I hereby demand MY reparations check.
Welcome to 2020. The New York Times wins a Pulitzer Prize for its “1619 Project,” which depicts slavery as a distinctly American phenomenon and as the very foundation of American civilization. For several weeks, a half-dozen all but unreadable books seeking redefine the concept of racism hover at or near the top of the bestseller lists. Meanwhile, the cities of America become battlegrounds in a race war waged by young people, many of whom think that America invented the institution of slavery.
This is but one of many historical facts about which they’re wrong. The truth is that fewer than 4 percent of the slaves who were transported across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa ended up in the territory of what is now the United States. More slaves were shipped to the small island of Barbados than to the vast areas that started out as British North America and then became the United States.
The same applies to Trinidad and the Windward Islands (Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Dominica, and Martinique). Ditto the Guianas (now Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana). Ditto the Spanish-speaking mainland of Latin American. Over 8 percent of transatlantic African slaves—twice the number sold between Maine and Georgia—were sold in St. Domingue, a French colony in what is now Haiti. Over 8 percent of slaves also ended up in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. The largest numbers of all are for Jamaica (over 11 percent) and Brazil (over 30 percent).
In recent years, as schools and universities increasingly focus on racial issues, young Americans’ heads are filled with heaps of information—much of it from books like A People’s History of the United States—about the American legacy of racism and, in particular, the history of slavery and Jim Crow. But virtually none of them know that the slaves who were shipped to the present-day United States were a small fraction of the victims of the African slave trade.
Ignorance also surrounds another aspect of slave history. The other day I posted on Facebook a quotation from Thomas Sowell. “More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.”
Facebook users responded in disbelief. “This can’t possibly be true! What’s he talking about?” commented one, whose Facebook page identified him as a “senior research fellow.” Another, a filmmaker, wrote: “Seems dubious.”
In fact, the white slave trade was a terrifying reality for generations of Westerners from the 1400s to the 1800s. Several sovereign North African entities—the Sultanate of Morocco, and the independent Ottoman provinces of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli—were all active in the capture and sale of European and American slaves. Some whites were taken from ships on the high seas in acts of piracy; others were captured during coastal raids on the European mainland and Newfoundland.
As usual, it’s not that liberals don’t know anything; it’s that so much of what they think they know isn’t so. You’re bound to love this next bit:
During the later phase of the white slave trade, European powers paid large sums to the North African powers to protect their citizens from enslavement. After the United States declared its independence, it refused to make such payments, which resulted in the taking of American seamen by Arab pirates. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met in London with the ambassador from Tripoli to discuss the matter. When they asked why Tripolitanians would “make war upon nations who had done them no injury,” the ambassador replied “that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? Guess some things really never DO change. Read all of it.