Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Antiracism Theory can't explain US slavery

Nnedi Okorafor posted a short bit from her unpublished autobiographical novel in Born Naijamerican, which included this:
But, well, she wasn’t a direct descendant of slaves, not the slaves brought to America. She wasn’t trying to be arrogant. Hell, she thought, my ancestors may have been the sellers of the slaves! Ugh, that’s even worse. But she didn’t like Carre’s assumptions. Here she was in a class full of blacks and never had she felt so alone.
There's an assumption in the US that all black folks are the descendants of slaves, which fits the antiracist narrative the power is primarily racial, but the reality is more complex.

From Unit 2: Early Industrialization: "3,800 black slave owners were registered in the 1840 Census"

Frederick Douglass noted, “The savage chiefs of the western coasts of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage and pocketing the ready cash for them, will not more readily accept our moral and economical ideas than the slave traders of Maryland and Virginia. We are, therefore, less inclined to go to Africa to work against the slave trade than to stay here to work against it.”

President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin, Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, and others have apologized for their ancestor's part in African slavery.