Friday, August 13, 2010

A Korean War Story: The Black GI's Secret Weapon

In late 1950, when Chinese troops entered the Korean War, the United States Army was still segregated. In the debacle of the Yalu River (the Amnok River in Korea), one all black unit was overrun and several Black GI’s were taken prisoner. Their Communist Chinese captors immediately recognized the potential for a major propaganda coup. They tried to force those black soldiers to make propaganda broadcasts denouncing American racism. Those black soldiers were smart enough to realize that they were between a very big rock and a very hard place. The Communist Chinese army had absolutely no respect for the provisions of the Geneva convention and a great many American POW’s either died of disease or starvation or were simply shot out of hand. The prisoners also knew that if they cooperated with the Chinese, they would certainly face courts martial if they ever got back to the States. Their solution would be obvious to anyone who saw the comedy Airplane! They resorted to jive talking their Chinese interrogators who learned their English from Christian missionaries and not from homeboys back home. So, the Chinese after being repeatedly told that they were “jive ass turkeys” who “ain’t got no clue about what be goin on,” eventually concluded that their prisoners were head cases that weren’t worth bothering about.

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