I wished I had recorded the name. There was a black man on CNN defending Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for his announcement designating April as Confederate History Month. The only thing the man had to say was the same tired old rhetoric about how it was good to see the other side of the story. The Confederate Army wasn’t fighting for the continuation of America’s institutionalized slavery. That was just an incidental benefit in their fight for state’s rights. If I understand their position correctly, the soldiers and supporters of the confederacy were fighting because they believed that individual states had the right and the freedom to deny black people the right to freedom.

The black man on the television thought it important to hear both sides of any argument. It is somewhat interesting that we never have to hear the other side of the story about pedophilia. No one needs to hear about the benefits of child rape or why it’s good for men to beat the shit out of women. There are just some things that are so reprehensible that there isn’t much that can be said to even attempt to begin to justify the act. There are crimes where the reasoning behind the commitment could hardly justify the crime itself.

Another rhetorical statement from the black man was the manifestation of his independent thinking. By showing his willingness to buck the trend that most black people have of turning up the nose at anything that wreaks of the confederacy or of people fighting for the right of anybody to enslave anyone, the black man was proving that he is courageous enough to do that which is unpopular. By showing his willingness to embrace the confederacy, he is proving he can think outside of the black community box.

But on the flip side, no one shows their independence by defending Germany’s Nazi Party’s attack on the Jewish community. No one sane proves their willingness to buck trends by saying that people should have the right to pick up a gun and blow the brains out of the first person they meet on the street. The independent thought processes condoning senseless murder is hardly looked upon favorably. Why does the black man feel the need to show his independence from the black community by showing his willingness to embrace the community of people who would be more than happy to allow our individual states the right to deny people their rights as human beings?

Independent thinking is so much more than just choosing an unorthodox result. If a house was on fire and everyone inside was running out to safety, no one would call the person who made a choice to stay inside the burning building an independent thinker. We would call such a person as crazy. Such behavior would never be admired or promoted. No one would label such independent action as independent thinking. In fact, considering the high possibility of injury, people would be more apt to suggest a lack of any thinking. But somehow, for some reason, we see the promotion of the black man who defends the confederacy and allow him to demonstrate his willingness to buck black community trends on CNN.

An independent thought process based on a review of information available can reach the same conclusions as people who might follow a collective decision making process. While everyone else might run out of a burning building because of the fire alarm, an independent thinker might be running out of a building because they actually see the fire. The independent thinker might be the one that causes others to take action.

Independent actions or results are hardly concrete evidence of independent thinking. In fact, it could be a sure sign that absolutely zero thinking took place at all. Such would be the case of the person who wants to show their independence by embracing a fire. The same can be said of a black person who embraces people who celebrate the ancestry of people who were fighting for the enslavement of black people whether it be a direct result of a choice to fight for the right to keep black people as white people’s property or if it is an indirect result of fighting against a federal government that just so happens to be trying to end the enslavement of black people.

The black man on the television was no independent thinker. This man was the modern equivalent of the house slave who is proud to be the one person of African descent the slave owner allows to live just one rung higher on the social ladder than the other people of African descent. Such a man is no independent thinker. He would quickly embrace whatever thinking the white man tells him. This is the type of man that would be more than happy to go inside a burning building if his master told him to do so. No independent thinking, no thinking at all, would be required.