First, Slavery is not universal, no more universal than God and Religion. Just as you find wide variation in religion, and culture, you find wide variations of “slavery” around the world. There was no Slavery in Africa as Europeans understood and practiced it; but the savage European invaders didn’t have a word for what they did find in Africa, so they just reduced it to “slavery.” In some cased they called Africans who they concluded were enslaved “slaves in name only;” because these individuals in no way were treated or looked like the slaves in Europe…where slavery and the concept of slave started. Even White historians like John Thornton have articulated this; check out his text: Africa and the Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800. (It’s a mostly shitty African history book written by a Eurocentric, but he even admits to what I’m saying about “African Slavery.”
Because Europeans didn’t just invade nations all over the world, they destroyed institutions and documents in the nations they invaded, and we are left with the White interpretation and distortion of our own history and ancestral cultures.
So, how can Africans engage in a transaction of which they had no concept of?
Secondly, what the hell did the Europeans have that they could exchange for “slaves” with Africans? Europeans didn’t have shit that Africans wanted. Africa was wealthier, more peaceful, and more stable than Europe. European currency had no value in Africa. Europe didn’t have any natural resources that Africa didn’t have in greater abundance, and Africa had long standing trade and interactions with Asia and the rest of the known world when Europeans were just emerging from caves onto frozen lands. So, even if Africans were into selling other Africans into slavery, what they hell did Europeans have to buy them with? Rich nations don’t invade poor nations, back then or now, they only invade nations that have more wealth and resources that they covet.
The only way Europeans could even get Africans to engage in any type of exchange with them is by totally disrupting African societies, which they did. It took them centuries of violence and subversion, but they eventually destabilized many African nations and empires to provoke the kinda dysfunction and conflicts that still plague Africa to this day.
Most legal codes acknowledge all actions done under coercion or duress are not legitimate transactions; so if Africans are engaged in capturing and exchanging other Africans for their own security, for weapons to protect themselves from conflicts provoked by invaders, or to trade for the release of their own family and loved ones, then all of the Africans engaged in these transactions are victims; all of them. Even the wicked, racist, and unjust Western Legal Systems agree that you can’t hold a coerced person who’s under a direct threat fully accountable for their actions, it’s the one holding the gun to your head and forcing you to act who’s to blame.
All Africans were victims of Western Aggression and Atrocities, even those who appear to be victimizers on the surface, just like today.
As Prof. Mackey would always say; “if Africans sold each other, what did they do with the money?” Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States, and many European Aristocratic families (including the current royal family of England), and many corporations and foundations (that are still in operation today) got filthy rich off of the African Holocaust; not one African nation, royal house, family, individual, or company can make that claim; so it’s insulting to suggest that we were equal or voluntary participants in the enslaving our own people.
Finally; I’m sick of this fucking question, TBH.
I’ve never heard people ask; “did Native Americans help the White man clear the lands of other Native Americans.” Or, “did Jews help the Nazis identify, capture, and gas other Jews.” Or, “did the Irish aid the British in colonizing Ireland for over 800 years.” Or, “do Arab Muslims help the US in its illegal wars in the Middle East.” Or, “did Vietnamese help the US in its genocidal war, that killed over 3 million innocent Vietnamese civilians.” Or, “did Japanese still fight for the US military during WWII even though their own people were held in concentration camps on US soil.” And so on, and so on, and so on.
I even get this shit from Native Americans, Jews, Irish, Arab people and others; and when I ask them about their people’s cooperation with their oppressor they swear I’m being Racist or insensitive, but muthafuckas can throw around that “Africans sold their own into slavery” shit with impunity. And yes it’s fucking insulting to pose such questions. It’s no different than asking a rape victim what she was wearing when she got raped, but you expand that contempt and insensitivity to a whole Race and contentment. That’s fucked up.
Also, I meet muthafuckas who don’t know shit about African History, who can’t name one African historian, or one African History book, muthafuckas who can’t name one African ethnic or tribal group, who would struggle to name more than 3 African countries, who can’t tell you shit about Africa; but these muthafuckas all seem to know that; “AFRICANS SOLD EACH OTHER INTO SLAVERY.”
How is it that people don’t know shit about Africa or history in general, but they know that shit?
It’s because it’s fucking anti-African propaganda, it’s a distortion of history that our enslavers promoted to justify their atrocities. All abusers, individual and collective try to blame their victims, all of them!
So, the real question should be: Did Europeans (and Arabs) invade, colonize, disrupt, enslave, and oppress Africa? If so, what is the resolution?
Africans don’t get caught up in victim blaming and oppressor excusing. We protect the dignity of our ancestors as we seek to avenge them and restore justice and balance to all Africans, at home and abroad.
One more thing, when Arabs and Europeans invaded Africa to colonize our lands and enslave our people there were three basic responses: active submission (cooperation with the oppressor), passive submission, and resistance. Today, Africans across the globe we are oppressed and we still have those same three options; cooperation, submission, and resistance. I find that Africans who love to bring up the cooperation that our oppressor coerced from our ancestors are those who cooperate with our oppressor in their time; and those are the ancestors the most identify with.