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Calling Slavery Beneficial Is Another Way That White People Get to Commit Crimes Against Humanity and Still Be the Moral Superiors


What George W. Bush failed to do, Ronald DeSantis wants to finish up in a final solution type intellectual genocide, where children and history both get left behind. After instituting the Stop W.O.K.E. Act last year, effectively limiting the amount of correct information and history that teachers are allowed to present in their classrooms, DeSantis has added another nail in the coffin of comprehensive education by now insisting that Florida middle schools teach that there were benefits of slaver, using the example of how a blacksmith would be able to parlay his skills into other ventures. Interesting how the American Dream for Black people only consists of learning how to serve white people’s demands even more. Where slavery once created the hypothetical opportunity for white students to possibly feel guilty or even worse, empathy, the restructuring of what students are taught now allows them to feel victorious. Proud even.

Look how you rescued the n-ggers from the bush and made them dexterous and domesticated; you should feel so good about yourself. 

The hardest class that I’ve ever taken in my entire college career was a class called “History and Historians.” The class challenged the conventional view that history is an untainted presentation of unbiased facts and examined how different cultural storytelling styles influence how facts are presented and interpreted. Ironically, my history professor for that class, Robert Cassanello, is suing DeSantis, who also coincidentally has a degree in history. DeSantis’s white privilege, power and knowledge entitle him to think he has the right to change portions of history that bring him discomfort (*cough snowflake). Multiple choice on history tests does not mean that you can choose which answer you like the best instead of the correct one. 

White conservatives are not at all comfortable with the narrative that not only did they not rightfully earn everything they possess, but also the concept of institutional racism barring Black people from success shakes their theory of superiority. ‘What if there were obstacles in that person’s way?  What if my defeat of them only came because of instituted disadvantages and not naturally? Is my superiority truly valid?’ Admitting that slavery was not only wrong but had consequences that extended into the present is admitting that white people have been and can be wrong…again. If white people can be wrong, then they are fallible, and where does that leave them in terms of getting to continue being the moral superior and, therefore, the rightful authority? 

White supremacy is backed by Christianity.

The mindset of many Christian white Conservatives is that their governance, even with its perversion, is in direct line to not only God’s will but also to his favor. However, if white leadership continues to be marred with a blemished and ungodly past, then how much of their credibility as the moral superiors and the ones most equipped to govern over others will diminish? As noted by the insistence on modifying the narrative, slavery is not really the problem, more so as to who was considered the bad guy in the story. Slavery is fine to talk about when it is in religious texts; when white Christian conservatives can trace their roots all the way back to Jerusalem via stories with questionable truths, it is only then should we not fear a distant history, but when it’s white people doing the enslaving then we should absolutely fear a recent past.

Saying that slavery was beneficial to slaves is another way for white people to justify kidnapping, torture, rape and forced labor because apologizing and atonement is too difficult for the religious right, who still get to maintain their moral superiority, of course.

Additionally, if slavery wasn’t all bad, then there is no need for reparations because the benefits outweighed the badness. This is nothing but a more updated version of the phrase, “If you don’t like it here, you should just go Back to Africa,” which implies that Black Americans should be grateful that they are not treated as badly as colonized continental Africans or subjected to the perceived poverty of the entire continent and should gracefully endure the American version of oppression. It is another way for white people to feel as if their actions are justifiable because ‘look at how much better you have it here,‘ which translates into ‘even though you have less than me, you should be happy that it is still more than them.’

The worst part about Moms4Liberty and the staunch followers of DeSantis, or the like, is that they assume that they are and would even be on the right side of history just because they are on the far right side of politics. This is further emphasized when that same group parrots the talking point that Black people need to be grateful that white people freed the slaves.  Imagine the glory in getting to stop you from your damn self. While Republicans like to remind Black people that the Democratic Party was the party of the KKK, they always seem to forget who the KKK currently supports. Undoubtedly, many abolitionists were pious Christians but there were also many pro-slavery and pro-confederacy jingoists who were absolute wingnut Baptists. A religion is only as good as the people who believe in it, and Christianity is no stranger to extreme views on two different sides of the spectrum sharing the same book. I mean, David Koresh and Desmond Tutu probably wouldn’t have had the same political leanings, but they both were big bible fans. The Southern Baptist Convention (an organization that still exists today and is the world’s largest Baptist denomination, and according to Pew Research, is 85% white and politically 64% Republican, 10% other and 26% Democrat) was started in 1845 in order to support and protect the institution of slavery and the confederacy, was very instrumental in the denying of Civil Rights in the 50s and 60s, and just generally supported any racist ideology until they formally apologized in the 1990s. Let’s not forget how much Christianity was used to justify slavery and the continued subjugation of every race but white. White Christians today automatically assume they would be noble abolitionists, even though the organizations in which they participate were founded on the exact opposite principles. While the organization has racially integrated over time, it is still very much a white, far right-leaning organization that is seeing a continued exodus of the few Black leaders it has, some of the exodus not being voluntary. 

There is no such thing as benevolent racism, succeeding after survival is not the same thing as succeeding because of it. Slavery was not some sort of apprenticeship, or vocational school, where they eagerly learned a craft and then went on to live happy, industrious and free lives, thanks to the benevolence of their white handlers. 

Africans were skilled before their stolen bodies touched stolen land.

They were not the ones who had to recruit (*cough, physically coerce) people to teach them how to harvest and farm the same land they took from them. This isn’t the first time the white American-centered education system has attempted to deny the cultural trauma that this country’s history is foundationally built upon. First Nations Americans have constantly had their truth excluded from a history that was built on the concept of excluding them permanently. Genocide and racist oppression are not choices and the narrator should not get the luxury of benefitting from the harm or being the only one whose story should be told; it’s disrespectful to dissociate Black people from our stories and the correct forms in which they should be rendered. One cannot respect a person’s voice while trying to slit their throat at the same time. 

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