Buencamino does foreign and political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 30 November 2004, page 11.
Just because you don’t see the chains it doesn’t mean they ain’t there. You ought’ta have your eyes examined.- Philip Gilmore
There is a short passage in Malcolm X’s autobiography where he describes a certain aspect of the slave-master relationship.
He said. “Since slavery, the American white man has always kept some
handpicked Negroes who fared much better than the black masses
suffering and slaving out in the hot fields. The white man had these “house” and “yard” Negroes for his special servants. He threw them more crumbs from his rich table, he even let them eat in his kitchen. Well, slavery time’s “house” and “yard” Negroes had become more sophisticated, that was all.”
Mastah George was angry at Miss Gloria. She was disobedient. She negotiated with a bunch of renegade blacks for the safety of one of her children. He thought she was uppity and that, as every slave-owner knows, is the first sign of rebellion.
Miss Gloria tried to explain to the masa that she had no choice. She was a “house” slave who didn’t live in her master’s house, she lived among the field Negroes.
They were going to kill her if she didn’t do what she had to do.
Mastah George didn’t care. He refused to take her calls or meet her
even for five minutes at the big meeting in Chile.
The “house” and “yard” Negroes were beside themselves with apprehension
and fear. “How will we look like in front of the other guests?”, they asked. “Well,” replied one of the old Negro hands, “other guests” is the least of our problems. We should worry more about what the field slaves will say when we go home.”
In a fit of panic, they tried to make something out of nothing. Yard Negroes called up their friends back home and reported what they saw from peeking through the window. “Miss Gloria sat beside Mastah George for two hours!”
The occasion was a dinner and cultural presentation by the hosts and Miss Gloria happened to be seated beside B’wana. At the cultural presentation, the white guests saw that despite their best genocidal efforts, the Chilean race and culture survived. But I digress.
The Negro press reported their sampay-bakod view of the affair. There was much ado over cameras capturing Miss Gloria and Mastah George “making hand gestures to stress points as they talked.” Bunye added, “If you watched the footage, you would have seen the body language.” Congressman Puentavella over-added, “Even the other foreign delegates were asking why the long happy talk.”
One newspaper, published by the most patriotic non-citizen of America,
saw the Hand of God and attributed the dinner seating arrangement to Divine Providence. It described the public dinner conversation as “intimate”. It gushed, “The Pilippine delegation, including Filipino media members (read yard Negroes), cheered as Bush was seen wrapping his right arm around Mrs Arroyo’s back as he got close to her in conversation.”
That is all the sampay bakods saw and they knew we knew so Bunye spinned, “As they say, action speaks louder than words. Whatever the cynics and doubters said was erased by that scene.” Pathetic.
According to Miss Gloria, Mastah George told her, “We must keep our friendship together.” What else did he have to say, asked the cynics. Bunye replied for her, “They also talked about many security matters
but the details would have to remain confidential for now.” He added,
“the photo speaks well of diplomatic trade and mutual defense ties between their two countries.” A picture speaks a thousand words, ‘di ba?
In the course of her trip to Chile, Miss Gloria announced she met with
her American economic advisers. She wanted to fine tune her investment
incentives program. At the meeting, there were no sacadas from Negros,
no miners from Diwalwal, no sweatshop or call center employees and no
consumers present. Only investors.
Sydney Blumenthal has an interesting book about his years with former
president Bill Clinton. In it, he relates an incident when a small
group of presidential advisers met to brief Clinton on a program that
would impact on black women.
Blumenthal recounted, “We presented the policy options and political
implications. We thought we had covered all the bases. Clinton waited
for us to finish. Then he said, ‘You are the dumbest bunch of white
boys I have ever seen.’ He reprimanded us for coming into the
Oval Office as an all-white, all-male group. ‘Don’t
let it happen again,’ said the President. It didn’t. ”
Miss Gloria and Mastah Bill went to the same school together but that
doesn’t mean they learned the same things. Mastah Bill learned how to
govern and Miss Gloria learned how to be governed.
(*African term of address for a white man. )