Monday, December 18, 2006

Keel-Haul the Scurvy Lot

Pirates are a hot topic these days, and folks are trying to cash in on a salvaged pirate ship display in Tampa, Florida. Oh, but here cometh the baggage:

But before pirates hijacked the Whydah, which sank in 1717, it had been a slave ship, and when leaders of Tampa's black community learned of the vessel's full history late last year, they were outraged.

Ahh yes, it had to be something like that, didn't it?

Many black ministers, lawyers, businessmen and academics here argue that the city's eagerness to embrace the Whydah pirate complex without asking blacks for advice was insulting.

You just cannot avoid insulting someone who is ever seeking insult. And after the outrage is leveraged by the media coverage, the claim of insult pays off:

From a strictly economic point of view, the Whydah could help "create a critical mass of tourism and convention destinations that would be a real magnet," Mr. Schmitt said. Equally important, it would create some 350 permanent jobs as well as hundreds of construction jobs, some of which backers of the project have said they will guarantee go to blacks.

Talk about piracy, eh? Well it's following the tradition of the ship in question:

On its maiden voyage, the Whydah carried slaves from West Africa to Jamaica, then was hijacked by Samuel Bellamy, the pirate known as Black Sam.

Dr. Christopher E. Hamilton, the salvage project's principal archeologist, said research by his team indicated the pirates were an international, multiracial crew who voted on major decisions and shared loot fairly equally...

Mr. Bernstein, however, remains undeterred. "It is a remarkable and compelling irony that blacks and whites lived together as equals on board this pirate ship," he said.

So let me get this straight. African slaves were freed, who then went straight to the vocation of piracy, with the attendant activities of murder and robbery. That doesn't sound like something the black community should be celebrating... oh, wait:

h/t NPR & NYT

1 comment:

The Unseen One said...

Avast!!! The real issue be that they not be askin' us Pirates what WE be thinkin' o dis exploitation of our professional kin!