Black Racists of 2020 The WAZ Awards
Winner number eight is Nikole Hannah Jones, a wealthy, highly educated, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has made a lucrative career speaking and writing about black victimhood and white oppression.
Our narrator is Al Purdy. Al’s a retired firefighter/EMT, who looks exactly like you’d expect with the walrus mustache, freckles and one of those red-cheeked, cheery expressions that’s happiest running towards what everyone else is running away from. Qualifications: Al got into genealogy and reading about the Civil War during his long shifts at the fire station. He plays folk guitar and writes songs about unions, environment, exploitation and other things you don’t hear on the radio. A lot of it’s dark but he’s got an enthusiastic local following. ‘The secret of that,’ he told me once, ‘is you can get people to listen to pretty much anything if you thread a bouncy tune behind it. You can do the same in an argument. Just be genuine and smile.’
Warm-up at the WAZ
This being St. Patrick’s Day we had to observe two annual rituals. First was Tommy O’Brien’s corned beef and cabbage, with carrots and boiled potatoes, served with porter and stout. That’s followed by Uncle Tim’s grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread with Irish coffee that Tim makes with fresh brewed French Roast coffee (organic, fair trade), top shelf Irish whiskey, muscovado, with a dollop of hand mixed, not too stiff whipping cream floated on top. You sip the coffee through the cream.
Then it was time for the other ritual, which is NuGene’s rendition of Emmett’s Speech from the Dock. Gene, who’s got some Irish DNA in his family woodpile, has the Irish accent to a ‘T’ for this speech, especially when he samples the whiskey first. He also fills in the part of Emmet’s English judge who kept interrupting.
“Today” he said, “we remember Robert Emmet, just 25-years-old, when he tread the upward way 218 years ago. Sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered then his head cut off. He looked straight into the devil’s eyes of his judges;
“What have I to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me, according to law? I have nothing to say which can alter your predetermination, not that it would become me to say with any view to the mitigation of that Sentence which you are here to pronounce, and by which I must abide. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have laboured, as was necessarily your office in the present circumstances of this oppressed country to destroy…”
Well, you know the rest. At the end
“…When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.”
Resounding cheers went up for Robert Emmet, for Gene, for Tommy, Tim, for ‘the land of happy wars and sad love songs.’
Chairman Roy whooped, and thumped the table, along with the rest poured a stout then said, “All right then white penis, melanin deficient, Colonial prop-children adopting, politically incorrect, European Jesus worshipping, fragility denying mutants, unless we’re going to get pasted and sing Irish rebel songs like we did last year, this meeting should come to order. All in favor say ‘Aye.’
“All right then, agreed we are, to hear tonight’s presentation by that renowned smoke eater who always managed to save the cellar in fires from the end of Thane Road to Yankee Cove. And! Who got several of us in this room to the hospital in time that we are able to be here tonight in all our obnoxious glory. Gentlemen, put your hands together for Our Pal Al!”
“Yah! Alphonso the quick Responso! Woot! Woot! Al!”
Roy set the Tibetan bell in front of Al who said,
“Thank-you. Thanks everybody. Here we go: one-two, a-one-two-three-four.” and flicked the bell Bwoooiiinnnnng.
Nikole Hannah-Jones and Reparations.
“When I hear black people or their supporters demand reparations I tell them, “That’s so nice! You want to recognize all my ancestors who suffered and bled and died to free your ancestors from slavery. I appreciate that—never heard it from you guys before—but it was 156 years ago after all, and I didn’t do anything to earn it. Plus we’re $22 trillion in debt. But thanks.”
He laughed, “And all the time they’re going, ‘but, but, but…’ like a little outboard motor.”
“No! They say. We don’t want America to give you reparations. We want America to give us reparations for what our ancestors suffered.”
