Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I have always contended that slavery is slavery. Black slavery was no better or worse than any other slavery, including what happened in Europe, or China, India, or Africa. Inasmuch, America’s slavery deserves no special consideration. Well, I was wrong. There was an aspect of American slavery that was ‘new and improved’ over previous human bondage, and this difference has had an impact on the plight of Blacks, and is worthy of discussion.
During the time of the Atlantic slave trade, trans-oceanic travel was relatively new to humankind. Prior to this, slaves were maintained relatively close to their LEOs (Locations of Ethnic Origin). If freed, they could either remain near their former masters or return to their original homes. This option allowed the slaves and their enslavers to reach some sort of ‘agreement’ on what was best for all, moving forward.
So the first mistake the European settlers made in the new world was to import forced labor, across vast distances, minus a plan for what would happen upon the inevitable time of freedom. Snatching men, women and children from far away places, like Africa, made them easier to control, in the short-run, but much more difficult to assimilate in the longer term.
The second mistake the Europeans made was in not treating slaves humanely. This takes on greater importance, if they are later freed into nearby and ad-hoc living conditions. Pile onto this mistake, the continued mistreatment of the newly freed slaves, via Jim Crow et al, and it takes on increasing proportions. Granted, Whites believed that they could maintain barriers to the natural hostility they engendered, but as we see, barriers are temporary and memories are long.
The third mistake was perhaps the worse. By not mandating full assimilation of behaviors, responsibilities and rights in freed men immediately after emancipation when the time was ripe, the White majority locked in a disparity that will fuel debate and hostility for centuries, if not forever. If Africans were not as technologically advanced as Whites, as test show, then withholding opportunity was counterintuitive. Educated, assimilated Blacks would have represented no real threat to White control. On the other hand, purposely holding them down has arrested development and made them dissident citizens.
So there you have it. Slavery in America was indeed unique. While this may give us some measure of a better understanding for the predicament that shortsighted White settlers created, it does nothing to relieve the responsibility that Blacks have for acquiring advancing behaviors and avoiding conduct that thwarts group progress - particularly when it comes to education and crime.
James C. Collier
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Posted by James C. Collier at Tuesday, March 20, 2007