40 ACRES AND A MULE

For the sake of this post let us assume that race is a social construct invented by the white man to ease their conscious as they went about enslaving blacks.  How does that make the black slave any different they all the rest of slaves dating back through time in memorial?  One thing, that asserting this as a fact makes the white man evil and not just a product of history.  Then asserting that the bondage of the black man, because he was an economic commodity, was different and more heinous than being captured as the Roman Army took over your land and enslaved you, or if you, as women and children were in the early Greek culture, born into slavery.

“The derivation of the word slave encapsulates a bit of European history and explains why the two words slaves and Slavs are so similar; they are, in fact, historically identical. The word slave first appears in English around 1290, spelled sclave. The spelling is based on Old French enclave from Medieval Latin sclavus, ‘Slav, slave,’ first recorded around 800.  Sclavus comes from Byzantine Greeksklabos (pronounced sklävs) ‘Slav,’ which appears around 580.  Sklavos approximates the Slavs’ own name for themselves, the Slovnci, surviving in English Slovene and Slovenian.  The spelling of English slave, closer to its original Slavic form, first appears in English in 1538. Slavs became slaves around the beginning of the ninth century when the Holy Roman Empire tried to stabilize a German-Slav frontier. By the 12th century stabilization had given way to wars of expansion and extermination that did not end until the Poles crushed the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald in 1410.·As far as the Slavs’ own self-designation goes, its meaning is, understandably, better than ‘slave’; it comes from the Indo-European root *kleu-, whose basic meaning is “to hear” and occurs in many derivatives meaning “renown, fame.” The Slavs are thus ‘the famous people.’ Slavic names ending in -slav incorporate the same word, such as Czech Bohu-slav, “God’s fame,” Russian Msti-slav, “vengeful fame,” and Polish Stani-slaw, “famous for withstanding (enemies).”

I can well understand why people of Slavic descent would find this revelation troubling: as I’ve said before, we’d all like to think the best of our ancestors, the better to bask in their supposed glory. Unfortunately, the reality is that all of us have much to be humble about if we go back far enough.  However, becouse this was so long ago it no longer counts to some blacks.

Slavery in ancient cultures was known to occur in civilizations as old as Sumer, and it was found in every civilization, including Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia. Rome and parts of its empire. Such institutions were a mixture of debt-slavery, punishment for crime, the enslavement of prisoners of war, child abandonment, and the birth of slave children to slaves. In the Roman Empire, probably over 25% of the empire’s population and 30 to 40% of the population of Italy was enslaved. Records of slavery in Ancient Greece go as far back as Mycenaean Greece.

However, those who claim that black slavery was somehow different then all the others who were placed in bondage fail to make their case.  Just what was so special about black slavery as to set it in a different class from all other slavery?  I have heard the claim that blacks that were living in Africa never practiced slavery upon one another, but the French historian Fernand Braudel noted that slavery was endemic in Africa and part of the structure of everyday life. “Slavery came in different disguises in different societies: there were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, domestic and household slaves, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and intermediaries, even as traders”

In Senegambia, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. In early Islamic states of the western Sudan, including Ghana (750-1076), Mali (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai (1275-1591), about a third of the population were slaves. In Sierra Leone in the 19th century about half of the population consisted of slaves. In the 19th century at least half the population was enslaved among the Duala of the Cameroon, the Igbo and other peoples of the lower Niger, the Kongo, and the Kasanje kingdom and Chokwe of Angola. Among the Ashanti and Yoruba a third of the population consisted of slaves. The population of the Kanem was about a third-slave. It was perhaps 40% in Bornu (1396–1893). Between 1750 and 1900 from one- to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves. The population of the Sokoto caliphate formed by Hausas in the northern Nigeria and Cameroon was half-slave in the 19th century. It is estimated that up to 90% of the population of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved. Roughly half the population of Madagascar was enslaved.

