Leonce Gaiter

Leonce Gaiter
California, USA
March 24
Leonce Gaiter’s work on social and cultural issues has appeared in numerous publications, from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Times magazine. His historical novel, "I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang" [buckrampage.com] has an official publication date of September 1, 2011. His noir thriller "Bourbon Street" was published by Carroll & Graf. Additional fiction and non-fiction writings are available on his site: www.leoncegaiter.com.

FEBRUARY 16, 2012 11:06AM

Rufus Buck’s Anti-Black History Month Black History Lesson

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For black history month, I present to you a very young man who had a dream—and to achieve it, he murdered and marauded.  Half-black and half-Indian Rufus Buck and his gang of 4 black and Native American teens killed both black and white men, and terrified blacks, whites and Indians alike in the Indian Territory during the summer of 1895. 

What?  How dare I?  Not the “first black this,” or the “first black that?”  Not some civil rights-era saint, all-forgiving and all-forgetting?  Not an entertainer whose struggles and pain are miraculously disappeared?

No.  None of the above.   He was a young man who, near the turn of the century, formed a multi-racial teenaged gang in Indian Territories to wrest the land back from encroaching whites.  His dream was impossible; and he used the same violence to achieve it that he saw all around him.  The Rufus Buck gang were childish and vicious, innocent in their naivete and brutal in their outlook.  Their 13-day reign of terror is historically fascinating in that it marked the end of the Indian Territory, soon swallowed whole by the land-hungry United States.  Their execution marked the end of the judicial tyranny of Judge Isaac Parker, the “hanging judge” of legend.  They marked the end of the era of the great western outlaws, like Cherokee Bill, half-black and half-Indian himself.  They also shed a rare light on the multi-racial old west of the Indian Territories.  No… the Rufus Buck gang were neither saints, nor victims.  But they are part of our history—the part we foolishly agree to ignore because it does not fit the normative view of who we ought to be. 

I use the opportunity of ‘black history month’ while remaining generally repelled by its execution.  Watching a multi-national corporation hoist a commercial about some “good Negro” to feed the mainstream public’s vision of us as saints or willing victims—the two states that absolves America of her sins… it nauseates.  It’s been said that American slavery bred modern racism, not vice versa.  A very young country whose people consider themselves anointed by God can’t afford to remember the vicious crimes they’ve committed in brutalizing a people, so they revile those who remind them.  In modern America, our black faces have been reminders of America’s crimes—crimes in which she shamelessly reveled for the majority of her history, crimes she must forget in order to perpetuate the myth of her perfection in the eyes of an adoring God. 

So black history month becomes a paean to revisionist forgetfulness.  It’s just a concentrated mirror of our skewed historical presence throughout all 12 months of the year.  For we have allowed ourselves to be historically gutted.  Our historical passions and fury have been neutered for mass consumption.  Historically, we are only pieces of men.  Accordingly, slavery, Jim Crow and American apartheid left no bitter taste, for we are all-forgiving, White-Jesus-loving saints subject to no natural human reaction akin to anger.  Rosa Parks felt no rage, but was in fact thinking only of bettering white people when she refused to leave her seat on that bus.  Martin Luther King channeled no fury, but only sought to cleanse white America as any good servant seeks to serve his masters.  Ossie Davis, like Harry Belafonte and many other entertainers, is hailed as ‘prominent in the civil rights movement.’  But you’d never hear that he said of Malcom X, “[he] knew that for a black leader to be effective, you had to frighten the white man.”  Let’s not even mention MLK; we have allowed the majority to sanitize him into a parody of himself. 

Black history for white Americans is destined to be a lie.  It has to be, for too many Americans will accept nothing less.  Their national self-image demands that our black history disappear because the truth of it puts the lie to the fantasy of white American cleanliness and perfection.  That’s why black history month grates on me so.  It’s American kabuki: mainstream media and organizations pretending to honor a history many find repugnant due to the pockmarked reflection it flashes back at them.  

So I offer a piece of real history for black history month—warts and all.  A young, half-black, half-Indian renegade determined to do the impossible and willing to be as vicious as any white man to reach his goal.  His story is prototypically American.  It’s a story of violence and innocence, butchery and grace.   His is part of the history that dare not rear its head, for it treads perilously close to the truths that, during black history month as in all others, we tirelessly ignore.

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Americans, for the most part, are ABSOLUTE COWARDS when it comes to any racial issue, and are completely cowed overall on anything going back to slavery.

What they live by is a HUGE LIE, that of "consensus" his-tory. The "consensus" of what, exactly? Well, the first killers of Mexicans and then North and South Civil War generals were all actually colleagues from West Point and once the TRAITOROUS SEDITIOUS RACIST WAR was over, a convenient history which all could sit in a room together and discuss over cigars and whiskey had to be agreed on. So we are given the birth of States Rights and a bunch of tariff BS ... an insult to anyone with even a room temperature IQ.

Further, once the War was over the Southern haters began, way before the Klan, the White League and so forth to kill and re-enslave Blacks who had had freedom for all of 5 minutes. These TERRORIST GROUPS
were all run by ex Confederate officers and their "Men" and I do use the term loosely.

What they did was take a group (Slaves) who most people would describe as "Loyal and hard-working" and turn them into MANDINGO- the danger to whites and raper of white women everywhere ... Truth Told, but, too much for most AMERICAN WHITE COWARDS to digest ... too bad and soooooo sad as "minorities" win the next election due exactly to this hate which all US white groups still have other than the Hawaiian Haole who have admitted their sins and re-joined the fold.

Like the president, Hawaiian white should be held up as the ULTIMATE EXAMPLE of how to behave with class and dignity during sensitive times ... unlike the RACIST HATING GOP CHINA SHOP BULLS ... what a bunch of haters!
Perfection I lapped this piece up like a stray cat being offered a bit of milk. Beautifully executed. I'm rating it and including you in my favorites because now that I've had a taste I want more.