By Jueseppi B.
Malcolm X: The House Negro vs The Field Negro
The House Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery.
There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.
If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?” That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.
This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?” I mean, this is what you say. “I ain’t left nothing in Africa,” that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.
On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negro — those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call ’em “chitt’lin’” nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That’s what you were — a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters.
The field Negro was beaten from morning to night. He lived in a shack, in a hut; He wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master. But that field Negro — remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die. If someone come [sic] to the field Negro and said, “Let’s separate, let’s run,” he didn’t say “Where we going?” He’d say, “Any place is better than here.” You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes. When they see this man’s house on fire, you don’t hear these little Negroes talking about “our government is in trouble.” They say, “Thegovernment is in trouble.” Imagine a Negro: “Our government”! I even heard one say “our astronauts.” They won’t even let him near the plant — and “our astronauts”! “Our Navy” — that’s a Negro that’s out of his mind. That’s a Negro that’s out of his mind.
Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer — peacefully.
The white man do the same thing to you in the street, when he want [sic] to put knots on your head and take advantage of you and don’t have to be afraid of your fighting back. To keep you from fighting back, he gets these old religious Uncle Toms to teach you and me, just like novocaine, suffer peacefully. Don’t stop suffering — just suffer peacefully. As Reverend Cleage pointed out, “Let your blood flow In the streets.” This is a shame. And you know he’s a Christian preacher. If it’s a shame to him, you know what it is to me.
There’s nothing in our book, the Quran — you call it “Ko-ran” — that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to beintelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That’s a good religion. In fact, that’s that old-time religion. That’s the one that Ma and Pa used to talk about: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, and a head for a head, and a life for a life: That’s a good religion. And doesn’t nobody resent that kind of religion being taught but a wolf, who intends to make you his meal.
This is the way it is with the white man in America. He’s a wolf and you’re sheep. Any time a shepherd, a pastor, teach [sic] you and me not to run from the white man and, at the same time, teach [sic] us not to fight the white man, he’s a traitor to you and me. Don’t lay down our life all by itself. No, preserve your life. it’s the best thing you got. And if you got to give it up, let it be even-steven.
The slavemaster took Tom and dressed him well, and fed him well, and even gave him a little education — a little education; gave him a long coat and a top hat and made all the other slaves look up to him. Then he used Tom to control them. The same strategy that was used in those days is used today, by the same white man. He takes a Negro, a so-called Negro, and make [sic] him prominent, build [sic] him up, publicize [sic] him, make [sic] him a celebrity. And then he becomes a spokesman for Negroes — and a Negro leader.
I would like to just mention just one other thing else quickly, and that is the method that the white man uses, how the white man uses these “big guns,” or Negro leaders, against the black revolution. They are not a part of the black revolution. They’re used against the black revolution.
Read the entire speech at Message to the Grassroots.
“House Negro” (also “house Nigger“) is a pejorative term for a black person, used to compare someone to a house slave of a slave owner from the historic period of legal slavery in the US. The term comes from a speech “Message to the Grass Roots” (1963) by African American activist Malcolm X, wherein he explains that during slavery, there were two kinds of slaves: “house Negroes”, who worked in the master’s house, and “field Negroes” (also “field Niggers“), who performed the manual labor outside.
He characterizes the house Negro as having a better life than the field Negro, and thus unwilling to leave the plantation and potentially more likely to support existing power structures that favor whites over blacks. Malcolm X identified with the field Negro. The term is used against individuals, in critiques of attitudes within the African American community, and as a borrowed term for critiquing parallel situations.
The house Negro and the field Negro
Malcolm X spoke about two types of enslaved Africans: the “house Negro” and the “field Negro”. The house Negro lived in his owner’s house, dressed well, and ate well. He loved his owner as much as the owner loved himself, and he identified with his owner. If the owner got sick, the house Negro would ask, “Are we sick?” If somebody suggested to the house Negro that he escape slavery, he would refuse to go, asking where he could possibly have a better life than the one he had.
Malcolm X described the field Negro, who he said were the majority of slaves on a plantation. The field Negro lived in a shack, wore raggedy clothes, and ate chittlins. He hated his owner. If the owner’s house caught fire, the field Negro prayed for wind. If the owner got sick, the field Negro prayed for him to die. If somebody suggested to the field Negro that he escape, he would leave in an instant.
Malcolm X said that there are still house Negroes and field Negroes. The modern house Negro, he said, was always interested in living or working among white people and bragging about being the only African American in his neighborhood or on his job. Malcolm X said the Black masses were modern field Negroes and described himself as a field Negro.
