Remnants of Slavery White Guilt Is Not Helping Black America

By Kelly, Jack | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), September 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

Remnants of Slavery White Guilt Is Not Helping Black America


Kelly, Jack, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


I'm glad I live in a time of automobiles, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, the Internet and great medical advances.

But if I had to live in an earlier period, I'd want to be a soldier in the Union Army. I can think of no greater cause than to fight to eradicate America's original sin.

Slavery isn't America's original sin because it was unique, or uniquely horrible here. If prostitution is "the world's oldest profession," slave trading is second. Since the dawn of recorded history, slavery has been practiced in nearly every society known to man.

The words "slavery" and "benign" ought never to appear in the same sentence, but slaves in the American South and the British Caribbean (usually) were treated less harshly than in most other places where slavery has been practiced - especially in ancient times.

Our word "slave" is derived from "Slav," the peoples most frequently enslaved during Roman times. Throughout history, only a relatively few slaves have been black. And for every African brought to North America on (mostly British) slave ships, dozens and possibly hundreds more were taken east by Arab slave traders.

What made slavery America's original sin was its violent conflict with our founding principles. If "all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," what gives some men the right to own others?

Racism is as ancient and ubiquitous as slavery. The word some Chinese use for "foreigner" can be translated as "foreign devil." Russian slang for black Africans translates to "wood chips." Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos can attest that until recently Japan was among the most racist nations on Earth.

But it wasn't until after Britain's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 and the American Revolution (1775-1783) that slavery and racism became widely and inextricably linked. Before then, not many thought men were created equal or that God-given rights took precedence over the whims of kings and emperors. …

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