From a 21st Century perspective, it would appear an insurmountable, aspiration to seek to exceed, or, even, attempt to replicate, the hubris, implicit in the vain, sacrosanct, English Victorian (Age) delusion, that it was, the innate, “White Man’s Burden” [Kipling] to evangelize and thereby, “civilize,” the diverse, non-white peoples, inhabiting the Nations, (Colonies) then flying the English flag (courtesy of the superiority of the English Royal Navy). The era’s shameful, injustice, tragedy and human suffering, brought about by this singular dedication (candidly, an apparent, rationale for slavery) can be, accessibly, observed in the written European history, and in relevant, art, novels, drama, and painting.
On the other side of the Atlantic, many peoples of color, having been, forcibly and inhumanely, abducted from their homes on the continent of Africa, to be commercial, exploited as lifelong, farm chattels. This shamefully, cruel practice, albeit, condoned in the King James Bible, was, by contrast, here, not morally and tactfully rationalized as, having evangelical, and, ultimately, beneficial, purpose. Such inhuman practice was concededly, commercial and entrepreneurial, and rendered especially, profitable, for white, southern plantation owners, by the advent of the “Whitney Cotton Gin.” Such slaves were legally, accorded the status, of inanimate, farm equipment, and so regarded. [Dred Scott case-SCOTUS-J. Taney]. In plantation scale cotton, apparently, there existed no needful, self-serving, evangelical, rationale of “saving souls.”
It required a tragic Civil War, followed by a traumatic National, “Reconstruction Period,” to adjudge slavery “illegal.” Nevertheless, disappointingly, the American promise of universal equality to the freed black slaves and their progeny, to date, shockingly, has still not, been fully effectuated. Despite the relevant provisions of the United States Constitution, judicially determined, to be applicable to all citizens (i.e., inclusive of people of color), the passage of numerous Civil Rights Statutes, Federal and State, and a plethora of legal precedent, legally, confirming such equality, many white American citizens, atavistically, and persistently, still, adamantly, refuse to acknowledge America’s foundational, principle of universal equality, as applicable to black Americans.
The historical consequence of the above failure, has proximately, led to an inequitable, and unjust, sociological, or societal phenomenon, the nature of which, has observably, been termed, “white privilege.” The latter term refers to the myriad of ubiquitously, imposed difficulties and roadblocks, experienced by black, as distinguished from white, citizens. Empirical examples of such, inequitable and illegal impediments, are observed in notoriously, biased, arenas, including, employment, wages, housing, financial matters (viz., mortgages and finance applications), health care, membership in social clubs, treatment by the criminal justice system, access to higher education, voter interference, residential proscription and, on occasion, pricing.
Most mainstream American citizens, consistent with their acceptance of the fundamental, democratic premises of their Nation’s Founders, favor universal equality, on moral and constitutional grounds, and ardently, oppose discrimination. Yet, they find themselves, presently, opposed by a large horde of National bigots, supplemented, by former President, Donald J. Trump’s, underbelly, cult, of lemming-like, MAGA- inspired miscreants. The latter horde of atavistic and anti-democratic, citizens, inclusive of the many fascistic, National White Christian Militia gangs, seem to eschew no action, perceived, by them to be in support of their bigoted, autocratic pretentions, even violent insurrection.
To be clear, we, in the interest of contextual, emphasis and clarity of message, have begun this writing with a reference to the spurious, Victorian Age evangelical theory, subjectively and arrogantly, ascribed the euphemistic, name, “White Man’s Burden,” and its utilization as a self-serving, euphemism, for the conquest, plunder and the domination of non-European people with darker than white skins. By moral contrast the dynamics of our present theme and conception, of perceived, general responsibility (as opposed to an inherent, “burden”) is the conception sought to be expressed. One, moreover, founded upon a common, implicit, recognition of universal, secular morality, humanism and fairness, as opposed to one, justified by the arrogant presumption of Victorian, National and religious, ethnocentrism. An entire universe of difference, additionally and notably, exists, in that the selected, targets of such principled mission of promoting ethical American humanism and universal equality, are the recognizably, misguided and ignorant members of our very own American ethnic society.
The contemporary, white, American citizen, inarguably, can candidly, state that he may, justifiably, elect to assert his personal freedom of conscience, temporally, regarding any possible participation in the previous decades of slavery. However, believers in the traditional American promise, who share the aspiration for a strong and enduring, democracy and its implicit promise of universal equality, arguably, should have the will to accept the moral obligation (burden?) to eliminate prejudicial bias, and thereby achieve justice and strengthen the Nation. To be clear, we refer, only to one’s felt, moral obligation and not the purported, demands of an innate or religious “burden.”
We are of the confident opinion, that the salient reason that progress in the movement for racial equality has been slow in its achievement of progress to date, is the illogical and impractical assumption that the task of reforming the hateful bigotry, stemming from the ugly blemish of past enslavement of human beings in American history is, principally, the responsibility of the victim i.e., the progeny of the formerly enslaved, (farm chattel). For the sake of discussion, despite the differences in factual context, would the hapless victim of violent act of rape, be properly, assigned the societal responsibility of dealing with the rapist, or, pragmatically, should a Jewish survivor of a WW2 German Death Camp, be rationally assigned the duty of meting out plain justice to the Commandant of his former Death Camp?
We do not purport, to maintain that the Black American citizen, alone, is unable to carry on the good work of the Civil Rights Movement. There have been uncountable numbers of well-known, heroic and nameless advocates for racial equality (N.B, black and white). What we sincerely, do maintain, is that the morally inspired, white American citizen, appropriately, needs to actively, increase his dedication, personal efforts and participation in this essential, American effort, towards true and universal equity, and a truly just, and enduring, democratic republic.