BBC slavery article

Ypres

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Was surprised by the recent BBC article 'My Nigerian great grandfather sold slaves'. The writer tells how slavery was the way of life in Nigeria, how everyone was involved long before the white man came and many years later continued to trade in slaves despite strong opposition from Britain and her colonial governors. So ingrained was slavery in Nigeria that there was a popular saying "if you don't have a slave you are one". The writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani goes on to state very sensibly that to "Assess the people of Africa's past by today's standards would compel us to cast the majority of our heroes as villians".
My surprise was not the content of the article, which to someone with a degree in History and many years experience of teaching History was common knowledge, but rather the fact that the BBC had put it on their website. Perhaps there is hope yet.
 

westie4566

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I'm glad that you posted that and that the BBC have actually acknowledged the fact that Africans were complicit in the slave trade.

It doesn't mean that slavery becomes any more 'palatable', however it is an important and much ignored part of the history of the slave trade.
 

ashley

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Fact is, no white european ever went and captured slaves. All black slaves were caught and chained and marched many hundreds of miles to the ports, by either fellow blacks or muslim arabs. The slave port at zanzibar was ran completely by Muslims and yet no one ever seems to mention that..
 

Safranfoer

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You're not comparing apples with apples though.

The slave trade had been alive in Africa since the 7th century. From this period until the transatlantic slave trade began in the 16th century, slaves had limited rights, they tended to settle with family and kin groups in the areas they grew up or lived in, they weren't treated any differently according to their race or status (relative to each other, I mean), they weren't selected on racial or religious lines, and there were opportunities to leave slavery behind. Manumission was possible - slaves had the right to keep any money that they earned or property they were granted, and buy their way out of slavery - it wasn't a life sentence - and slaves performed perceived higher ranking roles like officer and official. It wasn't all agricultural or domestic.

It wasn't a bucolic, desirable life choice by any stretch of the imagination - violence, abuse and dehumanisation were the order of the day - but it was completely transformed by the transatlantic slave trade in the 16th century and became much more sinister. 20% of all adult men were transported from Africa to the New World, selected entirely along racial lines (slavery wasn't racist until we got involved), slaves lost all rights, they were separated from their families before they even left African soil. Slavery went from being a relatively insignificant part of the African economy to front and centre - their biggest export was people. Our demand far outstripped supply and led to a dramatic increase in kidnappings. We dismissed Africans and their religions and practices as savage, and yet treated slaves far more savagely ourselves, on the whole. That's the 'white man bad' narrative - we took a bad thing and made it much, much worse.
 

Ypres

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You're not comparing apples with apples though.

The slave trade had been alive in Africa since the 7th century. From this period until the transatlantic slave trade began in the 16th century, slaves had limited rights, they tended to settle with family and kin groups in the areas they grew up or lived in, they weren't treated any differently according to their race or status (relative to each other, I mean), they weren't selected on racial or religious lines, and there were opportunities to leave slavery behind. Manumission was possible - slaves had the right to keep any money that they earned or property they were granted, and buy their way out of slavery - it wasn't a life sentence - and slaves performed perceived higher ranking roles like officer and official. It wasn't all agricultural or domestic.

It wasn't a bucolic, desirable life choice by any stretch of the imagination - violence, abuse and dehumanisation were the order of the day - but it was completely transformed by the transatlantic slave trade in the 16th century and became much more sinister. 20% of all adult men were transported from Africa to the New World, selected entirely along racial lines (slavery wasn't racist until we got involved), slaves lost all rights, they were separated from their families before they even left African soil. Slavery went from being a relatively insignificant part of the African economy to front and centre - their biggest export was people. Our demand far outstripped supply and led to a dramatic increase in kidnappings. We dismissed Africans and their religions and practices as savage, and yet treated slaves far more savagely ourselves, on the whole. That's the 'white man bad' narrative - we took a bad thing and made it much, much worse.
I accept everything you say . The fact remains that slavery existed in Africa long before white colonialists arrived and arguably still exists in some African and Middle Eastern countries. BLM and some elements of the media either do not know this or knowingly seek to hide these facts which do not fit their narrative.
 

Piker20

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You're not comparing apples with apples though.

The slave trade had been alive in Africa since the 7th century. From this period until the transatlantic slave trade began in the 16th century, slaves had limited rights, they tended to settle with family and kin groups in the areas they grew up or lived in, they weren't treated any differently according to their race or status (relative to each other, I mean), they weren't selected on racial or religious lines, and there were opportunities to leave slavery behind. Manumission was possible - slaves had the right to keep any money that they earned or property they were granted, and buy their way out of slavery - it wasn't a life sentence - and slaves performed perceived higher ranking roles like officer and official. It wasn't all agricultural or domestic.