“Message to the Grass Roots” is the name of a public speech by Malcolm X at the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference on November 10, 1963, in King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. In the speech, Malcolm X described the difference between the “Black revolution” and the “Negro revolution”, he contrasted the “house Negro” and the “field Negro” during slavery and in the modern age, and he criticized the 1963 March on Washington. “Message to the Grass Roots” was ranked 91st in the top 100 American speeches of the 20th century by 137 leading scholars of American public address.
A common enemy
Malcolm X began his speech by emphasizing the common experience of all African Americans, regardless of their religious or political beliefs:
What you and I need to do is learn to forget our differences. When we come together, we don’t come together as Baptists or Methodists. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Baptist, and you don’t catch hell because you’re a Methodist. You don’t catch hell ’cause you’re a Methodist or Baptist. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Democrat or a Republican. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Mason or an Elk, and you sure don’t catch hell because you’re an American; because if you were an American, you wouldn’t catch hell. You catch hell because you’re a Black man. You catch hell, all of us catch hell, for the same reason.
Not only did Black Americans share a common experience, Malcolm X continued, they also shared a common enemy: white people.
Malcolm X described the Bandung Conference of 1955, at which representatives of Asian and African nations met to discuss their common enemy:Europeans. He said that just as the members of the Bandung Conference put aside their differences, so Black Americans must put aside their differences and unite.
The Black revolution and the Negro revolution
Next, Malcolm X spoke about the what he called the “Black revolution” and the “Negro revolution”. He said that Black people were using the word “revolution” loosely without realizing its full implications. He pointed out that the American, French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions were all carried out by people concerned about the issue of land, and that all four revolutions involved bloodshed. He said that the Black revolutions taking place in Africa also involved land and bloodshed.
You don’t have a peaceful revolution. You don’t have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution. The only kind of revolution that’s nonviolent is the Negro revolution. The only revolution based on loving your enemy is the Negro revolution. … Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a knot on the wall, saying, “I’m going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me.” No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms, singing “We Shall Overcome”? You don’t do that in a revolution. You don’t do any singing, you’re too busy swinging. It’s based on land. A revolutionary wants land so he can set up his own nation, an independent nation. These Negroes aren’t asking for any nation—they’re trying to crawl back on the plantation.
“Message to the Grass Roots” was one of Malcolm X’s last speeches as a member of the Nation of Islam. A few weeks after delivering the speech, Elijah Muhammad, the Nation’s leader, silenced Malcolm X for comments he made with respect to the assassination of President Kennedy. On March 8, 1964, Malcolm X announced his departure from the Nation of Islam.
In some ways, “Message to the Grass Roots” can be viewed as a sign of Malcolm X’s impending separation from the Nation of Islam. In it, he spoke not as a Muslim minister but as a leader of the Black masses.
Some of the themes touched on by Malcolm X in “Message to the Grass Roots” were familiar ones. The distinction between the Black revolution and the Negro revolution, and that between the house Negro and the field Negro, had become common features of his speeches.
Regarding the March on Washington, theologian James Cone writes that “Malcolm’s language was harsh, but it was the truth”. According to Cone, the march was controlled by the Black bourgeoisie and the white liberals who financed it. The whites forced John Lewis to rewrite his speech because it was considered offensive to the Kennedy administration, and James Baldwin was not allowed to speak out of fear for what he might say.
I give this not too brief history lesson on the meaning of what a house negro/house nigger is, to highlight the typical house nigger of 2013.
President Barack Obama has received widespread praise for his impromptu remarks today on race and the trial of George Zimmerman.
Rev. Al Sharpton called the president comments “significant” and “much needed.”
Trayvon Martin’s parents said the president made a “beautiful tribute to their boy” and shared that they were “honored and moved” by his words.
However, talk show host Tavis Smiley, one of Obama’s most vocal African-American critics, was quick to dismiss the president on Twitter.
“Took POTUS almost a week to show up and express mild outrage. And still, it was as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid,” tweeted Smiley.
The backlash to Smiley’s broadside was just as swift, with numerous Twitter users calling him out for being “pathetic.”
The president told the press that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
He was very critical of Stand Your Ground laws around the country, challenging their effectiveness and enforcement.
“If Trayvon Martin was of age and was armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?” Obama asked. “If the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we should examine those laws.”
The president also specifically addressed why emotions over the Zimmerman verdict were running especially high in the black community.
“The African-American community is looking at this through a set of experiences and history that doesn’t go away,” he said. “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”
Thank you theGrio.
Now for the Soapbox Scoop:
Mr. Tavis Smiley, along with Dr. Cornell West, two so called Black leaders, have been critics of Barack Hussein Obama since inauguration night in 2009.
Both have separate reasons for hating the President that are trivial, petty and involve what both believe to be slights against them both by Barack. I won’t waste my time typing both incidents that drove these two to become house niggers….but it’s 3rd grade stuff.
