Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lessons My Parents Taught Me: Part 1--The Difference Between an Uncle Tom and a Sambo

Warning: This post contains strong language. If you are one to easily get offended, do not read this.

I was a teenager, and my father came to get me for the weekend. When we were in the car, Dad told me that he was glad that I did not turn out like other Colored (or African-American)teenagers. I then told him how Colored teenagers called me an Uncle Tom for the way I dressed, the way I spoke, and because I was colorblind. He asked, "Did you ever read Uncle Tom's Cabin?" When I told him I knew about it, he said, "Uncle Tom was a house slave. He worked hard and spoke gently and eloquently to the master, his family, and their friends. As a result, the master trusted him and treated him well. Uncle Tom used his advantage to the benefit of the field slaves. He shared extra food given to him when a slave was starving, and when a slave wanted to escape, he told them when the best time to escape was, and he warned them when the master was in a suspicious mood. While most slaves loved and respected Uncle Tom, Sambo, a field [slave], was jealous and wanted Uncle Tom's "good" living for himself. So one day, he went to the master and told him that he would show him how Uncle Tom was helping slaves escape in return for Uncle Tom's position in the house. Sambo set Uncle Tom up, and when the master discovered Uncle Tom's deception, he beat him within an inch of his life. Uncle Tom cared about his people, while Sambo only cared about himself. Never be ashamed of being called an Uncle Tom; it's better than being called a Sambo."

In this lesson from Dad, I have come to realize that every member of the Colored community is a variant of an Uncle Tom and a Sambo. On the one hand, you have educated, hard-working people who teach their children to be the best they can be. They dress respectfully, they speak respectfully, and (at least most) are inclusive. These are "Uncle Toms."

Then, on the other side of the spectrum, you have those who sell drugs, join murderous gangs, and spend a fortune on shoes, clothes, and cable when then cannot even afford the rent. They live highly debaucherous lifestyles, and they enjoy ignorance and hate knowledge. Moreover, they laugh and mock at people who work hard and improve themselves. They steal what they cannot afford. They deface what they cannot steal. They let their pants hang down so that their underwear shows, put grills in their teeth, and pride themselves of their "bling." Above all, they have no remorse when they batter or murder their neighbors for their shoes, or for looking at them the wrong way. Such poor excuses for human beings are "Sambos," and their behavior allows the Ku Klux Klan to take a vacation. They are truly a disgrace to the Colored community as they not only embarrass us but have made us objects of fear. When a person of non-African descent sees one of us, especially the younger males, walking down the street behind them, they will sometimes change sides of the street or running faster than they would for anyone else. Of course the media has a hand in this type of fear towards Coloreds, but the Sambos in our community simply make it too easy for them to do so; the media has the gun, but the Sambos are freely offering them the ammunition.

This problem going on in the Colored community will not go away with rallies and marches, nor will it go away by blaming the White Man (a usual Sambo excuse from responsibility). Things will only change when everyone in the Colored community drops their selfish attitude and gets rid of their entitlement mentality. Everyone in the Colored community has the potential to be an "Uncle Tom." I dream of the day when that will happen.


  1. I truly needed to know the history on what the difference between and Uncle Tom and Sambo because down through the history people of color can't differentiate the truth from the false