“Nikole Hannah-Jones is one of those cheerleaders for reparations. For a victim, she’s doing pretty well. Got a degree from Notre Dame where the tuition and fees run about $76,883 a year. Got a Masters from the University of North Carolina. Got a Macarthur Fellowship, that’s a no-strings-attached grant for $625,000. Got a Pulitzer Prize. Got a platform with the New York Times. Her ideas are being taught in thousands of schools all across the country. And ideas? Boy howdy, this dame’s got some ideas. Says the American Revolutionary War was fought to protect slavery. Says American schools are segregated because white people want them to be. Says American history should begin in 1619 because that’s when the first 20 black slaves were brought over to Virginia. Says America was built by black slaves and anybody with black slave ancestors should be eligible for reparations. ”
“Historians say she’s cherry picked the data to fit her narrative so it might be good to throw a couple more items into the hopper:
For starters, those thousands of white slaves sent over from Europe to work in the colonies, and if they were women, to be breeders; their descendants aren’t eligible for Nikole’s reparations because they’re not black. Descendants of the Irish Navvies and Chinese Coolies who built the railroads get nothing. Coal miners who died from black lung or got crushed underground, zero. White workers, who died mill fires or got mangled in the machinery, or died building dams, or on ranches, or logging, or in the fisheries, nothing.
“We hear 10-15 percent of black slaves died on ships owned by white men as they were crossing the Atlantic. That’s a horrible thing. Who could deny it? Not me sure as hell. What they don’t say, though, is that it wasn’t white men going up to 300 miles into the African interior on slave raids. It was slave raiders of color. The estimated mortality rate of people captured in those raids was: are you ready?: 10-15 percent. Yes, that means the death rate for the journey to the coast was about the same as the death rate crossing the Atlantic. But it also means a lot of the slaves-to-be were almost dead by the time they got to the coast. Have you got a question, Tim?”
“Well, a point actually.” Tim said. “Without white slave buyers, slave traffic in Africa would never have reached the levels it did.”
“Absolutely right,” Al nodded. “And the African slavers thought that was great. Just freakin’ dandy. Some of their descendants still do. The Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is proud of her slave trading great-grandfather. She writes, “Nauaubaniogogo lived at a time when the fittest survived and the bravest excelled. The concept of “all men are created equal” was completely alien to traditional religion and laws in his society.” What are the odds rich Americans like Nikole will shake down Nigeria for reparations? Ha.”
“Since we’re talking about percentages of people who died en route.” Al pointed to Tommy, “And since it’s St. Paddy’s Day, maybe this Hibernian will tell us a word about ‘coffin ships.’”
Tommy put his glass on the table. “Between 1845 and 1852 twenty-five percent of the Irish population starved, died of disease caused by malnutrition, or emigrated in those seven years because of the Potato Famine caused by English landlords. The landlords responded by increasing taxes and threw destitute families out in the snow.
One solution for getting starving Irish off the land was to ship them over to North America packed by the hundreds below decks crawling with lice, typhus, no sanitation, no bunks, running with vomit and diarrhea. The death rate on those ships was commonly 20 percent. There are stories of ships losing fifty percent of their human cargo. Unlike slaves, there wasn’t a financial incentive for keeping them alive once their passage was paid. They had no money for food. They’d run out of water. Sharks followed the ships to eat the dead they threw over. When they reached North America after weeks at sea, they got in a line of ships miles long in the St. Lawrence River where they were quarantined for weeks more because of the typhus. As they died, father, mother, and child, over the side with them. Coffin ships. To the dead.”
We raised our glasses.
“To the dead!”
200 years ago
Al continued, “It’s in fashion in this country today to only see black victims and white oppressors. Two hundred years ago, a lot of American white people were way ahead of a lot of blacks in Africa on the slavery issue. Pennsylvania abolished slavery in 1780, New Hampshire and Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783, Rhode Island abolished slavery in 1784. By 1804 all the Northern states had either abolished slavery or had measures to abolish slavery. On January 01,1808 the U.S. abolished the Atlantic Slave Trade. Probably the most famous and far-reaching anti-slavery case in American history was the Amistad way back in 1839.”
