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Forum: Gouyave Talk
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Whose interpretation? Ours or theirs?

Like most children growing up in the Caribbean I was led to believe among other things that Abraham Lincoln really cared for Black people, and that he actually went to war to free the slaves. It was as simple and straight-forward as that without any hint of ambiguity about it. But when I later came across Lincoln's own words saying if he could save the union by freeing the slaves he would, and if he could save the union without freeing the slaves, he would do that too, I was totally flabbergasted.

In the 60's we Caribbean children were taught to believe that Patrice Lumumba and his Mau Mau followers were nothing more than crazy Africans who were notorious killers wanting to eat white people's flesh, especially women.

In his speech given a few days ago in Philadelphia, VP Pence could not find enough words to describe the high esteem he has for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In fact he asked his audience to join him in a moment of silence to show respect and admiration for the judge. In the legal arena, Judge Scalia was the Republicans' Ronald Reagan.


Now if I were a white man, Lincoln's words would not deter me from appreciating and continue to accept him as "the Great Emancipator." Not at all!! But once his own words were on record for all to see, how could any Black person continue to delude themselves into thinking that Lincoln's real interest was to emancipate Black people? Shouldn't our view of Lincoln be more realistic in recognizing him as the "Great Preserver" who went to war to prevent the United States from splitting into two nations, and in the process freed the slaves?

I cannot thank the Mighty Sparrow enough for his great calypso "Congo Man." Here was a fitting rebuttal, brilliantly done in satirical style, to the nonsense we were supposed to believe about Patrice Lumumba and his Mau Mau freedom fighters. Listen to it again to see the connection between it and "Dan is the Man." As Sparrow pointed out with such amazing clarity "If me head was bright, ah woulda be a damn fool."

How can any Black person share VP Pence's view about the very same Justice Antonin Scalia who expressed the view that the prestigious colleges were doing an injustice to Black students by accepting them to study on their campus? As far as the judge was concerned, Blacks would be far better served by attending schools whose courses were less demanding and concentrated. I can only assume that Scalia must have had no respect for his Black colleague, Judge Clarence Thomas, sitting on the same bench like Scalia, and who graduated from Yale Law school. Likewise he must have been disdainful of the POTUS, President Obama, who not only graduated but was the president of Harvard University Law Review.

All around us are those demeaning descriptions of who we are and what we are only worthy of, yet so many of our Black folks continue to subscribe to those precepts like Sir Francis Drake, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson among others were great figures and role models. When are we going to step back and recognize that those personalities were shaped by the philosophies of a Euro-American view of the world to make them look good and sanctimonious regardless of the evils they dumped on other peoples of the world?

Isn't it time that we begin to use the facts of history that's available for anyone to investigate, for us to interpret what happened and continuing to happen, from our own reference point? When we begin to do that we will at last be seeing things as they really were and are. We will also begin to have a far clearer understanding of world events, rather than seeing and believing them as we were conditioned to do.