Oh, boy. I will probably regret this post, but I've got to do it. Today, I heard a story on NPR about a white guy who discovered his ancestors were slave owners. Through DNA testing, he found Black relatives whose ancestors had been slaves on his ancestor's plantation. The white guy's name was Craig. It probably goes without saying how he ended up with Black relatives in his family tree.
The story/show had a series of interviews with both Craig and some of his Black relatives. Craig has/is bending over backward to make amends for his ancestor's behavior; kudos to him for that. The reaction of some of his Black relatives was interesting. And needless to say, it made me think about how we move forward as a country with the baggage of slavery hanging around our necks.
Here, I need to try to make something clear. I'm not trying to ignore what happened or say, 'Well, everyone else had slaves; why pick on us?' We must read about, discuss, and own our history of slavery in this country and all the horrors committed in the name of owning slaves, no matter what sort of bullshit DeSantis and his ilk are peddling. But, we were hardly the first to use slavery to advance our society, and it is not unique to the white race.
The origins of slavery are lost in the dustbins of history. It is presumed that at some point, the victors in a war decided it made more sense to enslave the losers as workers than to simply stick them on a pike. Slavery is known to have existed as early as the Shang dynasty (18th–12th century BCE) in China; that's almost four thousand years ago, and no Africans were involved. Slavery was common among the people of Asia.
There is a history of slavery in West Africa, especially Ghana, where warring political communities enslaved their enemies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the impact can still be felt today.
Slavery was common in Europe. Russia was founded as a by-product of slave raiding by the Vikings passing from Scandinavia to Byzantium in the 9th century. In the "new world," the Creek of Georgia, the Comanche of Texas, the Callinago of Dominica, the Tupinambá of Brazil, the Inca of the Andes, and the Tehuelche of Patagonia, also owned slaves. Read more, if you wish, at https://www.britannica.com/topic/slavery-sociology/Historical-survey</p>
An undercover investigation for National Geographic explored the prevalence of sex trafficking within the United States, where the business of sexual slavery is booming. When some people hear about sex trafficking in America, they usually think of Asian and Eastern European women being brought into the States. Still, it's ten times more likely for an American girl to be trafficked inside the U.S. Further, almost 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry, according to U.S. Department of State statistics—sex trade.
So, my point is, what? Sadly, slavery was not the invention of white Europeans in Europe or America. It is the construct of predominantly victorious, marauding, and occupying armies and governments throughout history as well as the criminals who use slavery to make money. And it continues today around the world and right here in the U.S. I'm not suggesting that we minimize our history or make excuses for past slave owners, only that as we work through this issue, we see slavery in the context of world history and proceed from there with repairing as much damage as possible to those who were enslaved.