by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Harvard Prof. Henry “Skip” Gates has made it his life’s work to pander to whites by defaming Black people. In his latest blood-libel, Gates claims Africans share equal blame with Europeans for the centuries-long holocaust of the African slave trade. By Gates’ hideously bizarre reasoning, Black Americans should look to Black Africans for reparations.
Freedom Rider: The Dangerous Henry Louis Gates
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Gates will do untold damage to the rest of the race for the rest of his life unless he is called out for the scoundrel that he is.”
Henry Louis Gates is perhaps the most dangerous man alive to black Americans. He has the cache of a professorship at Harvard University, a position which undeservedly gives his voice an added weight of authority on every issue. Gates’ area of specialty is African American literature, but he has shrewdly marketed himself as the “go to” guy on any and every issue effecting black people all over the world.
The secret of his success is not at all difficult to decipher. Gates is a masterful and consummate suck up. He sucks up to white people in the worst and most damaging way possible to other black people. He never passes up a chance to let white people off the hook for the evils they have committed and henever passes up a chance to blame black people for just about anything bad that has ever happened to them.
His latest outrageous and toxic thoughts were spewed, as usual, in the opinion pages of the New York Times. This tome, “Ending the Slavery Blame Game,” uses African participation in the slave trade as his latest cudgel with which to beat black people and to make a mockery of the question of reparations for the 200-year history of slavery in the United States. Gates told the corporate U.S. media, his longtime sponsors:
“There are many thorny issues to resolve before we can arrive at a judicious (if symbolic) gesture to match such a sustained, heinous crime. Perhaps the most vexing is how to parcel out blame to those directly involved in the capture and sale of human beings for immense economic gain.”
Gates goes on to describe African involvement in the sale of human beings and does so only for the purpose of making white people feel guilt free and dismiss any discussion of the need to compensate black Americans for their ancestors’ enslavement which was followed by decades of Jim Crow segregation.
“Gates never passes up a chance to blame black people for just about anything bad that has ever happened to them.”
This salient fact regarding reparations is ignored by Gates because it isn’t at all profitable to him and to his career. He earns a small fortune and receives accolades only if he continues to blame black people and makes white people blameless. Reparations are not about blame, they are about compensation, compensation for the terror and oppression wrought by what was directly sanctioned by the United States government.
Gates has gained celebrity status in the same way that his hero Barack Obama became president of the United States. They have distanced themselves from the rest of the black world and in the process made white people feel comfortable with them and others like them. After Gates was arrested by a Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman in July 2009, Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report made this observation:
“The class to which they belong is only loosely linked to material wealth. Rather, it is largely negatively defined – that is, Gates' and Obama's shared class status is based on the perception of what they are not. They are not like the rest of Black folks; they are different, a cut above the rest, in their own and in white people's estimations.”
“Reparations are about compensation for the terror and oppression wrought by what was directly sanctioned by the United States government.”
Gates puts Obama firmly in this new mix, confident that the president will not brook any serious discussion on the need for reparations or anything else which might black people might consider demanding. His Op-Ed to the New York Times reads:
“Fortunately, in President Obama, the child of an African and an American, we finally have a leader who is uniquely positioned to bridge the great reparations divide. He is uniquely placed to publicly attribute responsibility and culpability where they truly belong, to white people and black people, on both sides of the Atlantic, complicit alike in one of the greatest evils in the history of civilization.”
What better way for Gates to distance himself from the masses of blacks than to say that complicity for a 400-year enterprise that benefited Europe and the Americas is somehow shared. Gates enumerates in great detail the level of African involvement but never gets around to doing the same for any white people.
In one of his over-rated Public Broadcasting System programs, Gates met the Archbishop of Canterbury in one of his travels. He might have asked him about Church of England’s involvement in the slave trade, including ownership of a sugar plantation in Barbados called Codrington. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts branded the word “society” on the backs of the enslaves at Codrington. When Britain abolished slavery in its colonies, it compensated slave owners for the loss of their property. No compensation was paid to slaves for unpaid labor and torture. The Bishop of Exeter received 13,000 pounds for the loss of his 665 slaves. Gates’ tongue was tied when he met this very important very white man. The subject of white complicity never came up.
“No one should be fooled by Gates just because the New York Times has a hotline to his office.”
It is tempting but ultimately useless to debate Gates’ facts. He doesn’t really care about the facts. He cares about keeping black people in their place and making himself more and more prominent. He was bad enough before Barack Obama became president but now he has a uniquely placed partner in crime. He can use Obama as an example of the outlier in the black community who proves that the rest of the group are of no consequence and therefore rightly ignored.
Gates will do untold damage to the rest of the race for the rest of his life unless he is called out for the scoundrel that he is. As long as he makes a profitable living at the expense of millions of other people his words must be denounced. No one should be fooled by him just because the New York Times has a hotline to his office. That is precisely why his every utterance must be rejected.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.