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Opinions Sun, 7 Jun 2020

What if the Atlantic slavery never happened?

In the midst of the current happenings of civil unrest in the United States as a result of persistent institutionalized and systematic racism and injustice especially among African-Americans, the following thoughts (hypothesis) keeps resonating on my mind; What would the past few centuries look like if African slaves were never brought to the American shores?

What If all African-Americans had come to America as free willing immigrants, just as the other Europeans descendants? It keeps resonating "What if? ... What if?" These are complex but simple possible scenarios. Well, how am I even going to tackle such a controversial and dark moment in history, well lets think through.

The Atlantic Slavery as we learnt, involved the shipping of about 10 to 12 million African slaves across the Atlantic ocean to the shores of America, beginning in the 15th century and was later abrogated in the 19th century.

This inhumane act as assessed by scholars and historians, has left nothing but a devastating impact on the African people. Slavery introduced Africans into the social caste of the White society, but one may ask, were(are) Africans accepted in the White society?

Well, no! In the 19th century, after the abolishment, as Africans were in the US, they were still considered foreigners of a kind. And even Abraham Lincoln(the 16th president of the United States), before the American Civil War believed that former African slaves would need to leave America for Africa as they would always be foreigners. As America is populated by mostly immigrants of European descendants (i.e Germans, British, French, Russians, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Poles, Dutch, Scandinavians, among others), the one immigrant that America would never accept is Africans. And this brings us to the genesis of institutionalized racism among African-Americans in America. One may say slavery is or wasn't the genesis of racial tension, but it is a byproduct of it!

In an alternate world, were slavery never existed and African descendants came to America as free willing immigrants just like the other European descendants; the relationship between Whites and Blacks would have been much more better without contempt. The whole racial makeup would have been different. May be, White Supremism would have lessen or never have existed. Institutionalized racism among African-Americans would have lessen or may not have existed. Injustice among African-Americans would have lessen or may not have existed. Culturally, politically, philosophically, the United States would have been different as it now stands.

Otherwise speaking, had there never been slavery in America, there would still have been economic and social disparities. To counter balance this disparities, we would have to combat the global phenomenon of "white supremacy" rather than the involving of the hypothesis "what if the Atlantic slavery never happened?"

Racism is built into the DNA of America. And as long as we continue to turn a blind eye to the pain of those suffering under its oppression, we would never escape those origins. I bet you, "Jim Crow is still alive and kicking!"
Columnist: Abdul-Hamid