The Anti-Slavery Society estimated that there were 2,000,000 slaves in the early 1930s Ethiopia, out of an estimated population of between 8 and 16 million. Slavery continued in Ethiopia until the brief Second Italo-Abyssinian War in October 1935, when was abolished by order of the Italian occupying forces. In response to pressure byWestern Allies of World War II Ethiopia officially abolished slavery and serfdom after regaining its independence in 1942. On 26 August 1942 Haile Selassie issued a proclamation outlawing slavery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery

“Race is neither the reflex of primordial attitudes nor a tragically recurring central theme. It became the ideological medium through which Americans confronted questions of sovereignty and power because the enslavement of Africans and their descendants constituted a massive exception to the rules of sovereignty and power that were increasingly taken for granted. And, despite the changes it has undergone along the way, race has remained a predominant ideological medium because the manner of slavery’s unraveling had lasting consequences for the relations of whites to other whites, no less than for those of whites to blacks. There are no tragic flaws or central themes in which to take shelter, however reluctantly. There are only acts and decisions of men and women in a society now past, and a responsibility which, because the outcome remains provisional, we are obliged to share with them..” Haile Selassie http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/essays/fieldsideolandrace.html

Again the implication is that blacks are blameless in becoming what they are, the unspoken claim is that blacks become slaves solely because of a white America desire for slave labor, and no credit is given to the ones who sold them into slavery to start with.

This is another thing that those wishing to project the total innocents of black in the existence of the exporting of slaves from Africa to the Americas is to claim that blacks had nothing to do with the capture and selling of black slaves to white slave traders.  Did we really sell ourselves into slavery?  I was directed to Oscar L. Beard “Did We Sell Each Other Into Slavery?” at http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/30/145.html  for the polemic.

“This singular short tart claim, that “We sold each other into slavery”, has maintained in a state of continual flux our historical basis for Black-on-Black self love and mutual cooperation at the level of Class. Even if it is true (without further clarification) that we sold each other into slavery, this should not absolve Whites of their responsibility in our subjugation. We will deal with Africa if need be.” ibid.

To answer the above, I do not know anyone that wishes to absolve whites for their role in the slave trade, I surely do not, but I do wish for the blacks who complain so bitterly of their ancestors’ enslavement to accept that carried just as much blame as did the white traders.

Beard states that some of the blacks that the Ashanti sold into slavery was done so in order to buy guns to resist the British so it was the British’s fault they captured and sold black slaves. He goes on to say: “In 1652, knowing that the indigenous South Africans were no pushovers, Van Riebeeck didn t waste any time. As soon as the Khoi Khoi returned from hunting, Van Riebeeck accused them of stealing Dutch cattle. Simply over that assertion, war broke out, and the superior arms of the Dutch won. South African Historian J. Congress Mbata best explains this dynamic in his lectures, available at the Cornell University Africana Studies Department. Mbata provides three steps: 1) provocation by the Whites, 2) warfare and, 3) the success of superior war machinery.’’

Then in the next paragraph he says: “There are several instances in which Cecil Rhodes, towards the end of the 19th Century, simply demonstrated the superiority of the Maxim Machine Gun by mowing down a corn field in a matter of minutes. Upon such demonstrations the King and Queen of the village, after consulting the elders, signed over their land to the Whites. These scenarios are quite different from the Hollywood version, and well documented.”

All right, grant that everything asserted in the above two paragraphs are true, so what?  Had the South Africans been able to, that is, they had they had the superior arms, does anyone have any doubt as to what would have happened to the Dutch?  And just what does this has to do with the selling of black by blacks?  And the last paragraph, this took place long after the exporting of slaves from Africa had ceased, what does it have to do with the selling of blacks by blacks?  If this is the best black’s can do to defend themselves from the charge that they did not sell themselves into slavery then they need a better apologist.

“To overdraw its evils is a simple impossibility…. We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer. We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree anddead…. We came upon a man dead from starvation…. The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves.” David Livingstone

Livingstone estimated that 80,000 Africans died each year before ever reaching the slave markets of Zanzibar. Zanzibar was once  East Africa’s main slave-trading port, and under Omani Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through the city each year. Prior to the 16th century, the bulk of slaves exported from Africa were shipped from East Africa to the Arabian peninsula. Zanzibar became a leading port on this trade. Arab slave traders differed from European ones in that they would often conduct raiding expeditions themselves, sometimes penetrating deep into the continent, they also differed in that their market greatly preferred the purchase of female slaves over male ones.

