The Men From U.N.C.L.E.
Many may remember the 1960’s American television series entitled, “THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.” The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a spy-fiction television series. The series followed secret agents who worked for a secret international counterespionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E.. There was also a movie-released in 2015 by the same name.
In the TV series, as well as the movie, the acronym for the secret organization —U.N.C.L.E.—stands for “United Network Command for Law and Enforcement”.
The “U.N.C.L.E.” in my title has a different meaning though. It stands for, Unintelligent Negro Caucasian Lovers Ensemble. Like its namesake from the TV series, this organization has SOME law enforcement personnel as members—“Sheriff” David Clarke is one example—HOWEVER, it boasts members from ALL walks of life. Here are a few of its members:
- Ben Carson
- Stanley Crouch
- Larry Elder
- Candace Owens
- Jesse Lee Peterson
- Clarence Thomas
- Allen West
- Stacey Dash
- The Hodge twins
- Paris Dennard
- Kanye West
- Terrance K. Williams
As you can see, not all of U.N.C.L.E.’s members are men.
The founding members of the Men from U.N.C.L.E are Uncle Ruckus, Uncle Tom, and the bearded white leader of the organization, our very own, Uncle Sam.
(For some reason, these U.N.C.L.E.s like to choose white men as their leaders.)
Uncle Tom’s membership is based on an adulterated version of the ORIGINAL Uncle Tom from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The adulterated version of Uncle Tom can be accredited to racist white men during the time of the book’s release in 1852 (more on this later). Let’s take a look at the founding members of The Men from U.N.C.L.E.
“Uncle Ruckus is a black male character from the cartoon series—The Boondocks—who firmly doesn’t like black people—the world’s biggest “Uncle Tom”. An overweight, horrid, detestable homely man with one oversized glass-eye, he enjoys disassociating himself from other African Americans as much as possible.
In the show, he holds extremely racist views towards and about all black people. Uncle Ruckus’s name is a reference to Uncle Remus or Uncle Tom. He is the darkest-skinned character on the show. His name is also a reference to Amos Rucker, an African-American United Confederate Veterans member, who—allegedly—wanted to stay a slave after the United States Civil War.
He spouts white supremacist rhetoric and calls Michael Jackson—who suffered from the pigmentation disorder vitiligo—a “lucky bastard”, as he no longer looks black. Uncle Ruckus claims that he himself has “re”-vitiligo, to explain his own skin tone. During the Civil Rights Movement in 1959, when he was 20, he protested against Martin Luther King’s marches, and would occasionally throw bricks at him, but usually missed (“Return of the King”). Perhaps Ruckus’ most famous quote (referencing MLK’s assassination) was, “I’da shot you myself, but I realized the white men got better aim”.
On being asked if he supported the use of the word “nigga,” Ruckus says: ‘No I don’t think we should use the word and I’ll tell you know why! Because niggas have gotten used to it! That’s why. Hell, they like it now! Just like when you grow a crop and you spit the soil of its fertile nutrients and GOODNESS, and then you can’t grow anythin’. You gotta rotate your racist slurs. Now I know it’s hard, ’cause niggas just roll off the tongue, the way sweat rolls off a nigga’s forehead. But we cannot let THAT be a crutch. Especially when there are so many other fine substitutes: spade, porch monkey! JIGGABOO! I say the next time you wanna call a darkie a ‘nigga’, call the coon a’ jungle bunny’ instead!”’(https://boondocks.fandom.com/wiki/Uncle_Ruckus)
The Story of Amos Rucker
(one of the models for the Boondocks character Uncle Ruckus)
“On August 10, 1905, Amos Rucker, an ex-Confederate soldier and proud member of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), died in Atlanta, Georgia. His friends of the UCV had previously bought a grave site and marker for he and his wife Martha who had limited income. Amos Rucker was one of many thousands of Black Southerners who fought for the South during the War Between the States.
Amos was a servant and best friend to Sandy Rucker. Both men joined the 33rd Georgia Regiment when the South was invaded. Amos fought as a regular soldier and sustained wounds to his breast and one of his legs that left him permanently crippled.
Amos Rucker joined the W.H.T. Walker Camp of the United Confederates after the war in Atlanta, Georgia. He was able to remember the name of every man of his old 33rd Regiment and would name them and add whether they were living or dead.
Amos Rucker and wife Martha felt that the men of the United Confederate Veterans were like family. Rucker said that, ‘My folks gave me everything I want.’ They was not a dry eye in the church when Captain William Harrison read a poem, entitled, ‘When Rucker called the roll.’
