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June 99 Message
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Whack! Whack!         Whack!

Bid ‘em in!  Get ‘em in!      Whack!

That sun is hot and plenty bright.
Let’s get down to business and get home tonight.

Bid ‘em in!     Whack!

Auctioning slaves is a real high art.
Bring that young gal Roy.  She’s good for a start.

Bid ‘em in!  Get ‘em in!     Whack! Whack! Whack!

Now here’s a real good buy on about 15.
Her great grandmammy was a Dahomey Queen.
Just look at her face, she sure ain’t homely.
Like Sheba in the Bible, she’s black but comely.

 Bid ‘em in!     Whack!

Gonna start her at three.  Can I hear three?
Step up gents.  Take a good look see.
Cause I know you’ll want her once you’ve seen her.
She’s young and ripe.  Make a darn good breeder. 

Bid ‘em in !     Whack!

She’s good in the fields.  She can sew and cook.
Strip her down Roy.  Let the gentlemen look.
She’s full up front and ample behind.
Examine her teeth if you’ve got a mind.

Bid ‘em in!  Get ‘em in!     Whack! Whack!

Here’s a bid of three from a man who’s thrifty.
Three twenty five!  Can I hear three fifty?
Your money ain’t earning you much in the banks.
Turn her around Roy.  Let ‘em look at her flanks.

Bid ‘em in!     Whack!

Three fifty’s bid.  I’m looking for four.
At four hundred dollars she’s a bargain sure.
Four is the bid.  Four fifty.  Five!
Five hundred dollars.  Now look alive!

Bid ‘em in!  Get ‘em in!     Whack!  Whack!

Don’t mind them tears.  That’s one of her tricks.
Five fifty’s bid and who’ll say six?
She’s healthy and strong and well equipped.
Make a fine lady’s maid when she’s properly whipped.

Bid ‘em in!     Whack!

Six!  Six fifty!  Don’t be slow.
Seven is the bid.  Gonna let her go.
At seven she’s going!
Going!
Gone!     Whack!

Pull her down Roy.
Bring the next one on.

Bid ‘em in!  Get ‘em in!  Bid ‘em in!
Whack!  Whack!      Whack!

Bid ‘Em In
Oscar Brown Jr.
Columbia Records 

The Washington Post of May 21, 1999 contained the headline,  Two Allege Racial Bias By Customs/ House Panel Hears Tales of Detention, Humiliation.  The newspaper cited a hearing held by the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee examination of whether the U.S. Customs Service wrongly targets Black and Hispanic airline passengers for intrusive searches of their bodies and luggage because of racial bias.  One of those testifying was Janneral Denson, an African American woman returning from Jamaica to Fort Lauderdale, Florida who was pulled out of the airline passenger arrival line by U.S. Customs Service agents, detained and then taken to a Miami hospital, where she was handcuffed to a bed rail and not allowed to call her mother.

She was seven months pregnant at the time, and she said doctors told the Customs agents they believed “I didn’t have anything inside of me” other than her baby.  But the agents apparently suspected her of swallowing packets of illegal drugs and forced her to drink four cups of a laxative.  A day later, with no evidence of drugs in her bowel movements, the agents took her back to the airport and let her go.  Eight days later, after bouts of diarrhea and bleeding, Ms. Denson said she underwent an emergency Caesarean.  Her son was born, weighing 3 pounds and 4 ounces.  “We do not know what permanent effects the premature birth will have on my son,” she testified at the House hearing.

Cornell University law professor Sheri Lynn Johnson told the House subcommittee that her study of Customs statistics showed that Black and Hispanic travelers were subjected to 43 percent of the body searches conducted last year and that Black female travelers faced approximately eight times the risk that white males face of a strip search by Customs agents.  Lewis cited another study that showed that a Black female traveler was 20 times more likely to be stopped and intensively searched by Customs agents than a white woman.

During their testimony, Ms. Denson and an Hispanic woman paused to fight back tears or regain their composure at various times as they described their detentions, how they were frightened by U.S. Customs officials and humiliated when told to take off their clothes or spread their legs for searches.  Ms. Denson has filed suit against The U.S. Customs Service.

Dr. Na’im Akbar, clinical psychologist at Florida State University, has stated that a part of the current attack on African Americans is a psychological conspiracy intended to breed despair.  He states data shows that the fundamental social condition of African American people in 1999 - by and large - is relatively unchanged since our ancestors came over on the slave ships.   We - in comparison to others in the American population - die faster, are less well off economically, are at the bottom of the educational scales, and are at the bottom of the political, business ownership and wealth scales.  Dr. Akbar states that at present “... a few of us have been elevated on the plantation.  There are more of us now who are visibly employed within the kitchen.  We work and operate very often in close proximity to those who run the plantation.  Some of us are even convinced that we are running the plantation.”

 Dr. Molefi Kete Asante at Temple University has stated that no slaves were ever brought from Africa to America.  African people were brought from Africa and  European Americans utilized a psychological process to turn African people into slaves - its a mental conditioning process that began in 1619.  Akbar’s analysis is that the only way to make African people act like slaves and to be least resistant to their situation was to uproot them from their culture and thereby alter their minds.  In 1999 that process is still at work in many aspects of American life.  Consequently, some African Americans are still mentally “on the plantation” while others of us have escaped and “run to the hills.”

 The testimony of professor Johnson indicates that a white supremacist culture embedded in operations of the U.S. Customs Service, under the guise of combating importation of illegal drugs, is more concerned with the offense of ITWB (International Travel While Black).  The racial profiling on the highways - particularly involving African Americans driving a “nice” car - has been replicated by the U. S. Customs Service, resulting in harassment and humiliation of relatively affluent African Americans who can afford to engage in foreign travel. 

 The  racist uses of the police powers of government should be a wakeup call to educated and affluent African Americans - particularly the assimilationists who think they are running the plantation and avoid identification with African culture and history and the situations of their less affluent brothers and sisters.  The New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Customs Service have made it clear that educational and economic accomplishments have not conferred on African Americans an acquired immunity from the pathology of white supremacist practices.

 It seems to me that two things must be done.  First, you must be grounded in the foundation of your African and African American culture and demand that all others respect it.  Second, whenever there is an attempt to violate your human dignity, demand your civil rights and turn a spotlight on those who would be oppressors if not confronted.  The outrageous practices of the U. S. Customs Service directed towards African Americans and Hispanics - particularly the women - must be stopped.  Otherwise, on return to the United States from your trip to the Caribbean or Africa you may hear:

 Bid ‘em in!  Get ‘em in!  Bid ‘em in!       Whack!



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Last modified: September 9, 1999