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The Scars of Slavery - America's Original Sin
By Scott Rohter

The Crippling Legacy of Slavery and How America's Original Sin
Still Affects Us Today


November 2011 - Updated March 2014


Slavery was the terrible price that Africans paid to come to America. It doesn't matter whether they landed in the United States, or Brazil, or on a Caribbean island owned by Great Britain. It was still a terrible injustice that individuals suffered. They were captured by rival African tribes and sold off into slavery to Europeans. They were herded into the bowels of ocean going vessels by White men like so much cattle and then transported to a New World where a new language, a new culture and a new way of life awaited them which were not of their own chosing.

It was every bit as much of an injury to their collective consciousness as it was to their souls as individuals. In the 17th and 18th Centuries some Americans might have thought that slavery wasn't really so bad. They might have believed that "colored" people needed "the White man" to take care of them, but I have learned that people can justify almost anything... People can overlook any sin imaginable including theft, murder, and genocide. Some people may try to argue that since indentured servitude was common in those days therefore slavery really wasn't so bad. They might try to convince themselves that it was just the price of admission that Blacks had to pay to come to America.

While it is true that most of our ancestors did pay in order to come here, and many immigrants to America sold everything they had in order to become a part of the American dream, I would simply say to those who still think that slavery was an acceptable form of collateral to purchase a ticket to the New World, that 200 years of slavery was a very inflated price to pay in order to come to the United States. It was much more than the cost of a boat ticket and furthermore it was not even a boat ticket that they wanted to buy.


It is true that indentured servitude was a common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries. Frequently that was how poor European immigrants arranged for their passage to the New World... by selling themselves into servitude for a certain period of time, but it was a lot of their own choosing and not someone else's. Furthermore their servitude was only for a limited period of time. It was usually for 3 to 10 years. They were not plucked up from their homeland and carried away from their family against their will and then forced to go where they did not want to. They were not loaded into the hulls of ships like livestock and forced to make this unwanted journey to a new land in wretched conditions, so wretched in fact that many of them died along the way. Once they got here the slavery that awaited them on the plantations for several generations for themselves and their children and their children's children was far worse than any involuntary servitude that European immigrants ever arranged.


Slavery came with varying degrees of racism, discrimination, and segregation. For any Black person who was difficult to control or who questioned their inferior status there were the all too frequent rapes and mob lynchings and houses being burnt to the ground and for all the rest of the slaves who did not question their inferior status there were the usual humiliations that served as their daily reminder that they were considered to be just personal property. The institution of slavery left an enduring legacy of hate and suspicion in America which survives until this day. It is written in indelible ink and it has produced lingering scars on the American psyche. These scars are the result of two hundred years of mental and emotional abuse that was inflicted upon an entire group of citizens which still plagues our society today. We are all affected by the consequences of two hundred years of slavery whether we are White or Black or some other shade in-between.

Slavery was one of the fundamental causes of the Civil War. It was the principal cause of the unrest that troubled our country during the 1960s and 1970s. The legacy of slavery is one of the fundamental reasons for so many of the things that are wrong in America today such as the rampant crime rate that is out of control in America's inner-cities, the drug dealing and drug abuse that goes on in our urban ghettos, all of the single parent homes where young children are being raised without a father, the high percentage of abortions in the African-American Community, and the breakdown of the family especially the breakdown of African-American families. All of these ills have their roots in America's original sin of slavery. These are the real scars of slavery.


The grim legacy of slavery forms the basis for most U.S. government welfare programs. Food Stamps, Aid to Dependent Children, subsidized government housing, racial quotas, forced busing, and Affirmative Action programs are all the by products of 200 years of slavery. These big government entitlement programs are changing the moral character of our Nation from being a self reliant and independent people, to becoming a nation of lazy, helpless, and irresponsible co-dependents whose hands are always out asking for the federal government to do more. Our government is 20 trillion dollars in debt because of such government entitlement programs. Welfare programs and the sense of entitlement that accompanies them have contributed to America's annual budget deficits.

Congress is unable to pass a balanced budget primarily because of all the government entitlement programs which the Democrat Party is adamantly opposed to scaling back. They refuse to cut entitlements to their core group of voters. One of the Democrat's largest constituent groups which is relied upon to vote solidly Democratic year after year after year is the African-American community. So even the failure of Congress to pass a balanced budget and the failure of our Nation's leaders to get our National Debt under control can be traced back to the crippling legacy of slavery... America's original sin.

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"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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