Then came Soulja Boy Tell Em. I asked him, “What historical figure do you most hate?” He was stumped. I said, “Others have said Hitler, bin Laden, the slave masters…” He said, “Oh wait! Hold up! Shout out to the slave masters! Without them we’d still be in Africa.”
My jaw, at this point, was on the ground.”We wouldn’t be here,” he continued, having no idea how far in it he’d stepped, “to get this ice and tattoos.”
When slavery was sacralized, “slave” was a caste role which had a sacred purpose. If you or your tribe were incapable of self-rule, and were dominated in battle or traded your people off as slaves, you became a laborer who was unpaid. In consequence, you were taken care of — food, medical, housing — for life. Seeing how most poor people don’t even get that with their “freedom” to earn little and then figure out how to pay for what they need, it was a decent alternative to extreme poverty. Since it was like other caste roles part of the sacred order of a civilization, slaves were — with the exception of true psychopathic masters — treated well and seen as part of the household.
But once idiots started making moral judgments about slavery, it became purely a question of economics — pragmatics. That is where the abuses came from. So Soulja Boy Tell Em has both a point, and a point that will get lost in the greater question of whether we can again make a society that views its position as sacred.