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A BFAP thaAnthropologist Assignment:

Study these notes on the Common Misnomers on the Peculiar Institution of Slavery HipHop Americans and Americans as a whole have some common misconceptions about African chattel slavery in the Americas. These misconceptions blur the realities of history and affect cultural understandings today. The following are some notes for you to ponder, research and expound on. These notes are meant for you do your homework on and help you look at this thing from a HipHop anthropological perspective. There are no references because this is a homework assignment, you have to read and study for yourself as the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey said, Read and study for yourself or you will be ignorant of the world and mankind. 1. Africans Sold other Africans into Slavery: this is often the first thing that people outside the African community bring up as a means to place blame on the atrocities of slavery on Africans themselves. a. Pre-Colonial African multiculturalism from the 13th thru the 17th centuries. b. Established trade routes in Central Africa and trade languages, such as Kiswahili c. Pre-Colonial Africa was on the verge of an industrial revolution before other areas of the world. d. Wars and disputes over territories and trade routes e. Christians, Muslims, Jews and Africans all played roles in the capture and exportation of Africans into slavery. 2. The Middle Passage: this is often viewed in the light of people accepting the realities of captivity. a. Varied linguistic systems of verbal and non-verbal communication had to form together in order for people to communicate. b. Some Africans committed suicide by jumping overboard or swallowing their tongues as rebellion against captivity. c. There are numerous accounts of uprising and mutinies on board these ships. d. The song and anthem of White American guilt, Amazing Grace was actually inspired by the humming of the Africans onboard the slaveship Greyhound by John Newton, an English poet and writer. e. The Maafa (African Holocaust) was essentially the first Trans-Atlantic Drug Trade, Africans were traded for sugar, rum, molasses and tobacco; all addictive stimulants for Europeans. 3. To be a Slave vs. Being Enslaved: we were not happy to be slaves. a. Yes, some people openly rebelled, but some bowed their heads in order to stay alive for future generations. b. Although the body and mind was subjected to physical and psychological slavery, the spirit and culture of the people remained intact. c. We were never slaves; we were captives and prisoners of war. d. To be in enslaved was a state of mind versus being a slave, which was a state of the bodys subjugation to perpetual servitude.

4. Unskilled Labors & Cotton Pickers: It often assumed that we were brought here as unskilled labors and was taught how to work the varied crops of production. a. Africans were purposefully captured and imported from regions in Africa where they had been cultivating rice, indigo, cotton, tobacco and other materials for eons. b. Cotton and tobacco were labor intensive and required strong men from the Central regions of Africa. c. Initially slave traffickers made the mistake of taking men from the warrior classes, in turn these men saw the similar terrains and were able to rebel more, this was a classic epidemic in the Caribbean, Central American nations and parts of the Southern United States. d. Alternatively crops such as rice, indigo and oysters required the entire family, thus more cultural formations could be retained by the employment of the entire family. People were predominantly imported from the West African regions. 5. Regional Labor Systems of Work: Many people and scholars a like look at slavery was the same through the United States and everyone experienced the Cant See in the Monin to the Cant See in the Evenin type of slavery. a. Gang System: primarily the most labor intensive crops, such as cotton, tobacco and lumber. Because of the intensity and the demands of the market for these products, it required a system of 12 to 14 hour continuous workdays. This was mainly in the southern regions of the US. b. Task Systems: less intensive crops that required timing for planting, cultivating and harvesting, so the activities were conducted as tasks. Once a task was completed, people moved on to the next task; once all the task of the workday was done, so was the workday. 6. Slavery Stoled African Culture and Language: this probably the most destructive of all the misnomers, because even today people feel that Africans in America dont have a culture and language of our own. a. We had to eat pork to survive! in fact, Africans only used parts of the pig to season foods. Africans never consider meat as the main portion of the meal. Foods were prepared in soup like formats. People hunted and ate other small game that they could readily find in their immediate surrounding. People still cook and prepare foods the same way, maybe just in a more health conscious manner nowadays. b. They Stoled our language! in fact, people communicated verbally and non-verbally. Conversations were channeled through English words, but never carried the same syntax, semantics, phonemics and tense. Word play, allegory and code switching were essential tools. Many African words remained intact and new utterances were created. The most recognized and talked about are the Negro Spirituals which were coded discussions for coping, rants, raves and plans for escape. c. They Stoled our drum! in fact people found other means to make sound. First and foremost the voice is the first and most powerful musical instrument of all. Africans utilized Juba Dance or Hambone techniques and Beat Boxin to keep produce the rhythmatic baselines necessary for





