Oscar Joy From The Pains Of Present & Past Slaves
Lupita Nyang'o and Steve McQueen acknowledged the irony of their glorious joy came from the pains of victims of the past and present slaves. Not lost on Lupita, is another form of grace and beauty that has not been elevated for a while until Sudanese, Somali and Hausa graceful beauty models validated dark skin and Afro natural hair. Like the white and black dolls study, Alek Wek inspired Lupita as she did to youths struggling with identity. She saved them from bleached skin.
Africans like to give awards on slavery to rebels that resisted, fought and conquered invaders. Americans and Europeans like to give awards about slavery to victims that peacefully absorbed pains without revolting. The disparity has a basis in natural human behavior on who is a threat. But power play can only be shared by demanding rights, not just by request. Otherwise, some African children may be forced to accept submissiveness while others revolt violently.
Shaka Zulu that resisted and defeated the mighty British invaders in South Africa is in point here. La Amistad Revolt and Malcolm X were hailed by Africans but Martin Luther King and Mandela were preferred by Europeans/Americans. So teaching slavery in school with movies to make the point must be balanced. Not only from the views of victims but also from those that protested and revolted to conquer racism.
New generation and children of slaves wonder how such injustice could have taken place and wonder about a community that perpetrated such acts for so long. Unfortunately, some of the children react differently, some defiantly against authorities getting into deeper trouble with the law enforcement disproportionally. Others are warned to endure what they consider unfair and seek reasonable means to obey and then complain later.
But when Africans act as slaves in Roots or 12 Years A Slave, it has a deeper meaning because the imagery actually rears its ugly head within and across racial or ethnic lines. Some people refuse to watch such movies since it elicits anger that must be channeled to end vestiges and enslavement of others. There are various opinions and preference for peaceful means to attain freedom - until those who oppose peaceful resolution provoke uncontrollable revolts.
Pain of slavery is not a choice but a cross. There are heroes that prefer to die fighting for the next generation than to live in comfort without dignity. Some children of Israel blamed Moses for taking them out of Egypt to come and starve to death in the desert. At least they had food and water in the land of the Pharaoh, if you believe the Bible.
The story of the Romans, the Irish potato farmers in Europe that was even practiced in America, the starving wages of the Italians, Polish and Jews were lessons that ended. Just as the Africans that enslaved one another. As demand for cheap labor increased, slave traders went beyond their trading posts across the seas to exotic places.
Africans explorers inadvertently revealed their wealth across Asia and America, depressing the world gold markets well before Columbus. Wow! Marauders remembered. They later followed prince, princess and explorers back to Africa in search of their source of gold and diamond. It is history that Moroccan chivalries stung by mosquitoes perished while trying to locate gold inside African rain forest. Nkrumah rightly honored the mosquitoes for saving our treasures.
African American male youths are hit harder by the vestiges of slavery. The poverty statistics are not encouraging either. Based on this, the President of United States took it upon himself to focus on the disadvantages these young men face in their communities because of wider effect it has on their future families, such as single women that cannot find desirable men, children without fathers, loss of voting rights and good jobs when marked with criminal records.
It did not make it easier for the President when disguised political speech and freedom allow opponents to justify racial slur. Racial epithets are used as code words for slavery. A pedophile that called the President of United States “subhuman mongrel” and a Jew “subhuman punk” gained attention of the press and got elevated beyond his crude despicable reflection in the mirror. What message are they sending to the new generation?
In Africa where color of the skin should not be an issue, leaders have colo-mentality. It is up to youths to grab the bull by the horn and elevate themselves for the demand of the future since they have no excuse that they operate in a social and economic community controlled by those that want them to fail as their leaders' cronies. So, young men and women must demand and revolt for freedom against mismanagement that enslaves them at home.
Slavery has economic incentive of free, cheap labor and social cost. The past and present slaves vary from the most despicable slave labor of children to the abuse of women. In each of the circumstance there is unequal and domineering negotiation that is taken advantage of. The rise of the Union eliminated most of these exploitations and the rise of Women Liberation gave women a choice of happily married housewife or happy working mother.
There are polarizations of these causes beyond Awards for the painful suffering of present and past slaves. Whether the disenfranchised are part of what Steve McQueen called 21 million modern slaves is beyond the scope of a short article. It suffices to claim that past and present slaves mean arduous services for free, long hours or for little money so that they cannot fully partake in the enjoyment of life and liberty.