Throughout history slavery was ordinary, it has been the norm. Overcoming it required exceptional ideals; values and principles. Most people today lack context for their understanding of American slavery.
They compare their personal reality; their American life with an abstract standard of perfection. Doing so, how can one do anyone but find America wanting?
Slavery is not a uniquely American invention or a character flaw
They believe that slavery is uniquely an American condition. Many think of it as uniquely Southern. Those same people believe freedom and prosperity are the default position of the human race for all time. They are wrong. That does not stop them from being shocked. It does not keep them from disbelieving when the truth is before them. The truth is slavery has existed all over the world, since the beginning of time.
Slavery has existed in most cultures and most time periods of human history. It has been more the rule than the exception in human history. Most people do not understand the ancient cultures all embraced slavery. The Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings, the Byzantines, the Ethiopians all slave cultures. They are shocked to learn that American slavery was more humane than most.
Islam plays a role in the spread of slavery
American slavery was far more humane than that of Brazil. The American portion of the slaves imported from Africa was small. Only about 4% to 5% of the total number imported to the Western hemisphere came here. They are shocked to learn about the role of Islam in the propagation of slavery. They are shocked to know that slavery still exists openly today. It is in countries such as Mauritania… today. Our vaunted agencies of international governance do little to nothing about it. Did you know that? What have you done to end slavery?
We need to bring these facts to light. Being better-informed may change our perspective on America and her greatness. The uniqueness of the liberty, prosperity and order that we enjoy should carry more meaning. It is important to remember the obstacles which we have managed to overcome. We have a proud though not perfect history. To get where we are we have overcome a lot. We should rejoice in how far we have come and continue moving forward.
Mankind has a long history
The United States did not create slavery. We did not create racism or racial prejudice. These things are as old as human history and are the default position of human nature. Absent some strong countervailing moral force they remain in human cultures. These evils do touch the United States in her history and that touch motivates her to change. We have participated in them. Our nation has largely overcome them.
That is precisely why it is important to understand America is also a country that has a larger history. It is something of which we can be proud, our history of overcoming such things. America is a growing and evolving engine of prosperity, peace, tolerance, and freedom. Rooting our perspective of America in her past not her future is a choice of denial. Life is about perspective.
America is great because it is willing and able to change
We should not deny the grandeur of the nation’s actual founding. It is important to grasp the prescience of our institutions. That includes the world’s longest-lasting constitution. Why would anyone deny the nation’s immense moral progress since that time? Is it reasonable to deny its capacity for even greater progress? Isn’t it a massive distraction? Does it not keep us from actually dealing with the problems that face us? Is it not in the way of the changes that progress could bring? Life is About Perspective.