“Little rusty on history here, Al. Maybe you could refresh us on that.” Roy said.
“Happy to.” Al said. “In June, 1839 The Amistad was carrying 53 black African Medes who’d been captured as slaves and brought to Cuba by Spain. The ship’s cook made a joke to the Africans that he was going to cook them. The joke was on him. The Medes, feeling they had nothing to lose, attacked the slavers, killed the cook and crew. They kept the navigator and owners alive to take them back to Africa. Instead, the navigator guided the ship up the eastern seaboard of the US to Long Island/Sandy Hook Connecticut where the U.S. Navy captured the ship. From there: a white Harvard linguist took it upon himself to find a black sailor who could speak Mede. Through him the court was able to find out what had happened aboard the Amistad.
“Spain demanded the slaves be returned to Cuba. Instead, white officials in Connecticut arrested the white Spaniards for enslaving free black Africans. During the trial to decide the African’s fate, the white community of New Haven, Connecticut took in the black people, and fed, housed, and clothed them. It was high stakes. If the Africans were returned to Cuba they could have been executed for murder and piracy. Their lawyer was no less than white, former President of the United States John Quincy Adams. Adams fought their case all the way to the American Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, which was comprised of all white men, ruled that the black Africans had acted rightly in defending themselves and released them. After that, 35 of the Medes returned to Africa where, according to reports, several of them became involved in human slave trading.
Twenty years after that trial, America fought the bloodiest war in its history over slavery, and ended it. Some African countries, on the other hand, still had slavery decades into the 1900’s. Just saying.”
Al Purdy’s family history:
Al unbuttoned a shirt pocket. In it was a carved box. In the box was a velvet bag. In the bag was a cross. “Here,” he said, “Pass this around.”
Without a word we passed it hand to hand. It was old. Smooth, carved in bone. When it got to me, I saw the writing etched on it. “I have suffered.” Each man who held it was a bit more subdued than the man he passed it to. There’s serious mojo in that piece.
When it got back to Al he laid it on the bag, looked around at us and laughed. “Well you all got quiet.” Then he said, “I had at least six relatives at the first battle of Bull Run. They fought at Shiloh, Antietam, Second Bull run, a hundred skirmishes. That’s six just on my father’s side, now. I’m named after three of them. Vincent Purdy, my great, great grandfather, carved that cross in 1864 while he was convalescing after being wounded. He fought through the war in the Connecticut 17th infantry regiment.
Another of my originals, William Rothwell was an English immigrant. He volunteered at the ripe old age of 45. Company K, 4th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers. The army was a way for immigrants to get citizenship. One of his sons married a woman named Mary Angell who’d had four brothers who went, Alphonso, Sayles, Preserved, and William.”
“Preserved?” Tommy said.
Al laughed again, “Got three of their names. I’m okay I didn’t get his. Just a few of the farm boys among Lincoln’s 90 day wonders who volunteered on the agreement they’d be back at the farm in three months. They found themselves in a blood bath fighting with Cosmo and Sonny’s ancestors. Slaughter. Thousands of young men shredded by canister rounds loaded with grape shot and nails, bayonet charges, men around them screaming as they died with their guts in the mud. Men dying of sepsis behind the lines. Having limbs amputated with no anesthetic in field hospitals where they piled arms and legs and bodies outside tents like cordwood. After battles my relatives would go looking for each other in the dark. Which was dangerous because the Southerners were close enough that now and again, when they’d call a name, a bullet would whistle past their ears.
“When their time was up they wanted to go home. The Union government told them they had to stay till the war was won. My people said to hell with that. They laid their muskets down on the field and walked back home to Rhode Island. Government came to take them back to the war. Three went back. Alphonso didn’t. His mother hid him in the barn whenever the government men came looking for him. He doesn’t show up on the soldier lists today, probably because he bagged it. My mother liked that story, that’s why she called me Alphonso. Which about brings me to reparations. Before I go there, though. I want to say something. I want to say as a northerner, a New Englander coming from where every town has its civil war monument of a Union soldier, I respect the men who fought and died for the South. They were valiant, they paid the full measure. The Union generals who saw thousands of their own men killed in the Civil War recognized that sacrifice by those men and respected them. These academics today, and politicians, and do-nothing marginal people who disrespect the southern dead are not people I take seriously.”
