Europeans Were Not the Only Slave Traders in Africa
The recently completed royal tour of the Caribbean has provoked debates about Britain’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade. Animated by propaganda, such discussions obscure the complexity of the slave trade. Political hustlers are characterizing the slave trade in racial terms to justify divisive ideologies when the issue is more nuanced. The transatlantic slave trade must be situated within the broader discourse of exploitation.
Throughout history powerful states have devised strategies to subjugate weaker territories, and the transatlantic slave trade was never different. Racial similarities between are not a deterrent to exploitation, and underexplored European slave trades that entailed the trafficking of whites are equally important in the moral reckoning over historical atrocities. The failure to discuss the Eastern European slave trades and the Swedish slave trade that lasted from the sixth century until the Middle Ages suggests that current discussions are motivated by antiwhite animus rather than a desire to correct historical wrongs.
Moreover, the narrative paints an unfortunate picture of African slave traders by depicting them as innocent bystanders who were co-opted into the slave trade. In their quest to present whites as villains, activists have succeeded in infantilizing blacks by belittling their agency. African traders were astute businessmen who compelled Europeans to comply with local trading terms. To maintain trading posts, Europeans had to follow rules stipulated by local leaders.
For many Africans the slave trade was such
Article from Mises Wire