BERNARD: The Ties That Bind And The Anguished Cries Of Slavery

Editor’s Note: A guest post from Claston Bernard, the Louisiana Republican Party’s endorsed candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District. Check out his website at http://clastonbernard.com.

The dead of the night is pierced with the sudden screams of deeply anguished cries. There are flames all around; the already dark night is further blackened by the billowing smokes. Folks are herded like cattle and the helpless are killed. The march begins to the whooping roar of the conquerors whose shackles gave new meaning to ties that bind. With each successful raid, they ignored the wailing of families whose bonds were being ripped apart as they journeyed to the coastlines where European ships were waiting for their long and brutal journey.

All that was dear to the captured was uprooted — families and landscapes never to be seen again.

On ships, they are chained and packed like sardines while the scent of urine and human excrement is heavy. In the new world, they are auctioned off to the highest bidder who prods and pokes them like human cattle. They are awakened to the reality that they are now slaves and considered someone’s personal property. Their natural rights are no longer recognized. This is the brief story of how Africans first came to the West.

You may be wondering what is the reason for writing this paper. As a Black man, I have been told slavery is the reason for many modern Black pathologies. Further, Willie Lynch’s Doctrine taught that owners needed to abuse the slave woman in front of her helpless male protector. This rendered her powerless and distrustful of her man being her leader. As a result of this, Black families are now matrifocal. Slavery was an oppressive system that demeaned and disfigured many Blacks. In America, Jim Crow Laws reduced freed slaves to second class citizens. Far too often this is the story that is told by many foisting the victimization culture on the Black race.

True, history is to be taught without distorting the facts. However, when obscured to drive a certain narrative we should be cautious. In today’s America and the West, Blacks are often depicted as needing a liberal savior or programs to right the wrongs of the past. There is another aspect to this story that has been overlooked and that is man’s ability to adapt to his environment and circumstances. This ability to adapt was the key to keeping the Black race alive throughout slavery and Jim Crow.

My Home, Jamaica

In my country of birth, Jamaica, my family did not have a lot of material wealth to offer. Despite that, my household consisted of both parents who offered the protection of the harsh realities of our impoverished situation. No matter how tough things were out in the world, when I got home there was safety and protection.

Importantly, law and order reigned in my home, and that stability taught me how crucial the family unit is. Family is a powerful stabilizer, inherently intrinsic, and is above culture. At twelve years old I went to boarding school. This was a major adjustment, filled with anxiety and the unknown.

Here, and as a young boy, I had to quickly adjust to the rigidity of life and the rigors of a demanding academic program made tough by the militaristic standard of the school. In boarding school, law and order were the DNA of everyday life. I had to find out who I was and what I wanted to do in life. Traditionally boarding schools were for wealthy Jamaicans and foreigners. My school was not created for the well-to-do, but rather, for poor educationally gifted boys in the 1850’s. By the time I got there, however, it was a symbol of affluence. In this place, I learned to adjust to the demand of a bell telling you when to get up, when to eat breakfast, lunch, supper, and when to study. For six years this place became my home. I left there a man ready to face the world.

Introduction to the Racial Divide

My next journey was to the United States of America where I was off to college – LSU – on an athletic scholarship. It was another moment of adjustment, as it was here I was introduced to racial undertones of Black and White culture. I was told trusting the white man is dangerous. I was told of the two political parties in America – one was for Blacks and the other was for White people.

This did not sit well with me.

I made it my duty to learn the history of the American culture. After all, it was both Black and White coaches who recruited me to the same university.

When I came to America, it was with the hope of earning a college degree and having a successful athletic career, I had very little. I had a backpack, a duffel bag, and some money to start life anew. However, if the system was so rigged against the Black race how could I, a black immigrant, succeed in such a culture?

What I quickly learned about America was there was a system of law and order. There were also rewards and failures. Here, opportunities were unlimited and there was nothing that could prevent you from accomplishing your goals. I learned quickly to be successful, I had to see beyond racial matters and ignore the ideas of racial quotas.

Being told certain industries were for Whites only did not make sense and was not my reality. I see myself as a man limited only by what I tell myself is unattainable. There were times of perceived racial issues that created distrust, but they were not the norm. Now this is not saying there are no racial issues in American society, but I chose not to entangle my mind with what I could not see. Some people would say to me the reason I succeeded as a Black immigrant in America is that I was not born here.

