Take the First Step

Written by BG Howard

January 11, 2023

There have been occasions in the past when I’ve voiced an objective opinion as related to a variety of topics. The issues in recent months have been no different as I’ve outlined a matter that has seemingly consumed the entire country. Waning race relations coupled with escalating cultural tensions have thrown virtually all of America into an agitated state of paranoia. Then, throw into the mixture police officers who are constantly given reason to be increasingly suspect of the very people they are called “to serve and to protect” and what we have are the essential ingredients for a society that falls eerily close to what’s defined as utter anarchy.

Granted, nearly every other culture has fallen victim at some point throughout world history to the systematic aggression of the Caucasian race beginning in this country with the native American Indians. I still wonder how Christopher Columbus could be credited with having discovered a place that was already inhabited but, that’s another topic for perhaps, another time. This land was essentially taken from the Indians as they were pushed aside onto reservations or altogether extinguished by Caucasian settlers. Beginning with the Indians, then the Asians (Chinese and Japanese) and the Africans, virtually every culture has endured the ills of slavery.

There have been recent discoveries identifying Portuguese traders as those who first introduced the slave trade as early as the 1500’s. A rare document was located journaling the transport of Japanese people as slaves into Mexico in the late sixteenth century and those same traders also marketed various parts of North and South America. In my research, evidence has even been found of a European slave trade which also included captive Caucasians.

As recorded, mostly poor Caucasians; who made up approximately half to two-thirds of the original colonists, dared make the journey to the new world as the wealthy chose to harbor the comforts of home. Those comprising the majority of settlers were Redemptioners: Germans with their families of which many members were often sold to different masters. Indentured Servants: Consisted of those who sold themselves into slavery lured by the promise of a better life in the new world, the kidnapped of London, Bristol, and Liverpool. Also, were the poor and vagrants of the United Kingdom, as well as the loose lewd women or prostitutes. Child servants were valued as they were contractually bound for long periods of time. Convicts and criminals were valuable assets preferred by farmers due to being committed to at least 14 years of servitude upon reaching America. A fact often excluded from the history books explains that Maryland and Virginia were deemed as convicts’ states.

Scottish and Irish war prisoners were sometmes sold as slaves; another fact often omitted from the history books but remains an arrant reality of that period. From Greece and Italy were brought a number of indentured servants as well and there were Seamen impressed in ships which simply meant they were bound to the master’s vessel thus, interpreting as another form of slavery. Richard Brandon Morris, a colonial historian, posted these were the ending slaves as they were the last to finally be emancipated in 1915.

It wasn’t until the supply of Caucasian servants became insufficient to suit the colonies’ labor demands that the Royal Company of Africa was created. The sole purpose of this company was to “import” Africans which helped to facilitate the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This gruesome industry persisted from 1502, when the first African slave was documented in the new world, until the 1860’s, beyond the point laws had been passed by several countries banning the practice.

Frankly speaking, research verifies virtually every culture has suffered the appalling conditions of slavery. In no case does anyone have the right to point a finger at another because of choices (or mistakes) our ancestors made. Here we are, more than a thousand years later, faulting each other for things over which we had no control but want to blame one another for the consequences. It is this very attitude that continues to perpetuate a millennia old hatred which basically stifles any chance at healing the recurrent wounds persisting only in the captive hearts of a weak-minded society attempting to purport that any one culture is superior to another.

Food for thought: If you start out in approximately the same place, go approximately the same direction, doing approximately the same thing at approximately the same time, why would you then be surprised to end up in approximately the same place with approximately the same dilemma? Simply put; if you want to end up someplace different, you have to do something different. All should be willing to take the first step toward change. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider

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