More on Robinson, slavery, King

April 19, 1997|By GREGORY KANE

Once again, Sun readers strike back at the bitter, angry B.R.U.T. (Black Racist Uncle Tom) Gregory Kane. Don't think I'm upset by these slings and arrows. Folks reading the paper and getting upset beats them not reading it at all by several light-years.

A reader whose identity is known only as "subscriber" wrote in response to my Jackie Robinson column. Writing to Sun reader representative Ed Hewitt, subscriber gave the following tongue-lashing:

"You don't have to scratch Gregory Kane too deeply to turn a nominally sensible American into a senseless African-American bigot.

"Would Kane flip his lid to consider that the triangular trade of the 17th and 18th centuries benefited present day African-Americans who may have been left in today's hell-hole of Africa, but were transported in the genes of their ancestors to the shores of America?

"Transportation and slavery were hell, but provided ... opportunity in the present U.S.A., which now is largely not recognized, not appreciated, and bitterly rejected by living African-Americans.

"Hopefully, in some future century the Gregory Kane's will seize opportunity and fully benefit from it to the extent that they lose all bitterness, then progress."

Ouch! That smarts! However, I would advise the dear subscriber that I didn't travel thousands of miles to expose slavery in Sudan to have any truck with notions that the trans-Atlantic slave trade that saw millions of Africans endure the horrors of the Middle Passage hailed as a good and holy thing. Slavery is slavery. It's wrong no matter who does it. Arab Muslims in Sudan and the rest of Africa could argue that their enslavement of Africans was just as beneficial for the Africans as the subscriber thinks American slavery was.

And let's make it clear who benefited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Some historians have said that profits from the triangular trade subscriber referred to provided the impetus for the Industrial Revolution in the West, leading to the enrichment of Europe and America and the impoverishment of Africa. Had there been no slave trade, these historians argue, those African slaves would have remained in Africa and developed it, which would have changed the political and economic landscape of Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Envelopes with return addresses from places with names like "Plantation, Fla.," make me nervous, but all told this one from an Andrew Herbst wasn't too bad. He chastised me for referring to Martin and Dexter King as saps and then gave his views on the King assassination:

"I happen not to have known much about the King assassination -- but I do know that if the House committee on assassinations found probably [sic] cause of some kind of conspiracy against King, that was the very least and most lyrical acknowledgment they could possibly tender, given that committee's objectively notorious tendency to shrink from the hard facts wherever possible; if the King family ... are convinced that Ray didn't pull the trigger or even that allowing him a little more slack in that regard than they may genuinely believe he deserves -- is their only means of cooperating with him toward getting the answers that they surely believe are there and are a lot larger than Ray or anything he really knows -- that's enough for any honest American who has any intimate regard for justice, to support their quest, not earn brownie points by attempting to ridicule them."

Dear Andrew: You can earn some points yourself, brownie or otherwise, by familiarizing yourself with the punctuation mark known as the period and using it. You might learn a lesson from my young friends at Baltimore's Winston Middle School. Class 7D3 sent me thank you letters for speaking to them. The letters from this predominantly black class are written in simple, clear, Ebonics-free English. I regret I can print only a few of the 27 letters.

Shevonne Matthews: "I really enjoyed the session you had with our class today. You really influenced me not to believe everything I hear. You also helped me to believe that maybe after all Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls are dead. I have always wondered how journalists get their information."

Mia Wright: "Thank you so much for coming to our class and talking to us. I liked how you let us talk to you about 2Pac and Biggie. I want to thank you for being patient with us. We had fun and I hope you had fun too. I hope you come back soon and speak to us about being a journalist.

Michael Graham: "I enjoyed your visit to our class. The conversation on Tupac and Biggie was very interesting. Your philosophy on the way you want people to think about your writing gave me an inspiration toward writing. You revealed to me that there is no such thing as not liking reading. We thank you for your words. We thank you for your discussions. Last, we thank you for your philosophies. You left a big impression on us. Anytime you want to come back to our school you will be enjoyed."

You got all that, Herbst? Sometimes clear, simple English with plenty of periods is the best way to go.

Pub Date: 4/19/97

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