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article imageOp-Ed: Arkansas Rep. Jon Hubbard says slavery a 'blessing' for blacks

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By JohnThomas Didymus     Oct 7, 2012 in Politics
Arkansas Republican Jon Hubbard, in his book "Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative," argues that slavery was a "blessing" and that African-Americans should be thankful that their fathers caught the slave ship to America.
Arkansas Times reports that Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro, writes:
“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)
Hubbard argues that African-Americans are lucky that they came in slave ships to America and escaped Africa with its famine, civil war and poverty. According to Talkbusiness.net, he argues:
“... even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa... Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?” (Pages 93 and 189)
But in spite of the fact that African-Americans are lucky to have escaped hell in Africa, they have not learned the value of education even though the opportunity has been made available to them. Hubbard ponders:
“Wouldn't life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education?” (Page 184)
He argues that blacks have not made themselves inclusive and productive members of American society. He wonders aloud whether African-Americans will ever become fully integrated:
“… will it ever become possible for black people in the United States of America to firmly establish themselves as inclusive and contributing members of society within this country?” (Page 187)
But in another another passage, he comments on how integration of blacks into white American educational system downgrades it:
“…one of the stated purposes of school integration was to bring black students up to a level close to that of white students. But, to the great disappointment of everyone, the results of this theory worked exactly in reverse of its intended purpose, and instead of black students rising to the educational levels previously attained by white students, the white students dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.”
Arkansas Times reports Hubbard tackles the issue of immigration, the core subject of conservative paranoia about the future of "Western Civilization" and notes, interestingly, that American Christians take a similar view of immigration as Germans under Nazi rule:
"...the immigration issue, both legal and illegal... will lead to planned wars or extermination. Although now this seems to be barbaric and uncivilized, it will at some point become as necessary as eating and breathing." (Page 9)
The Daily Mail reports that the book caused outrage among Hubbard's colleagues in the Republican Party. Many compared the book to the outrageous publication by Arkansas House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville, who suggested that all Muslims should be deported.
According to the Daily Mail, State GOP Chairman Doyle Webb described the books as highly offensive. US Rep. Rick Crawford, of northeast Arkansas, said the writings of both Republicans were "divisive and racially inflammatory."
However, Hubbard's comments reflect the perspective of peoples of African descent widely shared in the West, though most Westerners would hesitate to state the commonly shared view as blatantly as Hubbard did because of the felt need to defer to what is derisively termed the "the PC police" in conservative circles.
The Daily Mail, for instance, quotes Fuqua, saying that in spite of the public display of outrage by his colleagues, his views are widely shared. He said: "I think my views are fairly well-accepted by most people." The Daily Mail reports that a reviewer of Fuqua's book on Amazon.com, writes: "Regardless of personal opinions, there is no arguing that Fuqua backs up his thoughts with research, facts, and evidence found in history. I found myself reevaluating my perspectives on issues."
Yet, much of the views of Africans, African history and the condition of people of African descent in the Americas is informed by a deliberate systematic cultivation of ignorance about Africa and African history in Western intellectual culture, beginning with the impoverished content of the school curriculum on Africa and its history. You don't cultivate an informed and balanced perspective of a subject by first systematically cultivating ignorance about it. You can obtain a university degree in the West and yet be unable to locate Egypt, South Africa or Nigeria on a map.
The West, beginning in the era of its global ascendance, elaborated a Eurocentric version of world history designed to pander to the racial pride of Westerners by embellishment of Western history vis-a-vis its very recent historical achievements while sparing no effort at disparaging or belittling the achievement of the victims of its hegemonic agenda. A few Western scholars have repeatedly, strongly criticized the heavily biased history curriculum of the Western educational system.
The school curriculum in the West completely excludes African history and systemically cultivates an ignorance of Africans and their history among its people in a manner that communicates the impression that there is no African history or otherwise that there are no African historical-cultural achievements worthy of study in school. The result is that most Westerners confuse their ignorance of African history with an absence of African history. Thus, a Jon Hubbard would state: “understand that even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa... Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?”
"...Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent"? The truth is that Hubbard knows nothing about Africa.
Most Africans who have had to confront the almost absolute ignorance about Africa among even highly educated Westerners tend to be shocked at its sheer magnitude and intimidated into silence.
How do you begin filling up the gaping void of ignorance willfully, systematically cultivated?
The magnitude of the task would seem simply too intimidating to contemplate undertaking. Most of us Africans, regrettably, balk at the challenge of the task and suffer the insult of arrogant ignorance in pensive silence.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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