. My bias against him is not based on his overall performance as President, but my own situation. What was best for the country may not have been best for me. And that helps keeps my ego in check. What I think is best may not be best for others, and the more difficult realities of life are the teaching moments that build me spiritually.

    1. Oh dear Timothy, so beautifully said! And I think you are right about individual racism: I have known or even interacted with only two flat-out racists in my entire life, one of whom I will mention next week and the other of whom was a codger uncle who fought in WWII and in the family was much loved. In him, frequent racist remarks were an eccentricity, always delivered with a smile and tolerated with rolled eyes. It amounted to his way of joking. But the fact that someone past retirement age who has lived all over the U.S. has experienced only two racist Americans in her life makes them seem to me to be the exception that proves the rule: at this point, this is flat-out a virtually racism-free country on the individual level. And our institutions are being watched and policed to the point where overt racism isn’t happening at that level now, either.

      What remains is the long burden of yesterday’s mistakes, and we can fix those! But burning down black communities and pulling down statues is an ignorant, ridiculous, appalling rush in precisely the wrong direction. All of that should be resisted and forcefully punished; but I sympathize. Everyone hates the present situation, but nobody has any idea how to fix it, so people act out in frustration. I get that. But it’s time now to get serious and really fix these problems!

      I love this: “What was best for the country may not have been best for me. And that helps keeps my ego in check. What I think is best may not be best for others, and the more difficult realities of life are the teaching moments that build me spiritually.” Wow. Spoken like someone who is growing spiritually at a wonderful rate. Would that all Americans had your greatness of spirit, dear Timothy!

  18. Hello. I found this blog to be quite informative. I was hoping you would mention something about the police, because it was the George Floyd situation that was a catalyst for all the protests, some violent, some not. I hope you might put your two cents in because, quite frankly, I don’t have a solution to it.
    While writing this, I had a fun romp through what might be called the left of center. If anyone is interested, here are three videos on YouTube to watch in order. The first is “George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmed Arbury & Amy Cooper—The Daily Social Distancing Show”. Here Trevor Noah speaks on the social contract as it relates to the African-American community. The second one is “How Can We Win Kimberly Jones Video Full Length David Jones Media Clean Edit”. This is the novelist Kimberly Jones speaking off-the-cuff at one of the protests. The third one is “Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” which for those who are not familiar, this is a show which combines social commentary with a British sense of humor. That means there are times where he will make jokes, but in a British style. I thought it was interesting because these these three videos related to each other. True, if your politics are more right of center you may want to make a Roberta Grimes forgiveness bubble and then put up your own list of videos, which I promise to watch.

    P.S. Please be careful out there, everyone, with this coronavirus situation. This thing is sneaking up on a lot of states, including the one I am in where 15 counties are on a watch list now, especially Imperial County. They have a 23% positive test rate there, which is a lot. A number of states, like Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Florida look like their numbers are going to spike in the next few weeks. I notice the Texas governor is asking people to wear masks and practice social distancing, which sounds like a good idea. Fasten your seat belts, things are going to be bumpy for a while.

    1. Dear Jason, the power professions tend to attract some people who are prone to abuse that power, and this is especially true of police work. The officer who murdered George Floyd had a history of abusing people. He should have lost his badge long before he killed Mr. Floyd! So, why was he still wearing a badge? Simply put, police unions protect bad actors, and this nasty man’s union prevented his firing. No less a union advocate than FDR himself said there should be no public employee unions. If we had listened to him, Mr Floyd would almost certainly be alive today.

      Here, from a lighter and more hopeful time just a few years back, is wonderful wisdom from a decent and truly funny man. Enjoy listening to Chris Rock opine on “how not to get your ass kicked by the police”. If police unions were not allowed to protect bad actors, and if Mr. Rock’s video were required watching in every high school in the United States, by every student of every skin shade, this nation would be a safer and a much happier place!

      And insofar as the Bad Bug is concerned, one wonderful benefit of the otherwise appalling rioting and destruction that primarily white young people have been doing in primarily black neighborhoods has been the fact that a lot of young and healthy folks have now caught said Bug at once, and our nation’s essential “herd immunity” process has been jump-started at a time when the Bug itself is transforming (as bugs will) and becoming far less lethal. A huge jump in infections while hospital admissions and deaths continue to decline was precisely what the doctor ordered!

  19. What are good books to read about the after life and Jesus? I’m starting to lose faith in all of this and I need some good sound evidence about him and the after life. This world is falling apart and I’m wondering why he doesn’t save it. God and Jesus know we are all sinners and that we need them. But I feel like they refuse to hear our cry’s and our prayers. I pray a lot and get no answers. I just feel lost, very angry and very empty. I need some reassurance I guess is the answer. I don’t know. But we are all heading for destruction and I feel this is the time he is needed. Sorry about this rant. But I need some comfort knowing that something beautiful will happen.

    1. Dear Tony, if you will send me an email through the green contact block on this website, I will send you PDFs of The Fun of Dying and Liberating Jesus. I agree with you that faith without evidence is very thin gruel indeed! But there is in fact a great deal of evidence, so if you will do the work of targeted reading and research you can convince yourself that all is well. These negative emotions that you have invited in are your enemy at this point, but you can vanquish them as well; and no, we are not heading for destruction. Yes, what lies ahead is beautiful beyond your fondest imaginings!

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