The Charlottesville, VA protest/counter protest that ended with a young lady losing her life caused many, including myself, to do our own research on the arguments on both sides of the Confederate flag/statue debate. Sadly, what I first discovered was, both sides of today’s argument are the least informed.
And strangely, I, being a Black man, gained more respect for those supporting the Confederate Flag and the Confederate monuments in my research then for those who believe, anything that supports the confederate gripe; if you will, should be removed from anywhere displayed publicly.
Part of my research led me to bump into the novel by Harriot Beecher Stowe. She was an abolitionist and author of an 1852 bestselling novel titled, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” I did not read the book but I did see a 1987 movie version of the novel that was quite an eye opener.
The worst name a Black person could call another Black person is Uncle Tom. But that is only because Black people who are so inclind to do it don’t know who the real character Uncle Tom was.
The story is about a certain, literate and wise Black Christian man during the time of slavery. So why is an Uncle Tom so reviled by so many Black people? This defies logic. Nevermind the fact that Black people have never embrased names to identify Blacks that were the doings of White people.
I think the reason Blacks love demeaning other Blacks by hurling this particular intended insult/put down of other Blacks is simply jealousy due to ignorance.
Personally, I do not recall ever using the term, Uncle Tom. I never knew what it really meant. Sure, I witnessed many Black Democrats hurl the term at Black Republicans, when accusing them of kowtowing to White America power. But I am a Black Republican who has never kowtowed to anything White or Black. So, I admit I was confused until I saw the movie.
Before I continue, no, I did not support or cast a vote for ANY Republican in the 2016 presidential election. The closest I came to support the eventual winner was stating: “The only good thing about Donald Trump being president is Hillary Clinton is not.”
M’s. Stowe, wrote a fictional story of a Black slave who believed in God and was murdered as a result of his last slave master who could not get Tom to kowtow. I believe the story was based on true events Stowe witnessed during the time. Therefore, I can confidently say, 99% of Black people who call other Blacks an Uncle Tom, do so not knowing who this fictitious character was; a Christian with unshakable integrity. And if I may: I’ve seen enough kowtowing from prominent Black Democrats to remain a Republican.
But for the 100% of Black people who are offended by the misused term, take comfort in these three facts revealed in the book/movie:
1.) Those who call you an Uncle Tom don’t know who he was.
2.) Uncle Tom had an opportunity to run to be free, but he stayed to make it better for other slaves.
3.) Uncle Tom was ordered to beat a Black woman slave with a whip. But his refusal meant his death. He did not think twice on the choice.
Now if staying to help others especially Blacks, and refusing to hurt others especially Blacks makes a Black Christian an Uncle Tom, then an Uncle Tom is my Homeboy.