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Lobo
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In a recent post about slavery, I found out that of the estimated 11-12 million slaves taken from Africa to the New World, only 500,000 (less than 5%) came to North America.

My question is: why do the decendants of american slaves talk so much more about slavery than other decendants of slaves in South America and the Carribean?

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sacrip2
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Dunno. Could be that slavery, as an institution, is so antithetical to the American ideal of life, liberty, etc.. that it's still jarring that the founding fathers even allowed it. Or maybe they still feel the sting of the prejudice that chained them 400 years ago today, living under the thumb of those who once owned them like animals.

Or maybe they're just bellyachers, I dunno.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I beleve Carribean and South American slavery was already ended or at least officially mitigated by the time of the Civil War, mostly (if I recall properly) as a result of influence by the Catholic church and British reformists.

America, I think, was the last offical holdout.

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Omega M.
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I've also read that U.S. slavery destroyed African culture to a much greater extent than Latin American slavery.
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Gaoics79
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My guess would be the racial element. In the United States, the reminders of slavery are as clear as the black skin on some portions of the population, and the white skin on other portions of the population. A black person in America can identify with his slave ancestor by a mutually shared skin tone, and can similarly the descendants of those who enslaved him.

My understanding of south america is that it is "Latino", which is, I believe, a mix of Spanish/Portugese with native american and black african. How does one Latino tell a descendant of a slave from a descendant of a slaveowner?

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Lobo
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Omega,

In what way? Do you mean that US slaves were not allowed to participate in their African cultural/religious practices?

KL,

Brazil was the last country to ban slavery. And yet I understand that Brazil is one of the most non-racist places in the world...

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kenmeer livermaile
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I was thinking that Brazil was a holdback, but wasn't sure. It's been years since I rerad on this stuff.
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LoverOfJoy
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Brazil Grappling With Racism
quote:
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) - In the 1994 presidential campaign, candidate Fernando Henrique Cardoso used a popular phrase to refer to his African ancestry. "I have one foot in the kitchen," he said with a laugh. Brazilians knew what he meant - menial workers are overwhelmingly black - but despite some scattered complaints that the remark smacked of racism, few saw anything wrong with it. Cardoso, who is light-skinned and considered part of the white elite, won the election.

The idea that it's a "racial democracy" has long been one of Brazil's most cherished myths. But as it participates in the U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, the government is having to deal with a problem back home. Although Afro-Brazilians make up nearly half the population of 170 million, they make up 63 percent of the nation's poor and less than 16 percent of graduating university students last year, according to government figures.

The illiteracy rate for Afro-Brazilians is 26 percent, compared to 10 percent for whites. In the job market, things aren't much better. A black man earns on average 48 percent less than his white counterpart in the same job, according to the Sao Paulo State Socio-Economic Research Foundation, which monitors labor statistics.

Although racial discrimination is a crime, help-wanted ads often require ``good appearance'' - which is widely taken as code for white. ``Poverty in Brazil has a color,'' read an opinion article this week in the financial daily Gazeta Mercantil, considered Brazil's Wall Street Journal. ``From the racial viewpoint, Brazil and the USA are different - there, whites and blacks are equal but live separately; here, they are together but unequal.''

While soccer player Pele and pop star Gilberto Gil may be Brazil's multiracial face to the world, outside of sports and entertainment Afro-Brazilians find few opportunities. In Congress, only 12 of the 513 members of the Chamber of Deputies and two of the 81 senators are of African ancestry. None of Cardoso's cabinet ministers is black, and Afro-Brazilians are rare in top corporate or financial posts. In the Brazilian delegation to the Durban conference, members of human rights groups are pushing for a commitment to concrete affirmative action policies.

One idea is to set quotas for Afro-Brazilians in public universities. A recent survey revealed that only 12 of the University of Brasilia's 1,400 professors and 80 of its 18,216 undergraduate students are Afro-Brazilians, political science professor David Fleischer said. The university plans to reserve one-fifth of its entrance slots - 800 a year- for black and mixed-race students in 2002, he said.

However, Education Minister Paulo Renato Souza opposes quotas for all universities. He says Brazil will seek $10 million from the Inter-American Development Bank to fund groups that offer special courses to train Afro-Brazilians for Brazil's college entrance examination.

Not good enough, some critics say. ``A policy of racial quotas for blacks isn't ideal, but it becomes necessary as nothing else now exists to put blacks and whites on equal footing,'' said Ivanir dos Santos, a leading rights activist and head of the Outcast Coordination Center. ``It's time to create mechanisms for compensation.''

But black pride has not taken root in Brazil outside of African-culture centers like Salvador, the nation's colonial-era capital. Many Afro-Brazilians simply deny they are black - a 1998 census found more than 300 descriptions for skin color, including ``cinnamon,'' ``coffee-with-milk,'' ``blue,'' even ``encardido,'' the Portuguese word for ``filthy.''

