04/13/2005: "Everything that rises must submerge"
I'm hoping, for your sake, the answer is "no", but have you ever seen
The Larry Elder Show? To be honest, I've only seen about half of an
episode; yet I feel resoundingly confident that I will avoid future airings
with the same zeal with which steer clear of the Lilith Fair.
Larry (who, in a move doubtlessly intended towards marketing his own brand
of ipecac, likes to call himself "The Sage from South Central") is often
described as a Black Libertarian. I have my doubts about that: the
Libertarian part, that is (as for being Black, I'm willing to take Mr.
Elder's word on that). From What I've seen of his show (again, only a small
segment, but I only had to catch 10 minutes of Carnivale to know
that show was going to drag like J. Edgar Hoover on a Saturday night on
Fire Island) and what I've read about him on the web, Larry strikes me as
more of a Republican than a Libertarian (actually, he strikes me as a bit
of an asshole too). This would, of course, make him the only Black
Republican in the media who's never received a check from the Bush
And while we're on the subject, have you ever noticed that the White people
who are always shocked by Black conservatives are the White people who
didn't grow up around many Blacks? I was raised in a town that was
predominately Black (as well as predominantly being a shit-hole), and I not
only do I know the words to every Motown song written between 1963 and
1969, but I can also attest to the fact that the only issue on
which most working class Blacks are liberal on is Affirmative Action for
Black People. That's it. Death penalty? They're for it. Gay marriage?
They're against it. See, this is what happens when you force people to
live amongst Southerners for four hundred years.
But Larry's politics have very little to do with why I plan on never
watching his show unless I am monetarily compensated for doing so. The
reason I so strongly disliked the few minutes of The Larry Elder
Show that I caught (The same few minutes that make me an expert on
the in's-and-out's of the program) had to do with the audience's
sheep-like need to applaud every statement the guests made: even if those
statements were contradictory. "The Black man is being held down by the
White man!" Wild applause. "The Black man is being held down by the Black
man!" Wild applause. "The Black man is being held down by the Blue Man
Group!" Wild applause. At first I thought that the audience was being
instructed to applaud in five second intervals until I realized that no
"applause" light could stand such punishment without bursting into flames.
I have a pretty lengthy list of complaints about Bill Maher (The foremost
being that, despite being the most widely read blogger in the world, I've
never been asked to be on his show), but at least when his audience
mindlessly applauds a sound byte he scolds them for being morons.
Anyway, the topic of the show I happened to chance upon was "Is School
Failing Our Kids?" Larry seemed, no surprise here, to think that public
schools were basically factories for turning out Godless junky prostitutes
and that home schooling was the only reasonable alternative. Larry's
audience either thought that public schools or home schools were the way
to go, depending solely on which guest was speaking.
The show featured a woman named Lavonda who had pulled her daughter (whose
name I hope isn't "Precious". I hate that name even more than I hate the
name "Unique": which a friend of mine claims to have seen spelled
"You-neek". I'm sure that by now you've heard the Urban Legend about the
classroom containing five girls named "Unique". Thank Hubbard that White
people don't give their kids stupid names like "Cody", or "Dakota", or
"Ashley Amber" or "Madison", or "Clementine", orů) out of public school
and was home schooling her because, as Lavonda claimed, "The public
schools teach Black kids, from day one that their ancestors were
From day one?
"Good morning boys and girls, I'm your teacher, Ms. Johnson. Before we get
started on learning our ABC's, I'd just like to take a minute to point out
that LaShanda, Darnell, and Tamika are all the descendents of slaves. Oh,
and if any of you need to use the restroom, please raise your hand:
especially you Polocks."
In what I'm certain was a rare moment of clarity, Larry Elder turned to
Lavonda and said, "But [you daughter's] ancestors were slaves." To
which the choosy mother who chose Jif replied, "Not back in Africa."
Lavonda is apparently laboring either under the misconception that all
African tribes were modeled on equalitarian communes or under the delusion
that the majority of Africans were freemen. Look, everybody likes to think
that they're descended from Kings, war heroes, or Screamin' Jay Hawkins,
but the facts just don't back that up (although the odds of someone being
the descendent of Screamin' Jay are surprisingly high. By the way, White
people are so into the offspring of the famous trip that some Medieval
English folk took the names of the heroes of the Robin Hood legend. That's
why today in the phone book you'll find Robinson [son of Robin Hood],
Williamson [son of Will Scarlet], Johnson [son of Little John], and - my
favorite - Tucker [son of Friar Tuck].). For the predominance of human
history (until the late 19th century), slavery was the condition under
which most of mankind lived. And that's not even taking into account
variations on slavery such as Serfdom, Indentured Servitude, and
working for Wal-Mart. The odds that you, gentle reader, are descended
from royalty or, for that matter, from someone who didn't gather dung for
a living, are astronomically low.
And while we're on the subject, I'm sick and tired of youngsters who have
Just read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States
going off about how rich White guys stole America from the Red man. Yes,
the genocide of the Native American population was one of histories
greatest crimes and completely unpardonable, but never forget that
American Indian's society was based just as much on wealth and heredity
as was that of the Europeans who conquered them. So, technically, rich
White men stole America from rich Red men.
As for me, I'm one of the few people who've come to grips with the reality
that my ancestors were slaves. On my father's side, my ancestors were
filthy, illiterate Germanic barbarians (and that's only going back two or
three generates: badda bing!) who were either slaves within their own
tribal system or were slaves to the Romans. My ancestors on my mother's
side were doubtlessly slaves within their own social unit on the Orkney
Islands. Oddly, these people were considered so uncouth by the Romans that
the Emperor Hadrian constructed the first known "gated community" to
separate eos from the civilized world.
Does my family bear the Romans any grudge for either enslaving or ignoring
our animal skin-covered predecessors? Hell no. In fact, both my sisters
and I have married Italians. On our anniversaries we each present our
respective spouses with a German chocolate cake and say, "I'm sorry about
that incident in the Teutenberg Forest."
So Lavonda, if your reading this (and since RATYHTL is the most
widely read blog in the world, there's a good chance you are) I suggest you
set you daughter down and say to her, "Honey, it's true; our ancestors were
slaves. But, you know what? : So were everybody else's."
_ . _
eos - them
- Addendum -
The historian Stabro, writing during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius,
listed the chief exports of Britain as "gold, silver, iron, skins,
slaves, hunting-dogs, corn and cattle."