Black people call me “Uncle Tom” far more than White people call me “nigger”. It’s not White people who use racial slurs against me, it’s Black people. They grumble about me because I am Black but think differently than they do. They say I am a traitor. They say I am a slave to White evangelicals. They give me just as many dirty looks as some White people do when I hold a White woman’s hand. They have made me think less of myself as a Black man than white people ever have.

The term Uncle Tom comes from a mid-nineteenth century novel titled, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The novel is about a heroic, long-suffering, Christian slave named Uncle Tom. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling book in the nineteenth century and played a key role in the abolitionist movement. In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass wrote:

Nothing could have better suited the moral and humane requirements of the hour. [Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s] effect was amazing, instantaneous, and universal. No book on the subject of slavery had so generally and favorably touched the American heart.

Today however, the term Uncle Tom is a racial slur for Black men perceived as submissive to White people—Black men like me. I am perceived as submissive to White people because I do not submit to Black people. Group-think and identity politics have become such an integral part of Black communities today that what makes a person Black and proud isn’t their level of and love for melanin, but their positions on Black Lives Matter. For that reason, my opposition to Black Lives Matter makes me a traitor and an Uncle Tom.

In the nineteenth century, Black men like Frederick Douglass were called Uncle Tom as a compliment when their struggle for freedom was marked by perseverance and patience, courage and kindness, long-suffering and love. In other words, they believed the gospel is the truth that sets Black people free.

But in the twentieth century, Black nationalists like Marcus Garvey and later, Malcolm X gained a massive following. They believed that the gospel could not free Black people from Jim Crow. They believed that light cannot drive out darkness; only darkness can do that. They believed that love cannot drive out hate; only hate can do that. So they characterized Uncle Tom as a traitor and a villain, not a hero.

For that reason, Malcolm X routinely slandered one of his rivals in the civil rights movement. He called him a traitor. He called him a slave to White people. He called him Uncle Tom. We call that man Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X said:

Just as Uncle Tom back during slavery used to keep the Negroes from resisting the bloodhound or resisting the Ku Klux Klan by teaching them to love their enemy or pray for those who use them spitefully, today Martin Luther King is just a 20th century or modern Uncle Tom, or a religious Uncle Tom, who is doing the same thing today to keep Negroes defenseless in the face of an attack.”

For this, Black nationalists like Malcolm X are guilty of much of the same things White supremacists are guilty of. For White supremacists, Martin Luther King Jr. was a nigger because he had a different skin colour than they did. For Black nationalists, Martin Luther King Jr. was an Uncle Tom because he had different views on racial justice than they did.

If you hate me because of my positions on racial justice, what makes you different from someone who hates me because of the colour of my skin? If you call me Uncle Tom, what makes you different from White people who call me nigger?

  • D. R.

    Thank you.

  • Kathy Cuyler Austin

    This made me cry. I feel like MJK did, that I wish we all could come together in peace and stop this racial division. Underneath the skin (all colors) our hearts and blood are all the same. Stop and think for 1 moment that #WeAllBreatheTheSameAir

    • Kim Garrett

      Amen!!!!

  • Richard Irwin

    You sir are a modern day Fredric Douglas

  • Amanda Bramlett O’Bryan

    You are a solid Christian! I have truly enjoyed reading your posts. My thought is that the gospel is the only thing that sets any of us free, no matter our skin color. Without Christ, there is no hope for anyone. Thank you for sharing hope!

  • Frankie A. Hunter

    If the shoe fits, wear it. I have never requiremed another Black person to think as I do. Glad that you are a pacifist. I’m trying to get there. However, if you harm or kill mine, I’m right back at you!

    • Alicia Clark

      and you have all the rights, given to you by GOD, to defend what’s yours. Being a pacifist and being a patsy are two different things. #LoveWhatMatters

  • Lonnie Poindexter

    Excellent piece Samuel……Kudos!

  • amtrackdevildog

    Amen, sir. Well said.

  • I_told_u_so

    Powerful words spoken here! Truth in abundance. I pray the stormy waters you navigate calm soon.

  • SierraMts

    Great article! Thanks for writing it. Galatians 3:28 pretty much sums it up. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Black or white it doesn’t matter–we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

    • David Douglass

      Correct….and America became the global launching point for Jesus of Nazareth through the Holy Spirit and the revelation of Jehovah Jesus’ writer’s works, to be broadcast around the world at a greater rate and volume than ever in human history.

    • Kim Garrett

      Yes Amen!!!

  • charlieholmes

    Very well written, Samuel. Hopefully, you’ve managed to ruffle more than just a few feathers with this, and evoked much thought amongst those who would disparage you or any other person because of the Truths they hold dear.

  • 1st Hokage Hashirama

    I will share this!
    Thanks

  • Terrell L. Howard

    They love to talk about a fictional character – must read a lot of novels .