Still, some see progress in the simple recognition that racism exists in Brazil. ``We always refused to discuss this question because we said we didn't have this problem,'' said Roberto Martins, head of the government-run Applied Economic Research Institute. ``Now the debate has begun.''

source
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Cytania
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Part of the difference is psychology in many South American and Carribean territories such as Haiti and Brazil the slaves took on their oppressors and won. In North America despite the the numerous slave revolts the pseudo-aristocratic system persisted a lot longer and even ruptured the US into two warring factions. It's not hard to read history as saying that the Southern US hung onto slavery with an evil persistence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_rebellion

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kenmeer livermaile
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If I remember correctly, North American slavery was also a more totalitarian chattel slavery than Brazilian slavery? That is, Brazilian slaves had some manner of rights? As a result, for the most part, of Church influence?
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Omega M.
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quote:
Originally posted by Lobo:

In what way? Do you mean that US slaves were not allowed to participate in their African cultural/religious practices?

I read that long ago in Julius Lester's To Be a Slave---that in Latin America many more African religions, languages, and musical styles survive than in the U.S.
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Rhoetus
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I think the answer is because we are rich enough to care.
Many people couldn't care less about such trivial historical problems because keeping their family fed throughout a year is all-consuming.
The US also, as has been pointed out, is based on philosophy, and its philosophy is opposed to what slavery is... however the institution was still rationalized and used. (it was also opposed to the nationality driven conflicts in cities such as NYC in the 1800's and early 1900's) We find pride in our stated national ideals, and shame in our shared national failure to live up to said ideals.
And as has been pinted out, in Central/Carribean Americas slave revolts were much more influencial... due in part to such things as tropical diseases having much greater effect on those of European descent and the hideously bad treatment of slaves in the Carribean. Anyone who thinks that slaves were mal-treated in Early US history has only to read about Carribean history to see what ill-treatment could become.

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Cytania
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Yes, Lobo thoughout the Americas multiple prohibitions were made on slaves. The most obvious and pervasive was banning talking African language. This goes to the heart of the slavemaster's paranoia - if slaves can talk a language you don't understand they can conspire and revolt. By the same logic slaves were often gathered from diverse regions so that they didn't speak each other's languages and had to use a European common denominator.

Religious practices were banned not simply for christian reasons but because they were another area where slaves could unite and organise towards revolt. Likwise musical gatherings, I'll leave you to debate whether Congo Square in New Orleans was a leniency or not...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo_Square

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flydye45
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Because the slaves sent to the Caribean and South America died in huge numbers. IIRC, the lifespan of a sugar plantation slave was 5 years.

In South America, slaves went to the mines. Mining has historically been a death sentence. Death by work.

This is not an apology for North American slavery, but an often overlooked fact.

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ATW
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America has compassion and has money to dole out if the compassion is turned into action. There's no need to waste your time protesting to the impoverished government of a third world country. Even if they agree with you, they don't have money to give to you to make it all better.
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J.B
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If all people are equal, how could there be "slavery"?
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J.B
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quote:
Originally posted by Lobo:
My question is: why do the decendants of american slaves talk so much more about slavery than other decendants of slaves in South America and the Carribean? [/QB]

In South America and the Carribean, there are no white people to be jealous of.
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Cytania
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"If all people are equal, how could there be "slavery"?"

Simple, you decide that slaves are not people and reclassify them as property [Frown]

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dagon
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The practice of re-classifying people who are enslaved as somehow less human than their masters is a result of guilt.
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J.B
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If all humans are equal, it would be impossible for one to inslave another.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Even IF all humans were equal, which they obviously ain't, not all human circumstances would necessarily be, um, equally equal.

The human condition is inherently unequal if only because huymans themselves actively work to alter the basis of the human condition.

Meed Fred Flinstone... Meet George Jetson...

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J.B
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What makes more sence?

People were inslaved because of the color level of their skin?

Or

People were inslaved because of the intelligent's level of their brain?

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Gaoics79
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quote:
What makes more sence?

People were inslaved because of the color level of their skin?

Or

People were inslaved because of the intelligent's level of their brain?

Neither. The obvious answer is that they were enslaved because they could be enslaved, because it was profitable for the enslavers, and they had the power and means at their disposal to get away with it.

You may wish to argue that the fact that they were unable to resist enslavement is evidence of their inferiority. But then again, I'd suggest that this wouldn't make a very convincing argument.

2000 years ago, the ancestors of the British were a bunch of barbarians. If they had run into the Qin Empire or the subsequent Han empire that existed at around that time in China, they would have gotten their clocks cleaned and wouldn't have been able to do a damn thing to stop the Chinese from enslaving them, if the Chinese chose to do so.

Fast forward 850 years, and the descendants of those barbarians (well, technically the descendants of more than one tribe, but both of them caucasian) are the most powerful force on the planet. The descendants of the Qin and Han (who, despite being under Manchu rule, are essentially the same ethnicity as they were in the time of the Qin emperor) are vastly inferior militarily, and get their asses kicked by superior British technology. Had the British chosen to, they could even have enslaved many of these people.

