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Gone With the Wind” and Stereotypes of Black People!

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

I just read, for the first time, Margaret Mitchell’s voluminous “Gone with the Wind,” all 1,448 pages! Without a doubt, this book evokes wonderful sentiments – love and hate, joy and sadness, jingoism and treason – sentiments we are all familiar with in our daily lives.

With the story woven around the emancipation of black people by the Abraham Lincoln-led government of the United States of America, the appalling stereotypes of black people, from the viewpoints of the antebellum- and postbellum-era Southern whites, are unwarrantable. I am wont to not repeat some of the terribly offensive and stereotypical statements the book holds about “darkies,” and how some of these negative beliefs have left indelible footprints in the sands of time – even to this day.

It is a wonderful book about love and passion – fleeting, gloomy, volatile passion. And the consequences of human actions are also not lost on the reader. Veritable termagants, or vixens; implacable men; shameless traitors; devious allies – they are all described in the book!

Yes, Abraham Lincoln may have emasculated the cotton-loving, slave-holding, immutably proud South with his Emancipation Proclamation, but freedom for slaves was not the primary purpose for the notable declaration – but an effort to weaken the South and force it to surrender, thereby maintaining a unified nation. Abraham Lincoln did not believe in the equality of the races, and he said so himself.

Abraham Lincoln, in his debate with Senator Douglas at Quincy, IL, on Oct. 13, 1858 and quoted in Abraham Lincoln - Complete Works, published by The Century Co., 1894, Vol. I, page 273 stated:

“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the White and Black races - that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes - nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to inter-marry with White people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the White and Black races which will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality, and in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race.”

Black-white dichotomies and white antipathy toward black people have been around for generations, so how do we, as Black people, rise out of the ashes? With the types of selfish, rapacious leaders Africa has been producing in recent times, our talk about self-sustenance and advancement will ever remain a fleeting monologue – with no real dialogue and no genuine response from the more powerful side!

To garner a greater understanding of events surrounding black people and the U.S. Civil War, please read Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Knowledge – is power, indeed!

Your informed comments are welcome!

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.