Years ago, I was flying to Africa with the founder of Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History, Dr. Margaret Burroughs, and others. For a long time during that flight, I stared down at the Atlantic.
“Whatcha lookin’ at, Herb?” she asked. I said, “All that water, Doc.”
She said, “That’s nice. But think about all of our people who were forced across that water in the belly of slave ships, or the ones who jumped or were thrown overboard to the sharks — for hundreds of years.”
I turned to Dr. Burroughs (who was in her late ’80s at the time and died in 2011 at 92), and asked her this: “Doc, why do they hate us so much? Why are they so evil?”
She looked at me with a kind of wry smile and a definite twinkle in her eye.
“Herb,” she said finally. “It’s simple. It’s not complicated at all: They don’t think we are human.”