Read Across America Day was today, so in honor of the event (created to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday), I’m posting a reading I did for a class in college.
I was doing an internship for a small magazine and one of my jobs was to scour newsletters sent in by churches and other ministries for items to include in a news briefs section. I was reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X at the time, and at work I received a newsletter from an organization in Florida in which the author expounded for several single-spaced typewritten legal-size pages on the theme of “The Positive Value of Slavery to Black Americans.”
It was an interesting read, to say the least, and led me to wonder if the author had ever met a “Black American.” I had a project due for an Oral Interpretation class and started to wonder how I could juxtapose some of the juicier tidbits from the essay with some of the early passages of Malcom X. In a little.brain moment at the school library when I’m sure I was supposed to be working on 18 other things, I found myself in the childrens’ book section, and an idea was born.
I present here a reading on racism, featuring segments of The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and “The Positive Value of Slavery to Black Americans.” After the jump:
[note: The source of each segment is identified as follows: Seuss, Positive Value, and Malcolm X.]
Now, the Star-belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But, Because they had stars, all the Star-belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.
I as a white American came from a slave background not much more than two hundred years ago when my ancestors were sold out of Ireland as indentured slaves from debtors prison. . . . We were certainly treated no better than black American slaves. Dogs and Irishmen were not allowed in most public places. Certainly we had an advantage because we were white.
[My brother Reginald] told me that God had come to America, and that he had made himself known to a man named Elijah — “a black man, just like us.” This God had let Elijah know that the devil’s “time was up.”
I didn’t know what to think. I just listened.
“The devil is also a man,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
With the slightest movement of his head, Reginald indicated some white inmates and their visitors talking, as we were, across the room.
“Them,” he said. “The white man is the devil.”
He told me that all whites knew they were devils.
I never will forget: my mind was involuntarily flashing across the entire spectrum of white people I had ever known . . . The state white people always in our house after the other whites I didn’t know had killed my father . . . the white people who kept calling my mother “crazy” to her face and before me and my brothers and sisters, until she finally was taken off by white people to the Kalamazoo asylum . . . the white judge and others who had split up the children . . . white youngsters I was in school with, and the teachers — the one who told me in the eighth grade to “be a carpenter” because thinking of being a lawyer was foolish for a Negro.
My head swam with the parading faces of white people.
When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball,
Could a Plain Belly get in the game . . . ? Not at all.
You could only play if your belly had stars
And the Plain-Belly children had none upon thars.
We were probably not more intelligent than blacks but for the fact that we were exposed to civilization, whereas the total African black race lived in an uncivilized, tribal environment. Civilized black Africa has only come to be as a result of white incursion into the continent. The same tribal culture that existed three thousand years ago exists today; there has been no cultural growth within that group.
“You don’t even know who you are,” Reginald had said. “You don’t even know, the white devil has hidden it from you, that you are a race of people of ancient civilizations, and riches in gold and kings. You don’t even know your true family name, you wouldn’t recognize your true language if you heard it. You have been cut off by the devil white man from all true knowledge of your own kind.
Black African Americans try to claim Ethiopian and Egyptian cultural history as their own — it has no connection with black tribal Africa from which originated Black African Americans.
“The true knowledge” was that history had been “whitened” in the white man’s history books, and that the black man had been “brainwashed for hundreds of years.” Original Man was black, in the continent called Africa where the human race had emerged on the planet Earth.
European colonists, and much later, those from parts of Southeast Asia, brought the only civilized culture to Black Africa. . . . There is no possibility that Black Africans could have found and harvested the mineral resources nor established the great ranches and farms on the continent. The most that Black Africans could have created as commerce is a few wood carvings and such.
Human history’s greatest crime was the traffic in black flesh when the devil white man went into Africa and murdered and kidnapped to bring to the West in chains, in slave ships, millions of black men, women, and children, who were worked and beaten and tortured as slaves.
The devil white man cut these black people off from all knowledge of their own kind, and cut them off from any knowledge of their own language, religion, and past culture, until the black man in America was the earth’s only race of people who had absolutely no knowledge of his true identity.
This “Negro” was taught of his native Africa that it was peopled by heathen, black savages, swinging like monkeys from trees. This “Negro” accepted this along with every other teaching of the slavemaster that was designed to make him accept and obey and worship the white man.
Then one day, it seems . . . while the Plain-belly sneetches
Were Moping and doping alone on the beaches,
Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars . . .
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!
“My friends,” he announced in a voice clear and keen,
“my name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean.
And I’ve heard of your troubles. I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that. I’m the fix-it-up Chappie.
I’ve come here to help you . I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work at great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!”
Then, quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Put together a very peculiar machine.
And he said, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch . . . ?
My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”
Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”
So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared
And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked.
And it bopped them about. But the thing really worked!
When the Plain-belly Sneetches popped out, they had stars!
They actually did. They had stars upon thars!
I really studied the book, Findings in Genetics, by the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel. Reading it over and over, especially certain sections, helped me to understand that if you started with a black man, a white man could be produced; but starting with a white man, you never could produce a black man — because the white chromosome is recessive. And since no one disputes that there was but one Original Man, the conclusion is clear.
