House Negro and The Field Negro

As I sit watching the Republican National Convention, I am reminded of the words of Sun Tzu “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” I hear constant rhetoric from the GOP about their diversity and being a party of love and respect. I see many black faces on the stage giving well received speeches and attacking the President of the United States. When I see this, I am reminded not only of Sun Tzu’s words but of Malcolm X’s words as well. Brother Malcolm warned us of the “House Negro” and the “Field Negro”. Malcolm, in addition to being a great orator, was a serious student of history. Not just black history but all history. He was guided in his studies by one of the Grandmasters of history Dr. John Henrik Clarke. This “House Negro” and “Field Negro” syndrome was a very real occurrence. There was a noticeable disparity between the way slaves who worked in the house were treated and the way slaves who labored in the field were treated. The letters of Willy Lynch speak to the purposeful seed of divisiveness that was planted among the two groups to keep them from unifying and threatening the establishment of slavery. Old was placed against young, dark against light, and house against field. If a slave master could breed dissension in his slaves they would forever hate each other and not him. If more attention was given to one group than the other, the result was jealousy and a lack of trust. That simple system was one of the most effective ways that slavery was maintained in this country.

So as I sit and watch these “brothers” and “sisters” fall rank and file with a political party that is in the throes of race baiting campaign tactics, I am left to reflect on brother Malcolm’s words. I understand and respect each individuals right to political choice. This choice is the cornerstone of democracy. However, I wonder is there something deeper in play? Are they oblivious to the words, policies, and actions that are detrimental to the culture of their genetic origin? Are they simply endearing themselves to the master? I am not sure but it is profoundly disturbing that they are being placed front and center in an attempt to counter claims of anti-diversity and racism. I scan the crowd at the GOP convention and scarcely see black faces yet I see so many black speakers. I’m not sure of their intentions because I am not a mind reader but I do know that Malcolm was right in his observation. Here are two videos for you. One shows Malcolm X explaining this concept and the other is an animated depiction using his words. Don’t get me wrong though, I believe there are some “House Negroes” in the Democratic Party as well.


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