Murdering animals in Africa feeds the continual segregation and murder of African heritage, attributed to a white supremacist plundering of life.
The philosophy and practice of white supremacy devalues all African and African heritage lives whether human or non-human animal. White supremacy links slavery in the “Americas” with the ongoing police murders of unarmed black people and to the murder of animals on the continent of Africa.
Primarily wealthy white people invade Africa, and then track, entice, snare, capture, kill, sometimes skin and behead majestic and noble animals, some of which appear on the endangered species list, as trophies for their own personal ego fulfillment. These so-called “hunters” kill not for food, but rather, for sport. In so doing, they demolish complete blood and succession lines and interrupt entire ecosystems placing species in peril. Surrounding their actions come their sense of entitlement from amassing the discretionary income to satisfy their desires for power over other forms of life. The world exists for them simply for the taking. They view other forms of life as cheap that do not matter, except to fulfill their pleasures.
Similarly, the institution of slavery in the “Americas” was built on a foundation of white supremacy. Primarily white people, backed by wealthy whites, invaded Africa, and then tracked, enticed, snared and captured the proud people on the continent, chained and packed them like sardines into crowded ships’ cargo holds, and transported them across vast oceans to foreign shores stripping those who survived of their dignity, languages, cultures, families and humanity. The kidnappers as well as the residents of these lands viewed the “cargo” as cheap lives that did not matter, except to fulfill their needs for unpaid labor and to satisfy their sadistic ego and sexual gratification. If the enslaved had the audacity to misbehave, or to escape the reserve called “the plantation,” whites tracked, enticed, snared, captured and either returned them to the reserve where their so-called “masters” tortured them as examples to inhibit others from attempting escape, or they killed them.
Though whites did not need a rationalization for their terror, they justified their brutality on the newly-constructed “science” of “race.” Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), born Carl Linné, (whom we call today the “Father of Scientific Racism”), a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, developed a system of scientific hierarchical classification. Within this taxonomy under the label Homo sapiens, (“Man”), he enumerated five categories based initially on place of origin and later on skin color: Europeanus, Asiaticus, Americanus, Monstrosus and Africanus. Linnaeus asserted that each category was ruled by a different bodily fluid (Humors: “moistures”), represented by Blood (optimistic), Phlegm (sluggish), Cholor (yellow bile: prone to anger), Melancholy (black bile: prone to sadness).
Linnaeus connected each human category to a respective Humor, thereby constructing the Linnaeus Taxonomy in descending order: Europeanus: sanguine (blood), pale, muscular, swift, clever, inventive, governed by laws; Asiaticus: melancholic, yellow, inflexible, severe, avaricious, dark-eyed, governed by opinions; Americanus (indigenous peoples in the Americas): choleric, copper-colored, straightforward, eager, combative, governed by customs; Monstrosus (dwarfs of the Alps, the Patagonian giant, the monorchid Hottentot): agile, fainthearted; Africanus: phlegmatic, black, slow, relaxed, negligent, governed by impulse.
The “founding fathers” of the United States took Linneaus’s constructions not only to reinscribe and revalidate the institution of slavery—many of these “founders” themselves enslaved large numbers of kidnapped Africans—but they also wrote into the U.S. Constitution the so-called “three-fifths clause”, counting enslaved Africans as equivalent to three-fifths of a full human being for census purposes. As we can see, then, black lives certainly did not matter.
Though Congress passed on January 31, 1865 and the President signed into law on December 6, 1865 the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery, black lives continued not to matter relative to white lives through Reconstruction, the Jim Crow South, into the 20th century CE, and beyond as we have clearly witnessed in the current spate of murders of black people by police officers.
(As we can see in the two pictures placed side-by-side, white people hunted “trophy” blacks as whites continue to hunt “trophy” animals.)
Black people in the United States coined in the 1960’s the battle cries, “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Power” as counter hegemonic narrative discourses in a nation that viewed black as ugly and where white people fought ruthlessly to preserve supremacy over black people. Recently black people coined the rallying cry “Black Lives Matter” in a country where historically black lives have not mattered much relative to white lives.
In the final analysis, we must see the senseless murder and devaluation of the lives of animals on the continent of Africa as directly linked with the enslavement, segregation, denial of rights and murder of African heritage in the United States, for all this attests to the white supremacist plundering of life continuing to this very day.
Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).
Unedited Photo: Flickr/The All-Nite Images