by Elbert ‘Big Man’ Howard
When we look at the history of America, we have no difficulty finding evidence of acts of genocide and attempted genocide by America of its own people.
This history of genocide began hundreds of years ago, when the indigenous people of America were murdered and their lands stolen, despite the signing of so-called “treaties” designed by the Euro-Americans. The survivors were uprooted from their homelands and herded hundreds of miles away into uninhabitable concentration camps, so-called “reservations.”
Native Americans were confined there and left to starve and die from various illnesses they had contracted from the invading whites, who employed other methods designed to strip them of their native diets, histories, languages and cultures. For example, Native-American children were kidnapped from their families and placed in so-called “schools” where their native languages, clothes, diets and customs were forbidden.
The criminal acts inflicted on America’s indigenous people have had permanent tragic effects. The living conditions which exist on reservations in most states today are devastating. These include unemployment, poor housing, poor educational opportunities, poor medical care, poor nutrition and many diseases, including tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension, diabetes, alcoholism and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
This history of genocide started hundreds of years ago, when the indigenous people of America were murdered and their lands stolen.
Another example of the practice of genocide is the criminal institution of slavery. African Americans were stolen away from their homelands by Europeans and Americans for centuries. The main slave trade was centered in the Caribbean and the good old US of A.
The brutalities which occurred on the slave ships have been well documented: Kidnapped Africans were beaten, starved, tortured and confined to less space than sardines in a can, in pitch blackness, chained and lying in their own waste and enduring other unspeakable acts. Thousands who died or who were killed were thrown overboard or hurled themselves overboard.
African Americans were stolen away from their homelands by Europeans and Americans for centuries.
The surviving African Americans were auctioned like cattle and sold to the highest bidders. They were deemed to be property and were forced to labor under the most inhumane, unbelievable conditions, in a strange country thousands of miles away from their homeland, families, languages and customs. This country was built on the backs and with the bloodshed of these slaves, for which they never received any compensation or reward.
When the slaves were emancipated, they were then declared “free”: free to starve to death or work for the former slave master for slave wages. In order to survive, the former slave was compelled to submit to this and other forms of massive trickery and, to this day, African Americans are still victims of slave master trickery.
The drug epidemic in America is a good example of the hypocrisy of America’s “democracy.” Most of the drugs are concentrated in the African American communities, placed there by design by this government, which feeds off of every aspect of the drug trade. Avaricious greed, profit and racist genocide on the part of the U.S. government helps to eliminate a whole lot of Black people.
All kinds of laws and racist, classist practices have been instituted regarding drugs, including decisions about who goes to prison and for how long. Prisons are built to house people convicted of drug violations.
Laws have been created to hire and promote police to enforce them and arrest and place people in these prisons. Prison building contracts and contracts for guards, medical care, laundry and food services for these prisoners are huge multi-million dollar industries, whose lobbies wield huge amounts of political power.
Most of the drugs are concentrated in the African American communities, placed there by design by this government, which feeds off of every aspect of the drug trade.
One might wonder why many murder and missing persons cases go unsolved. These types of cases are of no interest in the money game of high-arrest scores for profit.
Law enforcement personnel are promoted and get rank and salary increases based on the number of arrests they make, not on the number of crimes solved. Accordingly, these arrests get more prison cells filled and more personnel hired and more prisons built, which benefit those big corporations with huge financial gains and political power and so it goes.
We are fooling ourselves if we think that public safety and gun control are of any real concern to American politicians. Each time a mass killing occurs at one of our educational institutions, the American public gets nothing but empty lip service about gun control and no action from scum-bag politicians.
They are controlled by the dollars and political clout wielded by the powerful gun lobby and the gun manufacturers. These politicians are beholden to them, not the American people.
A type of obvious genocide is perpetuated by today’s social media, including films, videos and the like, which glorifies the drug culture and all its trappings. This grabs the attention of, and distracts, African-American youth. America’s youth are fed the propaganda that their lives are worthless and cheap and that the price you have to pay for what you choose to do in life is painless or inconsequential.
We can also correlate a direct line of genocide with the enormous influx of all types of firearms into Black and other disenfranchised communities. However, firearms are mostly wielded by “peace officers.”
Easy access to weaponry in our communities does not happen by chance, but by design. The U.S. government is complicit in the genocidal plot to kill the poor, the mentally ill and people of color.
We can correlate a more direct line of genocide with the enormous influx of all types of firearms into Black and other disenfranchised communities.
A week does not go by without a young Black life being lost at the hands of law enforcement. With the non-stop shootings of young Black men – mostly men, some young women, increasingly children – and other youths of color, it is apparent that law enforcement has declared government sanctioned open season on our youths of color.
It is therefore of necessity and of urgency that we recognize that in order to understand our present situation and strive for change, we must come to terms with our past. We must tie America’s history of genocide and racism to our current so-called system of democracy, which is fundamentally hypocrisy, and to the lives of our lost youths of color at the hands of this system.
It is of dire necessity that we do all we can to enlighten ourselves and our children, for that is minimally what we owe them and their futures depend on it.
Elbert “Big Man” Howard is a founding member of the Black Panther Party and is an author, lecturer and community activist in Sonoma County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.