The New Black Codes
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.
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This story was published on November 9, 2002.