Custom Search 1

'Slaves? 12 years enslaved is a better title'

SLAVERY: A scene from 12 Years A Slave

WHETHER 12 Years A Slave wins Oscars or not is not the question. I hope it does. I hope Chiwitel Ejiofor does. I hope Steve McQueen does. But the question is how much damage is the film doing to the black community?

As I dreaded, the film has given carte blanche for media people on TV, radio and newspapers to talk about black people as “slaves.” Where it would be politically incorrect to talk of Indian indentured labourers to the Caribbean from the same period in the offensive way that they were once defined (I refuse to say that word or even to asterisk it out), it seems that it is okay to describe our ancestors as “slaves” as if that defined them.

No they were NEVER slaves. They were ENSLAVED. But that’s not what Britain wants to hear, because it would beg the question ‘Who enslaved them? Who performed the barbaric act of hunting their fellow human being down and kidnapping them and putting them in chains and raping and brutalising and murdering them?’

No, Britain does not want to face the reality of its part in the enslavement of our people so it continues to use the term “slaves” as if we were born that way or we chose to be that way. And as if we got what we deserved.

But then again, it is us black people who allowed it to be so.

We do not protest when we hear the BBC or ITV or Channel 4 or Channel 5 or any other channel band about the term “slaves” casually.

SLAVERY

Why is that? Do you not know they are talking about YOU because slavery is for life, and for your children’s lives and your children’s children’s lives. There is no TWELVE YEAR stretch in reality. If that is what you are, once a slave always a slave.

And we the sons and daughters of slaves will continue to be slaves because the progeny of a slave is still a slave. And if we accept that our ancestors were slaves by allowing people to define them as such, then we really deserve what’s coming to us.

Our children don’t though. They are innocent. How will we look at them when they learn that the children of slaves and the children of the children of slaves are by definition still slaves? What will we say to them? It will be too late then to huff and puff and tell them that they are not slaves when we have happily allowed others to define their fore parents as slaves.

And all this time the crime of ENSLAVEMENT is not spoken of. Those responsible for the enslavement have gotten away with it, just because we accept our lot when they sanitise history by calling us slaves. They refuse to own the word ENSLAVEMENT even though that is what it is. They refuse to talk of us as ENSLAVED to protect their own children who might question their fathers and their fathers’ fathers and realise that it is their ancestors who were slaves to their barbaric actions.

Where are the voices of protest from the black community? Now is the time to write to your MP, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and outlaw the definition of “slave” in reference to our awe-inspiring ancestors who were king and queens and princes and princesses and human beings who survived great tribulation.

Apart from anything else, what disrespect it is to talk of them as “slaves.” But then again, what is black life worth today? Not much more than that of a slave?

Facebook Comments