The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Slavery Was Fair To Slaves. Yeah, Right.

The capacity for human self-delusion never ceases to amaze me.  Over the weekend, I spoke with one of the few black SF fans at a local convention.  He spoke of conversations with a famous SF writer (of Southern heritage and Conservative bent) who insists that slavery was good for slaves, and not a damaging institution.  Sigh.  Just for fun, I did a bit of research.  If you find yourself in such a conversation with someone with a desperate need to justify the inhumanity of his ancestors, you might try pointing them at the following statistics.

Very clear.  During slavery, the black life expectancy was about 23 years, as opposed to almost 40 for whites.  Within thirty years after emancipation, black life expectancy had risen to 41.8, narrowing the gap between black and white by 6 years. 

In my humble opinion, anyone who can’t grasp the implications of malnutrition, overwork, infant mortality, torture, and murder is in a pathological state of denial, and the conversation should be terminated.

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