A grave marker was placed in 1909 by the United Confederate Veterans that for many years marked the graves of Amos and Martha Rucker but some say it was taken many years ago. Only the caretaker knows where the ‘graves are located.”
(Information for the story came from the book “Forgotten Confederates- An Anthology about Black Confederates” compiled by Kelly Barrow, J.H. Segars and R.B. Rosenburg.” Copyright © 2003-2011, GeorgiaHeritageCouncil.org)
It’s interesting to note that in the book, Uncle Tom was portrayed as humanistic but was morphed into a caricature of himself by White people in their racist depictions of him in subsequent plays, minstrel shows, and movies.
(The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music performances that depicted people specifically of African descent. The shows were performed by mostly white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people. There were also some African-American performers and black only minstrel groups that formed and toured. Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, and happy-go-lucky. (Wikipedia)).
(Humanism is a philosophical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. The word “humanism” is ultimately derived from the Latin concept humanitas. It entered English in the nineteenth century. However, historians agree that the concept predates the label invented to describe it, encompassing the various meanings ascribed to humanitas, which included both benevolence toward one’s fellow humans and the values imparted by bonae litterae or humane learning (literally “good letters”)
“Uncle Tom is the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The character was seen by many readers as a ground-breaking humanistic portrayal of an African-American slave, one who uses nonresistance and gives his life to protect others who have escaped from slavery.
However, the character also came to be seen – especially based on his portrayal in pro-slavery dramatizations – as inappropriately subservient to white slaveholders. This led to the use of Uncle Tom – often shortened to just Tom – as a derogatory epithet for an exceedingly subservient person or house negro, particularly one aware of their own lower-class racial status” (Wikipedia).
The following is an excerpt from an article written by William Lloyd Garrison in his publication—The Liberator:
“Uncle Tom’s character is sketched with great power and rare religious perception. It triumphantly exemplifies the nature, tendency, and results of Christian non-resistance. We are curious to know whether Mrs. Stowe is a believer in the duty of non-resistance for the White man, under all possible outrage and peril, as for the Black man … [For whites in parallel circumstances, it is often said] Talk not of overcoming evil with good—it is madness! Talk not of peacefully submitting to chains and stripes—it is base servility! Talk not of servants being obedient to their masters—let the blood of tyrants flow! How is this to be explained or reconciled? Is there one law of submission and non-resistance for the Black man, and another of rebellion and conflict for the white man? When it is the whites who are trodden in the dust, does Christ justify them in taking up arms to vindicate their rights? And when it is the blacks who are thus treated, does Christ require them to be patient, harmless, long-suffering, and forgiving? Are there two Christs?”
James Weldon Johnson, a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance, expresses an antipathetic opinion in his autobiography:
“For my part, I was never an admirer of Uncle Tom, nor of his type of goodness; but I believe that there were lots of old Negroes as foolishly good as he.”
What is little known in modern times is that Stowe drew inspiration for the Uncle Tom character from several sources. The best-known of these was Josiah Henson, an ex-slave whose autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself, was originally published in 1849 and later republished in two extensively revised editions after the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Henson was enslaved at birth in 1789. He became a Christian at age eighteen and began preaching. Henson attempted to purchase his freedom for $450, but after selling his personal assets to raise $350 and signing a promissory note for the remainder Henson’s owner raised the price to $1000; Henson escaped north with his family, settling in Canada where he became a civic leader.
Adapted theatrical performances of the novel, called Tom Shows, remained in continual production in the United States for at least 80 years. These representations had a lasting cultural impact and influenced the pejorative nature of the term Uncle Tom in later popular use.
Although not all minstrel depictions of Uncle Tom were negative, the dominant version developed into a stock character very different from Stowe’s hero.
Sarah Meer, (2005) wrote: “The Tom caricature portrays black men as faithful, happily submissive servants. The Tom caricature, like the Mammy caricature, was born in ante-bellum America in the defense of slavery. How could slavery be wrong, argued its proponents, if black servants, males (Toms) and females (Mammies), were contented and loyal? The Tom is presented as a smiling, wide-eyed, dark skinned server: fieldworker, cook, butler, porter, or waiter. Unlike the Coon, the Tom is portrayed as a dependable worker, eager to serve. Unlike the Brute, the Tom is docile and non-threatening to whites. The Tom is often old, physically weak, psychologically dependent on whites for approval.”
Folklorist Patricia Turner once said in an interview, “ I think they were interested in using their stage shows to revise the image of slavery that Stowe had, and other abolitionists had depicted in their literature. I don’t think the real Uncle Tom will ever be able to escape the shackles of the distorted Uncle Tom. I don’t think that Stowe’s character will ever be able to reclaim that.”
