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Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:39

Stealing, Silence and Savagery Were at the Core of the Slavery System and Still Live on in US DNA

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NNADMI AKWADA FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aslave234(Photo: Boston Public Library)Among the 2013 Hollywood motion pictures that are receiving critical acclaim, 12 Years a Slave boasts of three talented African diasporans. Indeed, Hollywood is experiencing a slight fever for the African diaspora and African renaissance with the nominations of African diasporans for various awards. Director Steve McQueen and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Yaya Alafia, David Oyelowo, and Barkhad Abdi are in the process of becoming household names in the movie industry. These folks are not just getting awards for British accents but for their amazing talents. These recognitions from the birthplace of the notorious Tarzan movies and Ice Cube’s depictions of Africans appear to be a shift away from the racially biased and stereotypical caricatures of the past.

Nonetheless, getting the opportunity to watch the movie 12 Years a Slave about Solomon Northup -- the upstate New York gentleman who was stolen and rendered to the capitalist slavery economic system, the forerunner of industrial societies -- was hard to find. This was largely due to the Tinsel Town distribution mechanisms and the realization that in a “progressive state” like Maryland there are certain pockets of resistance and contempt for historical facts that do not match skewed romanticized narratives. Therefore some movie theaters in counties, cities, and towns, including the largest county in Maryland have gone out of their way to selectively limit the viewing of films like 12 Years a Slave, because it critiques the current world order and makes some folks uncomfortable.

Indeed this epic motion picture stands out because it was able to depict the three S-terminologies which reinforced the physical and mental slavery cycle. The concepts of steal, savagery, and silence were essential in furthering the slavery economic system. Subjects were stolen with brute force (savagery) while labeled as savages, and their kidnappings were effected with strategic precision (silencing of opposition). Moreover, the victims and their survivals were conditioned through social control to remain under the dominance of slavery and other similar formations. The survivors and/or successors of this colonial era have continued to suffer due to past legacies while the elite class from New York to Rio de Janeiro, from London to Abuja, from Dubai to the Cayman Islands is content with mass impoverishment around the globe.     

Consequently, the lopsided economies are reflected in recent happenings such as the attempts to silence and intimidate social justice activists about speaking out on racial, economic, political, religious, cultural, social, and environmental issues.

Should humanity remain silent when President Obama pays lip-service to subjects like poverty, inequality, and economic mobility while pushing for so-called free trade and market structures that outsource and/or offshore US jobs? Whereas globally people are exploited, resources are expropriated, and environments are polluted for the benefit of few elites reminiscent of the slave era. Why are western corporations investing in using informational, psychological, and brutal savagery to silence the aggrieved opposition whose resources are stolen?      

The NSA needs to continue the surveillance and spying state systems, structural poverty needs to linger, and mass incarceration must stay despite the disparities and unlawfulness of the legal system. There is also the need to single out individuals such as Serena Williams the international tennis champion, Richard Sherman of the National Football League, and the teenager Trayvon Martin by applying social control tools such as stigma and sterotyping. These constructs are necessary to distract and abate the reawakening of people and behaviors that will question and confront the inequalities in our various societal systems.

Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a social justice activist