It wasn't a bucolic, desirable life choice by any stretch of the imagination - violence, abuse and dehumanisation were the order of the day - but it was completely transformed by the transatlantic slave trade in the 16th century and became much more sinister. 20% of all adult men were transported from Africa to the New World, selected entirely along racial lines (slavery wasn't racist until we got involved), slaves lost all rights, they were separated from their families before they even left African soil. Slavery went from being a relatively insignificant part of the African economy to front and centre - their biggest export was people. Our demand far outstripped supply and led to a dramatic increase in kidnappings. We dismissed Africans and their religions and practices as savage, and yet treated slaves far more savagely ourselves, on the whole. That's the 'white man bad' narrative - we took a bad thing and made it much, much worse.
Sorry but that's nonsense. The tribes who sold slaves didn't sell 'their people'. They sold other tribes considered inferior. Within a tribal system that's as close as you will get to racist.
I was surprised by the tone of the article as the journalist to all intents and purposes defended slavery as a valid part and parcel of her heritage.
 

Safranfoer

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Sorry but that's nonsense. The tribes who sold slaves didn't sell 'their people'. They sold other tribes considered inferior. Within a tribal system that's as close as you will get to racist.
I was surprised by the tone of the article as the journalist to all intents and purposes defended slavery as a valid part and parcel of her heritage.
It's not nonsense. Tribes weren't selling anyone, and nothing was based on inferiority. See:

 

Piker20

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Tribes didn't sell anyone?? The article quotes, 'we traded people from 1500-1900s and in Ghana the Ashanti made a lot of money selling to the Portuguese.
The white person didn't come and steal people. It was a trade.
 

Roag Fisher

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This tends to be forgotten.....I may even be accused (by some) of being a racist or accused of a hate crime for even posting this link -
 

Safranfoer

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Tribes didn't sell anyone?? The article quotes, 'we traded people from 1500-1900s and in Ghana the Ashanti made a lot of money selling to the Portuguese.
The white person didn't come and steal people. It was a trade.
I'm saying TRIBES didn't sell anyone. Or rather, they may have, but the African slave trade wasn't tribal - it was opportunistic. You initially said that tribes were selling people from other tribes that they considered inferior, and that this was a form of racism. That was the part I was disputing. Tribes weren't selling lower-ranking/enemy tribes. Merchants were selling criminals, those owing a debt, prisoners of war or people they could kidnap. Slavery didn't become a form of racial oppression until the West got involved. And when we got involved, it was the largest forced mass displacement of people the world has ever seen. The narrative that we only did what Africans were already doing - so black people shouldn't be so het up about slavery - is quite disingenuous. See:

"On the African side, the slave trade was generally the business of rulers or wealthy and powerful merchants."

"Africans could become slaves as punishment for a crime, as payment for a family debt, or most commonly of all, by being captured as prisoners of war. With the arrival of European and American ships offering trading goods in exchange for people, Africans had an added incentive to enslave each other, often by kidnapping."
 

KILDONAN

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Was surprised by the recent BBC article 'My Nigerian great grandfather sold slaves'. The writer tells how slavery was the way of life in Nigeria, how everyone was involved long before the white man came and many years later continued to trade in slaves despite strong opposition from Britain and her colonial governors. So ingrained was slavery in Nigeria that there was a popular saying "if you don't have a slave you are one". The writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani goes on to state very sensibly that to "Assess the people of Africa's past by today's standards would compel us to cast the majority of our heroes as villians".
My surprise was not the content of the article, which to someone with a degree in History and many years experience of teaching History was common knowledge, but rather the fact that the BBC had put it on their website. Perhaps there is hope yet.
Yes anyone who has read their history would know this, Mungo Park, Livingstone and others wrote accurately about what they had seen. Africans had been selling each other for hundreds of years. Especially to the Arabs.
 

KILDONAN

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I think many people would be surprised to learn too just how the Irish peoples were raided in pre history and taken for slaves.
 

Ypres

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Years ago I came to the conclusion that people believe what they want to believe and ignore anything that does not fit in with their belief system . Hell some people still believe the earth is flat, some believe in an old man living in the clouds. Others believe that black on black slavery is somehow not as reprehensible as white on black. Slavery is slavery.
 

ibm59

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It’s somehow comforting to see the white, christian , supremacists showing their hands on this thread.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

See what I did there ?
 
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