Why is it that in every depiction of an “Uncle Tom” [. . .] the culprit always has to be a male?
Maybe it's because the percentage of Blacks who like servile Black suckups to Whites is negligible. By contrast, the percentage of males, including Black males, who like servile female suckups is not
negligible. Worse, a sizable minority of females, including Black females, is also still sold on the silly notion that women ought to be deferent. So, when a Black male sucks up to Whites, people will see him as betraying his race. But when a Black woman sucks up to Whites, people may well just see her as appropriately compliant with her supposedly-proper gender role.
There are a number of sweeping and superficial generalizations afoot in this dialogue, and Thomas has added to the list. Deference is not the same thing as submission or subservience: indeed it is an often used indirect way of exercising real autonomy. Assertiveness and aggression are not the same thing as dominance; instead they are often merely the ineffectual ways in which ineffective people vent their frustrations. More to the point, the superficial references to the stereotype Uncle Tom in this thread are usually references to just this contradictory behavior. The real complexities of human behavior that we we see in our lives every day should amply remind all of us of this truth.
A very common mode of leadership failure in organizations is the mistake of confusing control with real power in the management of human activities in organizations of all kinds, ranging from businesses to squadrons, ships or military groups. Power in human affairs is in fact exercised through a combination of influence over others and direct control of their activities. As one ascends in any organization influence quickly becomes more important and more common than direct control, and the failure to understand this elementary truth is (in my experience) the most common failing of managers.
Stowe's Uncle Tom, as depicted in her novel, was an effective and benevolent leader of the lives of those around him. The metaphorical Uncle Tom of the trivialized stereotype is, in my view, far more often the rationalization of ineffective, immature people for their own failures.
I find it sadly ironic that some self-appointed leaders of Black Americans are encouraging, and in some cases demanding, ever greater government subsidized and government designed and standardized programs as a necessary means of achieving justice and "fairness" for them. A better organized plantation is not the path to self-reliance and autonomy. A benevolent overseer still requires slaves on his plantation. Loud talk and demonstrations are not effective means of achieving or exercising power. The habitual rationalizing individual achievment on the part of others as merely the result of unseen sucking up is a sure way to failure for ones self.