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The Lingering Effects of Slavery: An Objective Analysis
Fred Reed

I keep hearing blacks saying how we need an open and honest conversation about race, and oppression, and the lingering effects of slavery. Well, I guess. I’ve sort of thought that too. Of course, I could guess who they wanted to do all the talking. But I have to concede, if I plumb the depths of my soul, that slavery does have lingering effects and, yes, that they are ghastly. Because of this legacy, I am very sorry about slavery.

All right, let’s talk about the lingering effects of slavery. For starters, Americans can’t walk in the cities of their own country without danger of being beaten to death or shot. How is that for a lingering effect? The downtown’s of their cities are uninhabitable: New York, Camden, Trenton, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Jackson, New Orleans, for example.  I am filled with repentance for slavery. Boy, am I.

Sometimes I wish we had time travel so we could go back and hang those wretched Brits who brought in slaves. Places that I once loved–San Francisco, for example–are dying, have died, under uncontrolled crime by a people at the level of hunting and gathering, with stores moving out along with the civilized who are able to escape. In one after another of once-lovely cities, American-African mayoresses make crime  virtually legal. The lingering effects of slavery. Believe me, I am sorry.

Leofs are everywhere,  and white people ought to admit their responsibility. My grandsons go to schools often taught by lingering effects at the mental level of tarsiers, lacking all respect for grammar, mathematics, or recognizable English. Dat stuff be Ray Ciss, know wud I’m sane? Our kids can’t take AP courses because the lingering effects of slavery can’t pass them. I guess if my granddaughter wants to learn chemistry, she can do it late at night, in the basement, with curtains over the windows, and her mother keeping watch.

Our American Africans endlessly advert to  their problems, caused by slavery,  and how whites need to solve them. Hey, I have a brilliant answer for them: Why don’t you solve your own problems? Let’s start with murder. Every year, some seven hundred lingering effects of slavery get shot to death by other lingering effects of slavery n Chicago, three hundred in Baltimore, five hundred in Philadelphia, two hundred in Washington and at least twice as many shot but surviving. I offer our selvatic citizens a solution:

Stop shooting each other.

How’s that for brilliant? Whites aren’t shooting you, despite the occasional temptation. You are shooting yourselves. Why is it my problem?

I here offer another brilliant solution to a black problem. Blacks do terribly on the SATs. They don’t do poorly because of oppression. They don’t do poorly because of the lingering effects of slavery. They are the lingering effects. They do poorly because they don’t know the answers. My astute and uniquely insightful suggestion:

Try studying. Clever, eh? Bet you didn’t think of that. Try books, those square things with the flappy  parts inside. I can’t do it for you. Anyway, why is it my problem.?

OK, illegitimacy, at seventy or eighty percent. Lots of black kids spring from unmarried thirteen-year-olds and grow up as messes because they don’t have parenting? Here is another luminously brilliant solution that I bet you haven’t’ thought of:

Tell your thirteen-year-olds to keep their legs crossed until, or unless, they get married. Yes, they would have to sort of hop instead of walking, but the social improvement would justify it. Thing is, blacks have to do this for themselves. Whites can’t cross their legs for them.

Further, lingering effects are fire hazards. Every few years a city burns, though recently the arson has gone wholesale. I suppose efficiency grows with practice.

Now medical schools drop entrance exams because of lingering effects of  slavery. Yes. Doctors are going to know all about oppression but probably won’t know where their feet are. Before long  we’ll cure diseases by sacrificing chickens. Meanwhile, if you are wheeled into the OR for brain surgery, you will be wise to have a tag on your big toe, “Open other end.” If the surgeon is holding an ice-cream scoop and a pair of pliers, run. While running, you might reflect that AP Biology would have been a good idea. Thing is, a whole raft of lingering effects, some now professors at Harvard, will tell you that knowing anything is a white supremacist form of being, and to promote social justice you’ll just have to go with the pliers and ice-cream scoop.

It used to be that we could hire people because they could do the job. It seemed a viable concept.  Now (another lingering effect of slavery) we have to hire them because they can’t. It used to be that if your transmission needed fixing, you would find someone who knew how to fix transmissions. This seemed reasonable to those of us raised in the old ways, but there you have it. Now we have to hire someone who can’t do it, and probably can’t find the transmission. It would be like an Easter Egg hunt. In high school we had tests to find really smart kids which usually meant Chinese ones so they could become scientists and cure cancer, or at least come close enough to make it nervous. Now, because of the lingering effects of slavery, we can’t do that either. We’ll just have to keep on having cancer.

See? We’re having an open and honest conversation about race. Aren’t you happy?

Now, let me get historical a little bit. We’ve all heard, maybe fifty thousandth times each, that Martin Luther King said he wanted his people to be judged by their character, not the color of their skin. The idea’s pretty good, but I’m tired of hearing it and would almost pay you twenty cents every time you don’t say it. But that’s the problem Whites and Asians and all do judge you by the content of your character. If you stopped smacking white folk and pushing Asians in front of subway trains and such, and stopped killing us and each other too, probably, and didn’t carry off most everything in our stores, we’d still judge you by the content of your character. But if burning our cities weren’t part of the content, well, you’d stop being a lingering effect of slavery and just be, you know, like people wandering around and scratching and maybe drinking beer and things would be just lots better all around. It might be something to think about.

There, we’ve had an open and honest conversation. I guess you are happy and all And now I’m going to get on Amazon and see whether they have a full-body ballistic vest and an armored bathysphere on wheels, because I have a job interview next week in Washington, and I worry about the lingering effects of slavery.


Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper’s, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers. He is by all accounts as looney as a tune.

He is the author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well, A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to BeCurmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung BeetleAu Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About VietNam, and A Grand Adventure: Wisdom's Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about Mexico. Visit his blog.

Fred was born in 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia, a coal camp near Bluefield. My father was a mathematician then serving in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Franks, which he described as a wallowing and bovine antique with absolutely no women aboard, but the best the Navy had at the time.

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