Ending The Slavery Blame-Game By Henry Louis Gates, A Rejoinder
by Paul I. Adujie
It is with
considerable agitation, and extreme irritation, with which I read Henry
Louis Gates’ pedestrian essay on slave trade and reparations, published
in The New York Times, titled Ending The Slavery Blame-Game.
Louis Gates is obviously seeking relevance and redemption after his
arrogant altercations with a Cambridge police officer in 2009. Louis
Gates it will be recalled, engaged in a shouting match in belligerent,
intransigent and cantankerous manner, as he prevented a police officer
from carrying out legitimate police work. At that time, it was pointed
out by some, that Louis Gates was merely engaged in racial racketeering,
as he accused the police officer of racism without basis. An accusation
and serious charge of racism against a fine police officer, which was
not based on the facts and the evidences.
Perhaps it is Henry Louis Gates’ calling card and nature, to make
sundry conclusions while shirking away from the intellectual dexterity
required to sift through facts and evidences, and engage in empirical
analysis, particularly so, for anyone with pretension to academic
credentials, and with desire to be taken seriously. In the all important
matter of slave trade, slavery and overdue reparations, Gates has come
with a claptrap and a hack job to absolve, exculpate and exonerate his
Louis Gates lazily, engaged in this silly pretensions to rewrite and
revise the well settled history of the profound evil of slavery, the
worst evil, in human history, and yet, Gates offered obfuscations and
parroting of recycled garbage, and sought to cover all these with his
happenstance of being a Harvard University employee!
Gates’ inane contribution to revisionists efforts at retelling of
the horrors and brutalities of slave trade is shameful. Gates writes
about the slave trade as some sorts of friendly business transactions
between willing seller and equally willing buyer, as would seller and
buyer of pork barrels or barrels of sweet crude or commodities at the
New York or Chicago Stock Exchanges; in which merchants of equal
statuses seal deals with warm and endearing handshakes, with scheduled
caviar and cocktails to follow.
Gates’ flimsy portrayals of Africans as conspiring, conniving and
colluding collaborators, with those who came from thousands of miles to
far away Africa, to kidnap, snatch and bundles and brutalize Africans
into slavery, is an effort, which is worse than useless on the part of
Gates. Gates’ melodramatic lies failed to inform his readers of Oba
Ovoramwen of Benin, a king of the Bini Kingdom who was dethroned and
exiled outside of his domain, because he opposed Europeans horrors and
brutalities and oppression in his kingdom. And there were many others
like Oba Ovaramwen and the Mau Mau, during slavery and colonialism, who
opposed Europeans, and paid with their lives or were jailed by
Europeans! Gates obviously have not read a single page about Belgian
Congo and King Leopold?
Gates through his published trash and falsehoods, has joined
resurgent revisionists and others, who seek to reconstruct and falsify
facts and evidences of slave trade and the enslavement of Africans in
the Americas, in Europe and in the Arab world.
Gates and others are merely engaged in spreading recycled garbage in
their attempts to absolve, exonerate and exculpate Americans, Europeans
and Arabs who originated and practiced for hundreds of years, the
forceful enslavement of African. Gates in doing so, is lazily and
spuriously relying on anecdotal nonsense such as an incident in which a
continental African political office holder, Mathieu Kerekou who in
1999, 600 years after the fact, drops to his knees in Maryland,
Baltimore in the United States during a church service as he
“apologized” for continental Africans role in slave trade? The African,
Gates’ anecdotal “empirical” point of reference, is held up as
“evidence” as if he was an eyewitness or that he found an ancient
document or some sorts of divine revelation which establishes the
buffoonish assertions made thereafter? An academic relies on this?
Gates should be seen for what he really is; He is an apologist for
the heinous crimes, horrors and brutalities which slavery was!
Apologists for slavers and sundry revisionists such as Gates, pretend to
reconstruct and retell what transpired during slave trade some 600
years ago? This revisionism completely ignores the evidence and facts of
history, in connection with slave trade, colonialism, apartheid and
racism. Anyone with half a brain should clearly see that slavery was
designed and implemented by America and Europe for their own benefit and
without consultations and without intents to benefit Africans. American
and European economic growth depended on it. Gates and his revisionist
crews, would want the world to believe that Africans sent memos and
emails and tweets to command Americans and Europeans into slave trade,
these poor hapless, harmless Christian Americans and Europeans,
compelled into wickedness of slavery by those darn African elites! No
one should believe Gates’ lies!
Slavery just like its twin evil, colonialism, was inflicted upon
Africans without regard to the lives, interests and aspirations of
continental Africans. Case in point is the Berlin Conference of
1884-1885 during which the African continent and peoples were portioned
between Europeans nations or powers. First among the sins of the Berlin
Conference was the fact that no African or African representatives were
invited. Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy etc were the nations
The bulk of the internecine crises on the African continent today,
are a consequences of that original sin by Europeans, in which lumped
Africans or separated Africans arbitrarily, without care to similarities
and or differences of the peoples of the continent, but instead, the
emphasis was the interests and suzerainty of Europeans nations.
Europeans sphere of interests, national and strategic, from raw
materials to navigation “rights” throughout the African continent.
