I’m always offended when some 21st Century jerk-off, made soft from fast food and text messaging, starts in with a line like, “I couldn’t have been no slave.”
I have to resist the urge to correct what he’s saying (grammar included) because I know what he means is, “I couldn’t have continued to be a slave.”
Taken literally, it would almost be as if he’s suggesting that were he born 175 years ago to a slave mother in the antebellum south, he still would have found a way to emerge from the womb shouting “fight the power!” and “kill whitey!”
What I think is interesting to note here is that the word “slave” in it’s current etymology has it’s root in that period in history when Moors and Muslims conquered Spain and other parts of southern Europe.
It is a derivative of the word “slav” for Slavic people, who were the Central Europeans that had been forced into servitude by the Moors.
How’s that for a bitter irony? A word that came into existence to describe whites forced into the servitude by Blacks now only conjures to mind the image of Blacks forced into servitude by whites.
Personally, I’d always liked to imagine that, after being born into slavery, there’d have been a point in my life where I looked at my massa and realized that he was a man no different that I, and that I would have refused from that day forward to be his “slave”.
This is what I’d like to imagine.
I don’t pretend that this certainly would have been the case.
I also don’t judge my ancestors—I’m thankful for them.
And who knows what attachments, fears, phobias or perks kept them right there on the plantation.
As for you, be honest.
After being born a slave, would you have continued to be one?
Chances are, if you’re an adult and you’ve never left the country, let alone your home state, if you’ve never worked for yourself or at least tried to start your own business, if you’ve been in jail but didn’t try to escape, and if you’re unable to discipline yourself without the threat of external reprimand, then I’ve got news for you…