Thomas Sowell

Since it was the Africans and the Arabs who actually caught and sold slaves, do the African and Arab nations plan to send reparations over here to the descendants of enslaved Africans living in the Western Hemisphere? Of course not. They want the United States to lay some of those American dollars on them! We have fallen for so many other sucker plays in the past, why not try this one on us?

When slavery is mentioned, too many people automatically think of whites enslaving blacks. That is not even one-tenth of the story of slavery, which existed on every inhabited continent. The very word "slave" derives from the word for some white people who were enslaved on a mass scale -- the Slavs -- for more centuries than blacks were enslaved in the Western Hemisphere.

Moreover, slavery existed in the Western Hemisphere before the first black or white person ever set foot on these shores. The indigenous peoples of this hemisphere enslaved one another, just as Asians enslaved Asians, Europeans enslaved Europeans, and Africans enslaved Africans. Attempts to limit the discussion of slavery to slavery in the United States or in Western civilization make sense only as a strategy to get money or political concessions.

Western civilization was the first civilization to regard slavery as morally wrong and it is the civilization with the most sense of guilt about it. To this very moment slavery continues in parts of Africa and the Islamic world. Very little noise is made about it by those who denounce the slavery of the past in the West, because there is no money to be made denouncing it and no political advantages to be gained.

If the American delegation walking out of the U.N. Conference Against Racism represented a belated waking up to the scams being played, that could be a very healthy sign for the future -- not only on the international scene, but within the United States as well.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate