The Professor asks”: “What could be worse than the soul-shredding evil of racism during the era of human bondage?”
This question is posed by a professor of African and Middle East History at the University of North Texas. Her name is Constance Hilliard.
Fortunately for the rest of us, she also writes a blog, Soul Wisdom.
Again: “What could be worse than the soul-shredding evil of racism during the era of human bondage?”
In her recent blog posting, Dr. Hilliard offers her answer to her question.
My answer would be creating a world of make-believe so fortified by lies that those who lived within it could believe that slaves didn’t mind it in the least when their children were sold from their trembling arms or when their wives were sexually assaulted by the plantation owner.”
Current parallel examples abound that link this nation’s period of slavery and continued segregation to our current period with Donald Trump as our president.
Donald J. Trump’s immigration policy is based on what he feels is the white Christian American’s superior faith and race. Mexicans will face a wall if Trump is allowed his say. A select number of Muslim citizens from countries tagged by Trump as dangerous will be denied a brighter future than the one we gave them with our totally unjustified wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Everyone else will be judged qualified to enter our nation built by immigrants, entirely on their English proficiency and job skills.
While looking for some way to address this continued misconduct by our current President, I found Professor Hilliard on Daily Kos, a progressive writer on a progressive site.
Professor Hilliard is a regular contributor to Daily Kos. Read her opening lines above again, slowly. Click on the highlighted title and read the entire posting.
She links two mindsets, one that, in a major way, delivered Donald Trump to us, and another in 19th-century America where economic developments made it easy to inveigle a God-fearing, Bible-believing public in cotton-growing states, to accept slavery as God-given.
Professor Hilliard explains how slavery spreads its evil into our lives today:
While the institution of forced labor was dismantled after the Civil War, the peculiar mindset that defined reality as whatever the patriarch said it was, regardless of the evidence of one’s own senses, escaped the confines of the South and spread to other areas of white working class America.
It was a worldview built on an invented moral authority. Southern evangelicals had fought the abolitionism of their northern evangelical counterparts by creating a new hermeneutics — Biblical literalism.
It proclaimed that anything theologians found in the world of 2,000 years ago as having made its way into the Bible could be declared sacrosanct and God-inspired.
Critical thinking skills, even personal observation, were disdained for the proclamations of the patriarchal leader. In that context, lies were whatever liberals said, and the truth was the patriarch’s mumblings.
In the time of slavery and the segregated racial divide that followed, generations of “patriarchal” religious leaders and their institutions believed, taught and enforced, what Hilliard described quite accurately as “an invented moral authority”.
Last time I looked, major American Protestant ruling bodies were still “debating” what they feel about the evil of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Debates have long been one of evil’s favorite tools of deception.
The modern mindset which Trump embodies and exploits, is part of a discontent which allowed our current president to ride into a job he lacks normal skills to handle.
As Jimmy Carter pointed out in his 1979 address, “Crisis of Confidence”, economic disparity, as gross as the economic disparity that created slavery, still has the power to build a fake reality, a reality that only a Trump can handle.
In her recent posting, Hilliard focuses our attention on the reality of darkness in our culture, one that surfaced in a major way in the evils of slavery and now, 200 years later, is surfacing to impose new iterations of evil on present and future modern generations.
That darkness comes in various shapes and shows itself constantly through human action, just as it has done since those days when Adam and Eve resided harmoniously together in the Garden.
Until, that is, they did not. They created a new existence when they came up with their own “invented moral authority”.
Since then, that darkness has continued to surface in a particularly ugly form in those moments of human history when forgotten, ignored, or unlearned, normal restraints disappear in a power-grabbing cloud of dust.
We are in a moment when grand juries will come and go, and presidents may come and go. But evil will persist and remain attractive to those vulnerable to easy answers crafted by earlier generations of land-grabbing, human exploiters.
As Hilliard writes, that exploitation surfaced in one of this nation’s darkest moments and made slavery morally acceptable as an essential tool in our nation’s economy.
In our current moment, the general population still feels the effect of slavery as we desert “the least of these”, and deny the reality that all people are equal.
Whatever name we give to our transcendent power, we must consider the possibility that this power is groaning in agony as nations continue to choose and then embrace politics powered by a satanic “invented moral authority”.