America and European nations repeated and replicated this attitude of
utter disregard and contempt for African during the Cold War, during
which African nations were used and exploited in the chasms and schisms
between Western nations on the one hand and Soviet Union East Europeans
on the other.
Gates in arguing against reparations, sought to make exceptions
the general rule. All through history, it is the case that in human
conflicts and wars etc, there are traitors, collaborators and profiteers
in every race, nation and continent. However, it is ridiculously
absurd, for anyone with a scintilla of reason and logic, to seek to make
traitors, collaborators and profiteers, the main story of any conflict
or war. It is illogical to say that Haliburton Inc and BlackWater Inc
caused Iraq war, because it received no bid contracts and profited from
the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is equally illogical to blame
Ahmad Chalabi an Iraqi exile and opportunist, for the predetermined
invasion and occupation of Iraq by Bush-Cheney administration.
Similarly, there are American citizens who have collaborated with Al
Queida and Taliban in terrorism against America, but only an ignorant
person and a complete fool, would believe that those American citizen
collaborators whatever their excuse, share equal responsibility with Al
Queda and the Taliban terrorism upon America, in design and
implementations!John Walker Lindh, Jose Padilla etc, are not the source
Al Queda and Taliban's strength.
An example is the fact that some Jews may have been collaborators
and colluded with Nazis and other Jew haters. But how does that excuse
Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany? How do such roles played by collaborators
and complicit Jews become the main story of the extermination of the
Jews and Jewish Holocaust and reason to have denied reparations to the
Jews? He engaged in his preachment with the zeal of a paid Holocaust
denier and anti Semitic bigot!
And history also documents Africans American traitors who
infiltrated the Civil Right Movement on behalf of the police, FBI and
others who were opposed to equality for African Americans… these were
nevertheless the exception to the rule. But imagine anyone demeaning the
Civil Rights Movement and the horrors and brutalities faced by
catapulting and vaulting these exceptions to the rule betrayers and
treacheries by some African Americans as if it were the main story of he
Civil Rights Movement gains and losses?
Louis Gates is essentially a hack job for those who have been
forever opposed to reparations for over 200 years
Louis Gates is a
flimsy and a self-loathing intellectual. His silly presentation seeks
to absolve, exculpate and exonerate his white handlers of the egregious
and heinous horrors and brutalities of slave trade.
Louis Gates is arguing that persons such as Thomas Hagan, the killer
of Malcolm X, is reason to demean the horrors and brutalities which
were visited on African Americans as they sought equality of citizenship
in the United States.
The majority of African Americans were not conniving, colluding and
betraying the cause of equality... but there were those who infiltrated
the Black Panther, and other Civil Right Movement organizations on
behalf of the police, the FBI etc to undermine the worthy cause of
freedom and equality... imagine using the infiltrators and betrayers to
define the era?
Henry Louis Gates emphatically used his stated conjectures as if
they were sacrosanct and incontrovertible immutable evidences and facts
akin to finding a smoking gun! Gates repeatedly used words, such as
“significant” “considerable” “the truth” “90 percent” and Gates failed
and neglected to substantiate such assertions. Failed and neglected to
elaborate or provide his readers with sources and references for
“estimates” as basis for his fawning didactic and pedagogic abracadabra!
Argument against reparations, Louis Gates flimsy presentation
will fall nicely into the hands of those who have been opposed to
reparations for slavery for continental Africans and peoples of African
descent. The other side can now argue that slavery was caused by
Africans themselves and as such, no need for apologies or reparations
and compensations, and quote a “BLACK MAN” Louis Gates of HARVARD!
Slavery, colonialism, apartheid, the Cold War were all conducted
over the heads and contrary to the interests of the governments and
peoples of Africa, and the conduct of world affairs continues to follow
that lopsided pattern of disregard and contempt for the Africans.
Louis Gates apparently does not possess the intellectual prowess. A
robust and superb intellectual would seek empirical data. Gates
apparently does not possess the intellectual rigor with which to engage
in profound research and painstaking analysis of available data. He is
instead, seeks to rely on his peonage, as such impose his baseless,
hazy, lazy sweeping generalizations. Continental Africans and peoples of
African descent must reject and resoundingly condemn Louis Gates for
his revisionist reconstruction and reductive silly retelling of history
through falsifications of the known world. Henry Louis Gates
condescendingly, arrogantly and in utterly patronizing ill-manner,
retorted in his silly-trashy essay, his preconceived notions of how he
expect African Americans to misunderstand his blame the victim pseudo
intellectual rewriting of the well known, well established horrors and
brutalities of slave trade
Perhaps the onset of old age and dementia, intellectual declines and
regressions, both physical and mental in nature, are demonstrably
responsible for Louis Gates current affronts and assaults on continental
Africans and peoples of African descent with his simplistic
oversimplifications of the heinous crimes, horrors and brutalities of
Perhaps Louis Gates seeks relevance and redemption from his racial
racketeering and melodramatic episode of last year in which he labeled a
police officer’s reaction to his unruly, ungentlemanly arrogant and
intransigent behavior racism? Or is it the case that Louis Gates is an
Uncle Tom, a House Negro and a mere token at the hallowed halls of
Harvard University, merely speaking with his masters’ voice?