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Friday, April 9, 2010

Africans to Blame for Slavery

The Governor of Virginia , Bob McDonnell, issued a proclamation that re-makes April as Confederate History month. He failed to even mention slavery in his speech and has come under fire for it. The AP reported that President Obama said, "I don't think you can understand the Confederacy and the Civil War if you don't understand slavery." He felt like it was a major omission and apparently so did the Gov. who later issued an apology.

The most striking thing to me were the comments left online by readers of the AP article. The seemingly mostly White comment makers had some frightening beliefs about slavery. People wrote that Africans sold themselves into slavery. They even said that Africans brought other Africans over to the Americas themselves to sell into slavery. These beliefs show a limited understanding of European colonialism/imperialism in Africa. The overall sentiment from these comment makers was that slavery was over, had nothing to do with them, and they wished we could stop talking about it.

It has been my experience that people of all colors could stand to learn more about what went down in slavery. If we stop talking about it now, future generations will have no way to understand how things got to be how they are today. The arguments for not talking about it anymore, remind me of a guy who told his girl he was cheating on her, and after she decided to stay with him he expected her to get over it and never bring it up again.

What happened yesterday always influences today. We cannot blame the victim by saying that Africans enslaved themselves. Slavery is not an issue that can be left totally in the past when America has yet to achieve racial equality. If it was not still relevant and still important to discuss, trust me, Black people wouldn't bring it up. It's not good recreation!

It saddens me that this is even a question. It has also been my experience that Black people are sick of talking about race too. That is something that these comment makers did not consider. If talking about slavery upsets you, how do you think it makes us feel?

J

2 comments:

  1. Bravo. We need the time and space to continue to learn from the past. Clearly the lessons available are not always focused on, hence the issues with White American apologizing for statements every other day. It would be nice to discuss race because of its importance rather than only bringing it up after someone swallows his/her foot.....For this reason I supported the CNN efforts even if they were kinda corny, at least they were proactive vs reactive.

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  2. From my understanding, slavery in Africa was mainly debt based. Once a slave paid their debt, they were free again. The difference in America was that there was no debt to pay off. I could be wrong

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