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Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race

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"Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race"

"Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race"

"Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race," by Dr. Cartwright (in DeBow's Review)

DRAPETOMANIA, OR THE DISEASE CAUSING NEGROES TO RUN AWAY.

It is unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers...

In noticing a disease not heretofore classed among the long list of maladies that man is subject to, it was necessary to have a new term to express it. The cause in the most of cases, that induces the negro to run away from service, is as much a disease of the mind as any other species of mental alienation, and much more curable, as a general rule. With the advantages of proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many negroes have of running away, can be almost entirely prevented, although the slaves be located on the borders of a free state, within a stone's throw of the abolitionists.

If the white man attempts to oppose the Deity's will, by trying to make the negro anything else than "the submissive knee-bender," (which the Almighty declared he should be,) by trying to raise him to a level with himself, or by putting himself on an equality with the negro; or if he abuses the power which God has given him over his fellow-man, by being cruel to him, or punishing him in anger, or by neglecting to protect him from the wanton abuses of his fellow-servants and all others, or by denying him the usual comforts and necessaries of life, the negro will run away; but if he keeps him in the position that we learn from the Scriptures he was intended to occupy, that is, the position of submission; and if his master or overseer be kind and gracious in his hearing towards him, without condescension, and at the sane time ministers to his physical wants, and protects him from abuses, the negro is spell-bound, and cannot run away.

According to my experience, the "genu flexit"--the awe and reverence, must be exacted from them, or they will despise their masters, become rude and ungovernable, and run away. On Mason and Dixon's line, two classes of persons were apt to lose their negroes: those who made themselves too familiar with them, treating them as equals, and making little or no distinction in regard to color; and, on the other hand, those who treated them cruelly, denied them the common necessaries of life, neglected to protect them against the abuses of others, or frightened them by a blustering manner of approach, when about to punish them for misdemeanors. Before the negroes run away, unless they are frightened or panic-struck, they become sulky and dissatisfied. The cause of this sulkiness and dissatisfaction should be inquired into and removed, or they are apt to run away or fall into the negro consumption. When sulky and dissatisfied without cause, the experience of those on the line and elsewhere, was decidedly in favor of whipping them out of it, as a preventive measure against absconding, or other bad conduct. It was called whipping the devil out of them.

If treated kindly, well fed and clothed, with fuel enough to keep a small fire burning all night--separated into families, each family having its own house--not permitted to run about at night to visit their neighbors, to receive visits or use intoxicating liquors, and not overworked or exposed too much to the weather, they are very easily governed--more so than any other people in the world. When all this is done, if any one of more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good require that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which it was intended for them to occupy in all after-time, when their progenitor received the name of Canaan or "submissive knee-bender." They have only to be kept in that state and treated like children, with care, kindness, attention and humanity, to prevent and cure them from running away.

DYSAETHESIA AETHIOPICA, OR HEBETUDE OF MIND AND OBTUSE SENSIBILITY OF BODY--A DISEASE PECULIAR TO NEGROES--CALLED BY OVERSEERS, " RASCALITY."

Dysaesthesia Aethiopica is a disease peculiar to negroes, affecting both mind and body in a manner as well expressed by dysaesthesia, the name I have given it, as could be by a single term. There is both mind and sensibility, but both seem to be difficult to reach by impressions from without. There is a partial insensibility of the skin, and so great a hebetude of the intellectual faculties, as to be like a person half asleep, that is with difficulty aroused and kept awake. It differs from every other species of mental disease, as it is accompanied with physical signs or lesions of the body discoverable to the medical observer, which are always present and sufficient to account for the symptoms. It is much more prevalent among free negroes living in clusters by themselves, than among slaves on our plantations, and attacks only such slaves as live like free negroes in regard to diet, drinks, exercise, etc. It is not my purpose to treat of the complaint as it prevails among free negroes, nearly all of whom are more or less afflicted with it, that have not got some white person to direct and to take care of them. To narrate its symptoms and effects among them would be to write a history of the ruins and dilapidation of Hayti, and every spot of earth they have ever had uncontrolled possession over for any length of time. I propose only to describe its symptoms among slaves.