Now back to Tavis…..his tweet is just another stone thrown at Barack’s House by a fake ass phony wanna be Black leader.
Here’s why I no longer respect Tavis Smiley:
Genma Holmes is investigating the precarious relationship between Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo, sponsor for Smiley’s State of the Black Union (SOTBU). This post is the third in a series of posts about Smiley written by Holmes, available to read on her site Genma Speaks.
By Genma Holmes
Everyone is in uproar about Wells Fargo employees calling loans to black mortgage holders “ghetto loans” and the disdain they showed for the customers they made the most profit from. But the media, especially black media, has been very silent about the role Tavis Smiley played in helping stack this ill fated deck of cards that has plagued the black community in several major cities.
When Mr. Smiley first partnered with Wells Fargo in 2005, he was a teacher of economic empowerment and assembled seminars around the country as the keynote speaker for wealth building. Press releases filled every major news outlet inbox and black newspapers were infected with faxes stating Mr. Smiley’s desire to teach the principles of home ownership as the key for breaking the cycle of poverty in the African American community.
All this knowledge was given at no charge to trusting black folks. This was the golden ticket to obtaining the elusive piece of the pie via Mr. Smiley’s recommendations. Surely the intentions of all involved were pure and Mr. Smiley had vetted Wells Fargo thoroughly. Or so we thought. My granddaddy would say often, “Be wise when someone wants to give you something for free, there will be a price to pay later.”
Mr. Smiley stated he was “thrilled” to help black folks achieve their dreams but now that many of them have found themselves in a nightmare, where is he? Has he spoken out against the “ghetto loans” statement by Wells Fargo employees? Has he demanded accountability that he touts must be part of helping President Obama be the best President he can be? Has he applied that same scrutiny to Wells Fargo now that their sins of omission and commission have been exposed by their employees?
Update: Link on Mr. Smiley’s website regarding Wells Fargo:
Previous posts about Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo and sources:
Genma Holmes is a mother, entrepreneur, writer, activist, philanthropist, model, actress, speaker, political watchdog and lover of all things news. You can read more of her work at Genma Speaks.
Tavis Smiley’s baby:
(CNN) – The NAACP filed lawsuits Friday against two of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders — HSBC and Wells Fargo — alleging “systematic, institutionalized racism” in their subprime lending.
“We have targeted these banks because we have gone through what we can get our hands on, and it seems like there’s a real problem here,” NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous told CNN.
Jealous said the group wants “transparency.” “We want to see the books,” he added. “We are not seeking damages; we just want them to fix the problem.”
Both companies denied the allegations.
HSBC spokeswoman Kate Durham said the company does not comment on litigation, but she said, “We stand by our lending practices.”
In a statement, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Melissa Murray said, “The NAACP’s allegations are totally unfounded and reckless. We have never tolerated, and will never tolerate, discrimination in any way, shape or form in any of our business practices, products or services.”
She added that the company has been “working with the NAACP for the past two years to develop a partnership that would benefit the NAACP, its constituents and our communities, so we are dismayed that the NAACP has chosen to abandon that constructive dialogue in order to pursue this litigation.”
Under subprime lending, people who don’t qualify for lower interest rates can borrow money at higher rates. The NAACP argues that the companies gave subprime rates to African-Americans who qualified for better rates and gave better rates to white customers with similar credit histories.
The lawsuits note studies showing African-Americans have been disproportionately affected by subprime lending. But that’s not solely because of intentional efforts to target African-Americans, according to the lawsuits.
“These statistical disparities are not mere happenstance, but instead result from the systematic and predatory targeting of African-Americans, as well as facially neutral lending policies and practices that have a disparate adverse impact on African-Americans,” said the lawsuits, which were filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The NAACP has launched similar suits against numerous other lenders. In its statement Friday, the nation’s oldest civil rights group said, “One lender has already entered into a preliminary settlement agreement with the NAACP, and a number of other lenders are engaged in similar discussions.”
Thank you CNN.
To clarify for the laymen reading this: Tavis Smiley, Black leader who is so concerned with POTUS Barack Hussein Obama’s lack of involvement in erasing poverty among the Black community in 4 plus years, when it took centuries to build poverty in the Black community…..was involved in predatory lending practices with Wells Fargo Bank…..AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE.
Yet he has the balls to go on a “poverty tour” with fellow house nigger, Dr; Cornell West.
Tavis Smiley is the very definition of a house nigger Malcolm X referred to in his speech. Tavis has taken up with Wells Fargo to make money off the backs of Black families and Black workers struggling to make a living and scuffling just to survive, by offering them Jim Crow pie in the sky.
Predatory Lending practices are against the law.
