My friend, Lawrence Billy Jones III, is a black conservative. He is a spokesperson Change the Game whose mission is to “to promote a renaissance in black America by building on the awareness already present in Hip Hop culture of the economic virtues of American Capitalism and open the doors of opportunity the free enterprise system offers to those at the bottom of the economic ladder.”
Because Lawrence is a conservative and doesn’t fit into the mold of what the left demands a black man be then he is labels as an “Uncle Tom.” He even has a fake twitter account created to attack him using it.
The definition from Urban Dictionary:
“A black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with ‘the white man’ including betray his own people.”
It’s pretty much a way to say that a black man is betraying his own people to stay in good graces of white people.
Now I’m as white as they get and I know I’m walking on a minefield discussing race, but race really isn’t the point of my post. I want to write about Uncle Tom.
First off let me thank my friend Kenny Petty of opening my eyes to the real story of Uncle Tom. I had never read Uncle Tom‘s Cabin, but after Pastor Petty told me about the character and how it had been turned into a slur I did a bit of research on the character of Uncle Tom.
Uncle Tom‘s Cabin was written by a slavery abolitionist named Harriett Beecher Stowe.
It was an anti-slavery novel that changed the way Americans viewed slavery. The impact was so great that there is a story that President Lincoln declared among meeting her, “So this is the little lady who started this great war.”
The story of Uncle Tom reads much like that of Joseph in the old testament without the happy ending. You have a very godly man who faithful goes about his duties whatever they may be. At one point one of the slave owners promises to release him, but is killed outside a tavern and the slave owner’s wife sells Tom. Tom is faithful, but a good godly man. When the new slave owner tells Tom to beat his fellow slaves he refuses and is beaten himself. The new owner hates Tom’s faith in God. Tom is pretty much an evangelist and pastor to his fellow slaves. Ultimately, the slave owner has Tom killed because he won’t turn away from Christ. Tom dies just a previous slave owner’s son is arriving to buy his freedom.
This story greatly impacted the people of the 19th century. Tom’s patience, trust in Christ, and willingness to stand up to the slave owner changed many minds on slavery. Stowe wanted Uncle Tom to be a noble character that men would look up to and they did.
This is why I find it outrageous that people would dare to turn this noble, godly character into a slur! If you think someone is betraying their heritage because they don’t follow lock step with your mindset then fine, but do not besmirch one of literature’s heroes to do it!
Uncle Tom deserves a place of honor among all people. He was noble, faithful, and brave. His name should be used as a sign of respect. Sadly, it seems his legacy is lost to the racist of today. May it one day be redeemed.