When Glenn Beck made his debut on CNN’s Headline News, I quickly dismissed him as the rodeo clown of talk television; a loud and wrong swindler who impishly welled up with an eyeful of tears at the mention of any and all things American. He was, at least in my mind, an annoying but benign media fabrication.
Now though, Beck has managed to encroach upon the sacred ground of African-American history with his inane ramblings and for that, he should garner the contempt of every African American who still holds dear the struggles of ancestors whose blood, sweat, and genius are the foundation upon which this country is built.
On a recent installment of his ‘Founders Friday’ series, Beck paraded a series of contrived stories before his audience in an effort to convince them that the founders of this country were both black and white. Who knew?!
“What you don’t see in this painting (Battle of Lexington) are the equal number of whites and blacks. They were white and black patriots,” said Beck. Fact: African-Americans were captured, torn away from their families, and brought to America as slaves, not as founders. Our ancestors were brought here as commodities to be used to build and grow the wealth of white people. There is no free will in this scenario. Our progenitors were robbed of the fundamental freedom bestowed upon all living creatures and all of their behaviors during this period extended from that point of insipid exploitation.
The trajectory of our collective experience still reflects the measure to which we were methodically reduced by every rape, every sale, every lynching, and every beating and twisted perversion of our henchmen. It is therefore a contemptuous allegation for anyone to place African Americans in a position of ownership during a period in which we were chattel.
But Glenn Beck’s attempt at re-writing history cannot be categorized alongside the usual bumbling and foolhardy nonsense we’ve grown accustomed to from him. This current web he’s spinning for his mostly white audience has a much more nefarious plot than what you’d normally expect from the oafish Beck.
Beck would love nothing more than to blur the line which existed between master and slave during the revolutionary era as it would lay the foundation for a bogus retelling of history. In Beck’s account of the historical events of this period, blacks and whites were partners.
Such a lopsided view of history reduces the culpability of the white community and, if allowed to propagate, forces the collective African-American narrative to recede into the backdrop of other less divisive societal calamities. If left in the hands of money grubbing charlatans of the Glenn Beck variety, our historical suffering will be diminished to the point of non-recognition.
The lineage of African-American history, a centerpiece of which is African-American slavery and oppression, belongs solely to its heirs. Glenn Beck should keep his grubby little paws off a historical perspective which he doesn’t own and obviously doesn’t understand since he, and those like him, are so far removed from human suffering that they’re unable to spot the glaring hypocrisy in their own assertions.
It is now time for the African-American community to reclaim the African American narrative. It is our torment, our despair, our struggle, our overcoming and ultimately, our story to tell. Glenn Beck may be successful at pulling the wool over the eyes of those who haven’t yet experienced the effects of living in a duplicitous society which schemes to camouflage all painful truths with complex ambiguities, but we have and we know better.
We know Glenn Beck’s agenda because of what we’ve lived, and it is our responsibility to take back our history because of the knowledge that our experience has bestowed upon us. Tell Glenn Beck that he’s free to toy around all he’d like with his white boards and dry erase pens, but African-American history is off limits.