From the careless movements of the individuals affected with the complaint, they are apt to do much mischief, which appears as if intentional, but is mostly owing to the stupidness of mind and insensibility of the nerves induced by the disease. Thus, they break, waste and destroy everything they handle,--abuse horses and cattle,--tear, burn or rend their own clothing, and, paying no attention to the rights of property, steal others, to replace what they have destroyed. They wander about at night, and keep in a half nodding sleep during the day. They slight their work,--cut up corn, cane, cotton or tobacco when hoeing it, as if for pure mischief. They raise disturbances with their overseers and fellow-servants without cause or motive, and seem to be insensible to pain when subjected to punishment. The fact of the existence of such a complaint, making man like an automaton or senseless machine, having the above or similar symptoms, can be clearly established by the most direct and positive testimony. That it should have escaped the attention of the medical profession, can only be accounted for because its attention has not been sufficiently directed to the maladies of the negro race. Otherwise a complaint of so common an occurrence on badly-governed plantations, and so universal among free negroes, or those who are not governed at all,--a disease radicated in physical lesions and having its peculiar and well marked symptoms and its curative indications, would not have escaped the notice of the profession. The northern physicians and people have noticed the symptoms, but not the disease from which they spring. They ignorantly attribute the symptoms to the debasing influence of slavery on the mind without considering that those who have never been in slavery, or their fathers before them, are the most afflicted, and the latest from the slave-holding South the least. The disease is the natural offspring of negro liberty--the liberty to be idle, to wallow in filth, and to indulge in improper food and drinks.

De Bow's Review

Southern and Western States

Volume XI, New Orleans, 1851

AMS Press, Inc. New York, 1967

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And I thought the Willie Lynch letter was bad. This dissertation leaves me almost speechless. And is just another glaring example of how the bible is used to justify injustices.

It's like Caucasians have never forgiven the tribes of Mother Africa for making them outcasts because they were mutants with white skin.They can't help their feelings of contempt; it's in their DNA and is subconsciously manisfested in their sense of entitlement.

You also have to wonder if there is such a thing as a curse, because black people have to be the most long suffering race on this earth, victimized not only by others but by each other. :(

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And I thought the Willie Lynch letter was bad. This dissertation leaves me almost speechless. And is just another glaring example of how the bible is used to justify injustices.

It's like Caucasians have never forgiven the tribes of Mother Africa for making them outcasts because they were mutants with white skin.They can't help their feelings of contempt; it's in their DNA and is subconsciously manisfested in their sense of entitlement.

You also have to wonder if there is such a thing as a curse, because black people have to be the most long suffering race on this earth, victimized not only by others but by each other. :(

Well (though the psychology is quite real) at least the authenticity of the Willie Lynch document is suspect. Ol Doctor Cartwright, though.....

Can you see the madness in this though? Because I want to escape the misery of slavery, something is wrong with "me". This is not simply saying, "Gurl, you crazy." This is actually saying, "Gurl, you're crazy. No, like forrea-forreal. You have a mental disorder and the name of it is drapetomania". Can you see the remnants of this today? When African Americans speak of the racial injustices of the past and the present, something is wrong with "them".

Heck though. Your own people are quicker to say you crazy for that than others. "Don't you go round talkin dat liberation FOOLISHNESS! We's FREE now. Talkin bout equal rights and justice. Don't you know was a time when we had tah drank outa CULLID fountains!! You should just be tellin Jeezus dank-yah fo allowin yo no good darkie self to eat at DENNY'S!! Now get from round hyeah wit all dat FOOLISHNESS!"

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Heck though. Your own people are quicker to say you crazy for that than others. "Don't you go round talkin dat liberation FOOLISHNESS! We's FREE now. Talkin bout equal rights and justice. Don't you know was a time when we had tah drank outa CULLID fountains!! You should just be tellin Jeezus dank-yah fo allowin yo no good darkie self to eat at DENNY'S!! Now get from round hyeah wit all dat FOOLISHNESS!"

In my opinion, black folks have overcome their slave mentality when it comes to reacting to injustice. They know it may not do any good but they do vent and they do so unanimously because that's the only way they can relieve their frustration. Think the Trevon Martin case.

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If black folks had overcome their slave mentality when it comes to reacting to injustice, they would be doing much more than venting. Maybe a slave mentality is just what we need, just a different one, like that of Nat Turner's.

Plus that should let us know just how free we are not. If the closest black people can come to justice is venting, it sure says a lot about the level of freedom there is. Why should this be accepted? Why should this subconsciously be accepted as "just the way things are"? If Trevon Martin were white and George Zimmerman were black, do we really think that venting would be the closest to justice that white people would get? We are insane. I need to see if Dr. Cartwright got a fancy sounding term for such behavior. I don't know what it's called, but surely it is under the umbrella of black insanity.

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Overcoming your slave mentality doesn't mean you go crazy. Revolution has been tried and it doesn't work. It just fizzles. Just ask Nat Turner and what's left of the Black Panther Party.

And I kinda shun dramatic rhetoric. If a black man had shot down a suspicious looking white boy wearing J Crew gear, there wouldn't have been upheaval. Whites would've done the same thing we did; angrily insist that the shooter be arrested. Where is Zimmerman? He's in jail. Who put him there? White people. Why? Because those in power never pass up a chance to try to make the world think they are noble and fair - and up for re-election.

