A Black man we met in Russia who came there to "earn more money" invited us to his parents' ranch in Tanzania, an opportunity we just couldn't pass up. There are many reasons this was interesting, not the least of which is that coming to a country like Russia where the incomes were at the time the equivalent of $10 per month to "earn more money" suggested that incomes in Tanzania were even lower than that. A month on his parents' ranch, dirt floor and all, is all it took to learn the truth about African incomes, real racism, and the positive effects British colonialism had on Africa.
Every Black we met in Tanzania spoke with a perfect British accent, proof that Ebonics is just a cop out and that Blacks can be even more eloquent than Obama and STILL not have a high IQ. They're also capable of reading and understanding what they read, as they took the opportunity of our presence to ask about our feminized news media, and in particular Time Magazine. And of course at that time, while we could laugh at silly articles in Time, we really didn't know why they were written the way they are and were at a loss to explain it to them. They were all very outspoken about "I hate American niggers", and when we asked why, they carefully explained that American niggers gave all niggers a bad name because they were the richest niggers in the world and STILL complained too much. Understand that their image of American niggers was based on the "Dream Team" touring Africa, and wasn't precisely correct, but they were actually closer to the truth than Time Magazine had EVER been.
They owned the ranch outright. They could hire laborers for nineteen cents ($0.19) per DAY, and supplies were CHEAP, but they were completely unable to make a profit from the farm. They tried growing pigs, beans, corn, and cattle, and showed us huge piles of corn just rotting away. Why didn't they ship it to market? None of the farm machinery worked any more, including two nice looking antique trucks, because they couldn't get parts for them, and even if they could, there was no longer anyone around who could put them in. And even if they could repair them, the roads, sewers, libraries, schools, and government buildings built by the British were in total disrepair and not suitable for shipping crops. At the rate things were going, they would be lucky if, over the next thirty years, there would be even one trace that the British had even been there. Such despair is something no American has ever known, and it was all because the British left and Tanzania "gained independence" on April 26, 1964 and has been downhill ever since.
Their official GDP per capita at the current exchange rate is $493 per year, but the incomes of all the farms in that area that they knew about were closer to $50 per year. Discovering this 10X disconnect between what our official government statistics report and reality by itself was worth the trip. And of course it raised the question of why any government, theirs or ours, would want to over-represent African incomes by ten fold. More than four out of five Tanzanians earn their living off of farms just like this one, so even though the CIA World Factbook puts their GDP at $20 billion, the reality is that it's much closer to $2 billion. This is not nearly as dramatic as the 100 fold disconnect that we'd just witnessed in Russia between real incomes and CIA World Factbook figures ($18 billion vs. $1,800 billion), but it's a great metaphor for how our own government has misled us sheeple about such key, easily provable facts.
Modified Wednesday, December 09, 2009
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