13
Jan
08

In Which I Question Some Folks’ Sanity

So, BuddingStarlet gave me a call today to tell me that there was an American couple that plans to open a theme park in Haiti.

I’m all…ok. Why is this news?

Her: “Guess what the theme is?”

Me: “I don’t want to.”

Her: “You shouldn’t, but I’m gonna tell you anyhow. It’s slavery. Tourists come to the park and get to experience slavery.”

You know, I’ve seen and heard of many things in my short time here. But never, EVER in a million years did I think folks could actually decide that slavery would be an excellent idea for entertainment. So, I’m thinking…maybe people are playing a joke. Nobody could possibly be that insensitive to a barbaric event in history. So I Google it.

Yep, people really ARE that fucking insensitive

So, for folks who manage to find this post via a search (either because you want to know more about it, or because you, like me, couldn’t believe it) I am a Black woman, and anything I have to say about this from here on out is gonna be biased. Prep yourself for it now.

Can anyone…anyone at all…explain to me how in the mauve hell this could be considered entertainment of any kind? Because by calling it a theme park, that automatically designates the place as a forum for happiness and fun. There wasn’t a damn thing about slavery that was entertaining, happy, or fuckin’ fun. And if these folks saw the happy, I for damn sure want to see the history book they were taught from, cause my personal research as well as studies in school don’t reflect that ideal AT ALL.

Now, I was wondering where the inspiration for the park came from. I wanted reasons. Answers! Now! Well, I didn’t get that. Not from this article, anyway. What I got was:

Mrs Bluntschli said: ‘Slavery is a terrible wound. Germany is still suffering trying to get over the Holocaust, and this is a Holocaust that happened for centuries.’

Alright. I think I’m gonna do some reading between the lines here. Is she saying that perhaps in folks experiencing slavery, they can maybe understand it? And then this will silence the folks (both black and white) that say, “You don’t understand how the slaves suffered!” And in so doing, make people leave slavery in the past? And I ask this because I have had countless debates on how Black people always harp on slavery and use it as a scapegoat for all of the issues that Black Americans suffer.

I’m about to piss some folks off, so I apologize in advance.

Slavery is an issue today more than anything else because of the lack of equality on all levels. Hell, I came into this world with two strikes against me: I’m Black and I’m a woman. I, as many Black women, have to work twice as hard, because I’m fighting against both racial and gender stereotypes. All of this stems from the view of the Black woman slave: we’re not good for much more than cookin’, breedin’, and obeyin’. In twelve hours, these people expect to actually show how women were raped and brutalized, their children ripped from their arms and taken to God knows where, never to be seen again? In twelve hours, these people think that simulating being kidnapped and forced onto a slave ship is gonna adequately show the inhumane and unsanitary conditions my ancestors had to face? How these slaves were bound and stacked into compartments so that they couldn’t even move to pee? Cause you KNOW they had to relieve themselves on each other. They had no option. They were stunted intellectually because knowledge is indeed power, and just learning how to read could result in slaves being deliberately blinded? See, whippin’ ain’t all that the slaveholders had to do. It was all out psychological warfare. Is any of that being simulated?

Oh, and once all that is done, will they have to go out into the world knowing that for the next hundred or so years, their descendants are gonna be spat upon, raped, lynched, shot, bombed, sprayed with high power hoses, and attacked by guard dogs? Cause that’s the next link in the understanding, now. Don’t just half-step.

All that ranting is to say that no amount of simulation is gonna teach anybody anything they didn’t know about slavery. With the advent of the computer and Internet, people can look up and read horror stories from slavery times till they’re blue in the face. And they still won’t know the stigma that is being a Black person in America unless they instantly transform into a Black person and have to live in a world where folks with the same education level don’t get the same jobs and pay, get followed through stores by salespeople that are CONVINCED they’re gonna shoplift because of the color of their skin, or pulled over because they’re in “the wrong neighborhood.”

Oh, and please don’t give me that foolishness that “Blacks need to let slavery be in the past and move on.” Because as I’ve stated above, in 200-fuckin-8 we are STILL feeling the consequences of slavery. We can’t move on, because way too often I hear about folks being discriminated against in one form or the other. And now folks want to scream reverse racism because of affirmative action. I know what you’re thinking. “You’re always saying you want equality, but affirmative action doesn’t promote equality because it’s only for people of color!” Good point. However, in an ideal world folks wouldn’t have to worry about that, because they’d be accepted on merit. In a day and age where a person with a more ethnic name has a harder time getting hired, I’m sorry, but I worry sometimes if folks would ever hire people of color at all if not for affirmative action.

I understand the need for folks to know where they come from. I do, seriously. But you can’t make me believe that a 12 hour experience is gonna mirror 400 years of torture. You just can’t.

It’s times like this I question folks’ sanity. Or at least, their humanity.

For the record: I’m aware that this park focuses on slavery in Haiti, and not slaves in America. However, I still have a problem because slavery issues intertwine. I’m sure quite a few of y’all are aware of the issues that Haitians face both there and here in the States, should they even make it here. It just isn’t right on ANY level.

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5 Responses to “In Which I Question Some Folks’ Sanity”


  1. 1 zombie z
    January 13, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Wow. This is like…wow.

    This is Whitey here, saying, NOT FUCKING COOL.

    And slavery has happened all over the world, to all peoples, during pretty much every period in history. So it’s not JUST Blacks that are being treated like non-people without any feelings here…it’s EVERYONE*.

    That is Fucked Up, with capital letters.

    *Though, obviously, in the US it’s Blacks who are still dealing with the results, while white people just skip around singing happy songs about melting pots and stuff.

  2. January 13, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I agree with you, zombie. I probably should note that slavery has indeed affected other folks, and it even has its forms today (sex traffiking is one), and that would be just another reason why its offensive. So thanks for reminding me.

    And it’s Fucked Up indeed.

  3. January 14, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Are you shitting me? Not only is that disrespectful to the history of Haiti but disrespectful to the enormous amounts of people that had to endure slavery.

    I agree, there is nothing remotely entertaining about a Slavery themed amusement park.

    Slavery is no joke and is still a constant reminder of a derogatory past – the world is still trying to put it behind them. How sad.

  4. January 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Are they freaking serious? I mean, dammer, I can’t even understand the Master/slave relationship in BDSM, or why anyone would even want to live that way, but at least that’s sorta kinda maybe informed thing. Slavery, real slavery, was never an informed thing, it was never by mutual consent, and there was no way to just safely walk away from it.
    All I can say is that I hope this ends up being a dismal failure for them, that people see it for the exploitation it is and don’t go there.

  5. 5 littlem
    January 15, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Um.

    No.

    Just, no.

    I will have to reach out to my friends who are related to wealthy people in Haiti to try and put a stop to this.

    Because this will be a good idea when, say, the Holocaust Theme Park is a good idea.

    Which is to say, never.


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