What we have here, Waterstar, "is a failure to communicate". Or a generation gap. You are young with fire in your belly and I am old and jaded, mostly because I've been there, done that. ^_^

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Overcoming your slave mentality doesn't mean you go crazy. Revolution has been tried and it doesn't work. It just fizzles. Just ask Nat Turner and what's left of the Black Panther Party.

And I kinda shun dramatic rhetoric. If a black man had shot down a suspicious looking white boy wearing J Crew gear, there wouldn't have been upheaval. Whites would've done the same thing we did; angrily insist that the shooter be arrested. Where is Zimmerman? He's in jail. Who put him there? White people. Why? Because those in power never pass up a chance to try to make the world think they are noble and fair - and up for re-election.

What we have here, Waterstar, "is a failure to communicate". Or a generation gap. You are young with fire in your belly and I am old and jaded, mostly because I've been there, done that. ^_^

You honestly think that the situation would have been the same if George Zimmerman had been the one shot by Trevon Martin under the same race based circumstances? Wow...

Did you mean go crazy like Nat Turner? If so, that sounds like a page out of the same narrative with which most here are innoculated basically from birth to death. What made Nat Turner crazy? Why is something wrong with Nat Turner and not his enslaved brothers and sisters who think that he is crazy for the mentality "Get free or die trying"? Why is Nat Turner crazy and not his own people of today who, under much less dangerous circumstances, refuse to take steps to assert their right to live their own destiny?

Quiet as it's kept, these little chops down at a vicious system might have been little, but they have been as many small axes to the big tree. That's exactly what those who desire to maintenance of the repressive and oppressive status quo would have most think. "Look around. You see it has been tried yet has never worked. It will never work. This is your lot in life."

However, what many Americans do not know simply because they rely on news and the representation of public opinion only from the country of America, is that things are falling apart and the economy is merely one part of it. Things are falling apart and the people of the world are beginning to open their eyes to the world lie pushed by America and Europe. Some of these people who are beginning to open their eyes live in America and Europe while many others do not. America and Europe are losing much influence in world affairs. The euro is on the decline and so is the all mighty dollar. Those most affected by globalization are starting to see how its foundation is like a vampire that cannot live without blood to suck and they are starting to say to the system, "Our blood you will suck no more."...The world actually seems on the brink of World War III, but who cares about world affairs here? Not even state run propaganda will be able to soften the realities of the world forever. "Who no know go know"-Fela.

@Communication. No, no failure to communicate, Cynique. We communicate just fine, even if our views are different. I think that the perception of a communication gap is yet another thing that we allow to keep us divided (and therefore conquered).

As far as trying some different things. I wonder how many of Martin Luther King Jr.'s own people laughed at him when he spoke of what he envisioned for a better tomorrow. I wonder how many people even thought that the Berlin Wall would never be brought down. Imagine dying from scurvy being so common and most of everyone thinking that that's "just the way it is"... How many of those people were never exposed to anything different? Oranges.... Oranges, high in vitamin C to stop such an epidemic. Looking beyond the narrow view of personal experience alone (because our personal experiences are very narrow when compared to all the knowledge and wisdom that there is) can be so beneficial.

I don't think that it stops with having been there and having done that. I think that our work must extend to the children. Most of that which is is a result of that which has been done. Likewise, that which is done can, in many cases, be undone. We look around at our communities and many of our older brothers and sisters say that they remember a time when things were not like this. Just like it has taken something to get to this unwanted point, it will take something to get to a more desired point. The generations before are the givers of the torch of a better tomorrow...Will they say of the torch, "Well this thing is of no use anyway so I'm going to save you a lot of pain and frustration and extinguish this thing" or will they pass on the torch, the teachings, watering the seeds for a better day?

Many, of many races/nations/backgrounds, who have worked for a better day have been demonized, killed, written off by history. Does that mean that a better day is not possible? I wonder how many people thought Harriet Tubman was crazy.What she was doing was clearly illegal. Was she a crazy old woman with foolish thoughts of freedom? Let some of us tell of her own people, even in this day, she was.

Anyway, I'll stop the examples. :-) I think the minds of the children are of utmost importance. In my opinion, we have to nurture their creativity and intelligence. We have to plant the seeds of a better day within them and water them for as long as we live so that they can carry on the cycle. Drop by drop, the rain gathers to form a large body of water.

