The Woman King movie exposes an ugly subtext about reparations claims

The Woman King is a new movie from Hollywood that helps to bring a little history to the same audience that ate up Disney's Black Panther.  However, as even some Blacks are realizing, the Dahomey tribe that is central to the movie had significant responsibility for perpetuating the African slave trade.  At some point, though, American Blacks are going to have to grapple with why no one has seen fit to blame the Africans Blacks and Muslim slave traders.

The African slave trade, by which we mean the pipeline of slaves from Africa to Europe, lasted for 500 or so years, from the 1400s through 1900.  Within Africa itself, Black Africans kidnapped approximately 20,000,000 fellow Black Africans and delivered them to Muslim traders, who, in turn, sold them to Europeans, who used them in South America, the Caribbean, and North America.

More specifically, when it comes to North and South America, a trade that lasted from 1525 through 1866, 12.5 million Africans were sent overseas, only 388,000 of whom ended up in what came to be the United States — with most of them arriving when North America was still a British colony.  North America was not a major player.  That doesn't make what happened in North America moral; it simply puts it in perspective compared to the total slave trade from Africa to Spanish, British, French, Dutch, and other European colonies.

Image: Bringing captive slaves to market in Africa.  Public domain. 

Africa's involvement in the trade was essential.  Europeans referred to Africa as the Dark Continent — not because its inhabitants had dark skin, but because, before the mid-19th century, they had never penetrated the interior.  It was a dark continent as in an "unknown" continent.  If African tribes hadn't kidnapped their enemies and passed them along to Muslim slave traders, there would have been no Muslim slave trade.

CNN learned this reality when Don Lemon recently spoke with Hilary Fordwich, who, to his surprise, enthusiastically agreed with his suggestion that people who benefited from colonialism (i.e., in Lemon's mind, the royal family and Europeans) should pay reparations.  He was less pleased when Fordwich explained that the root cause of slavery was the Africans who sold out their own people.  You really must watch the video to get a sense of Lemon's stone-faced shock, which was so profound that he couldn't even argue with her.

That's one video, though.  American Blacks are getting a better lesson about their forebears' role in the slave experience because of The Woman King, about the group of female soldiers guarding the Dahomey king in the early 19th century.  What's fascinating is that it's not just White conservatives pointing out the Dahomey kingdom's prominent role in the slave trade, or the fact that these female warriors were complicit in raiding other tribes to kidnap or torture to death anyone who survived a successful assault.  Just look at who has signed on to the #BoycottWomanKing hashtag.  (Note: ADOS stands for American Descendants of Slavery.)

I cannot applaud enough this historical honesty.  But you won't see it generally from the left, and therein lies a core element of leftist racism.  Naturally, leftists attack Whites because they want to bring down the Western capitalist system to replace it with socialism, and they'll use any means possible to achieve that goal.

However, their unwillingness even to touch upon African and Muslim responsibility for the slave trade speaks to something deeper: they do not believe that anyone should expect from the 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century Africans and Muslims the same moral awareness and obligations they impose upon Europeans from the same time period.  The Europeans back then should have known better; the others, well, not so much.

This division in moral responsibility can be seen either as a high compliment to the White Europeans and Americans, whom the leftists so despise, or as a deep insult to the Blacks and Muslims whom the leftists identify as both victims and leftist brothers in the war against the West.  I view it as the latter, and I sure would like to see more Blacks and Muslims get offended that their ancestors are considered morally inferior to Western Europeans.

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