Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Plantation Mentality

Klan in Gainsville
Most people are under the impression that other people are racists. Not them. Racist images are forever implanted in our brains as barbaric lynchings, crosses burning in front lawns and white sheets and hoods.

Real racists have shaved heads and Swastika tattoos, most people do not see themselves in that light because they look "normal" and everyone around them is just like them. Therefore they are not like "those other people" and quickly distance themselves from the ugliness.

Juror B37

On her interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN she was a shinning example of a clueless racist. As the words kept falling out of her mouth, most viewers were horrified. They heard out loud what only is heard in whispers in 'polite society' and out of earshot of 'mixed company.'

Sharleen Martin of Martin's Literary Agency backed out of the book deal with juror B37 after watching the interview and the ongoing backlash received from Twitter users who were exploding with outrage.

Ms. Martin rescinded the book contract stating she had used "poor judgment."

Four of the five remaining jurors wrote a letter stating that Juror B37 did not represent them, nor their views.

It is fascinating to watch how quickly people distance themselves from someone they perceive as being a racist and yet, looks just like them. No hoods, no robes. Just the spoken words of the plantation owners.

Food For Thought

We need to consider the pervasiveness and insidiousness of accepted 'norms' and stereotypes.

The jurors in the Zimmerman trial were exposed to a narrative that was not questioned by the prosecutor or the media. Zimmerman was less on trial than Trayvon Martin.

No one questioned that "black people" had burglarized his neighborhood, or acknowledged that this was Trayvon's family neighborhood as well.

Juror B37 stated without hesitation that "Trayvon had contributed to his own death?," "had plenty of time to get home." and "he threw the first punch."

These are all assumption she made based on Trayvon's race. She was not there to witness the fight but she reached conclusions based on notions that have been passed on from generation to generation.

- Why is Trayvon Martin NOT allowed to dilly-dally?
- Is there a curfew exclusively reserved for black kids?
- Are public streets only safe for white folks only when blacks are kept indoors?

We all need to know where we come from because it is relevant to today's mind set. We need to know what people have endured and how the crimes against their civil liberties were perpetrated if we are to eradicate them in modern times.

The Plantation Mentality 
image by Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The plantation mentality notion is typically used against black people to degrade them. It is used to show that their lack of gainful employment is their fault and that they expect to be taken care of by the government as if they were still in the plantation days, where the white man took care of them.

What is wrong with the ideology stated above?

For one thing, the black people on the plantation were not taken care of by anyone. They were sold and traded, raped, mutilated, and murdered. The fact that employers discriminate against minorities is not taken into account. The fact that predominantly African-American communities have been neglected by the State Governments when it comes to funding and priorities, is also ignored.

Let's accept then, that the plantation mentality means something else. An ideology that plantation owners have passed on to subsequent generations with a sense of entitlement that persists to this day.

Examples:

A white man is free to go as he pleases. A black man must justify his whereabouts.
A white child is worth more than a black child. (we see this in adoptions as well)
Voting is the right of white men. It is a privilege for minorities that can be taken away at the plantation owner's discretion. *See resources

This is the mentality left over from the days of The Slave Patrol, where white militias would scour the countryside looking for black people who where 'out of place', 'not where they belong.' - Needless to say that when they found someone that did not belong,  the treatment of the individual was typically abusive and intimidating.

The violence and ideology of the past has followed African Americans into modern times and passed on to anyone else perceived as being 'less-than' and non-white.

The plantation mentality holds blacks and minorities to a different set of standards.

The Double Standard

- Black parents don't parent right. (Watch video below)
- White parents do the best they can. Society is to blame when their kids go awry.
- White kids make mistakes. Black kids are born criminals.
- White kids experiment innocently with pot.
- Black kids are drug addicts.

Again, this is part and parcel of the plantation mentality. Blacks are inherently lazy. They lie. They steal. They will kill you in your sleep and rape your white women.

This plantation mentality is grounded in fear of knowing that retribution for bad deeds could become a possibility. Fear is irrational and there is tremendous profit to be made in this area. From becoming a celebrity, to writing a book validating preconceived notions and irrational hatred of 'others'. ie., Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, et al.

People in the media have to go back to the very few riots we had in this country. They date back to the Watt's or Oakland riots. The grainy footage of riots give validity to the notion that black people are violent and whites must be in fear of them. The fact that Rodney King was beaten into a pulp and was representative of how the African-American community is treated by the police, does not enter the equation.

We all have a boiling point. Rodney King was it that day.

Stand Your Ground laws favor whites
All actions against minorities are justified. Including shooting one on sight because a white man's life is far more valuable. If we look closely, we can see that the "stand your ground" law is disproportionately weighted in favor of whites.

The plantation mentality excuses and rationalizes behavior in whites that is unacceptable for minorities. For example:

When a white man kills, he must have a reason. An excuse. A way out. (Stand Your Ground Law)

When a black man kills, he is a criminal. He has no excuse. He has no way out. (Check out the disparity in our prison population)

We need to understand the fear of those with the plantation mentality. They know that human beings are bound to reach the boiling point when they are systematically excluded, vilified, and dehumanized by the powerful in society.

They want this to happen.

They are expecting the explosion because they too, are a kettle about to boil over. Riots would provide validation to their ideology and justification for violent actions. However, the peaceful demonstrations and reasonable discourse by black folks after the Zimmerman trial is not providing the needed relief.

Racists Should Get a Clue

It is not okay to be a racist. It shows our stupidity. However, we have, under The Constitution, the right to be as stupid as we please.

If we chose to be racists, we should have a clue from where our notions come from, and then decide if it is time to leave the plantation mentality behind.

The fear of the black against the white is a profit generating machine. The more people fear, the easier it is to separate them from their hard-earned cash while in exchange, they have their fears validated by folks who look just like them.

The profit-making machine that is the weapons industry has been using fear and racism for decades to sell arsenals and ammunition to the fearful. The NRA and A.L.E.C. have made it possible to pass laws that justify the murder of minorities based on irrational fear. The survivalists stockpile on dried food supplies and the fear is perpetuated while the profits go through the roof.

There is money to be made in the religious setting as well and it has not gone unnoticed by the church leaders who are raking in the money. Perpetuating stereotypes, hatred, and fear keeps the congregation glued to their seats and their pocketbooks open.

This is not a very Christian thing to do, but then again, snake oil salesmen have no scruples.

Instead of acknowledging racism, some, like pastor Bill Keller of Live Prayer thrives on it. He has the nerve to blame Trayvon Martin's parents for their child's death.

He floats the idea with passion to over 2 million subscribers by perpetuating racism and playing the blame-game. At the same time, just like Juror B37, he adamantly rejects that he is a racist.

For those of you who don't know this paragon of Christianity, we have included the interview conducted by Thom Hartmann.



Juror B37 Interview




Resources

New Georgia Encyclopedia: History and Archaeology; Slave Patrols
Moyers & Company:  Theresa Riley; The Fight to Protect Voting Rights in Texas
TruthOut.org: Mike Ludwig; Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Voter ID Law
Decatur Daily: Voter ID Law Hurts Alabama
PBS.org; Frontline; Criminal Justice by Sarah Childress: Is There Racial Bias in "Stand Your Ground" Laws?

Image(s); Klan; Public Domain. Stand your ground Graph by PBS.org

2 comments:

Francie said...

Excellent piece, Olivia. Fear mongering is making some very rich. ALEC has lots of big money, as does NRA. Profit over people will continue unless people wake up, change the very broken system.

Ursula said...

Excellent!