This weekend, Michele Bachmann caught some very unwarranted flack for trying to promote marriage and family unity.
Bachmann, along with other Republican politicos, signed a pledge written by activist group The Family Leader that said this:
“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.
The goal of The Family Group and it’s completely inoffensive pledge is ostensibly to push America back to a more family friendly environment by cracking down on abortion, getting rid of porn and by getting all nostalgic for the early days of this country.
Now, some people might say that instead of bringing various sides of an argument together, invoking the institution slavery in a discussion about anything other than actual slavery only serves to polarize anyone who might be reading that document or listening to someone talk about it.
Those people are lame and boring!
Especially because as Bachmann, et al, pointed out, slavery did some real good for black folks! I don’t know if they need another speech writer or document typer-upper. But here are eight other kickass things about slavery that we might want to work into some legal documents!
1. Fitness plans. According to some stats I hastily Googled, almost half of all black people are obese. This article says that in 42 states, more than a third of the black people there are obese. And in 15 states, that number goes up to 40%. I imagine that means that those black people are so fat that…they probably have a number of health problems and are uncomfortable in tiny seats or skinny jeans.
But back in slave days, blacks were super fit!! You can’t have a high body fat percentage when you’re doing hard labor all day. Not only did they get some cardio in when they were running from dogs and bullets and things, but they also got some fantastic strength training by carrying around full bushels of crops.
2. Better names. So there were those studies a while back that showed how identical resumes were handled much differently by recruiters depending on whether they had regular American sounding names or super ethno-black ones.
It was much the same in the good ol’ days. Slaves would come over with these hard to pronounce names and were promptly given new ones. They didn’t have to think about it or sift through dozens of baby name books to figure out if they were more a Madison or a Brighton or a Westley. Slave owners did the work for them! You came into the plantation an Mbutu and left a Marvin. Easy peasy!
3. Zero Percent Unemployment. It’s not new that The Great Recession has been hard on everyone. But statistics show that it’s been super hard on blacks. Whereas the national unemployment rate hovers near 9%, it’s up near 16% for black people and even slightly higher for black men.
That’s so not how it was when slavery was en vogue. You’d be hard pressed to find a black person out of work then. And sure, they didn’t get paid and had to work ridiculous hours, but you know how good an internship looks on a resume!
4. Travel Benefits. Trying to work overseas can be a nightmare! There’s Visas and sponsors to worry about. You have to figure out how to get your paychecks converted into the right currency for whatever bank you’re using. You can’t lose your passport.
But slaves got to work overseas and had someone else take care of all the particulars! All slaves had to do was mind their own business in Africa. Then, suddenly, they got a surprise trip to a whole new world with lodging already taken care of!
5. Easier Investment Portfolios. Have you looked at a paycheck recently? They’re so confusing! There’s the gross pay and allowances and all kinds of taxes. And don’t get me started on how complicated it can be to have a 401K! You have to figure out who your dependents are and how much of what stock you want to invest in. And if your company does matching funds, what’s the tipping point when you start taking out too much…it just goes on and on and on…
But slaves didn’t have to worry about all that. No pay meant no financial headache! No one likes doing their taxes and slaves got away with never having to.
6. Lots of Time Outdoors. How tiring is it, being cooped up in an office all day! Fluorescent lights and distant windows and office chairs that never seem to be adjusted quite right. It feels so good to just get away at the weekend. Go outside, take a hike or even just a walk around the neighborhood. Camping is a huge industry–people love it! And those lucky lucky slaves got to be outside all the time!! And they didn’t even have to wear sunscreen!
7. Low-Sugar Diet. We’ve already talked about the obesity rates among blacks, but diabetes is sky-high, too. Diabetes rates are twice as high among African-Americans than it is in whites. And they’re more likely to have to have limbs amputated. No. Thank. You.
It’s hard to over do it on the sugar when you’re eating scraps of meat and bread and so slaves totally had it good when it came to controlling carbs! It’s soooooo hard to say no to dessert. But slaves never got the chance to say yes! How easy would it be to be healthy without all that nasty temptation everywhere!
8. Gated Community Living. Today, neighborhoods where lots of black live are all scary like Compton or Oakland or The South. But as slaves, blacks got to live in super secure, fenced-in areas that would be totes out of their price range today. Jealous!