Book Review: The Negro in Jamaica: Read before the Anthropological Society of London, February 1, 1866, at St. James’s Hall, London, by Bedford Pim. 1868. London: Trubner & Company.
Great for the first half, the second half is rather boring. It concerns a report to a British anthropological society about the uprisings of the Blacks in Jamaica in the 1800’s when it was a British colony. The portrayal of Blacks here is not complementary at all, and it would be called racist in modern terms.
However, this portrayal is not racist at all. I believe it was simply observational with keen eye of objectivity. The Black man in the Caribbean and in Africa for that matter was a forlorn specimen, barbarous and savage in the worst possible way.
I will briefly add that the book is racist in the way it patronizingly defends colonialism and says the Blacks of Jamaica were not mistreated when obviously they were. The report also says that Blacks cannot govern themselves, which is dubious. They can govern themselves. Not very well, but they can do it. They do it in the Caribbean, in Africa and even in large US cities. The only solution to this problem then was that Blacks should be put under permanent supervision of Whites until they had gradually become civilized.
By the way, this was also the colonially stated beneficent rationale for apartheid. For all I know, they may have been honest about it. South African Whites felt that Blacks had to be held under apartheid bondage until such time as they had achieved civilization enough to live on equal terms with Whites.
Be that as it may, apartheid was still immoral and had to be done away. Why? Because it was simply the right thing to do and for no other reason. The fact that South Africa has gone seriously downhill under Black rule is irrelevant. Humans have a right to self-rule, and whether they do so well or not so well is strictly up to them.
The solution advocated in this book is to continue to bring Blacks from Africa and work them on five year contracts for White plantation owners, after which they would be returned to Africa. One cannot help but notice that the endless insistence here that the Black man cannot rule himself just so happens to provide a rationale for Britain to retain the colonial possession of Jamaica. Wink win.
Although of course you can see shadows of this barbarous behavior in modern day Africa, the Caribbean and the US Black underclass, what is shocking is the growth of the Black middle class since the Civil Rights era and how they do not resemble the degraded race portrayed here in any way, shape, or form. A large percentage of the Blacks have become, in a word, civilized. The problem was not so much genetic or biological as cultural.
Via exposure to White society over 150+ years, a large percentage of Blacks, the Black middle class, have become civilized people. They bear no resemblance to the barbarous brutes in this book at all. One would be shocked if they were told that they were of the same race. Indeed the difference is so profound that the only sane conclusion is that we are talking about two different races, which is of course not true.
The message here is that integration is the way to go. The deficiencies of Blacks are not so much biological as cultural. All Blacks needed was the guiding hand of the civilizing impulse, as is the case with so many other human groups.
The other message is that White people are good for Blacks. I should amend this to say that good White people are good for Blacks. Obviously, White slavers or enforcers of Jim Crow in the US and elsewhere in the Americas was not good for Blacks, athough this book tries to make the case that it is.
It’s good for Blacks to mix with good, decent Whites or even to marry with said Whites. Left on their own to congregate in large cities, they act like crabs in a barrel, pulling down anyone who tries to escape and driving each other down to the lowest common denominator in a race for the bottom behaviorally. Large groups of Black people don’t seem to work. Blacks act best as a rather small minority, 20% or less, in a larger group of Whites, Hispanics, or Asians.
The Blacks don’t have any numbers, so they don’t influence each other much. Further, the same Blacks who would obviously degrade quickly in the hood do much better when integrated, as they try to mimic the behavior of the races around them, races which tend to set the bar higher behaviorally.
Integration works. The way to ameliorate the Black problem in the US or any other land is to thoroughly mix them in small numbers with Whites, Hispanics or Asians. This brings out the best in the Blacks. It’s good for us, for them, and for society. Everyone wins.
Integration today, integration tomorrow, integration forever!