|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 68 - Tuesday April 19, 2005
|Yvor Nassief-Sambos and Uncle Toms; Weapons of Mass Afrikan Destruction
by Dr. Irving Eipigh Pascal
Racial stereotypes are ideological weapons of war, similar to bombs. Once detonated, bombs nearly always wreak ‘collateral damage’; a euphemism for the human dismemberment or death and property damage that occurs in addition to the destruction of the primary target.
Similarly, racial stereotypes are explosive, generic ideological weapons.
Therefore, while the venom of their racial prejudice may be directed at a particular individual, all members of the group are susceptible and vulnerable to their destructive power.
So last week when the Uncle Tom and Sambo missiles were launched I couldn’t avoid getting splattered by the blast.
For this reason, I felt compelled to address the misinformation that accompanied the use of those generic racial stereotypes, and thus provide whatever little protective antidote I can to the group of people against whom these stereotypes have been consistently and effectively used.
The Uncle Tom and the Sambo stereotypes that Yvor Nassief launched against Angelo Allen
in last week’s issue of your paper have long been the weapons of choice used against Afrikan people.
It is important to note two things: First, that these stereotypic images of enslaved Afrikans were largely fictitious creations by White slave masters and their economic heirs who created them for explicit political purposes.
They are ideological weapons meant to impose generic labels and characterizations, the intention being to prohibit self-definition and empowerment that is created when a group articulates who its people are. Second, that the Sambo role never was internalized (Kenneth Stamp).
Where it was evident, it was an acted role for the benefit of White people. The enslaved Afrikan was a “real-negro” among his people.
Uncle Tom and Sambo are however only two among many other racialized stereotypes. Nassief deliberately chose not to mention this fact. There is the stereotype of NAT (Blassingame), a stereotype loosely constructed around the real-life Nat Turner.
In 1831, with the help of other enslaved Afrikans he rose up against his slave master, murdered him and his entire family and many other whites (55 in all) before being caught, imprisoned and killed. NAT was a rebel and defied the rules of plantation society.
I want to reiterate, that my main concern is to share what I believe to be correct information with those persons against whom these generic, racialised, stereotypical weapons have so often been used.
I have found substantial liberation in learning the truth about my ancestors and myself. It has often meant questioning the lies and manipulation of information used as a weapon in our conquest. While I think it is not possible, not even desirable for everyone to agree with everything that Angelo Allen says or does on Kairi’s late night show, there are many who find his willingness to self-define and to speak his mind, refreshing.
Therefore, while I wish to attach no stereotype to Angelo Allen, if one must be attached, I think it would be that of NAT.
Not Sambo, not Uncle Tom but NAT especially having regard that he brings no comfort to the likes of Yvor and those who cherish the slaveholder’s world view.
The struggle continues.
May the spirit of the ancestors be pleased.