I’m sure that everybody has heard of the incredibly racist and offensive tweet that was issued forth from “comedian/actor” Chris Rock:
Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.
This from a man, who in almost any country except the USA, would be washing dishes in the back of some restaurant instead making millions of dollars from those “white peoples” who enjoy his profane and racist “comedy”.
Well, Mr. Rock, slavery was abolished in 1865, 147 years ago.
I guess the race card doen’t have an expiration date…but if that is true, then the United States must have invented the institution of slavery, right?
Not so much… Mr. Rock’s African ancestors were quite busy in the trade prior to the arrival of the Europeans, or so notes Marilyn Hughes Blackmon, Ph.D. of the University of Colorado at Boulder:
Slavery in Africa, the institution of slavery as it existed in Africa, and the effects of world slave-trade systems on African people and societies. As in most of the world, slavery, or involuntary human servitude, was practiced across Africa from prehistoric times to the modern era. When people today think of slavery, many envision the form in which it existed in the United States before the American Civil War (1861-1865): one racially identifiable group owning and exploiting another. However, in other parts of the world, slavery has taken many different forms. In Africa, many societies recognized slaves merely as property, but others saw them as dependents who eventually might be integrated into the families of slave owners. Still other societies allowed slaves to attain positions of military or administrative power. Most often, both slave owners and slaves were black Africans, although they were frequently of different ethnic groups. Traditionally, African slaves were bought to perform menial or domestic labor, to serve as wives or concubines, or to enhance the status of the slave owner.
Traditional African practices of slavery were altered to some extent beginning in the 7th century by two non-African groups of slave traders: Arab Muslims and Europeans. From the 7th to the 20th century, Arab Muslims raided and traded for black African slaves in West, Central, and East Africa, sending thousands of slaves each year to North Africa and parts of Asia. From the 15th to the 19th century, Europeans bought millions of slaves in West, Central, and East Africa and sent them to Europe; the Caribbean; and North, Central, and South America. These two overlapping waves of transcontinental slave trading made the slave trade central to the economies of many African states and threatened many more Africans with enslavement.
II. Traditions of Slavery Within Africa
Slavery existed in some of Africa’s earliest organized societies. More than 3,500 years ago, ancient Egyptians raided neighboring societies for slaves, and the buying and selling of slaves were regular activities in cities along the Nile River. However, whereas the Egyptians left behind written records of their activities, most other early African states and societies did not. Therefore, our understanding of most early African practices of slavery is based on much more recent observations of African traditions regarding slavery and kinship and on oral histories.
Wow, Muslims were part of the slave trade? Who knew? I thought Islam was a pure religion, not like the dirty Christians…I guess the Muslims just have better PR flacks today because we never hear of this heritage…
So when we get into the game of oneupmanship, the question is where do we stop?
There is also the view that the American Indian lived the life of the noble savage until the Europeans arrived to destroy them. The vision of romantic primitivism that is put forth that they danced and sang and lived in harmony with nature, their existence was pure and divine, is a lie.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Native Americans were subject to the whims of nature, a large portion of them lived nomadic lives, their existence dependent upon following the migration of their primary food source. Rather than spending time laying about contemplating the wonders of nature, they occupied themselves with survival, constantly hunting and foraging. If they didn’t work, they didn’t eat.