“Al,” Roy said, “Maybe it would be easier for us to see how we feel about this reparation thing if you let us in on the details of how it would work.”
Al shook his head, “We don’t need no stinking details, Roy. Nikole Hannah-Jones says, “The technical details, frankly, are the easier part.”
Ira said, “She could take a lesson from the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Native Claims Settlement Act, technical details make all the difference in the world.”
“That they do.” Al nodded. “That much money is like the Porcupine Caribou herd headed for the calving grounds. Every predator, every scavenger, every parasite and blood sucker for hundreds of miles follows hard on their heels.”
“Hannah-Jones also said, “…white Americans are not the ones who’d pay for them [reparations]. It does not matter if your ancestors engaged in slavery or if you just immigrated here two weeks ago… And so it is the federal government that pays.”
“The woman’s not an economics major then.” Roy observed. “Immigrants who came here two weeks ago? Really?”
“And,” Tony said, “The federal government ain’t got no money of it’s own. It’s the people’s money.”
“And as you say, we’re $22 trillion in debt.” Ira put in.
“Hey Gene,” Al said, “First of all, what does ‘reparations’ mean?”
“Reparations” Gene said. “noun. the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong of injury. The payment of damages. indemnification specifically: compensation in money or materials payable by a defeated nation for damages to expenditures sustained by another nation as a result of hostilities with the defeated nation.”
“Okay, there’s the definition. Now, who won the Civil War? Not black people. Some fought it in it, and some gave a good account of themselves, but overall, black troops played a very small role. They came in late in the war. The Union generals were hesitant to use them. Partly because they didn’t have confidence in them. Partly because so many men were getting killed they didn’t want to be accused of using black troops for cannon fodder. That’s why General Meade didn’t use them in the Battle of the Crater. They used white troops, many thousands of them immigrants, for cannon fodder instead.
No one talks about paying those white troops’ ancestors reparations today. So who should pay ancestors of black slaves? The ancestors of the northern soldiers who won that war? People living in southern states and western states? Some of which weren’t even states in the 1860’s? It’s a matter of history that the south was fiercely pillaged by northern carpetbaggers after the Civil War. Should they be pillaged again? Are you going to lump northerners in with southerners and pillage everybody?
“Nikole Hannah-Jones, I might mention, tries to preempt questions or objections to her ideas with statements like, after Lincoln’s assassination, “Most white Americans felt that black Americans should be grateful for their freedom, that the bloody Civil War had absolved any debt.” He laughed. “That wouldn’t work with me at all. I’d tell her she’s absolutely right. That’s exactly how I feel. Maybe Tommy feels that way too. In the bloodiest war in American history Irish immigrants, his people, were the Irish Brigade, the Fighting 69th New York Infantry. They had more dead boys than any other brigade in the Union Army. Are you telling me Tommy O’Brien owes for them?”
“I’m ready to write Nikole a check right now.” Tommy said.
“Nikole Hannah-Jones wants to give money to anybody who could prove they had a black ancestor who was a slave.” Al said. “How would that work? What if you’re five generations out and nobody’s black since great, great grandma?
“Now hold on, Al.” Roy said. “You could be throwing away a golden opportunity for us white people. It’s well known modern humans interbred with Neanderthals. A European might have 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. That means they have as much Neanderthal DNA as an American who had only one slave ancestor in the 1600’s has slave DNA. And! There’s evidence that modern humans killed Neanderthals and ate them. Glenn Beaton put those things together and drew the most excellent conclusion: I’m Neanderthal, I’m proud, I’m a victim and I want reparations.”
Al’s face lit up. “Wow! Oh Wow! Oh my God!” He stood up. ” That’s brilliant! I love that.”
