Racism and the White Woman

A Kenyan-born professor taught an African Studies class I took at an American college. One time he mentioned that the American Slave trade forever skewed the relationship between Europeans and Africans. The relationship was healthy between them before the horrible trade began and should have remained so. But the growing market for slaves in the Americas altered the dynamics.

This was an offhand comment and the professor didn’t dwell on it, nor make it a political point. It was a basic observation and lament. Many years later, this one comment remains vivid in my mind.

Africans traded worldwide as equal economic partners with other countries and continents. Advanced civilizations flourished on the African soil. The Library of Alexandria in Egypt was once the largest and grandest in the Mediterranean world. Slave did not define an African.

And yet here we are. Racism is central to the American fabric according to some groups. Even if racism is diminishing, it is not gone.

Africa has a rich history. Racism was the result and not the cause of slavery. Slave traders dehumanized Africans so that they could treat this one race as if they were property. Slavery obscures the historical Africa.

The real story of Africa is not victimhood. A sense of healing in the future might begin if we can revisit the past.

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