I sent this commentary to the far left editor at the Vail Daily; it’ll be interesting to see if he deems it worthy to be published in the paper – who knows maybe he’ll surprise me.
During a recent Zoom call my youngest grandson told me his school was engaged in a Black Lives Matter program. He was so excited when he said, “Grandpa, this is all about racial justice.” Of course, I bit my tongue because I didn’t think it appropriate to comment that the Black Lives Matter Global Foundation was founded on Marxist principles to a nine-year-old; that’s a conversation for Beckett and his parents.
Nonetheless, he’s old enough to understand the concept of slavery so I did a bit of probing to ascertain what he knew and believed—I was appalled! When we ended our Zoom session, I was curious about where he might be getting his information other than from his teachers so I Googled slavery; and not surprisingly, most sites only referred to slavery in America.
So, in today I want to state three incontrovertible facts I fear our kids and grandkids will likely never hear from their teachers at school…
- Slavery was not invented by white people
- Slavery did not start in 1492 when Columbus discovered the new world and
- Slavery did not begin in 1619 when the first slaves came to the Jamestown Colony.
Slavery has existed for centuries. The word “slave” originated in Medieval times when Slavs from Central and Eastern Europe (all white by the way) were captured and enslaved by Muslims in the 9th century and later by the Ottoman Turks.
Slavery existed when Alexander the Great conquered Persia in the 4th century B.C. and in ancient Rome when the Roman Empire controlled the Mediterranean until the 5th century.
Slavery was so common the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, considered the master/slave model the “natural way.” The sad reality is that no matter how far back we go in human history, we will find slavery, and from time immemorial slaves have been a major item of commerce. In fact, as much as a third of the population of the ancient world is believed to have been enslaved.
This isn’t intended to justify the institution as practiced here prior to the Civil War, but amidst the talk of white supremacism and being a racist nation it’s important our kids are taught that it was white people who were the first to formally put an end to slavery. In 1833 Britain passed a slavery abolition act, the French quickly followed in 1848 and abolished slavery in her colonies, and then came the American Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, when 400,000 Union soldiers (94% of them white) gave their lives to put an end to this abominable institution.
As Candace Owens opined, human history is complicated and no one regardless of skin color stands guiltless, yet today we seldom if ever hear about the atrocities the indigenous tribes of North and South America inflicted upon their slaves or the treatment of slaves under the ancient Muslim, Chinese, Mongol, or Japanese empires. Perhaps some teachers figure those historical facts don’t comport with their notions about white supremacy.
I believe the topic of slavery is being “sold” to young people as a white on black phenomenon. Whether on social media or surfing the Net, we are bombarded by inaccuracies regarding the matter. No one questions that slavery is an abject horror, but as noted, Google slavery and chances are the majority sites on page one will be about slavery in America, as if this country was its progenitor.
The truth is black Africans were sold into slavery by other black Africans who went into the interior of West Africa to round up the natives, and who then delivered their black brothers to the waiting Europeans
But this isn’t the entire story either because slavery is still with us today, it’s just not a topic that’s important to the woke culture. Today, 40 million people worldwide are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery; one in four are children and almost three quarters (71%) are women and girls. Child soldiers, human trafficking, forced labor, these are a few of the conditions that currently exist within the same sub-Saharan region where the transatlantic slave trade once thrived.
Thousands of Africans are being sold today just as they were when the slave trade flourished. But there’s a difference because today they aren’t being purchased by white men, rather today slavery is practiced exclusively within nonwhite countries. Yet we hear almost nothing about that, just as we hear almost nothing about how it was white men from Britain, France and the United States that abolished the practice in the West almost two centuries ago.
Quote of the day: “It’s time to put woke to sleep for good” – NPR commentary