I reckon those wishing to paint the white man as evil will classify the Arab as white too, else they would have to recognize evil as a universal thing shared by all races.  White traders from the Americas and Caribbean received the enslaved Africans. European powers such as Portugal, England, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Brandenburg, as well as traders from Brazil and North America, all took part in this trade. An estimated 15% of the Africans died at sea, with mortality rates considerably higher in Africa itself in the process of capturing and transporting indigenous peoples to the ships. The total number of African deaths directly attributable to the Middle Passage voyage is estimated at up to two million; a broader look at African deaths directly attributable to the institution of slavery from 1500 to 1900 suggests up to four million African deaths. This was a terrible cost of doing business, and great shame belongs to those who engaged in the slave trade by our standers.

By any standard you say?  No, slavery came down to us from the dawn of history and still goes on today.  The ones who engage in the trade today do not have the innocents that cloaked the slaver that truly believed, as their society did, that slavery was an institution embraced by God.  But does this terrible cost in of itself set the black slave owned by white masters apart from all the white slave owned by white masters?  Consider when the Roman’s were taking their slaves, do you think that they only killed 30 percent of those they were unable to capture?

It is often claimed that the whites traded inconsequent goods for the slaves they bought from black Africans.  If this is true then how did the Kingdom of Dahomey become rich off the slave trade?  “The kingdom grew wealthy in the 1700s as a result of slavery. When slavery declined in the 1800s Dahomey began to produce and export palm oil to Europe.” http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761560787/Kingdom_of_Dahomey.html

As one of West Africa’s principal slave states, Dahomey became extremely unpopular with neighboring peoples. The kings of Dahomey sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery, rather than killing them in the Annual Customs. Historian Walter Rodney estimates that by c.1770, the King of Dahomey was earning an estimated £250,000 per year by selling captive Africans to the European slave traders. He spent most of the money on British-made firearms (of poor quality) and industrial-grade alcohol.  “The Annual Customs, believed to supply deceased kings with a fresh group of servants. Four thousand Whydahs, for example, were sacrificed when Dahomey conquered Whydah in 1727. Five hundred were sacrificed for Adanzu II in 1791. The sacrifices for Gezo went on for days. Human sacrifice was usually done by beheading, except in the case of the king’s wives, who were buried alive. All land was owned directly by the king, who collected taxes from all crops that were produced.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahomey

While it is true that if there was no demand there would be no supply, but to just to hold the demand side culpable is to be blind to blacks did indeed sell themselves into slavery.  “The vast majority of slaves taken out of Africa were sold by African rulers, traders and a military aristocracy who all grew wealthy from the business. Most slaves were acquired through wars or by kidnapping. The Portuguese Duatre Pacheco Pereire wrote in the early sixteenth century after a visit to Benin that the kingdom ‘is usually at war with its neighbors and takes many captives, whom we buy at twelve or fifteen brass bracelets each, or for copper bracelets, which they prize more’.” European slave buyers made the greater profit from the despicable trade, but their African partners also prospered. Many grew strong and fat on profits made from selling their brethren. Tinubu square, the commercial center of today’s Lagos and home to Nigeria’s Central Bank, is named after a major nineteenth century slave trader. Madam Tinubu was born in Egbaland and rose from rags to riches by trading in slaves, salt and tobacco in Badagry. She later became one of Nigeria’s pioneering nationalists.

