Historically slavery has always been around long before America was discovered. Europe held out to be one of the greatest places for owning slaves and the concept was not shortly lived. For black people to continually play the race card and hold American’s hostage indefinitely, for ideals that have literally nothing to do with modern America is ludicrous. In addition, for anyone to presume they are the product of some master plan, which promotes the oppression of the black man on the basis of color is equally insane, we all have options.
Throughout history man has been witness some deplorable events which have left a mark from one generation to another. Although the idea of slavery in itself is despicable, the reality is that it was very much a part of life and history and not limited to just the black man and his family. This is not meant to be a history lesson, rather it is an attempt to help people realize that the constant use of the race card, as a means of discrimination, is really getting old. For decades now we have become so complacent to the feelings of others that we use the word tolerance over and over again, and in the process we have become more intolerant of Christians, Jews, conservatives, and anyone whose ethical and moral beliefs are not in sink with the norms of the twenty-first century. History brings with it the events of the times, right or wrong, they are what they are, and cannot be changed. But for some groups to claim they are being held captive by the oppressors of yesterday is truly biased and unfair to modern civilization, most of which would agree that they hold a certain level of contempt for the very idea of slavery. Those people who love to stir-up trouble and sensationlize every story, truly need to find a way to move on and find something better to do, something more productive. The very government some of these people support, is the same government responsible for their poverty to begin with. Entitlements make people dependant; they lose hope and desire to change what for them is truly changeable. Slavery by definition is submission to a dominating influence. (Merriam – Webster) The influence in this case is more likely big government — each man becomes a slave to his own beliefs whether real or imaginary, and to believe that big governemnt is not a form of slavery is to be delusional.
Plato was taught by Socrates, Aristotle by Plato. Together they comprise the most influential figures in Western Philosophy. The philosophy of Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) is what influenced St. Thomas Aquinas. He was also the teacher for Alexander the Great. In one of his more famous writings, The Politics, Aristotle asserts: “But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature? There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.” (1) Aristotle believed that some people were naturally slaves and some were not, those who were not Greek were considered barbarians and therefore more likely, by nature to be slaves. The color of a man’s skin had no bearing on the issue of slavery back then. Aristotle went on to discuss the nature of things which played an important role later on in history. Although the idea or justification of slavery in itself is never justified the importance behind the theories of Aristotle cannot be ignored or replaced.
Another example of slavery existed in Europe who had more African slaves then any other country in the world. England, France and Portugal used slave labor in their colonies while others, such as the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, were mainly active in the commercial trade and shipping, thus contributing to the trade by carrying slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and Latin America. France was a major player in the slave trade and many of its cities on the West Coast(such as Nantes, Lorient, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux) have built their wealth through the triangular trade. Slaves on French vessels were mainly taken to the French Caribbean colonies such as Saint-Domingue and Martinique. In addition, France is also notorious for introducing the Code Noir (‘black code), a decree written in 1685 providing formal regulations for the treatment of slaves, governing their lives, deaths, freedoms, religion and how they were to be bought and sold. This gruesome document served to de-humanize the enslaved Africans even more by institutionalizing the trade in humans even further. France eventually outlawed the slave trade in 1830 and slavery itself in 1848. (2)
Since slavery was not limited to African’s, I must say that I do not hold anyone responsible, nor do I play the race card, in the event that at one time or another perhaps my ancestor’s might have been held captive as slaves. Likewise, I am not responsible for slavery or events that occured in the past. We need to consider the reality that we all have the free will to determine our own fate. We have the means and the ability to work to achieve our individual goals, follow our dreams, and determine the path we choose to walk. To hold on to the ideals that somehow every white man, women, and child born in the United States is somehow responsible for the oppression of Black people is ridiculous. The race card is so over played and reverse racism has become the norm for some people. In addition, whoever came up with the idea of adding the word American on to an ethnic group e.g. African-American – is equally stupid. Seriously, this idea was derived by someone with to much time on their hands. Clearly, whether you are black, white, pink, or purple, and if you were born in the United States, it is presumed you are an American, there is not need to put the American after your ethnic group.
The lesson to be learned here is that History is important. Without the truth and clear understanding about who we are as a people we can become misguided and lose faith in what is important. The truth of the matter is we are all children of God, whether we believe in him or not, it doesn’t matter, and we are all made in his image. What we need to do is treat everyone the way we would want to be treated, even the annoying person who we try to avoid; maybe that person even more. Hope is what allows us to persevere even in the worst of times — never lose site of that. Naturally, it is essential to realize that if we ignore history we are destined to repeat it.
1 Aristotle’s theory of slavery is found in Book I, Chapters lll through Vll of the Politics and in Book VII of the Nicomachean Ethics.