Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Weep for Sandra Bland Knowing that Slaves Got Better Justice Than Blacks Today Because they were "Valued Property"

Sandra Bland Found Dead in Jail Cell with Dashcam Tapes Altered
Slaves on southern plantations had a better chance of receiving justice than African-Americans do today if only because they were considered valuable property.  
Nowadays, we're target practice for every psycho, unhinged, macho-challenged cop, district attorney, prosecutor, and judge in America.  Don't get me wrong. I could never condone the most evil institution known to human history.  But I must say that America, for all the progress it has made in so many other aspects of civil rights, our nation has slid backwards in the criminal justice realm since the Emancipation Proclamation.

The question is why?  The answer is "value".   As a historian, I would like to set the record straight. Yes, slaves were whipped and beaten.  But not all of them all of the time.  That would have defeated the purpose of what was an extraordinarily profitable labor system for slaveowners.  According to Professors Louis Cain and Samuel Williamson, plantation owners paid slavetraders in 1850,  $400 for a slave, which would in today's dollars amount to $12,000. The slave's profitability to the plantation owner would then rise to over $80,000 in today's dollars. The psychology of the system was the "seasoning" of the rambunctious ones in order to teach the others a lesson about boundaries and power relationships.

So now we see that a young black woman named Sandra Bland died in police custody after having been stopped for not signaling a turn.  She was a civil rights activist, who had just moved to Texas to take a new job at Prairie view A&M University.  The Waller County sheriff insists that the young woman committed suicide.  His Department just released a video of Ms. Bland's arrest, in which the tape was doctored. Should we now be waiting for one of those famed American grand juries, whose gullibility and/or racism in cases of police brutality would probably have them acquitting Adolf Hitler, if they could get away with it? 
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