Slavery was never black and white, involving only Whites enslaving Blacks. It was multiracial just as most evils existent today are multiracial. It’s time to correct America’s history. It’s also time to cease promoting racial division based on the falsehood of America’s “original sin” and its selective omission of facts about all the oppressors and practitioners. If we fail to correct how we teach history, we will reap untold and potentially horrific consequences.
We’re experiencing an increasing racial divide when there should be a remarkable decrease. What is the basis for this historical anomaly, given that American has no more prejudicial race-based laws? No race currently faces legal obstacles to equal justice and opportunity. The most likely culprit for the divide is the simplistic, inaccurate approach to American history in our schools.
When people try to explain the racial divide, they offer many reasons: Critical Race Theory, which divides everyone into oppressed/oppressor categories; the Black Lives Matter movement; politicians pandering to receive ethnic-based votes; or the emphasis on police actions involving race. Something deeper is involved.
Americans are taught that slavery is America’s original sin.” Wrong. Slavery was not America’s “original sin.” It existed before any White or Black person arrived. Native Americans practiced it before they ever came along—but even then, it wasn’t their “original sin.” Slavery is humankind’s sin.
In elementary and secondary schools, slavery is now and has long been taught very simply: American slave owners were White and slaves Black—period. Students learn slaves were shipped from Africa, without any focus on who caught them, enslaved them, or sold them to Europeans to be shipped to Europe or the Americas.
Only after school ends do some learn the whole story. I broadened my knowledge by reading “Unspoken Reality: Black Slaveholders Prior to the Civil War,” co-written by Yulia Tikhomirova and Lucia Desir at Mercy College. Tikhomirova is Russian and Desir is Black. They draw upon and include information from Black historians and scholars (e.g., John Hope Franklin, Larry Koger, and Carter G. Woodson, et al.). The truth is Blacks were also slaveholders.
American slavery begins in Africa. Black Africans, chieftains, and Arabs were the main participants and oppressors of the enslaved. They captured, kidnapped, enslaved, and sold millions of Black Africans into slavery. Millions were sent to Europe and the Americas and millions more to the Middle East and North Africa.