The lazy slave myth is a ridiculously stupid concept. It is actually an oxymoron. I chuckle about it in my head, but the arrogance of it enrages me. The first colonial settlers had a moral value of work that represented their Puritan ethics. They would preach and teach about it, but did not practice themselves. The reality is they avoided hard work like the plague and forced others to do it for them. All the while they took all of the credit and all of the profits. Indeed they were hypocrites then but the republican conservatives of today hold tight to this hard work solution for poor people and blacks in general.
Do I believe in hard work? Of course, but in 2017 I believe in hard work towards ownership. Cooperative black businesses, and black on black economics. Working hard for the next generations to come. If anyone was lazy it was the enslaver not the slave. The white slave masters bragged about creating a life of leisure for themselves where they could focus on the finer things in life. The slave didn’t have the luxury of being lazy. It was hard work or death. Hard work and death. Some conservative thinking is that blacks have some sort of aversion or resistance to work that developed under slavery. Ha! Let me take away every paycheck from every job you ever worked in your life and see how well that sits with you. Just that alone! Where would you be?
If you take the fruits of a persons labor, what is the primary motivating factor to do the work? With absolutely no compensation, what would want to make the slave work harder? The slave knew there was no vacation to look forward to. There is no better food, clothing or shelter to be had for working harder. My humanity will not be recognized for working harder. Who was really lazy? I have to quote Winthrop D. Jordan, author of White Over Black who said it was impossible for white men to work the fields because “the labor was so severe that hundreds of Negroes yearly lost their lives through hard work.”
Should black people in 2017 be super enthusiastic about working for white people anywhere for any amount of time? Probably not, but you do what you have to while building toward true economic freedom. Hopefully you work for yourself or are working toward that in today’s world of technology. After the abolishment of slavery and even before then, blacks proved to be industrious not shiftless. Former slaves were in the house of representatives and the senate challenging America to live up to its ideals. The intelligence and determination were always there. Whatever skills the ex-slaves had were fine honed and ready to be exploited for personal gain this time. The C.R Patterson & Sons Company was the first black automobile manufacturer. It was founded by ex-slave Charles Richard in 1893. Blacks were manufacturing and selling products together. A lazy slave could not survive the same way a lazy free man could not survive.
The legacy of slavery plus jim crow coupled with the economic exploitation of the civil rights movement should be enough motivation for a black economic revolution. Like G-money said in New Jack City, “Man we all we got!.” Building business, controlling industries employing your people and building institutions should become our new legacy.