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:-)

"That's just the Way it is" Brian Hornsby

Standing in line marking time

Waiting for the welfare dime

'Cause they can't buy a job

A man in a silk suit hurries by

As he catches the poor old lady's eyes

Just for fun he says, "Get a job"

That's just the way it is

Some things will never change

That's just the way it is

Ah, but don't you believe them

They say, "Hey little boy you can't go

Where the others go

'Cause you don't look like they do"

Said, "Hey old man

How can you stand to think that way

Did you really think about it

Before you made the rules"

He said, son

That's just the way it is

Some things will never change

That's just the way it is

Ah, but don't you believe them

Well they passed a law in '64

To give those who ain't got a little more

But it only goes so far

Because the law don't change in another's mind

When all it sees at the hiring time

Is the line on the color bar

That's just the way it is

Some things will never change

That's just the way it is

Ah, but don't you believe that

(I hope the lyrics are right, but the point is there same way.)

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Gee, Waterstar, did you stay up all night composing your essay? And if what the poem is crowing about is true, then what are we struggling for now? The same ol same ol because - "that's just the way it is". C'est la Vie. :unsure:

Plus it's not like making this a better place for the children is a goal that distinguishes you. That's everybody's aim. The children are our future and preparing them to be equipped to cope and survive in the world as it exists should be our priority. :mellow:

And just what is it you think would've happened differently had the situation with Trevon Martin had been reversed? That white people would've stormed the police station and pulled the black perpetrator out and strung him u on a lamp post??? :o

As for Nat Turner, he was a brave and passionate man who became a martyr. Was he crazy? I don't know. Do you? Considering that his rampage was doomed for failure, he was rash. Did his impulsive action benefit the cause? Did any slave uprisings he inspired ever reap successful results? How did the slaves end up being liberated? The North outlasted the South in the civil war. I know none of this sounds dramatic and tear-jerking but I don't roll like that. <_<

How do you suggest we pay homage to ol Nat? Start a new revolution - launch terrorist attacks to bring down this country and then preside over the chaos while sharing the spoils with all the nations of Africa? Just askin. :ph34r: 

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Actually, I don't think it's being too much of an extremist to pay tribute to those such as Nat Turner, Nanny, John Brown, and others known and unknown, by first of all recognizing their acts as heroic but also visionary and selfless, by recognizing the beauty in their dedication to the struggle for freedom and human dignity. John Brown was not even black, yet he was led by his convictions in a direction against slavery much more than the likes of those such as Abraham Lincoln who, to this day, is still considered to have been the one who "freed the slaves".

As for the situation being different had the roles been reversed in the case of Trevon Martin/George Zimmerman, I definitely do not think that George Zimmerman's body would have stayed unidentified for that long. I definiitely feel that the media would have been all over it from jump. I definitely do not feel that Trevon Martin would have been so sheltered/protected as George Zimmerman has been. Had it been Trevon Martin's voice on the 911 tapes letting it be known that he was pursuing George Zimmerman, that would have had so many screaming bloody murder (...and guess what? regardless of color, that SHOULD be the case regardless...) Had Trevon Martin been George Zimmerman, I feel that he would have been thrown UNDER the jail with no chance of getting out. Had Trevon Martin been George Zimmerman, I don't even think the "Stand your Ground" argument would have even been as popular in discussion as it was in this actual case.

All of these things are hypothetical, of course... but a hypothesis is not merely a wild guess. It is a guess based on observations and these are my guesses based on observations of the dynamics of society and the workings of the justice system.

.

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I don't know why you seem to think that you are the only one who reveres pioneers in black history. Who doesn't?

I think the issue in the Trevon Martin case was racial profiling. What happened to him after he was killed happens quite frequently among both black and white victims; certainly around Chiiicago. Police departments are notoriously inept and flawed.

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Oh no, I don't at all think that. I just think that many of us do not. I especially believe that the majority of us tend to distance ourselves from those who have used or advocated violence to effect change. Also, let me clarify that when I say "us", I am talking about black people here in general. As far as the younger generation, also, some would probably be surprised to learn that many of them do not even know about the people mentioned here...our children are not being exposed to these things and it's often because their parents and the adults around them are disconnected from these things (still many of them have not been exposed to these things either), so who can really blame them for taking for granted something they don't really even know about?

I am not trying to personalize these things at all. It is my hope that we all (black people in general) try harder to realize what is going on so that we can stop promoting certain things and encourage the promotion of others. As I have said, I believe that the minds of the children are of utmost importance, but in order to better cultivatel, we must first cultivate ours better.

Yes, I think that the case with Trevon Martin was racial profiling and though I think that the results would have been very much different had that racial profiling been in reverse order, I am not the one to get hot and bothered about others not agreeing with my opinions. They are merely opinions based on things that I have seen and continue to see, but an opinion is an opinion. Though I joke about their being these two options:You can agree with me or you can be wrong, I am not that type of thinker. :-)

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I hear ya. You're a gracious person and have been a positive presence on this forum. So hang around.

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