[Me either Professor, not as long as we have living, breathing versions of the White supremacist-created “Uncle Tom” being paraded in front of us as exemplars of what a “good nigger” ought to look like.]
The following quote is from Harriet Tubman; “I’ve heard ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ read, and I tell you Mrs. Stowe’s pen hasn’t begun to paint what slavery is as I have seen it at the far South. I’ve seen de real thing, and I don’t want to see it on no stage or in no theater.”
We all know who Uncle Sam is, but what you might not know is that, while Sam maybe an “Uncle” to most White people—to people like Uncle Ruckus and Uncle Tom (the caucasionized version), he is the “Massa”.
Inside New England, “Brother Jonathan” was depicted as an enterprising and active businessman who blithely boasted of Yankee conquests for the Universal Yankee Nation.
[YEAH! Like taking America from the Natives]
Brother Jonathan was the country itself, while Uncle Sam was the government and its power.
After 1865, the garb of Brother Jonathan was emulated by Uncle Sam, a common personification of the continental government of the United States.
Interestingly enough, before there was a “Brother Jonathan “ there was “Columbia” or “Lady Liberty” but of course, we couldn’t have a woman mascot for “the land of the free, home of the brave” now could we?
Here are the lyrics to a song by Hip-Hop artist, Brother Ali that thoroughly describes old Uncle Sam”
Goddam Uncle Sam
by Brother Ali
Airplanes flying ‘cross the land and sea,
Everybody flying but a Negro like me.
Uncle Sam says, “Your place is on the ground,
When I fly my airplanes, don’t want no Negro ’round.”
The same thing for the Navy, when ships go to sea,
All they got is a mess boy’s job for me.
Uncle Sam says, “Keep on your apron, son,
You know I ain’t gonna let you shoot my big Navy gun.”
Got my long government letter, my time to go,
When I got to the Army found the same old Jim Crow.
Uncle Sam says, “Two camps for black and white,”
But when trouble starts, we’ll all be in that same big fight.
If you ask me, I think democracy is fine,
I mean democracy without the color line.
Uncle Sam says, “We’ll live the American way,”
Let’s get together and kill Jim Crow today.
Josh White (1914–1969) wrote “Uncle Sam Says” in 1941
Welcome to the United Snakes
Land of the thief home of the slave
Grand imperial guard where the dollar is sacred and proud.
Smoke and mirrors, stripes and stars
Stolen for the cross in the name of God
Bloodshed, genocide, rape and fraud
Writ into the pages of the law good lord
The Cold Continent latch key child
Ran away one day and started acting foul
King of where the wild things are daddy’s proud
Because the Roman Empire done passed it down
Imported and tortured a work force
And never healed the wounds or shook the curse off
Now the grown up Goliath nation
Holding open auditions for the part of David, can you feel it?
Nothing can save you; you question the reign
You get rushed in and chained up
Fist raised but I must be insane
Because I can’t figure a single goddamn way to change it
Welcome to the United Snakes
Land of the thief, home of the slave
The grand imperial guard where the dollar is sacred, and power is God
All must bow to the fat and lazy
The fuck you, obey me, and why do they hate me? (Who me?)
Only two generations away
From the world’s most despicable slavery trade
Pioneered so many ways to degrade a human being
That it can’t be changed to this day
Legacy so ingrained in the way that we think;
We no longer need chains to be slaves
Lord it’s a shameful display
The overseers even got raped along the way
Because the children can’t escape from the pain
And they’re born with poisonous hatred in their veins
Try and separate a man from his soul
You only strengthen him, and lose your own
But shoot that fucker if he walk near the throne
Remind him that this is my home, now I’m gone
Shit the Government’s an addict
With a billion dollar a week kill brown people habit
And even if you ain’t on the front line
When massah yell crunch time, you right back at it
Plain look at how you hustling backwards
At the end of the year, add up what they subtracted
Three outta twelve months your salary pays for that madness
Man, that’s savage
What’s left? get a big ass plasma
To see where they made Dan Rather point the damn camera
Only approved questions get answered
Now stand your ass up for that national anthem.”
And that’s all we need to know about U.N.C.L.E. SAM!
Morgan, Jo-Ann (2007). Uncle Tom’s cabin as visual culture. University of Missouri Press. pp. 1–5, 11–12, 17–19. ISBN 978-0-8262-1715-8. Retrieved 2009-04-17. “James Baldwin Uncle Tom.”
(Winks, Robin W. (2003). Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom (introduction). Courier Dover Publications. pp. v–vi, x–xi, xviii–xix. ISBN 978-0-486-42863-5. Retrieved 2020-8-16.)
This has been ME
THE TIME TUNNEL