|Ebony compared it to slavery and genocide|
When on July 20th at 10:56 p.m. EDT, Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong first set foot that new world, the moon, he spoke carefully, as if to be sure not to slur a single syllable, words which he knew would go down in history. “That’s one small step for man, he said and, after a slight pause, “One giant leap for mankind.”
Armstrong and his fellow Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walked on the surface of the moon. They proved that space suits would withstand the 250 degree heat of the lunar sun and that man could adjust to walking in the lesser gravity of the moon’s atmosphere. They proved that travel and living on other planets is within human accomplishment as they explored the “front porch” of outer space and planted the American flag in lunar soil. They proved that man’s space science frontiers are almost limitless and that it is now only a matter of time before man can journey to Mars, to Venus and beyond. Armstrong and Aldrin, like Columbus, opened doors to wider horizons for man. But is man ready for wider horizons?
The Doors Columbus Opened
The daring Columbus opened doors to his world just as great for his time as the moon walkers did for ours. And, like the people of Columbus’ time, we may well not be ready for such progress. Columbus, unknowingly, gave to the rulers of Europe two huge and fantastically rich continents – North and South America. Columbus took the one small step for man but what about the “one giant leap for mankind?” What did the rulers do with his gift? The explorers of the new world were soon followed by the exploiters. Britain, Spain, and France, ignoring the “savages” who inhabited the lands across the sea, laid claim to every piece they could and eventually fought each other over it. The Europeans brought plague, measles, small pox, and venereal diseases to the natives and took back gold, silver and, eventually, rum, sugar, cotton, and potatoes.
White Christians despoiled Aztec and Mayan temples and carried precious religious artifacts back to Europe to grace the courts of kings and queens or to be melted down into gold and silver ingots. The men who followed the explorers were heartless conquistadores seeking on fortunes of war – and their were primarily against almost defenseless natives.
But What of the Settlers?
But what of the settlers who followed the explorers and exploiters? Didn’t they develop the land bring law and order to the wilderness? Actually, Columbus’ discovery of America eventually lead to one of the most infamous and long-lasting rapes of all history. Settlers in the Americas found that most profitable crops were sugar cane, cotton and tobacco and that they all required tremendous manpower. To fill this need, there developed in both North and South America a system of slavery of black people unmatched in the history of man. Literally millions of black people, men, women and children, were captured in Africa and transported like cattle to till the fields and harvest the crops in the Americas. If the machine age had not come along, it is entirely possible that black men would still be in actual slavery to this day.
What About Today?
Man today is at the threshold of traveling throughout space, of visiting unknown star and perhaps eventually making contact with intelligent beings on other planets. But is earthman ready for this? The answer just has be “No.”
Astronaut Armstrong took “one small step for man” when he planted his left foot in the dust of the moon for the first time. But his “giant leap for mankind” is still in the future. As space scientists continue to explore the universe, what do they plan to say to any intelligent being they might find on Mars or Venus or any of the millions of other stars and planets in this universe?
Are they going to say, “We are from planet Earth. We have millions of people starving to death back home so we thought we’d drop by to see how you are faring.” Are they going to admit that the people of a nation such as the United States cannot get along because some are black and some are white?
Are they going to tell others that on Earth nations spend more on armaments and war than they do for housing, education, culture, and perhaps food? Are they ready to admit to Martians, Venusians or what have you that Earthmen lock their doors and bar their windows to keep fellow Earthmen from stealing their possessions? Will they admit that Earthmen who can send men to the moon cannot solve the problems of human transportation on earth? Are they going to tell of dishonest politicians, thieving city officials, bribed judges, incompetent teachers and ambitious citizens who will sell their birthrights for a mess of pottage?
Let’s Wait Awhile
There are many who object to the space program because they feel that the money could be better spent finding solutions to the problems mentioned above. But the money does not matter that much. Mankind today has proved that it can do just about whatever it wants to do. It can bring equality to all men in “one giant leap” it really wants to. It can solve the problem of world hunger. It can eliminate war.
But mankind won’t do any of these things and so, perhaps we should forget about trying to contact intelligent beings in outer space. After all, what can we say to them?
|Carl Sagan's "Pioneer Plaque": Where is the minority representation?|
To think: just three years after this editorial appeared, Carl Sagan was somehow able to slip the "Pioneer Plaque" on board the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Perhaps the most racist example of white supremacy imaginable, the "Pioneer Plaque" is a pictorial message for extraterrestrials with several geometric symbols that would help an advanced civilization deduce the origins of the spacecraft. On the plaque is the image of naked white man and a white female, an unsettling reminder to the writers of Ebony of the true source of the genius behind all of the missions to space.
I first read about the "Pioneer Plaque" in a copy of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" some years ago; now, I find myself smiling at the thought that someday an advanced alien civilization might retrieve either the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft, decode the message, and send emissaries to make contact with what Ebony dubbed "earthmen"...
Of course, when the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecrafts were launched, Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit, Memphis, Newark, Rochester, Baltimore, and even Camden were still cities; California was actually an American state; and the future for NASA appeared to be Mars, instead of outreach to Muslims.
Were these alien emissaries, summoned to earth by a peaceful message aboard the Pioneer 10 or Pioneer 11, to appear in 2012 America, they'd find a civilization mysteriously under the directive of an unsigned editorial from Ebony magazine.
Published back in September of 1969.
We could have been on Mars, but we had to fund Black-Run America (BRA).