Editor’s Comment; I originally published this article from Destiny Magazine way back in 1993. It was relevant then and it’s relevant today. I looked for the article after watching a news story about Ben Carson who is apparently being charged with being an Uncle Tom. Destiny Magazine was a monthly magazine billed as “The Alternative Choice For Black Americans.” It was a magazine for conservative American’s who are black. Along with the fact that 75% of black males earn a middle class income, the media and the black liberal leadership will not let the rest of America know there are as many black conservatives as there are. Read this, you’ll learn something.
WILL THE REAL UNCLE TOM PLEASE STAND UP?
BY BILL CARPENTER
There is a myth about the character known in black America as Uncle Tom. To begin with, he was not a mythical character, created to describe the house nigger, a pejorative term used to verbally assault those slaves who worked in the living quarters of slave owners. Those assigned to such tasks as personal assistants, cooks and nannies often suffered a double-edged harshness.
The first came from the slave owner who frequently chose those with special abilities for inside tasks and yet held little real respect for the chosen servant. The other and more violent sting came from other slaves. In these days of historical revisions, it is time to set the record straight about who Uncle Tom really was.
For more than a century, Uncle Tom has taken the rap for Quimbo and Sambo, two foremen who lived and worked on a plantation situated along the Mississippi River. Owned by a sadistic slaveholder, they were forced to work subordinate slaves with a cruel and tyrannical disregard for physical limitation or human dignity. Drunk with power to rule over other slaves their cruelty knew no bounds. The slapstick duo obliged their master, and by doing so were afforded privileges, above and far beyond fellow slaves.
They were designated as leaders by slave owners who perceived a willingness on their part to take charge of their brethren on behalf of their masters. In exchange for the intoxicating false glory attached to the position of leader, they were required to demonstrate an allegiance to their appointing masters that was tantamount to self-loathing.
The master of this particularly hated pair, known only as Simon Legree, was described by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her 1852 classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Quimbo and Sambo took their derogatory names from the warped Mr. Legree. The two were said to evolve into a mirror image of the cruelty embodied by Mr. Legree, who is described by former slaves as the worst owner of humans the South ever saw.
There was, however, a sharp turn in history when Legree received, as payment of an old debt, a slave named Tom from a neighbor. It was Mr. Legree’s first encounter with black dignity. This encounter would also lay the foundation for a not-so-subtle division among blacks, which exists, even to this day.
The book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin as well as other notable works describing the history of slavery, refers to Tom as a rugged individualist who resisted, with dignity, the dictates of an insane system of humans owning humans. Like the character of Kunta Kente in Roots no amount of oppression or cruelty could break his spirit. Word spread from state to state after he challenged his new master to stop the cruelty exacted on field hands by the overseers.
During an incident when the parents of a young female slave ran to Tom’s cabin for his help to prevent Quimbo from raping their daughter, Tom confronted Legree as being the source of the evil that reigned terror on the entire plantation. He offered his own back to the whip in exchange for the freedom of the young woman.
The lack of fear for his own life and his willingness to stand up to Legree earned Tom the respected title of Uncle, a title reserved in those days for the most honorable male in any given plantation. Black slaves adopted Tom as their own uncle and intercessor between master and slave. This was the real Uncle Tom.
In addition to performing his assigned chores with the utmost precision, he became champion of the mistreated, and eventually the political opposition to the leaders. Legree, as well as other owners of Tom, found that to mistreat Tom brought about a work slowdown.
Soon, Tom lived in his own cabin, which became the place of counsel and sanctuary for slaves with grievances. His willingness to confront black and white injustice earned him a limited freedom long before the Civil War. He did encounter opposition however, but it was not from white slave owners. His biggest enemies were those black overseers appointed as leaders over the people. They were being increasingly challenged by slaves who found the bold courage of Uncle Tom very attractive.
The historical fact is that a quiet but growing movement could be found in plantation after plantation of slaves who wrapped themselves around the concept of individual rights and dignity. By the mid 1820’s these rugged souls, who grew in their boldness to stand up to their overseers, became known as Uncle Toms.
Black leaders who discovered they had an Uncle Tom among those they supervised were struck with panic at the impending challenge to authority. A line in the sand was drawn which some believe aided the spark we all know as the Civil War. The spark of contention, lit so long ago, continues to burn in the black community even today.
Not unlike the oppressive environment of the early 1800’s, blacks are again seen as the oppressed. What is different about the oppression of today is the debate about who the real oppressors are.
The true story of Uncle Tom is interesting in its parody. When Tom advocated for those on the receiving end of oppression, usually meted out by black overseers, he confronted their white masters. Today the political climate is strangely similar.
There are those who are again raising their voice in opposition to those black leaders who currently lord it over the minds of black Americans via the tools given them by white liberal powerbrokers. And today it continues, those who advocate true freedom are labeled by their challengers as Uncle Toms.
Unlike the 1800’s, the new weapon of fear is electronic. One that threatens to politically castigate all those blacks that dare oppose the power structure of the liberal media, Congress or academia. Clearly demonstrated in the public lashing of Clarence Thomas the new Uncle Toms are offering their backs without fear of those who seek to maintain their psycho/social grip on a similar group that would have been bound by chains less than one hundred fifty years ago.
The new taskmasters are dancing to different music. It’s the 21st Century, they say, and the trick is to hold black leaders up as models that fight oppressive policies under the guise of freedom and equality. To enhance this illusion, a rhythm section is being added to reinforce the lie by using so-called rap artists to captivate the minds of the young.
The language in rap song after rap song is strangely akin to the messages given by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Civil Rights establishment whom some are calling the new Quimbo and Sambo. Mr. Legree taught his overseers how to use fear to control the subservient masses. The Legree’s of today, who strain to maintain power over an entire voting block of black Americans, have taught the new black leaders how to use hate to effect goals in the same manner as the plantation owners of the 1800’s.
The current civil war of ideas will be won or lost depending on the success of the first real test of any war. Will the new Uncle Toms succeed in showing our nation who the enemy really is?
Bil Carpenter was a writer for Destiny Magazine. This article was originally printed in Destiny Magazine.
Editor’s Note: So, are today’s Quimbo and Sambo Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? Can it be possible that The Democratic Party is Simon Legree