Not Only White People Owned Slaves

Many Natives vehemently argue against reparations for blacks that involve land, citing that the land is theirs.  I think that it is important to note, that what happened to Native Americans was horrible, but that does not absolve them of a crime against blacks..the crime of slavery.  It is not a well known fact, as often people will talk about the similarities between the black man and the Native as a combined struggle for the recognition of our dual humanity, thus ignoring the crime that was perpetrated against us. History cannot be twisted or forgotten. The Chickasaws, Chaktas, Creeks, and Cherokees all owned slaves, and participated in the slave trade. There is a debt to be repaid by every single group of people that profited from slave labour.

Today we stand side by side as POC  who have been marginalized, exploited and abused, but there was a time when we (read:blacks) looked upon them as our masters.  This should not stop us from recognizing their pain and validating their suffering, rather it should serve as a reminder of why POC need to stand together against oppression.  Neither of our two groups have been successful at achieving equality, economically, in the criminal justice system, or as social beings.  I am not advocating forgetting the past, rather I am using it as an example of what can happen when we wrongly take on the characteristics of our oppressors.  Whether it is colluding women, or blacks that internalize hatred when we identify with those that seek to reduce humanity at every turn we are complicit in our own marginalization. 

Though slavery is thankfully a thing of the past, there are many forces that seek to reify the message that POC are less than. The role of agents of socialization like the  media is to overwhelm us with negative imagery, so that we believe the false social construct, and base our actions upon their mendacious myths.  Today as young Latino youth engage in violence with Black youth both sides are blind to the fact that such internal strife between POC is counter to our needs.  When we repeat stereotypes about other racial groups demeaning them as people, it is counter to our needs and objectives.  The lesson that we need to take away from this history, is that not acting on behalf of the cause of justice is harmful and destructive.  To achieve equality for yourself, you must also seek it for others.

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