America Would Be A Better Place If We Taught The Truth About Slavery

Liberal Whites wallowing in revisionist histories have made Whites the racist pariahs of the world, and Americans are ranked the worst. Americans have themselves to blame. They can’t stop talking about slavery and racism, and now neither can African Americans. If woke educators have their way, all African Americans, present and future, will be obsessed with slavery and racism because it will be the center of American history. This will destroy America’s ability to hold together as a nation.

America is the only nation where people politick to make its long-dead slave past the center of its history. As a historical matter, it makes little sense when compared to the slave sins of other nations.

America received 3-5% of the slaves sold in the Atlantic trade. Over 90% were sold in the Caribbean and South America.

The first collective protest against slavery occurred in the Thirteen Colonies in 1688. In 1860, just over 1% of Americans owned slaves, although it was legal to do so. Most states never had slavery. American ships legally participated in the Atlantic slave trade from 1783 to 1794, at which point it became illegal for American ships to transport slaves.

America stands alone in fighting a civil war to end slavery. An estimated 320,000 white Union soldiers died to ensure abolition. America’s war and abolition were a clarion call for other nations to abolish slavery.

There are many nations where slavery played a much more salient role, but it’s not a central part of their history books or even a chapter. Portugal started the Atlantic slave trade in the early 16th century. Most slaves in this trade, about 45–50%, or 5.5 million, were sold in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. Slavery existed in Portuguese African colonies into the 1960s.

 Image: African slaves on a Brazilian coffee plantation in 1882.

Today, Brazil’s black population is 50% versus 12.5% in the United States. Afro-Brazilians are more interested in using schools to share black culture as opposed to wallowing in their slave history. Portugal’s history of slavery is reduced to something in the past that will never be repeated.

The U.K. transported 25% of the slaves across the Atlantic, primarily to its colonies in North America. The future United States received 10% of the slaves Britain transported, or an estimated 388,000. Britain took the lead in ending slavery in Africa and the Atlantic, Arab, and African slave trades. Many Africans, however, skirted prohibitions with new forms of slavery and a clandestine trade. After WWII, America played a central role in ending all forms of slavery. Acting to end world slavery is part of how Britain teaches its history, but America is silent about its role.

For the first 100-150 years of settlement in the North American British colonies, these slaves were British property. British students learn little of this. “Few acts of collective forgetting have been as thorough and as successful as the erasing of slavery from Britain’s Island story.” It’s not really forgotten; instead, in the hindsight history of the British Empire, it’s not central.

The U.K. is more likely to cover the American Civil Rights movement than apartheid in South Africa and Namibia, whether before or after they were British colonies. At a time when the United States used its legal system to solidify equality of opportunity for all people, South Africa was illustrating what white supremacism really looks like.

A little earlier, Germany did too. Between 1901-1908, in retaliation for resisting colonization, Germany executed genocides on the Herero and Nama tribes in today’s Namibia. That was a well-kept secret until 2021 and is most certainly not part of its history curriculum. The Holocaust, however, is an integral part of Germany’s curriculum because it played out across the world stage rather than being successfully hidden in a small corner of Africa.

It’s possible to argue that rising anti-Semitism in Germany isn’t just because of the significant Muslim population but because Germany has never been allowed to let the past be the past. Instead, Germans born decades after the war’s end are still culturally indicted as war criminals. As we’re seeing in America, acknowledging the past is one thing; blaming the present is incredibly destructive.

Middle Eastern Arabs ran a trade in African slaves from the 7th to the 20th centuries. But “the Eastern and trans-Saharan slave trade organized by the Arabs remains unknown: it even seems deliberately ignored and considered a taboo subject.” Indeed,

Most of the African authors have not yet published a book on the Arab-Muslim slave trade out of religious solidarity. There are 500 million Muslims in Africa, and it is better to blame western nations than talk about the past crimes of Arab Muslims.

But Arabs don’t see twelve centuries of enslaving Africans as past crimes. Enslaving non-Muslims was legal under Islamic law. Why portray behaviors that were legal in the past as criminal today?

Abolishing slavery in the African and Arab trades was very challenging. The Arabs strongly resisted British anti-slavery demands in their African colonies and settlements because those economies and societies relied on slavery. The trade was fully banned only at the behest of U.S. President Kennedy in 1962. The intra-African trade endured even longer. While westerners were abolishing slavery, Africans were increasing it. In the 19th century, African elites and non-elites alike owned slaves. Slave labor drove the economy and households. European colonizers negotiating with tribal chieftains often conceded the continuance of slavery because the alternative was social collapse and war.

When British sailors interdicted slave ships, they encountered a real challenge. Most Africans didn’t want to be free, preferring the security of a known master providing food and shelter. Slavery was part of their culture. But this isn’t found in African history curricula, where slavery is censored. Travel to West Africa and the only talk of slavery relates to the Atlantic trade, oddly with the United States as the lead trader.

When White and Black Americans can grasp that the existence of African slaves in the United States and in 23 countries in Latin America, 31 countries and territories in the Caribbean, 54 countries in Africa, 14 countries in the Middle East, and several in South and Eastern Asia would not have existed without Africans unperturbed by capturing, transporting, and selling slaves, then Americans can place their history of slavery into the context of slavery as common, legal, and impossible without enterprising African chiefs. That doesn’t mean slavery was moral; it just means it was the human norm. Instead of constantly reliving the sins of their ancestors, Americans could take pride in counting among the first nations to end slavery and the first to provide equal opportunity for all, and in playing a significant role in abolishing slavery in Africa and the Middle East.

American history from the 17th to the 21st centuries should be covered for all groups: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Dwelling on the historical bad or uglies that have been roundly addressed and pretending that the most educated and wealthy black population in the world is a victim of white oppression serves no positive purpose. America’s outsized focus on slavery and Jim Crow since 2013 can take credit for plummeting race relations.

In 2023, America should make a resolution to end the ruse of wokism. When the wokerati carry on about non-existent or “unconscious” racial prejudices, they inspire racism. On a recent trip to Ghana, amidst endless abject poverty, a Ghanaian man told me many of his colleagues wish their ancestors had been enslaved in America. “Rather than in Africa?” I asked. He grimaced.

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