Newspaper logo  
 
 
   The New Black Codes

OpEd:

The New Black Codes

by La Shawn M. Barber

Democrats have a lock on the black vote because they appeal to the weakest part of humans: self-pity
"He [Michael Steele] is the personification of an Uncle Tom," said Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Maryland Senate President some months ago.

Unbelievable. Times really have changed when a white man can say things like this in public about a black man––and get away with it. Democratic Senator Mike Miller did just that because the man he maligned is a Republican—a black Republican.

Senator Miller called Michael Steele, Maryland Republican Party Chairman and now Lieutenant Governor-elect, an Uncle Tom apparently because he was suspicious of the Maryland Republican Party's single-member redistricting plan, which would have resulted in greater minority representation in the General Assembly. The Democratic Party opposed his plan.

This is the same party with a chokehold on 90% of the black vote in America.

The term "Uncle Tom" is based on a character in Uncle Tom's Cabin, an anti-slavery novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. Tom was a loyal slave who loved his cruel master. "Uncle Tom" is now a slur, a stereotype black liberals attach to any black person who dares to believe the idea of slavery reparations is ridiculous, and that blacks shouldn't depend on the government to give them jobs, housing, college admission, substandard educations for their children––and various other "Uncle Tom" views.

But just as Tom loved his master, these modern-day "slaves" love their "masters," too. Liberals love the government and are just as beholden to it as Tom was to his master.

These modern-day "slaves" could be set free if only they'd embrace concepts like personal responsibility and accountability. Mr. Steele says this about his decision to become a Republican: "I came from a Democratic Party family. But Ronald Reagan spoke to me during his speeches like my mother spoke to me. He talked to me about responsibility and accountability. That stuck with me." The man has been ridiculed and ostracized because he hasn't followed the liberal line of blaming someone else for his failures.

Since I'm using a history analogy, I'll use another. In 1865, Southern legislatures established a set of laws called the Black Codes in response to the emancipation of slaves. Southern Democrats created these laws for newly-freed slaves that restricted their rights to own or rent farmland, vote, sit on juries, testify against white men, sue, enter into contracts––you get the idea.

The purpose of the Black Codes was to maintain the white hierarchy after the Civil War. Republicans were among those who objected to the laws. They advocated passing the Civil Rights Bill to protect former slaves from the codes, but Democratic president Andrew Johnson said––in so many words––"No!"

It's 2002, but a different set of Black Codes is in effect. The very word "black" is not only a skin color or race; it's code for a set of prescribed behaviors and attitudes. Being authentically black means meeting a set of criteria, including thinking like other blacks (read liberal), displaying certain "black" behavior, exacerbating racial tension, and voting for Democrats.

That a white man could get away with publicly hurling a racial slur at a black man in America is evidence that the new codes are in effect. Did Maryland's Black Caucus come to Mr. Steele's defense by demanding an apology from Senator Miller? No. Simply put: Michael Steele was not worth defending because he's not "black."

Unfortunately, politics is a dirty business, and as far as black liberals are concerned, there's no appealing to reason. Bottom line: Democrats have a lock on the black vote because they appeal to the weakest part of humans: self-pity.

Just as the Black Codes of 1865 restricted the movement of freed slaves––the so-called Uncle Toms and the rest of the freed slaves––so do the Black Codes of 2002 restrict the movement of free, independent thought. For blacks to be truly free, they'll need to depend less on the government and more on themselves. There will be failures, but that's the price of freedom in America. Black liberals need to free themselves from the shackles of victimhood and self-pity––and Democrats.


La Shawn M. Barber) is a Washington, DC-based writer and former legislative correspondent in the U.S. Senate. She describes herself as a black conservative.


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on November 9, 2002.
  
NOVEMBER 2002
LOCAL NEWS
·NEWS BRIEFS
·CALENDARS:
· Hearing and Speech Agency to move to Seton Business Park
· Homewood Is Again ‘At Home’ on Charles Street
· Nonprofit Umbrella Group Calls for Increased State Support to Address Housing Crisis
· Legal Service Providers in Financial Crisis
· Poll Shows Marylanders Want Environmental Protections
ART & ENTERTAINMENT
·Book Review: LBJ at His Best and Worst
·Entertainment ‘Hot Picks’
·Book Review: War and Globalization by Michel Chossudovsky
SPEAKING OUT
·EDITORIALS:
·LETTERS
·Islamophobia: The New Menace
·Can God Bless America? Only if We Repent
· An Open Letter to America from a New Zealander
·Open Letter to Mayor Martin O'Malley and the Baltimore City Council
· Open Letter to The Economist Magazine
· Open-Ended Ballot Questions Deserve Defeat
· Why your vote won't matter
·The New Black Codes
· Muslims First, Citizens Second
·The Silent End of Memorials?
·US & Iraq: Who's Deterring Whom?
·Words of Wisdom from Arundhati Roy
·BATCH #4: Responses to the “Open Letter to America from a Canadian”
·The Politics of Low Attendance
·Guns! Guns! Guns!
·Nonprofits Sponsor Roundtable on Religious Persecution and Refugees
NEWS MEDIA CRITIQUE
·Media Shortchange Coverage of State Legislatures
·A Free Press, but for Whom?
·Times, NPR Change Their Take on DC Protests
·Miller (held over): In the Wake of 9-11, the American Press Has Embraced a ‘Demented Caesarism’
NATION & WORLD
· Harvard Study: Does Your Vote Count? Depends on Where You Cast It.
· Sonar and Marine Life Don’t Mix
· Human Rights Watch Faults US for Backing Afghan Warlord
· Logging Bill Before Congress Is Called “Political Armageddon for Forests”
· U.S Financial Aid To Israel: Figures, Facts, and Impact
FROM OTHER SITES
· Websites We Like!
· Outstanding Analysis & Perspective

Public Service Ads: