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Calling Slaves Immigrant Workers Does Disservice to Our Ancestors

by Todd A. Smith

 

Forced Immigration

 

Americans never kidnapped immigrants.


Americans do not rip immigrant families apart as often as they did slave families.


Americans did not study the internal remains of dead immigrants to do research on their bodies to see how different they were than their White brethren (i.e. such as measuring their penises versus the penises of White men) at Ivy League universities as reported in the book “Ebony and Ivy” by Craig Steven Wilder.


Americans allow immigrant workers to return to their homeland and their freedom.


Furthermore, Americans did not lynch or maim immigrants for not knowing “their place” in society.


Americans pay immigrant workers monetarily.


However, Americans did commit all of the aforementioned atrocities, except for the payment part, against Black slaves.


So to try to whitewash the history textbooks and rename Black slaves as immigrant workers is disrespectful, distasteful and hurtful to all of the Black slaves and their descendants (myself included considering my maternal great-grandfather was born into slavery in 1860).


According to the Huffington Post, a 15-year-old and his mother posted a message on Facebook, which has since gone viral criticizing the revisionist history in his World Geography textbook and criticizing those who benefitted from the enslavement of Blacks for trying to lessen the horrific realities of American slavery.


The textbook reads, “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”


No disrespect to the editors of this book but they are totally ignorant if they think slavery was as pleasant as they make it sound in their textbook.


Like any sane individual (emphasis on the word sane) I know that not all White people are responsible for the hatred that is still aimed at Black Americans over 150 years after the abolishment of slavery.


However, even those White Americans who are totally empathetic to the plight of Black Americans need to own the fact that slavery was one of the worst atrocities ever and that some of them have ancestors that were responsible for it.


To make slavery seem like it was another day on the farm or the office is totally disrespectful to my great-grandfather and every Black person’s ancestors who were used as mere animals to make this country and particular families rich.


Many Fortune 500 companies in America like Aetna Inc. enjoy such status off of the sweat of Black slaves.  If they were actually immigrant workers and had to be paid, maybe some of these companies would not be as profitable as they are today.


It’s easy for a company to make millions when there are no overhead expenses such as a payroll.


Furthermore, trying to whitewash American slavery not only shows a lack of cultural sensitivity it shows a lack of knowledge of history.


And if a person lacks historical knowledge they should not be writing books on history for our children.


Yes, slavery was worse than we think.


Yes, White people owned slaves.


And yes, many affluent White families gained that status off of the back of free labor.


Many people correctly criticize Black America for not owning up to our own failure, which is totally understandable.


Yes, we need to better educate our children.


Yes, we need to get the drugs off of the streets.


Yes, we need to eliminate the violence and the crabs in the bucket mentality.

 

But how can we take our critics seriously and own up to our shortcomings when the same people criticizing us cannot do the same thing when it comes to their shortcomings and mistakes even if the onus falls on their ancestors?

This article was published on Friday 09 October, 2015.
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