“Good grief!” groaned the ones who had stars at the first.
“We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the worst.
But, now, how in the world will we know,” they all frowned,
“If which kind is what, or the other way ’round?”
Had European Slave Traders not brought tribal blacks to America, many of which were sold into slavery by their own chieftains, they, meaning African Americans, would all be back in the deserts, highlands, and jungles of the African continent digging for roots and melons or hunting for wild game with their spears.
Then up came McBean with a very sly wink
And he said, “Things are not quite as bad as you think.
So you don’t know who’s who. That is perfectly true.
But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do?
I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on beaches
And all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.”
Today most of Tribal Africa does not have Christianity and the hope that it brings. Black Americans who reject Christianity as a “white man’s religion” are on their way to hell. There is no hope for black Islamics as there is no hope among the white population for Jews and other non-Christians. It is indeed a sorry and pitiful epitaph for Black Americans who go to hell because of their hate for white Americans!
“My brothers and sisters, our white slavemaster’s Christian religion has taught us black people here in the wilderness of North America that we will sprout wings when we die and fly up into the sky where God will have for us a special place called heaven. This is white man’s Christian religion used to brainwash us black people! We have accepted it! We have embraced it! We have believed it! We have practiced it! And while we are doing all of that, for himself, this blue-eyed devil has twisted his Christianity, to keep his foot on our backs . . . to keep our eyes fixed on the pie in the sky and heaven in the hereafter . . . while he enjoys his heaven right here . . . on this earth . . . in this life.”
“Belly stars are no longer in style,” said McBean.
“What you need is a trip through my Star-off Machine.
This wondrous contraption will take off your stars
So you won’t look like Sneetches who have them on thars.”
And that handy machine, working very precisely
Removed all the stars from their tummies quite nicely.
Then, with snoots in the air, they paraded about
And they opened their beaks and they let out a shout,
“We know who is who! Now there isn’t a doubt.
The best kind of Sneetches are Sneetches without!”
Successful white Americans separate themselves from sorry whites, as much a segregation as from sorry blacks; successful blacks should do the same within their own race. As long as Black Americans use their voice to make excuses for their permanent underclass, all blacks will be thought of as capable of that behavior and labeled as killers, druggies, terrorists, antisocial, and thought to be incapable of being civilized.
“Do you know why the white man really hates you? It’s because every time he sees your face, he sees a mirror of his crime — and his guilty conscience can’t bear to face it!
“Every white man in America, when he looks into a black man’s eyes, should fall to his knees and say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry — my kind has committed history’s greatest crime against your kind.’ But do you brothers and sisters expect any white man to do that? No, you know better! And why won’t he do it? Because he can’t do it. The white man was created a devil, to bring chaos upon this earth. . . .”
The question that African Americans must ask themselves then is, “Am I better off in the ghettoes of Black America, with all of its liabilities, than I would be in Black Africa, wearing little or no clothing, living in a grass or mud hut, having little to eat, no modern conveniences, and in constant danger of genocide from all adjacent tribes?” If this question is answered honestly, thinking African Americans must also thank God Almighty for the slavery that brought them to America.
Then, of course, those with stars all got frightfully mad.
To be wearing a star now was frightfully bad.
Then, of course, old Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Invited them into his Star-off Machine.
Then, of course, from THEN on, as you probably guess,
Things really got into a horrible mess.
I’m talking about these “token-integrated” Negroes who flee from their poor, downtrodden black brothers — from their own self-hate, which is what they’re really trying to escape. I’m talking about these Negroes you will see who can’t get enough of nuzzling up to the white man. These “chosen few” Negroes are more white-minded, more anti-black, than even the white man is.
All the rest of that day, on those wild screaming beaches,
The fix-it-up Chappie kept fixing up Sneetches.
Off again! On again!
In again! Out again!
Through the machines they raced round and about again,
Changing their stars every minute or two.
They kept paying money. They kept running through
Until neither the Plain nor the Star-bellies knew
Whether this one was that one . . . or that one was this one
Or which one was that one . . . or what one was who.
Then, when every last cent
Of their money was spent,
The fix-it-up Chappie packed up
And he went.
And he laughed as he drove in his car up the beach,
“They never will learn. No, you can’t teach a Sneetch!”
I’m right with the Southern white man who believes that you can’t have so-called “integration,” at least not for long, without intermarriage increasing. And what good is this for anyone? Let’s again face reality. In a world as color-hostile as this, man or woman, black or white, what do they want with a mate of the other race?
Certainly white people have served enough notice of their hostility to any blacks in their families and neighborhoods. And the way most Negroes feel today, a mixed couple probably finds that black families, black communities, are even more hostile than the white ones. So what’s bound to face “integrated” marriages, except being unwelcomed, unwanted, “misfits” in whichever world they try to live in? What we arrive at is that “integration,” socially, is no good for either side. “Integration,” ultimately, would destroy the white race . . . and destroy the black race.
But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day,
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars,
And whether they had one, or not, upon thars.