According to history books [the only way either Harry Belafonte or I would know of such things], in the days of chattel slavery in America, there were basically two kinds of slaves. Most slaves did the grunt work of the plantation, and lived in run down shacks. Some few, however, won favor by serving the master with particularly adamant chauvinism, and got to be house Negroes. They got to stay in the house, and got more favorable assignments.
The white masters especially liked to have their “good” negroes dispense the punishment to their uncooperative brethren. In order to minimize resentment and retaliation toward themselves, white owners often preferred to let other blacks wield the whip hand. That way, the black man who got beat would be mad at the other black man who was doing the beating, rather than the white owner who was calling the shots.
In the context of modern American politics, black folks are largely a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic party by dint of some serious internalized mental chains. Black Americans typically vote 90+% for the Democratic party. Democrats have lost a lot of ground among white folks. Being free Americans, they get to vote for candidates of whatever party seems to be doing a better job, or for whichever candidate has the prettiest face, or whatever.
But whoa be unto the black man who presumes to break from the orthodox liberal Democratic plantation mentality. The Democratic party OWNS the black vote. They will send out the hounds for any black person who breaks rank. By classic Freudian psychological projection, the plantation mentality black folk will be whipped into a frenzy denouncing any non-Democratic black as a subservient Uncle Tom. They will likely be shouted down for the mere act of trying to speak in public. They sometimes need body guards.
Colin Powell represents a grave danger to the Democratic party. He has established himself as a stalwart Republican, a power player. Worse yet, he has made himself known as a particularly independent minded Republican, free to disagree with the majority of his own party on affirmative action and abortion issues, for example. This heartily gives the lie to any possible charges of being Uncle Tom. Whatever you may think of his policy ideas, Colin Powell is nowhere near anybody’s plantation but his own.
This cannot be tolerated by the Democratic party. If black folks look at Powell’s example and start voting independently, the Democrats are totally screwed. Yet Ted Kennedy and Tom Daschle dare not denounce the most admired black man in America. He’s a war hero and Secretary of State. If they start whipping him, they risk a slave revolt.
This brings us to Harry Belafonte. He had a hit novelty record fiftyish years ago. There’s not much reason that anyone would care about him now, except that he spews good orthodox partisan liberal rants that most establishment politicians and media wouldn’t dare. He’s black, somewhat famous, and says what the big boys want to hear, so he gets attention. No doubt he truly believes the things he says, though; he sincerely loves the master.
He recently turned his whip hand against Colin Powell. During an interview on Tuesday, 10-8-2002, Belafonte attacked the whole Bush administration, especially Powell. [CLICK HERE for streaming audio] In an interview with San Diego radio KFMB, he turned in a particularly vicious and slanderous rant against the Secretary of State, accusing him at length and in detail of being nothing more than a house negro doing the bidding of his white masters. “Colin Powell is permitted to come into the house of the master, as long as he will serve the master according to the master’s plans.”
Thing is though, slavery has been long abolished in reality, and all Belafonte can do is rant harmlessly. Powell took the abuse with some humor, and gave a measured diplomatic response worthy of the Secretary of State. Other black folks were slightly harsher in their dismissiveness.
Belafonte, meanwhile, was back down at the docks singing his watered down Caribbean music just the way the master likes it while the field negroes load them banana boats.
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day,
He say day, he say day-o