Black Americans, Freedom, and Gratitude

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Black Americans, Freedom, and Gratitude

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by baldilocks

Orig­i­nally posted in 2012 at my old blog. Slightly edited.

Con­sider it a glanc­ing com­men­tary on repa­ra­tions for the descen­dants of Amer­i­can slav­ery. Short ver­sion: I’m against it. All debts in the mat­ter are paid.


Recently, I had a mis­un­der­stand­ing with a Face­book friend about a com­ment I left on her page. My com­ment wasn’t directed at her and the par­tic­u­lars of the mis­un­der­stand­ing aren’t impor­tant, but I’ve seen the idea float­ing around for some years now — espe­cially since it has become well known that there are a lot of black Amer­i­cans who still hold a grudge against white Amer­i­cans for slav­ery and Jim Crow and espe­cially since a cer­tain per­son became Pres­i­dent of the United States — that black Amer­i­cans ought to be grate­ful for those white Amer­i­cans who died “for” our ances­tors’ freedom.

Let’s get some­thing straight.

I’m quite grate­ful to God for plant­ing me in this coun­try – in spite of the means of how it was done — because it deliv­ered me and mine from idol­a­try and Islam. God makes all things work together for the good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes.

This coun­try was founded on free­dom for all and, though it took some time, Amer­ica has lived up to its found­ing. I hate the fact that Amer­i­cans had to walk in the wilder­ness to make that hap­pen: to kill each other in a Civil War and to make some of its cit­i­zens live in quasi-​citizenship for 100 years after that. But it hap­pened, nonethe­less. It hap­pened because of the exis­tence of the found­ing and because of that founding’s nature.

Here’s the per­ti­nent ques­tion: did those who fought for the free­dom of my ances­tors 150 years ago and for the true cit­i­zen­ship of me, my par­ents and grand­par­ents fifty-​plus years ago (my lifes­pan) do it to earn the grat­i­tude of black Amer­i­cans or did they do it for God and/​or the honor of our country?

One won­ders if black Amer­i­cans’ free­dom could have been accom­plished with­out the blood­shed. Per­haps not, but black slaves cer­tainly did not make white Amer­i­cans kill each other over the bondage of the former.

If life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness are gifts from the Cre­ator and are granted to all human beings, then those who defend the same should not care about grat­i­tude from other human beings. As far as this mat­ter goes, any grat­i­tude which the likes of me might offer only serves to engen­der pride in the recip­i­ent. And pride is a sin; all types of pride.

True free­dom fight­ers have the clean con­scious of God. May that be enough for them.

UPDATE: From the com­ments at my old blog:

I’ve lived a rel­a­tively long time and I’ve never known or heard of any­one who “demanded grat­i­tude” for the sac­ri­fices made to free the slaves in this coun­try. Has any­one? That’s a straw man…

Some peo­ple are quick to call you a liar when your expe­ri­ence doesn’t match theirs.

Humans …

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng has been blog­ging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here. She pub­lished her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Fol­low her on Face­book, Twit­ter, MeWe, and Gab.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar or hit Juliette’s!

Cite.

by baldilocks

Originally posted in 2012 at my old blog. Slightly edited.

Consider it a glancing commentary on reparations for the descendants of American slavery. Short version: I’m against it. All debts in the matter are paid.


Recently, I had a misunderstanding with a Facebook friend about a comment I left on her page.  My comment wasn’t directed at her and the particulars of the misunderstanding aren’t important, but I’ve seen the idea floating around for some years now — especially since it has become well known that there are a lot of black Americans who still hold a grudge against white Americans for slavery and Jim Crow and especially since a certain person became President of the United States — that black Americans ought to be grateful for those white Americans who died “for” our ancestors’ freedom.

Let’s get something straight.

I’m quite grateful to God for planting me in this country —  in spite of the means of how it was done — because it delivered me and mine from idolatry and Islam.  God makes all things work together for the good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes.

This country was founded on freedom for all and, though it took some time, America has lived up to its founding.  I hate the fact that Americans had to walk in the wilderness to make that happen: to kill each other in a Civil War and to make some of its citizens live in quasi-citizenship for 100 years after that.  But it happened, nonetheless. It happened because of the existence of the founding and because of that founding’s nature.

Here’s the pertinent question: did those who fought for the freedom of my ancestors 150 years ago and for the true citizenship of me, my parents and grandparents fifty-plus years ago (my lifespan) do it to earn the gratitude of black Americans or did they do it for God and/or the honor of our country?

One wonders if black Americans’ freedom could have been accomplished without the bloodshed. Perhaps not, but black slaves certainly did not make white Americans kill each other over the bondage of the former.

If life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are gifts from the Creator and are granted to all human beings, then those who defend the same should not care about gratitude from other human beings. As far as this matter goes, any gratitude which the likes of me might offer only serves to engender pride in the recipient.  And pride is a sin; all types of pride.

True freedom fighters have the clean conscious of God. May that be enough for them.

UPDATE: From the comments at my old blog:

I’ve lived a relatively long time and I’ve never known or heard of anyone who “demanded gratitude” for the sacrifices made to free the slaves in this country. Has anyone? That’s a straw man…

Some people are quick to call you a liar when your experience doesn’t match theirs.

Humans …

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, and Gab.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar or hit Juliette’s!