Sharpton is at it again. During an interview a couple of days ago Sarah Palin compared the growing national debt and the possible consequences to slavery. Al Sharpton, apparently believing that slavery only happened to black people in America and not to anyone else anywhere else in the world, responded by basically calling Palin's statement racist.
“Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China," Palin said. "When that money comes due – and this isn’t racist – but it’ll be like slavery when that note is due. We are going to beholden to the foreign master. . . We’re not wards of the State but free men and women who can live good and productive lives without D.C.s appointed best and brightest telling us what to do.”
Sharpton responded quickly. “Our federal debt is like slavery? Slavery was horrific, vile, a vile practice that was explicitly based on race. So it’s hard to avoid sounding racist when you make comparisons like that. This kind of talk has no place in our political debate. But Palin doesn’t seem to care. She only cares about throwing red meat to the right wing.”
Maybe Al needs a history lesson. Slavery has been around almost since the beginning of recorded history. The Jews were held in bondage in Babylon in the year 597BC. White European Christians were held as slaves in North Africa by Muslims between 1530 and 1780. ( Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).)
Slavery of Africans in this country got it's start in Africa where black people were held in slavery by other black people and sold to European and American buyers. From History Online: "African law recognized slavery and the right of owners to alienate slaves. A relatively low population density and an absence of the concept of property in land encouraged the development of slavery in West and Central Africa. Slavery had been important in the medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, and slave exports had supplemented the export of gold. Although African slavery was not a benign institution, slaves in Africa were used in a wider variety of ways than in the New World: they were employed as agricultural workers, soldiers, servants, and officials."
Ironically, Captain John Smith, founder of Jamestown, Virginia, where slavery in America began, was captured by the Turks while fighting against them as a soldier and was sold into slavery for a period of time. He escaped by killing his owner.
Despite his hateful rhetoric and continuous race baiting, Al Sharpton is an ordained minister. One would think he would remember certain Biblical teachings and verses, particularly Proverbs 22:7. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave.” This is exactly what Sarah Palin was speaking of. I suppose, in Sharpton's world, the Bible is now a racist book....?
It seems metaphors may not be used in today's society lest one be accused of racism or hatred. People use the words "slave" and "slavery" all the time without it being racist. "He is a slave to his job. He is a slave to drugs." Body builders are often called "slaves to their bodies." Despite Sharpton's wishes, African Americans do not get to lay sole claim to practice of slavery nor to the word. Certainly slavery in this country was an atrocity that went on far too long and needed to be changed. But slavery didn't originate in this country nor is has it been completely eradicated in today's world. And making a metaphorical statement, particularly when it's backed up Biblically, is not racist.
Sarah Palin is correct in linking our debt to China to the possibility of future slavery. The nation that borrows the money could very easily end up being ruled and controlled by the nation to whom they owe the debt. I find it interesting that Palin knew, and qualified with her statement "This is not racist" that someone would accuse her of it. I guess she's accustomed to it by now.