E.W. Jackson, Slavery Apologist


E.W. Jackson, Slavery Apologist

E.W. Jackson, Republican candidate for Lt. Gov. of Virginia. (Source: motherjones.com)
E.W. Jackson, Republican candidate for Lt. Gov. of Virginia. (Source: motherjones.com)

E.W. Jackson, Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, recently made comments to a Tea Party audience in Newport News, Virginia, claiming that black families were more intact during slavery than they are today. He believes the Great Society programs of the sixties is what destroyed black families because "it encouraged people to feel women did not need men in the home." This echoes his statements comparing Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan, where he said that “they have killed over ten million black babies”.

While the Lieutenant Governor candidate has made outrageous statements in the past, for instance that President Obama has a "Muslim perspective," I find his slavery comment to be beyond offensive and despicable.

His claims are not just hypocritical, they are absurd. I never understood how the candidate for Lieutenant Governor and the far right rant about the unborn but have no concern about those who are born.

I find his rants about the black family troubling. What is more frightening is seeing a black man in one the original slave states suggesting that slavery was not destructive to black families. It is absurd, reckless, and dangerous.

While Jackson implies that his family was ”more intact” during slavery, he must be speaking for himself. I can attest that trying to research family history as a black man is an ambitious project, and near impossible.

While every ethnic group has a point of ancestry, records weren't kept because blacks were not counted. My relatives who are close to ninety can't recall their family history because their parents were slaves and still suffer the lingering effects of slavery and Jim Crow.

Jackson's vision of family is warped. Like other migrants, postbellum blacks left their families not because they wanted too, but because the economic climate was harsh. They migrated north with hopes for finding a better life for their families. Many dreamed of reuniting with their families, but because of joblessness, poor living conditions, and prejudice, it wasn't economically feasible to hold a family together.

The conservative claim that welfare destroyed black families is erroneous; what destroyed black families was the harsh reality of segregation and Jim Crow.

Although there's no quantitative analysis on the effects of slavery, the impact lingers in every black American. When one discusses the problems of the black underclass, the problems began with families being separated during slavery. When someone says slavery is behind us and get over it, I tell them to spend a day with an African American in the genealogy section and see if slavery did not devastate black families. Reparations isn't such a far fetched idea.

Sadly, Jackson’s views are not rare in the black community. These views are spouted in barber shops, churches, and living rooms. Like Bill Cosby and Juan Williams, many are frustrated with out-of-wedlock births, disrespectful youths, and the promotion of bad morals by the media and hip hop industry.

However, belittling the black community and lecturing about god doesn't endear anyone to become a Republican. There’s a fine line between being conservative and being mean. This doesn't endear you to the black community but labels you as someone who hates their own kind such as former Florida Congressman Allen West and Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas.

Once upon a time, black leaders from different ideological perspectives put their differences aside to focus on those who didn't have opportunities that you were afforded.

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois didn't see eye to eye, but worked tirelessly so that one day someone like you who has prominence and influence could pass that ability to the next generation of the downtrodden, demeaned, and demoralized people known as the black race.

Another thing prominent black leaders did was to support their pioneers. Although many wanted Jackie Robinson to be more militant and hit Home Runs, no one publicly disparaged or criticized him. His success was vital to all blacks, no matter your views. Whether you agree or disagree with the President, implying he may be Muslim doesn't advance your cause anymore than his supporters.

To disparage and insult the poor and downtrodden isn't in the spirit of black conservatism, which encourages hard work, self-reliance, and independence, but rather drives away the dying message of self-help and personal responsibility preached by the Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois or Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

There is a reality that black families are in crisis, but Jackson's words are not uplifting but reinforcing to what some whites feel about us.