“When Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 it not only had to contend with opposition from white slavers but also from African rulers who had become accustomed to wealth gained from selling slaves or from taxes collected on slaves passed through their domain. African slave-trading classes were greatly distressed by the news that legislators sitting in parliament in London had decided to end their source of livelihood. But for as long as there was demand from the Americas for slaves, the lucrative business continued.” http://www.afbis.com/analysis/slave.htm

Because of my white skin I am told that it makes not a whit of difference that my ancestors did not buy, sell, or own slaves in America (and if fact fought on the side of the North in the Civil War which ended slavery in the Untied States), because I still benefit because of my race.  It is my very whiteness that gives me special advantages, not any act of my ancestors or myself.  I reckon it is like original sin, you, if you are white, are born into it.  Well I am not buying it.

Those who want to ascribe white culpability for the status of blacks in America today want to pretend that the Civil War did not exist, and if it did segregation and Jim Crow Laws more than made up the sacrifice whites made during that war.  They forget, or just don’t care, that it was Democrats that instated segregation and passed the Jim Crow Laws.  They don’t care that Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment; they do remember that the Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or religion. Title VI prohibits public access discrimination, leading to school desegregation. Title VIII is the original “federal fair housing law,” later amended in 1988 by Regan. But regardless of the party of affiliation it was white men who passed these laws to insure the equality before the law of all races and sexes.

I am at a loss to understand what is desired from the black apologist when they claim that my very skin color deems me a racist and allows me an undeserved advantage.  At what point in time does these apologist starts advocating that blacks should take their destiny into their own hands, stop making babies if you are not going to support and raise them.  Build stronger families, work harder in school, and accept responsibility for your own life, and stop looking to whitey for a hand out.  And that 40 acres and a mule, forget it.

Some blacks want to think that because their slavery was based upon economic incentives that some how that set their bondage apart from all the others who have been enslaved, not only in degree, but in kind.  The apologists for this belief maintain that slave labor built the infrastructure of the United States, and because of this labor all white people have been blessed with the misery of the black slave in America regardless of whether or not their ancestors had anything to do with the slave trade on never owned a slave.  They also maintain that the mere fact of being white makes you a racist if you do not renounce your race and condemn all whites for the historical fact of the black slave trade.

At the same time they, the apologists, maintain that race in no more than a social construct, invented by the whites early own so they could classify other people as inferior, and has no biological meaning. And for the above I have assumed that they are correct.  “The idea that there exist three races, and that these races are ‘Caucasoid,’ ‘Negroid,’ and ‘Mongoloid,’ is rooted in the European imagination of the Middle Ages, which encompassed only Europe, Africa, and the Near East.”

Well some may believe that but others believe:

A biological race or subspecies of a species is a population that is distinguished from other biological races/subspecies of this species by the following criteria:

Each race has developed in a unique geographic location. Uniqueness do not imply non-shared environmental variables with the geographic location of other races.

Each race has a unique natural history.

Members of a race share a set of phylogenetically concordant phenotypic characters. Phylogeny refers to evolutionary relationships; the more recent the last common ancestral population, the closer two populations are phylogenetically. The phenotype refers to physical appearance, behaviors and other manifestations of gene expression.

There is recognizable phylogenetic partitioning between the races.

Evidence for phylogenetic distinction must normally come from the concordant distributions of multiple, independent genetically based traits.

The above criteria are the standard phylogeographic criteria for race or subspecies assignment. “Subspecies” implies a greater level of differentiation than “race,” but these words are often used interchangeably.

At least five subspecies exist among humans: European or white, sub-Saharan African or Negro, Mainland East Asian, Australo-Melanesian and Native American. Evidence supporting this notion:

All five groupings have historically differentiated in unique geographic locations.  All five groupings have unique natural histories.

The vast majority of individuals within any of these groupings can be easily distinguished from the vast majority of individuals in other groupings by

a) a visual examination of overall physical appearance;

b) multiple, say 21-24, craniofacial inter-landmark distances;

c) 20 discrete cranial traits, etc.

This is because members of a race share a set of phenotypic characters consistent with their evolutionary history.  There is recognizable phylogenetic partitioning between the five groupings in the form of overall physical appearance and also neutral genetic markers.  Concordant evidence for the classification of these five groupings as separate subspecies/races comes from genetic studies involving

a) 993 microsatellite markers,b) 79 autosomal RFLPs,

c) 8 Alu insertions,
d) 40 biallelic slow-evolving insertion-deletions, etc.

