Five years ago America celebrated the sesquicentennial of the emancipation proclamation, which freed slaves in the southern states that were in open rebellion during the Civil War. It was the precursor to the 13th Amendment, which abolished American chattel slavery, the most brutal and inhumane form of servitude in history. Forced labor of enslaved Africans helped build America into an economic powerhouse through the production of lucrative crops such as tobacco and cotton. The forced labor and sexual exploitation of Blacks in America was horrific, dehumanizing, and has had long lasting negative effects for generations of those descended from people unjustly held in bondage.
The seriousness with which the history of slavery in America should be studied, contemplated, and taught is undermined by the casual and disrespectful use of slavery and plantation imagery by conservatives as part of their political agenda to encourage Blacks to defect from the Democratic Party. Using the word “plantation” to characterize the relationship between Black voters and Democrats is an untoward primary strategy of today’s Republican Party. To them, Blacks who don’t vote with the GOP are “slaves on the Democrat plantation.”
This abhorrent plantation rhetoric is racist and sacrilegious. Such hyperbole would never be used against any other demographic in America. Imagine the outrage if Nazi and concentration camp tropes were used to describe Jews who chose not to vote Republican. It would never happen. But alas, the descendants of those whose labor built the wealth of America have never been afforded proper dignity or respect in this nation. Making light of the horrors of slavery to score political points is repulsive. Callously using terms that describe the history of our oppression should be verboten and never again should they be used by conservatives as a cudgel. The repeated use of plantation imagery dilutes the emotional potency of the most execrable chapter in American history.
As odious as their plantation talking points are, Republicans have been rather slithery in how they’ve managed to push such a disgusting narrative. They’ve engaged extreme, bombastic Black voices that can deliver messages with egregiously racist connotations without being accused of being racist. From Deneen Borelli’s accusation that former President Barack Obama was driving Americans to the “Government Plantation” to Star Parker’s “Uncle Sam’s Plantation,” the GOP has successfully used Blacks to push a narrative where Democrats use the government to keep Black voters dependent in exchange for their votes. Today, Turning Point USA, a nonprofit founded by Charlie Kirk with a sketchy history of employing open racists, has replicated the GOP strategy and exploits its Black spokeswoman, Candace Owens, to antagonize liberals, progressives, and anyone else who isn’t riding the Trump train toward its destination of making America white again by reviving the same worn out, insulting, bigoted trope that Black voters are slaves on the Democratic Party plantation. And while Owens, with her supporting cast of GOP sycophants like rapper Kanye West and Youtube sensations Diamond and Silk, provide cover for such blatant racism with their Black faces, white Republicans, condone, approve, applaud, and most importantly fund the career endeavors of their Black partners. That’s right, they condemn liberals for wanting handouts while they stand before their conservative benefactors with their hands out.
What conservatives need to know is, insulting ninety percent of Black voters by telling them they’re slaves may garner applause at GOP dominated rallies, summits, and meetings, but it does little to convince Blacks to vote GOP. As a matter of fact, it repels us. Conservatives should also understand that contrasting Black Democrats with slaves is not only disparaging and racist, it is historically inaccurate and irrational. They argue that Black folks trade their loyalty and votes with Democrats in exchange for government handouts like welfare, food stamps, subsidies, and healthcare, which allows them to stay home and enjoy a laissez-faire life of irresponsibility. All they need to do is sit comfortably in their subsidized homes making babies and waiting for the government check, right? Wrong. That sounds nothing like slavery and hardly represents the statistics that define Black people. Someone needs to remind the GOP that the majority of people receiving so called entitlements of every kind from the government aren’t Black folks, they’re white, many of them Republican.
Not only is their depiction of Black people as lazy, good for nothing folks looking for a handout insulting, their grasp of history is absolutely pathetic. The slavery of our ancestors hardly consisted of lazy Black folks chilling at home while massa took care of them. Who does the GOP think worked those cotton and tobacco fields that made America’s southern states the economic engine of the nation? Comparing the conservative stereotype of Black people wanting the government to provide them with free food, housing, and healthcare while they do nothing all day in exchange for votes, with the cruel, inhumane institution of slavery, is a screwy, deranged, infuriating juxtaposition and an affront to both the current generation of voters and our ancestors whose lives were stolen by the horrible American crucible of slavery.
Mental gymnastics, which conclude that most Blacks vote Democrat because they are driven by slothfulness and the need for benefactors that will provide social services, thus rendering them unable to think for themselves, determine whose political agenda is in their best interest, measure the benefits and deficiencies of political parties and come to informed decisions, originated in the minds of white supremacists, but are unfortunately parroted from the mouths of their Black factotum.