You might remember one or another of the idiot Republicans (usually a Southerner) saying at one time or another that Black people were better off under slavery, a claim that is, of course, completely absurd, but is consistent with the notorious Republican apparent lack of human compassion (to say nothing of their obsessive inability to tell the truth about anything).
Paradoxically, I should probably say perversely, and certainly ironically, there is perhaps a bit of bitter truth in such a mindless claim. When young Black men (any Black person, for that matter) were slaves they actually had value. They were property, commodities, they could be bought and sold for money, the price presumably based on what the market at any given time could bear. Their labor, and even their virility could be, and was, exploited. It appears that at the present time young Black men have no value whatsoever, and can be killed virtually at will because of laws that extend that privilege primarily to White gun owners. As all people everywhere have always had the right of self-defense there really is no necessity for Stand Your Ground laws, laws that as they are currently used seem to be more like “License to Kill Young Black Men,” than anything else. Unarmed young Black males have been killed fairly routinely in the United States, especially since such laws were enacted in Florida and elsewhere. The chances are very great that a White person who shoots a unarmed Black man will be exonerated.
Black males in the United States have little or no value. A great many of them are in prison, a great many more are unemployed, and those who are employed most probably do not make a great deal of money, and not only that, Black families in general have very little in the way of savings or other assets. Similarly, as a group they tend not to be very well educated. This means they are not a fertile ground for the exploitation of credit card debt, a functional equivalent for slavery. So, between education, prison, unemployment, low wage jobs, last hired, first fired, in a system that demands and exploits cheap and plentiful labor, they are virtually without value. If you don’t own one, and don’t need one, there is small or no loss involved when one or more are “disappeared,” either in prison, unemployed, or worse. I have no doubt there is a causal and intimate link between all of these conditions.
There is a similar kind of irony that might be seen in Defense Attorny O’Meara’s idiotic claim that had Zimmerman been Black he might not have been arrested or charged for killing Trayvon Martin. Given the obscene numbers of Black men in prison it would seem we have little trouble in charging them with crimes, so how could O’Meara make such a claim? It only makes sense when you understand that what he must have had in mind is the idea that Black on Black crime is as inconsequential as the death of an innocent, unarmed teenager, that Black on Black murders are nothing much to be concerned about. I don’t know, but I suspect that in some quarters, this may be the rule in some cases.
We have a situation in which business demands a large and surplus labor pool, one in which Black people are low on the priority list, constitute a potential cost to society because of their circumstances, and are therefore at risk. Whereas we could have spent money on their education and health care we have chosen to spend it on prisons, more and more private prisons that can exploit the plight of Blacks for profit (just as we now also exploit our college populations for profit). It’s a truly vicious system based on short-term profits, exploitation, greed, short-sightedness, and the law of the jungle. We call it free-market capitalism (rather than something more apt, like “Idiot’s Delight”).
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
Eugene Victor Debs