Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Uncle Tom Revisited, Redeemed

by Clarence Page - February 22nd, 2006 - Chicago Tribune
Today Uncle Tom is a prickly American paradox. His very name has become an insult, describing a black person who is overly eager to win white approval. Yet Stowe's Uncle Tom ultimately is a heroic figure who encourages two abused slave women to escape, then suffers a fatal beating rather than give up the women's whereabouts or his Christian faith.

"It's ironic that Uncle Tom is a derogatory term today, yet he was such a powerful character in bringing about the abolition of slavery," [James] Henson Sr. said. "The way he was depicted as almost Christlike caused a lot of Christian people to say, if the institution of slavery could kill someone as kind, gentle and noble as Tom, we have got to put an end to this institution."

There will be a lot of things that liberals will dislike about this article. First it reminds us all that some of the toughest and bravest Americans we could ever admire are blacks who stood proud during that period when our nation failed to live up to its ideals and tolerated slavery. Josiah Henson, the role model for the character of Uncle Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe's book was such a man. The character Uncle Tom was a great man. No greater love has any man than that he give up his life for another. That is courage. That is a man I will stand with.

Second it reminds us that it is possible to talk to one another without motives being denounced as the opening gambit. It is almost impossible to have a discussion about this character, or any other matter of race when liberals say "believe as we tell you or you are racist". Try and claim that the character Uncle Tom should be a person anyone would be proud of and you get denounced as racist. Try it. I am amazed that Clarence Page had the courage to write this article. It is as amazing as the courage Bill Cosby showed when he said similar things about self inflicted problems in the black community. It almost causes you to hope, can we have a frank discussion about race without being denounced as a racist? Maybe times are changing. Larry Elder thinks that they are! Martin Luther King's dream may yet come to pass.

Great article.


Post a Comment

<< Home