By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
By the time you read this opinion piece, I will have finally recovered from an acute case of which is euphemistically called, “Negro Embarrassment.”
For those who are not familiar with the term, “Negro Embarrassment,” it was first coined by the late Ethiopian essayist, Efal Revillot, in a 1968 magazine article originally entitled, “When American Negroes Go Wild.”
The thesis of the inflammatory article was that, due to the oppressive conditions of slavery and Jim Crow and the repeated micro abrasions of slavery that people of color still daily endure in America, some Black people have reconfigured their thinking processes to survive and endure in a hostile (both latent and apparent) America.
For some people of color, this reconfiguration was manifested in a self-imposed exile into what have been called ghettoes; and others adapted a survival strategy of being militant in the face of racial hostility.
But others managed to salvage bits and pieces of their suppressed personhood by adapting to a lifestyle of constantly appealing to the mercy and kindness of their oppressors on the theory that such obsequious acts would ingratiate them with favors and perks from the dominant society.
The underlying goal of such obsequious manifestations was to live and hopefully to live quite well without incurring suspicion or wrath from their benefactors.
The essayist postulated that such persons were willing to submerge their own personalities into a life of service for their oppressor and thus obtain out of reach “goodies and benefits” for themselves and their family.
From this concept, we have coined the terms, “The House Negro” and the “Field Negro.” We know that the Massa favored the House Negro because he or she posed no danger or threat to the Massa or his family and thus he or she had it good as opposed to the field worker.
The House Negro ate well, slept well and did not to worry about excruciating labor from sunup to sundown picking cotton or harvesting the rice crop in the Carolinas.
Manifestations of the good and safe Negro were personified, good or bad, by a Bill Bojangles dancing and grinning with a young Shirley Temple in the early films of Hollywood. Or it was in the bulging eye antics of a Stephin Fetchit who could make White America theater audiences roar with laughter at his foolish antics.
We all know about the mammie role that we viewed with gritted teeth in the famous film, Gone With The Wind.
Lest we forget, we must include for the sake of discussion, the famous Rochester character in the popular Jack Benny television series and also some of the characters in Amos n’ Andy television series. (Note: you can view this series on You Tube).
Now, by the magic of fast forwarding to the present date, let us look at a particular person who has singularly reprised the role of Rochester and Stephen Fetchit and has seemingly done so with little effort!
Introducing the one and only Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina!
Yes, Senator Scott, without any prodding or cajoling, has with much fortitude and determination, made a political decision that he is willing to resurrect the role of playing the faithful and dutiful Negro to Massa and in this case, Massa is Donald Trump.
If you had the displeasure, as I have had, to view the post-election speech by Donald Trump after his New Hampshire win over Nikki Haley, you may have seen a grinning Senator Scott behind Trump being delirious with joy that he was on the stage with Trump.
Not only that but Senator Scott, without a signal or a prompting, impulsively jumped to the front of the podium while Trump was still speaking and positioned himself directly in front of Trump and uttered these words, “I just love you Trump!”
Trump, not thrown off guard by such hero worship, dutifully smiled at one of his diehard sycophants, shook his hand and welcomed Tim Scott into his political orbit because not only had he thrown under the political bus, his early endorser, Nikki Haley, but Scott pledged his undying loyalty for a man who has repeatedly shown that he is a racist.
Again, referring to the essayist, Efal Revillot, Senator Scott exemplified all the salient character and mental components of being a dutiful and docile Negro who wants to ingratiate himself in the good graces of Donald Trump.
No shame. No self-pride. No dignity. Just a blather of praise for a man who called Black Women, b*itches when he excoriated Black football players for taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem and called them, “sons of b*itches!”
And, if you listen close, really close, you will hear the musical refrain of Tim Scott doing a soft shoe shuffle dance for Massa that would bring tears of joy to Bo Jangles and Stephin Fetchit.
Contact Lafe Tolliver at email@example.com