But the question I asked often was how would someone know that without knowing me? After all, my color is quite visible. And my accent is not always that obvious. My ancestors were brought to Jamaica the same way as American Blacks. So, why did my father and mother not get afflicted by the same pathologies? My parents did not raise us to be distrusting of people because of how they look,. Instead, they focused on hard work and education. They stayed together despite the harsh realities of history, poverty, and poor governance.

The Focus Should Be On the Family Unit

My goal is to understand America, a country I have adopted, love and in which I have built a family. I must make sense of the racial dynamics, so my children will be able to live as Americans without the badge of racial inferiority. There are constant calls for equality – the interpretation of which is for making racial quotas. Cries of racial discrimination and demands for reparation. Will America survive these calls? Why are there not more calls to rebuild the family unit?

Now to the heart of this paper, if slavery had been able to destroy the Black family, then Blacks in the West would be a lost cause. However, this is not the case. Many slaves survived slavery with their families intact; likewise, many Blacks survived Jim Crow with their families intact. This was a powerful point made in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and is often overlooked by many. Slavery was unable to disfigure and dehumanize the slaves. Why? Because they held tight and fought to keep their families together. For instance, some men and women, given the opportunity for freedom, chose bondage rather than to separate their families. This showed the slavers that slavery could not detach humans from their humanity and their sense of duty to family.

The Importance of the Family Bond Comes From God

It is written that in the beginning, God made them male and female. He later commanded that man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. One of the strongest bonds of the African descendants in the West has been the family units.

No oppressive system can deprive humans of the unalienable instincts provided by Providence. The preamble to America’s Declaration of Independence recognized that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights no system can legitimately deprive.

Like Pharaoh trying to destroy the humanity and dignity of the Israelites, so was the institution of Western slavery to Africans brought to America. When God asked Pharaoh to release his people, every time he resisted he was reminded he was human and paid dearly. God was illustrating to Pharaoh the suffering people will face every time they harmed His people.

America has suffered under slavery and paid the price in blood with over 700,000 souls before and during the Civil War.

Many slave families were broken forcefully, but it did not prevent slaves from forming new bonds and passing on generational ties. The slave families were God’s constant reminder to the enslavers that family is not a man-made institution.

The slaves recognized this too. In slavery, marriages among slaves were as high as 80% percent. This was not because they were imitating their White masters, but because it was the bond that protected the human family. Slaves did not learn about marriage from Whites and to say so is ridiculous. Families are not a White thing. It is an institution created by God to protect and advance the human family.

In today’s America, marriage among descendants of slaves sits at about 29%. Broken homes litter both urban and rural landscapes. The argument this is due to the oppressive system of slavery and Jim Crow does not hold weight. In 1960, more than 70% of Black children were being raised in two-parent homes. The continued failure of families is due to mass propaganda educational institutions, the Church, the liberal God, and family-hating media. Individuals are responsible for allowing these institutions to continue to dominate their lives and afflict their children.

The Family Unit Creates Ties That Bind

The strength of any society is the bonds of the family. It is why I wake up each morning sometimes traveling hundreds to thousands of miles to make sure I can put bread on my family’s table. It is why I believe having the right to protect your family is an intrinsic right. The government cannot define the family as the family precedes it. It is because of this I believe the US Constitution has enshrined natural rights and is worth fighting for.

When you destroy the family, you destroy the hopes of humanity. If the Black man could maintain his family in poverty and the system of oppressive slavery, he can surely do it today!

Our ability to survive and transmit values are dependent on adaptability. Captured Africans transformed themselves into Americans and went on to build generations of families by adapting and adjusting, not by imitating. In bondage and freedom, they were able to adapt. America is the home of Blacks, Whites and other races. They all adapted to the culture from mostly opposing situations, but we are all 100% Americans. Likewise, myself as an immigrant, I was able to adapt to the American way of life. The path to citizenship is not framed by bloodlines or race.

If America is to survive, it will have to repel one of the most virulent leftist and modern-day liberal attacks to its very foundation. These people are telling today’s Blacks that they are victims of slavery and deserve special treatment and that the US Constitution is a racist doctrine. This differs from the reality that the US Constitution is here to protect us all and provide the protection for any and all to find success. After all, that is the American way. But, success does begin inside the family unit home. Protect our families and you set the stage for our people to flourish.

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