You might wonder why a more definitive answer has not been provided. You could also ask how one can be confident that the final word on this topic will not be fewer than five races or no races.  A more definitive number requires more research. Consider the following issues that need to be clarified:

“24 largely selection-neutral craniofacial inter-landmark distances unambiguously result in eight geographic clusters: European or white, sub-Saharan African or Negro, Mainland East Asian, Australo-Melanesian, Native American, South Asian Indian, Eskimo-Siberian and Jomon-Pacific. Five of these groupings have already been seen to comprise of races, but what of the three additional groupings? The Eskimo-Siberians are closely related to and derived from the mainland East Asian group, and it’s not clear whether they should be designated a separate race.

The South Asian Indians cluster together before joining the other groupings, clearly forming a separate cluster based on 199 ancestry-informative markers, a combination of 471 insertion/deletion polymorphisms and 729 microsatellites, and largely selection-neutral craniofacial inter-landmark distances. However, South Asian Indians are known to result from the mixing of several geographically distinct populations. For instance, see this example of population affinities based on ancestry-informative markers (DNAPrint genomics).

Whereas in South Asians from different parts of India craniofacially cluster together based on largely neutral inter-landmark distances, it is an easy matter to come across individual south Asiansleaning more toward Southern Europeans or East Asians or aborigines in looks. Therefore, should South Asians be classified as a separate race or a people to whom the concept of race does not apply as per the phylogeographic criteria for race assignment? People in the Pacific Islands are a mixture of Asiatic and Australo-Melanesian stock.Are the Pacific Islanders classifiable as a separate race?

Multiple, largely selection-neutral craniofacial inter-landmark distances show that southern Europeans cluster with Middle Eastern populations prior to joining the cluster comprising of the indigenous inhabitants north of Southern Europe. An analysis of 5,700-plus SNPs also reveals a north-south distinction in Europe, the north group comprising of the indigenous inhabitants north of Southern Europe. Therefore, is it meaningful to talk about a Euro-Mediterranean subspecies comprising of a northern and a southern race, each blending at its boundaries with other groups, or a single Euro-Mediterranean race?

American Indians from North American and South American clusters based on 993 microsatellite markers. Is it meaningful to talk about two races among American Indians? On the other hand, the phylogeographic criteria for race assignment make it clear that the number of races will not go below five.”   ttp://wiki.majorityrights.com/raceh

Those postulating that race is no more than a social construct based their assertion of the fact that there are no genetic characteristics possessed by all Blacks but not by non- Blacks; similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all Whites but not to non-Whites. One’s race is not determined by a single gene or gene cluster.  By accepting this as the only criteria of defining what trace is, then can then assert that there is no such thing as biological race and project its invention as a justification of the white race allowing them to treat the yellow and black race as inferior.

“Attempts to define racial categories by physical attributes ultimately failed. By 1871, some leading intellectuals had recognized that even using the word ‘race’ ‘was virtually a confession of ignorance or evil intent.’”http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/race.htm

Barbara Fields’s concluded with respect to the plausibility of biological races: “Anyone who continues to believe in race as a physical attribute of individuals, despite the now commonplace disclaimers of biologists and geneticists, might as well also believe that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy are real, and that the earth stands still while the sun moves.” ibid.

Now those who wish to believe that race in only a social construct that Fields’s words as gospel, like Al Gore et a, believe that the subject (Global worming in Al’s case) is closed and only a fool would believe otherwise.  They have closed their minds on the subject and are not open to any consideration that they may be wrong. In other words they have become bigots on the subject.  There are subjects upon which I have closed my mind and will not entertain any thought of being wrong, for example, my belief in the Lord Jesus, so I know where they are coming from.  However, the difference between us is that I know my belief is based upon faith, not knowledge.  They, on the other hand, do not know that their conviction is based on faith in no less than mine.

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Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 07:18  Comments (26)  
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