Predatory lending is the unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices of some lenders during the loan origination process. While there are no legal definitions in the United States for predatory lending, an audit report on predatory lending from the office of inspector general of the FDIC broadly defines predatory lending as “imposing unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers.” Though there are laws against many of the specific practices commonly identified as predatory, various federal agencies use the phrase as a catch-all term for many specific illegal activities in the loan industry. Predatory lending should not be confused with predatory mortgage servicing which is the unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices of lenders and servicing agents during the loan or mortgage servicing process, post loan origination.
One less contentious definition of the term is “the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against.” Other types of lending sometimes also referred to as predatory include payday loans, certain types of credit cards, mainly subprime, or other forms of (again, often subprime) consumer debt, and overdraft loans, when the interest rates are considered unreasonably high. Although predatory lenders are most likely to target the less educated, the poor, racial minorities, and the elderly, victims of predatory lending are represented across all demographics.
Predatory lending typically occurs on loans backed by some kind of collateral, such as a car or house, so that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess or foreclose and profit by selling the repossessed or foreclosed property. Lenders may be accused of tricking a borrower into believing that an interest rate is lower than it actually is, or that the borrower’s ability to pay is greater than it actually is. The lender, or others as agents of the lender, may well profit from repossession or foreclosure upon the collateral.
Abusive or unfair lending practices:
Unjustified risk-based pricing.
Single-premium credit insurance.
Failure to present the loan price as negotiable.
Failure to clearly and accurately disclose terms and conditions.
Short-term loans with disproportionally high fees.
Why ACORN was so hated by conservatives:
The organization ACORN claimed that predatory loans are usually made in poor and minority neighborhoods where better loans are not readily available. Organizations such as AARP, Inner City Press, and ACORN have worked to stop what they describe as predatory lending. ACORN has targeted specific companies such as HSBC Finance and H&R Block, successfully forcing them to change their practices.
On the other side of the issue are various subprime lending advocates, such as the National Home Equity Mortgage Association (NHEMA), which say many practices commonly called “predatory,” particularly the practice of risk-based pricing, are not actually predatory, and that many laws aimed at reducing “predatory lending” significantly restrict the availability of mortgage finance to lower-income borrowers. Such parties consider predatory lending a pejorative term.
Some subprime lending practices have raised concerns about mortgage discrimination on the basis of race. African Americans and other minorities are being disproportionately led to sub-prime mortgages with higher interest rates than their white counterparts. Even when median income levels were comparable, home buyers in minority neighborhoods were more likely to get a loan from a subprime lender, though not necessarily a sub-prime loan.
In addition, studies by leading consumer groups have concluded that women have become a key component to the subprime mortgage crunch. Professor Anita F. Hill wrote that a large percentage of first-time home buyers were women, and that loan officers took advantage of the lack of financial knowledge of many female loan applicants. Consumers believe that they are protected by consumer protection laws, when their lender is really operating wholly outside the laws. Refer to 15 U.S.C. 1601 and 12 C.F.R. 226.
Media investigations have disclosed that mortgage lenders used bait-and-switch salesmanship and fraud to take advantage of borrowers during the home-loan boom. In February 2005, for example, reporters Michael Hudson and Scott Reckard broke a story in the Los Angeles Times about “boiler room” sales tactics at Ameriquest Mortgage, the nation’s largest subprime lender. Hudson and Reckard cited interviews and court statements by 32 former Ameriquest employees who said the company had abused its customers and broken the law, “deceiving borrowers about the terms of their loans, forging documents, falsifying appraisals and fabricating borrowers’ income to qualify them for loans they couldn’t afford.” Ameriquest later agreed to pay a $325 million predatory lending settlement with state authorities across the nation.
Bottom line is Tavis used Black America to make money for himself, make money for Wells Fargo. All on the backs of unsuspecting Black folks who trusted Travis to have their backs, and best interest at heart and in mind.
Tavis Smiley: Don’t call me an Obama critic
Broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley has courted controversy in recent months, as he and his friend and mentor, Dr. Cornel West, embarked on a “poverty tour” that included sharp jabs at President Barack Obama.
Asked about his past criticisms of Obama, and his statements, reported by the Huffington Post, that the president had failed to invite him to the White House or appear on Smiley’s radio or television program, West insisted he has never uttered a personal criticism of the president, and that the statements about not being invited to the White House were simply an answer to the reporters question.
Still, he called Obama the first president of many to not extend such an invitation, though he said he “doesn’t lose sleep about it.”
Smiley insisted that he is wrongly called a “critic” of the president, saying that holding the president accountable is his “job.”
Thank you theGrio.
Mr. Smiley, I would never call you a critic of The President. To be a critic, one must be knowledgeable of what one criticizes.
You can’t criticize someone you can’t begin to comprehend.
You Mr. Smiley are just your average typical 2013 house nigger.
Nothing more, nothing less.
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