“That’s dumb.” Uncle Tim said. Which put the room into hysterics.
“We’re Neanderthals and we’re proud!”
“Reparations. Forty acres and a steppe rhinoceros!”
End Game: Black DNA Database
“Okay, back to business.” Al said. “Giving out reparations based on blackness could only be done by creating a black DNA database. ANYBODY who cares about black civil rights or government intrusion into black lives should find that creepy as hell. Because that’s what will be left when the money’s gone. Hey Gene, what was that book, that Mark Twain wrote? The one where the slave states legislated somebody would be classified a slave if they were 1/32nd black?”
“Puddinhead Wilson.” Gene said.
“Yeah, that’s it. At the end of the story Wilson solves the case by using finger prints, which was a new technology at the time. DNA data bases now are the equivalent of fingerprint databases in Mark Twain’s day. They thought it was neat. Almost nobody understood the implications.”
“So here we are today with this half-white woman from the New York Times who wants to bring us back to an 1830’s Missouri racial identity mentality .”
“She’s half-white?” Sven asked.
“Maybe more, Sven. I don’t know.”
“Maybe she gets half-white privilege then. Like that guy Shaun King. Does he get reparations, too? ‘Cause his birth certificate says his father and mother are both white. I guess if all the black people are in a DNA database maybe they figure it out.”
“Like I said, details are lacking.”
Wealth gap, assets, income, debt
“Gene, what’s wealth?
“Noun.” Gene said. “abundance of valuable material possessions or resources. All property that has a money value or an exchangeable value.”
“Wrong Gene. According to Nikole wealth is assets and investments minus debt.”
“She talks about closing the wealth gap between white and black Americans.”
“Well, that would be good.” Roy said.
“What’s income, Gene?”
“Income: noun, a gain or recurrent benefit usually in money that derives from capital or labor.”
“Maybe this will be more clear to you guys than it is to me but, working off a study by a Duke University economist named William Darity Junior, Nikole says the racial wealth gap is not about poverty but to solve the wealth gap reparations “must include individual cash payments to descendants of the enslaved in order to close the wealth gap.”
Sonny said, “So, the wealth gap isn’t about money but to solve it, we have to give black people money?”
“I think so. But I’m not sure because she also says in the same article,” The magnitude of the wealth gap only widens as black people earn more income.”
“But,” Tony said, “That don’t make no sense. Do you mean she’s saying that the magnitude of the wealth gap only widens as black people earn more income at the same time she’s saying America should increase black people’s incomes with these reparations to close the wealth gap?”
Forty Acres and a Mule
“It’s clear as mud to me, Tony.” Al said. “What is clear to me though, is I’ve never seen a speck of genuine compassion for working poor white people from this woman. Or for what white people suffered to end slavery. Or heard her admit that a lot of black people make it real clear she doesn’t speak for them. Plus, when she gets going on it, she fixates on a promise Lincoln made that he’d give the slaves forty acres and a mule. She feels she’s owed that.”
Sven raised his hand, “How much does a mule go for down in America?”
Al chuckled, “I wondered that too. About three grand.”
“Well, by golly.” Sven said, “She got ten thousand to do a talk. She can buy herself three mules and some oats right there. Take some of them millions she’s got and buy forty acres. She’ll be out shoveling shit in the barn instead of into the New York Times. Everybody’ll be happier. Smarter, too.”
“Like it.” Al said. “Apprenticeship programs for young people, bringing back shop class and home economics, eliminating food deserts, growing food, providing a solid background in math and reading to elementary school children, I’d get behind those things for every kid. But dumping other people’s money into a directionless caribou migration three thousand miles long, you don’t need much imagination to see every predator, scavenger and blood sucker closing in, picking off the old, the young, and the weak.”
He flicked the bell with his finger, Bwoooiiinnnnng and was done.
“Well, Roy said, “Appears it’s time for a vote then.”
And the vote? What can we say? Nikole Hannah-Jones here is your WAZ.
We felt it was owed.