Saturday, May 05, 2018

What Choice?

The idiocy spewed by Kanye West that slaves had "the choice to be free" deserves a rebuke but you will not see that in this place. What you will get instead is a brief look at my own family. Both sides emigrated from Saint Domingue (Haiti) before the revolution birth a free new black nation. My family on both sides left. They were taken by their parent who allowed them to be free half-black children or with their owners as slaves to Louisiana. By 1820 both sides of my family, free and slave were in Louisiana and Mississippi. Before either state became a part of the United States my people free and slave were living on that land. Before the ignorant people who came to this country far later than my family. They who wear sheets, burn crosses or carry tiki torches to assert their rights supersede everyone else's right to life and freedom.

My family, both sides were in this land bearing the grinding harshness of slavery on sugar plantations or having to live insular lives to remain free. Were it not for the Toussaints and Dessalines who understood liberty and desired it for themselves and their people my family both sides would have like everyone else on that island continue to endure the hell of enslavement until a Toussaint or a Dessalines is born to break the chains of slavery. Without that desire for liberty, there would be no Haiti and no east to west coast United States without a lot more fighting than what occurred for it. Because of Hait's revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte was forced to sell the Louisiana Territory to the upstart nation, The United States, increasing its size by a third. Liberty is in the DNA of the survivors of the Middle Passage, the horrendous trip from the coast of Africa to the Carribean and Brazil packed in the bottom of slave ships like cords of woods instead of sentient beings. Imagine working for free and by force sun-up to sun-down to make your captor rich. Or imagine being free, but that existence and worse travel make you susceptible to being captured by those slave catchers.  Then they can insist because they are white that you are a runaway slave when you are a not. A free person then had to carry Freedom Papers to affirm your freedom while having to pray that the slave catcher is literate and honest enough to accept that you supposedly are free. Imagine being vulnerable to becoming a slave when in truth you are free. In reality, neither side of my family was free.

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