#100. Renaissance Fairs

What’s that Black guy doing there?

Renaissance fairs. White people dressing up as… white people from the 10th – 15th centuries, in celebration of the culture and traditions that were found in England during this time period.

For Black people, a renaissance fair is just another reminder that even white people 500 – 700 years ago were far more advanced and lived in safer communities than Black people in Africa do now. Well, these villages were safer than predominately Black-cities like Baltimore circa 2011, where the United States Military trains doctors preparing for war zones by immersing them in a battleground area much worse than they’ll encounter overseas.

The so-called “Dark Ages” that preceded this boom weren’t even that dark, not compared to the darkness that has followed white flight from Detroit, Baltimore, Birmingham and other major American cities (not to mention former European colonies in Africa) and what Black people who inherit these cities/nations have been able to sustain.

Were Black people to try and stage their own renaissance fair, it would resemble a scene out of the film Naked Prey or Zulu. Odds are, no restaurant/entertainment chain like Medieval Times would appear in cities throughout America that mirrored what Black people in Africa were doing 500-800 years ago…

Renaissance fairs are immensely popular in America, because white people know they offer one of the rare opportunities for white people to embrace their heritage. A similar festival by Black people to embrace their historic heritage – were it done accurately – would be most depressing affair.

Worse, medieval England was twice as prosperous as the “developing” nations of today, further proof of the visible Black hand of economics:

New research led by economists at the University of Warwick reveals that medieval England was not only far more prosperous than previously believed, it also actually boasted an average income that would be more than double the average per capita income of the world’s poorest nations today.

In a paper entitled British Economic Growth 1270-1870 published by the University of Warwick’s Centre on Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) the researchers find that living standards in medieval England were far above the “bare bones subsistence” experience of people in many of today’s poor countries.

The figure of $400 annually (as expressed in 1990 international dollars) is commonly is used as a measure of “bare bones subsistence” and was previously believed to be the average income in England in the middle ages.

Would they serve “human” at the Black version of Medieval Times?

However the University of Warwick led researchers found that English per capita incomes in the late Middle Ages were actually of the order of $1,000 (again as expressed in 1990 dollars). Even on the eve of the Black Death, which first struck in 1348/49, the researchers found per capita incomes in England of more than $800 using the same 1990 dollar measure. Their estimates for other European countries also suggest late medieval living standards well above $400.

This new figure of $1,000 is not only significantly higher than previous estimates for that period in England — it also indicates that on average medieval England was better off than some of the world’s poorest nations today including the following (again average annual income as expressed in 1990 dollars).

Zaire $249
Burundi $479
Niger $514
Central African Republic $536
Comoro Islands $549
Togo $606
Guinea Bissau $617
Guinea $628
Sierra Leone $686
Haiti at $686
Chad $706
Zimbabwe $779
Afghanistan $869

University of Warwick economist Professor Stephen Broadberry, who led the research said:

“Our work sheds new light on England’s economic past, revealing that per capita incomes in medieval England were substantially higher than the “bare bones subsistence” levels experienced by people living in poor countries in our modern world.

The majority of the British population in medieval times could afford to consume what we call a “respectability basket” of consumer goods that allowed for occasional luxuries. By the late Middle Ages, the English people were in a position to afford a varied diet including meat, dairy produce and ale, as well as the less highly processed grain products that comprised the bulk of the “bare bones subsistence” diet.”

He also said: “Of course this paper focuses only on average per capita incomes. We also need to have a better understanding of the distribution of income in medieval England, as there will have been some people living at bare bones subsistence, and at times this proportion could have been quite substantial. We are now beginning research to construct social tables which will also reveal the distribution of income for some key benchmark years in that period”

Hmm… perhaps it’s time Eric “My People” Holder’s Department of (In) Justice looks into these evil Renaissance Fairs – and considers shutting down Medieval Times – as a form of racism or a draconian example of disparate impact.

Worse, even with advances in medical technology (not to mention free health care and child services), infant mortality rates in the Black community is approaching that of what was documented in even the darkest days of the Black Death. In Milwaukee, the Black infant mortality rate is reaching levels that once induced white people in Europe to create children’s songs revolving around “ashes-to-ashes we all fall down”; instead of a plague wiping out Black children in America, it’s just the neglect of their Black mothers:

The Journal Sentinel said Milwaukee had an “infant mortality crisis.” Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate in 2009 was 10.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births, according to the city’s health department. As noteworthy as this overall rate is the racial breakdown: For white babies, the rate was 5.4; for blacks, 14.1, the JS said.

The city has set a goal of reducing the infant mortality rate for blacks by 15 percent, and the overall rate by 10 percent by 2017, the JS said.

And so Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes Renaissance Fairs, which serve to remind Black people that without the integration of white society now, they’d be less well off than your average medieval Englishmen from centuries ago. It’s just another reminder of how poorly developed “developing” nations really are, and at the same time it reveals how errant the term “dark ages” really is. 



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