  • Rodney Payne

    I, a white male, did yrs of street ministry with black people, some of who were my dearest friends… One night my friend brother James and I walked thru an ALL BLACK neighborhood in an almost ALL BLACK city, and a man approached us and called him a Uncle Tom! I don’t remember what bro James replied to him, but it was good, and I haven’t forgot that event over 25 yrs ago… I hate racial prejudice, but fear that all the nonsense that the blacks are doing these days such as Ferguson Mo, the NFL foolishness, etc.. are causing white people to despise the African Americans, that didn’t in times past!

  • Jonathan

    I am a Man, but Brother you can hold my hand any day!

  • SammySey

    I am truly overwhelmed by your kind words. Thank you all so much.

  • jteagle5

    Wear the name as a badge of honor. Uncle Tom’s real name was Josiah Henson. Born in Charles County, Maryland in 1789, Henson was five years old when he was sold at auction to Adam Robb and brought to Rockville. His siblings were sold to various owners and his mother went to Isaac Riley, whose farm was south of Rockville along Old Georgetown Road. Henson was a sickly child and did not thrive away from his family in the log slave cabin on Robb’s farm. When it appeared certain that he would die, he was sent to live with his mother at Riley’s farm. But Henson survived and Riley agreed to pay Robb his value in horseshoeing services. Henson served Isaac Riley for over 30 years and Riley’s brother in Kentucky for another five years before he was able to save enough money to purchase his freedom by preaching. But Riley cheated Henson by claiming Henson owed him more than their agreed price. This betrayal and the threat of being sold away from his family drove Henson, his wife, and their four children to flee to Canada via the Underground Railroad. In Canada, Henson founded a cooperative settlement in Dawn, Ontario, where fugitive slaves found a supportive community and learned various trades and successful agricultural practices in order to support themselves. Henson provided technical education to people of African descent, lectured at abolitionist events in the U.S. and Canada

  • janedough1

    Just keep in mind that to be called an “Uncle Tom” is actually a compliment. The people who throw that “slur” around are usually not readers, and they have not read the book. Uncle Tom was a man of such stellar character that few people actually deserve being given such a high compliment. He was a Christian and a pastor who laid down his life to spare others. He was warned before he was sold, but realized that if he ran away, as the most valuable slave on the plantation, nearly every other slave would be sold down the river to pay his master’s debts in his stead. That would include his wife and children, and others he worried about because they weren’t Christian and wouldn’t have the fortitude to bear up under the torture. So he manfully stayed in his place and allowed himself to be sold to pay his master’s debt to spare the others. On the trip down the river, he jumped overboard to save a white child and in gratitude, the child’s father bought him and protected him. The man was not a Christian, and Tom spent his years there trying to reason with the man, until he died and the child died. His last owner, the infamous Simon Legree, set out to work or beat him to death. Tom spent his time trying to convert his slaves, protect his slaves, and eventually to help his slaves escape, eventually laying down his life that they might be saved. Few men deserve such a high compliment as to be called an Uncle Tom. Few flesh and blood men could ever live up to being of such high character as the fictional Uncle Tom. If they call you that, wear it with pride. You are being called by the name of a man who would repeatedly lay his life down for others, until he eventually was killed to save others. Read the book. There is a reason it spawned the Civil War and lead to emancipation.

    • Dan Oliver

      Well written, with wisdom. Thank you.

  • Stevo

    Enjoyed…thanks for sharing.

  • Jola Awokoya

    Amazing Sam! I wasn’t even aware of the term “Uncle Tom” and to think Malcolm X actually said something like that!! I

  • Amy Lou Kingery

    I pray for more people to come into the light.

  • Tripper76

    “Peer pressure” is the biggest obstacle facing black Americans. There is so much opportunity to take advantage of, but it takes a very strong person to push through all the BS and work to succeed. No one does a better job of keeping black people “in their place” than other blacks. It’s a damned shame and time for the churches and community to start acknowledging that fact and do something to mitigate the situation. How can people ever succeed with support from their own community? It’s time to get some positive dialogue started.

  • es

    One day the black community will realize that how they act- calling each other the N word, killing each other at a far greater rate than any one else, degrading women in their music and videos, destroying their communities in the name of protest – is far more detrimental to their cause than anything else.

  • I know your pain, been going through it since I was a child in the 70’s

  • Raymond Boyd

    When President Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he fondly said to her, “So you’re the little lady who caused all this trouble”

  • Randy Bridgeman

    GOD doesn’t play the race card because He’s into hearts.

  • s kaden

    Samual. You are a hero. You are my hero and a hero to every black American throughout this country, whether they realize or accept it or not. Who but a hero has the courage to stand tall on what is true and right in the face of so adversity. I can honestly say that I am proud to call you “my fellow American”. God Bless you and your family.

  • Sassy Anne

    Thank you for sharing and I am proud to call you my brother in Christ. When I read your story, I think of another rejected by His own people-Jesus.

  • Will Kretz

    Very nice article, and you didn’t even need to quote the bible to make your point.

  • Bob Wright

    Thank you for your courage and for putting your thoughts on this page.