Michelle Obama in her speech in front of the Democratic National Convention stated that slaves built the White House. As a historical comment, she is right. Slaves, along with freemen, Irish immigrants, Germans, and Anglo descendants did build the White House. However, her statement was not meant to be historical, it was meant to be political. For those racists who see everything as color, her statement begs the question, “Are blacks the only slaves that built something?”
Historically Blacks built the institution of slavery. As the builders of the world’s first civilizations Blacks used chattel slavery as a means to build their empires. Of course ,they are not alone in this. Egypt, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Rome, China, Native Americans (both North and South), the English, the French, the Germans, Americans, and the Spanish all used chattel slavery.
This means that slaves (black, white, native, and other) built the Pyramids, the Roman Empire, the Parthenon, Inca and Aztec temples, The Great Wall of China, the Spanish Missions of the Americas/Caribbean, and the Native American Tribes. Even in terms of being recent slaves, American Blacks do not have that claim to fame. The last nation to end slavery in the Western Hemisphere was Brazil in 1888.
Why does no one ever discuss these facts? Many of the anti-slavery sites on the Internet will point to Whites enslaving Blacks in the Americas. They purposefully ignore the fact that Blacks were intimately involved in the practice of slavery.
Another often overlooked fact is that Blacks were not enslaved because they were Black. They were enslaved because they lacked the ability to protect themselves from slavers. This is historically proven by the enslavement of the Jews, Irish, Egyptians, etc… It is a political lie to believe that Blacks were enslaved because they were Black. It is a political lie to suggest that Black hands are clean of slavery. Slavery has never had anything to do with race.
Instead of bemoaning the fact that we all were once slaves we should celebrate that the United States no longer openly practices slavery. There is still slavery in America, but that is a topic for another time.