For centuries, evil men have used clean gloves to hide their dirty hands. Under the cover of philanthropy, they have used grants, foundations, and scholarships to pass their white supremacist values down through the ages.
Few examples are more evident than that of Cecil Rhodes.
The First Rhodes Scholar From Compton
In a now deleted post on Fox News, Caylin Moore published an op-ed titled ‘I’m the first Rhodes Scholar from Compton, but I better not be the last’. In the article, he proudly writes “Today, I’m a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate student at the University of Oxford in England, with aspirations to apply to doctoral programs and become a professor.”
While Moore’s achievements are commendable, the mention of Rhodes in any positive context gives Pan-Africans cause for serious concern.
The Rhodes Scholarship was founded by English businessman and politician Cecil John Rhodes. On the surface, the stated purpose of the scholarship is “to promote unity between English-speaking nations and instill a sense of civic-minded leadership and moral fortitude in future leaders”.
However, the scholarship was created as a vehicle to transplant Rhodes’ values into the hearts and minds of fellow white supremacists.
Each year, thousands of Black students fight almost insurmountable odds to attend white institutions with white philanthropic grants. But our Black intellectuals may be these fighting battles only to find themselves winning a war for someone else.
Meet Cecil Rhodes – The Architect of Apartheid
Students of Pan-Africanism recognize Cecil Rhodes – the benefactor of the Rhodes Scholarship – for who he truly is. Not a philanthropist stretching forth his hand to the downtrodden, but as a white supremacist who did everything in his power to oppress the African.
One of Rhodes’s primary motivations in politics and business was his professed belief that the white race was superior to all others, and that the subjugation of the Black world was a part of their birth-right.
In his last will and testament, Rhodes said of the English, “I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. I contend that every acre added to our territory means the birth of more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence.”
These views struck a chord with Adolf Hitler, who claimed that Rhodes was the only Englishman who truly understood Anglo-Saxon ideals.
Rhodes saw Africans as “barbarians” who were fit to be a “subject race”, and to that end he set out to control Africa “from Cairo to the Cape”.
Rhodes funded his conquest of the Black world by colonizing Africa’s natural resources. At a young age, he took over the De Beers diamond company. By using Black slave labor and illegal mining contracts, Rhodes was able to make himself a millionaire while giving De Beers a near-monopoly over the global diamond industry – one that the company holds to this day.
In the process, Rhodes began the racist “land grabs” to which Zimbabwe’s current miseries can ultimately be traced. It was Rhodes, too, who in 1887 told the House of Assembly in Cape Town the following
“…the [African] is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa”. – Cecil Rhodes
In less oratorical moments, he put it even more bluntly: “I prefer land to niggers.”
With his ill-gotten gains, Rhodes entered South African politics in 1880, becoming Prime Minister and overseeing the enslavement of Zimbabwe in the 1890s. The Kindgom of Great Zimbabwe was re-named Rhodesia – named after Rhodes himself – and would remain under white supremacist control until the rise of Mugabe.
In South Africa, Rhodes passed two laws that permanently disenfranchised Blacks. One, the Glen Grey Act, limited the amount of land Africans could hold; the other tripled the property qualification for voting rights. We know that land is the basis of wealth, and with these two laws Cecil Rhodes simultaneously destroyed the wealth of Africans and locked them out of the political process.
While Rhodes worked to make life more difficult for Africans, he created white-only schools to give English students a competitive advantage over Africans. The four South African schools named by Rhodes only admitted whites, and would not open their doors to black Africans until the end of apartheid in the early 1990s.
As part of his dying legacy, the Rhodes scholarship was created to ensure Anglo-Saxon values would be passed on to the next generation of white supremacists. The scholarship was never meant for Black students. In fact, author Tim Nuttall noted “it would have been entirely out of character for Rhodes, and seen as absurd by the trustees and Oxford, to suggest that some of the scholarships might go to Africans.”
Over the course of his life, Rhodes commissioned seven wills to be written, all expressing this same purpose.
His fortune was to be used for setting up the Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarship as a means of recruiting American and Commonwealth Anglophiles into the imperial faction:
“Let us form the same kind of society, a Church for the extension of the British Empire.
A society which should have its members in every part of the British Empire working with one object and one idea we should have its members placed at our universities and our schools and should watch the English youth passing through their hands just one perhaps in every thousand would have the mind and feelings for such an object, he should be tried in every way, he should be tested whether he is endurant, possessed of eloquence, disregardful of the petty details of life, and if found to be such, then elected and bound by oath to serve for the rest of his life in his Country.
He should then be supported if without means by the Society and sent to that part of the Empire where it was felt he was needed.”
Merits and Miseducation
As the world changed following the death of Rhodes and the fall of colonialism, so too did white supremacy. Heavy handed tactics – lynchings, overt segregation, slavery – gave way to more subtle tactics. The African could no longer be forced to comply with white supremacy – she had to be persuaded that it was in her best interest to do so.
To that effect, systems of white supremacy relied less on the stick and more on the carrot. Rather than punishing non-compliance, more effort was devoted to rewarding those who participated in their own miseducation and subjugation.
So those who performed well were (and are) given status, recognition, and the so-called opportunity to gain new experiences – like life as an Oxford student.
Not only do these rewards convince the African to work with white supremacy, they create a division between the miseducated and those who hold on to African ideals. The “good Negro” is moved into the “Big House”, while members of the resistance are left in the fields to suffer. There is no better illustration of how rewards are used to divide and conquer than the following notations from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
Waiting at the “glittering table of the great house” – a table loaded with the choicest meats, the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay, platters of fruit, asparagus, celery and cauliflower, cheese, butter, cream and the finest wines and brandies from France – was a group of Black servants chosen for their loyalty and comely looks. These glossy servants constituted “a sort of black aristocracy,” wrote Douglass. By elevating them, the slave owner was playing the old divide-and-rule trick, and it worked. The difference, Douglass wrote, “between these favored few, and the sorrow and hunger-smitten multitudes of the quarter and the field, was immense.”
Using rewards to reinforce miseducation has the secondary effect of creating distraction and competition between the victims. As they vie to be the ‘best’ or the most recognized in a dominance hierarchy set up by white supremacy, they lose sight of their own interests. They begin to effectively play to win someone elses game against their peers. With this competition comes division, playing even further into the hands of white supremacy.
The final nail in the coffin is planted when the miseducated Negro defends the system of white supremacy against anyone speaking out against it. As Dr. Carter G. Woodson writes, “The highly educated Negroes don’t not like to hear anything uttered against this procedure because they make their living in this way, and they feel that they must defend the system.”
Each year, the Rhodes Scholarship is awarded to postgraduate students that allow them to study at Oxford University in South Central England. The award is given to those students who best embody character traits that Rhodes himself determined were ideal.
As we wake up to the truth, we should all be praying that the first Black Rhodes scholar from Compton is also the last.