An interesting thought about slavery and racism.

Considering that even antislavery whites were, by and large, still incredibly racist, and didn’t think that blacks could or should mingle with whites, and would never, ever, be equals with whites, I wonder if the cause of racial equality was actually helped by slavery.

No, now before you leap to your self-righteous exclamations, read what I’m thinking here.
I’m not saying slavery was a good thing. It was horrible. The idea that one person could own another person is abhorrent. I’m not even saying that the above thought is RIGHT. It was just one of the many bizarre “suppose that…” thoughts that kick around in my head on a daily basis.

But.

Without slavery, would blacks have lived in America? Not many, anyway. Thus leaving whites to continue in their strong opinions that blacks are an inferior race.

What’s the best way to not have your preconceptions challenged? To never be in a situation that challenges them. What’s the best way to have your prejudices changed? To see that they’re wrong through your own personal experience.

Without ever coming into regular contact with blacks, I doubt that American whites would have ever really thought about them, and when they did think about them, it would have been easier to keep their prejudicial thoughts. But being in contact with blacks allowed them to start to realize that they were just people, just like the rest of us.

Now of course, this argument falls completely apart when you look at race relations in countries that never had slavery…. but it was an interesting idea to kick around in my head yesterday.

Another thought, and one shared by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, is that slavery would have come to a swifter and less bloody end if the North had just allowed the South to secede. Northern states would have been under no obligation to return runaway slaves to another country, the slave system would have been destabilized, and would have fallen apart on its own.

(In the end, I’m not a fan of Lincoln. I think his decision to invade the south and force them to remain in the Union was the beginning of our mess now – he completely trampled on the rights of states and waged an Unconstitutional war.)

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4 responses to “An interesting thought about slavery and racism.

  1. I can not help but play devil’s advocate. That argument is similar to saying that the Nazi’s would have eventually run out of Jews to kill and thus ended the Holocaust.
    I guess I think that sometimes action needs to be taken to protect innocent lives.

  2. However, that is precisely how slavery ended in Brazil. It was abolished in Ceara in 1884 (a Brazilian state), and slaves ran away to Ceara…. leading to the value of slaves falling dramatically, and slavery was completely ended 4 years later.

  3. (Plus, the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery. The North, as a whole, would have been just as happy either way. The disagreements leading up to the Civil War over slavery were really about power… and the Civil War was absolutely about State’s Rights… and whether states could leave the Union. They COULD, and Lincoln and the North were wrong.)

  4. I agree, the war was definitely not about slavery. The only thing good that came from the Civil war was the end of slavery. The Federal government gained way too much power at the expense of state’s rights.
    I can not remember the source of this statistic, but only about 20% of the African American population can claim slave ancestry. I am sure there is more to this, like would coming to the United States from Haiti or the Dominican Republic count as a slavery background? Or is it only counting those who were slaves in the US.

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