song and praise. Material items such as washboards, and sting instruments were utilized and improved on to make music. They did not allow us to read and write! in fact the people were always about reading, writing and education, because these were longstanding traditions of Pre-Colonial Africa. People taught themselves to learn to read and write English, that does not mean that they did not know how to write in their own language and writing systems. African writing systems not only employed words and text but also iconic in nature, meaning the symbols and glyphs were spiritually, mentally and verbally translated. People inscribed concepts and motifs on bowls, spoons, buttons, pipes and anything else they could get their hands on to redirect the utility of these items to channel their own spiritual, cultural and linguistics perspectives. They Stoled our culture! in fact, the culture of over 4.5 millions years of human history and understanding could not be wiped away in a span of 500 years. Africans maintained and reproduced cosmological worldviews, cultural practices, spirituality, foodways, fashions and kinship patterns to name a few aspects of culture. Even African child naming traditions remain intact, people created names, inherited names or added their own phonotypic frameworks to the naming of children and assigning nick names to people. We were forced to be Christians! in fact, initially slave owners cared very little about the spiritual and religion of their labor force, until uprising began to take place. Feeling the need to resolve the manner by providing the Negro with moral improvement, plantation and slave owners began to set aside spaces and Praise Houses to allow the enslaved Africans a space for emotional outlet. i. Many Africans were already Christians before coming to America, as Christianity was rooted in early antiquity in places like Ethiopia. ii. Many Africans were Muslims before coming to America as a result of the Golden Age of West Africa in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries and the rise of the Ottoman Empire of the 16th and 17th century. iii. Many Africans maintained their traditional African religious practices and deities and covertly transferred them into the saints of Catholicism. iv. Many African refused to disguise their spirituality altogether and is evident in traditions such as Santeria, Hoodoo and Voodun (Voodoo). v. Many HipHop plantation communities had their Herbalists, Conjure Women and Men, as well as their Griots or storytellers. We were not allowed to be Africans! in fact there was plenty of time to maintain and reproduce culture overtly and covertly. Understand that slavery was about work, Europeans and Africans worked in the same place but lived separately. Just like today, when people get off work, they go home and do their own thing. Prepared food the way they wanted,

organized their homes the way they wanted and carried on ritual and customs the way they wanted. This is evident in many recent archaeological studies on plantations sites and in the bioarchaeological data collected from cemeteries and burial ground studies. We even buried people in the same manners, and kept the burial grounds relatively untouched because they were sacred grounds. 7. Segregation vs. Integration: many people tend to think that the end of segregation only affected the educational and public domains, but what actually came out of the end of segregation were some things that were not notice before. a. Keep in mind that before there was cultural integration, there was cultural separation. People lived in separate communities. The difference did not become apparent to African and Europeans until the integrations of the schools took place. b. It was white teachers who were the first to note the differences in African students. They often said that the children could not learn, spoke broken English, were rowdy, wrote on the desks, and played games the teachers could not understand. c. In many respects this was more or less Culture Shock. 8. Language and Rap a. In the dictionary, Rap means to talk or to escape punishment. Rap is what we do, it is how we talk. b. Africans never spoke English. Africans use English as a medium, but that was is all it is, a means to speak or to use a better word, a means to Rap to one another. Europeans made a mockery of the language they could not understand; they could not and still do not understand how the words are put together, their surface and deep level meanings and the since of tense and time. The spoken word is dynamic and fluid, it is always changing. In order to keep pace, you must be Hip, you be in the know to overstand the conversations taking place, otherwise you will be lost in what sounds like English, but is actually Rap. c. Ebonics was the result of white teachers in the Oakland school districts in 1995 that need to be taught the HipHop linguistics sounds and style in order to reach the students. It is not a definition of HipHop language. d. African American English Vernacular, Slang and Dialects are pejorative terms, utilized with the intent of downplaying the richness of African HipHop language. e. Colored People Time or CPT was and is not about being on time, rather about being in time. Africans the world over, know that the event does not start until all the factors are in play, not by the time the event is scheduled to start. African and other non-European people live and work off social time. From their cultural framework, students were never late for class or workers were never late for work, because they operated and operate on their own time and not that of Europeans.