“Cashing in his ‘chips’ at the expense of history: Russell Simmons Talks ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape’ to Huffington Post

Simmons: “…she was taking advantage of the slave master…”  It is a very civil wrong interpretation of the liberation/civil rights movement’s fight for freedom to imagine a people: ‘sleeping’ their way to freedom and equality; and no historical evidence to support this type of warped and twisted thinking.

 

 

Simmons: “……I didn’t understand the clip as being nothing but her taking advantage of the slave master. One of the activists who had planned on boycotting me was at my house along with some students and I said, “You know, I didn’t understand the rape thing.” She said, “what about the implication that a woman has to sleep with someone to get ahead?” And I don’t think that’s what it said. Instead, she was taking advantage of the slave master. That’s what I thought. I totally get if it reminds you of the previous rapes, because obviously it appears that she’s seducing him. But it implies the previous rapes. And so, making that jump I didn’t do it. I might have a sensitivity chip missing. I made a horrible mistake and I’m deeply sorry….”

 

  

      For sure, a “chip” is missing; it is called a ‘knowledge of history chip’. A good history teacher is worth her weight in gold. And the reason why historgraphy must continue to be a necessary component of the curriculum. You get a Russell Simmons outcome when we fail to inspire students to think critically, contextually, and outside of their own chronology; about the meaning and implications of historical events. Knowing the sad record of the human capacity to inflict harm upon other members of their own species can offer a warning to a present generation, that they too could possibly commit those acts. When we look at the history of societies under economic stress; there is always the inclination to blame and hurt: “The other”, the “not like us”, emigrants, the poor, both unemployed and working. When nations have become “afraid”, when they are under attack from an enemy who does not fight in a “conventional way”; the people of those nations seem more than willing to ignore any democratic instincts, and agree to surrender amazing rights to privacy, independence of speaking, living and thinking; all in the service of stopping an enemy who in reality offers no credible threat to the existence of a nation like America or Great Britten. The study of history also teaches us that Mayor Blumberg is ultimately “right” on ‘stop and frisk”. The greater amounts of totalitarism principle imposed, the greater the governments’ ability to deny ‘targeted’ segments of the population their rights to move freely around the community unburdened with the presumption of guilt; we can indeed lower incidents of crime. History teaches us that if we really want to stop crime we should take ‘stop and frisk’ to its logical philosophical conclusion; suspend the constitution, the court system, “the rights of the accused”, the inconvenience of public opinion and protest, and we can bring crime to a halt. Yes, if you really want to make people safe from random non-state violence, if you want to ‘stop’ crime, history points to Fascism as the perfect model to employ. A moderate review of American slavery history will reveal to even the less intellectually gifted, the horrific and denigrating nature of that cruel institution. Women’s History (and perhaps common senses) would suggest that rape could never be defined as a strategic tool of empowerment by the victim (would he suggest this strategy be employed by the women in his life that he loves?). For an African-American man like Russell Simmons to not know the tragic events of history is very sad; but that same man having the ability to influence large numbers of people; transforms that ignorance from a personal shortcoming, into a deadly device for disempowering, devaluing and confusing large numbers of people.

Simmons: “…she was taking advantage of the slave master…”  It is a very civil wrong interpretation of the liberation/civil rights movement’s fight for freedom, to imagine a people: ‘sleeping’ their way to freedom and equality; and no historical evidence to support this type of warped and twisted thinking.