Query: Does this mean that the barbarians of the Qin era were intellectually inferior to the Chinese living in the Qin empire? Were they racially inferior? What about their genetic makeup changed between 0 a.d. and 1850 a.d. to render formerly uncultured, barbaric, militarily unsophisticated people into an advanced civilization capable of conquering almost any other nation on earth?

Civilizations rize and fall. Sometimes you're lucky, and happen to be a member of an ascendant civilization with the power to kick all the other civilizations' asses. Sometimes you're really unlucky, and happen to run into a more powerful civilization while yours is on the fritz. It happened to my ancestors with Babylon and then Rome (I'm Jewish). Were the Jews enslaved by the Romans intellectually inferior by virtue of their enslavement? Are current-day Jews intellectually superior by virtue of their domination of the middle east?

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kenmeer livermaile
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Ol' BUcky Fuller postulated (sounds nasty, don't it?) that northern climes bred technologically advanced people because the climes were so demanding.

Not as pure principle of itself, but as factored into the idea that civilization generally spread outwards from the tropics (which were once THE zones of 'technolution') and, once the temperate zones were si=ufficiently established, science took the bal and ran with it because, well, there's nothing like central heating on a cold German night, eh?

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IanO
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Guns, Germs, and Steel anyone?

Summary of reasoning

And my opinion as that WHOMEVER was in power would have behaved the same towards the others they encountered. Human nature.

[ March 13, 2007, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: IanO ]

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Snowden
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quote:
Could be that slavery, as an institution, is so antithetical to the American ideal of life, liberty, etc.. that it's still jarring that the founding fathers even allowed it.
That's the issue for me, and not just the founders. It took a civil war and another hundred years of Jim Crow laws. The fact of slavery isn't historically significant, in my view, what worries me is that this democracy, with all of its storied checks and balances and lofty principles, needed to be dragged kicking and screaming to equal rights.
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Snowden
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Futher, the need for the Civil War and all of the constitutionally questionable Federal Supreme Court rulings tell me that the structure of our government was morally lacking. And the fact that the people are denying this and trumpet relentlessly for states rights makes me question the quality of our national character.

American slavery and the long road to civil rights is relevant for us, similarly to the way in which WWII is relevant for the Germans. They are both critiques of our political structure and our national character.

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J_Allen
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I am all for civil rights. However, there is a difference between "having a right" and "being owed something". Let me elaborate with an example:

I have the right to have access to education to the same degree as any other citizen, male or female, black or white, etc.

I am not owed an education by the government or anyone else. My race, religion, sex, or orientation does not give me a priority over another's.

So, restricting me from getting an education on the basis of my race, religion, etc would be denying me my rights. But if I don't do the work necessary to get that education, such as studying in school, the only one responsible for that is me.

Those schools that engage in "equal opportunity" enrollment, that accept students to fill a quota, are not promoting civil rights, nor are they truly equal rights. Equal rights means equal opportunity, not equal distribution.

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Rhoetus
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I think Jasonr makes the best point. Slavery is a matter of might. Slavery has been practiced WITHIN most, if not all cultural groups in the world... race simply makes classification easier.
Superiority in culture or technological achievement will always take a back seat to interior strife and aggressive action. CA. 1450 AD the Ottoman Empire was superior in both to its European neighbors, but its corrupt inner structure lead it to be the 'sick old man' of the 1800's right up until the 'young Turks' took over.
The US is simply another 'empire' brought to the fore by an aggressive nature and industrious population.... is it still of that same nature? I think we should see in our lifetime the start of the next great 'empire's' rise.

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Kyle French
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quote:

I think we should see in our lifetime the start of the next great 'empire's' rise.

Heh: China, made up of Christians.
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Everard
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Woah. Hello Kyle. Long time no see.
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Kyle French
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Hello. I may be lurking for a while. I ran out of other material on which to procrastinate. [Smile]
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J.B
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To really right the wrongs of slavery, all Africans should be returned to there natural habitat from which they were taken from.
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TomDavidson
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By that logic, all descendants of white slavery should be shipped back to Europe.
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kenmeer livermaile
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"To really right the wrongs of slavery, all Africans should be returned to there natural habitat from which they were taken from."

You're still the king, Kelso.

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J.B
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
By that logic, all descendants of white slavery should be shipped back to Europe.

"white slavery" ?
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TomDavidson
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Yeah, white slavery. You think all slaves were black?
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J.B
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None of you agree that Africans would be a much happier people today if they had never been removed from there natural habitat.
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J.B
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Yeah, white slavery. You think all slaves were black?

In America? Yeah.
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fizz
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A small point to remember about slavery: in most of history slavery was simply a matter of economics and power, not a matter of race. Ancient romans did not believed that a slave was by nature inferior, and in some places a common citizen could have been sold into slavery to repay for debts...
It would be interesting to make a deeper study of racism in this context, to see wich cultures where more ideological about slavery and wich cultures more pragmatic....

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