Aren't some countries unfairly vilified for their slavery/colonial past?

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,463
Dispargum
Yes, the argument is no longer productive. Ario, Moof Nebs, I don't want to see either of you mention race in this thread again.
 
Jul 2019
47
Ghana
There are real differences between population groups which are the result of different ancestry and evolution.
Nobody is denying that there are differences between population groups. A strange argument to make considering that I just shared a picture of black, brown and white people, with different color hair, eyes and all, as well as indicating that ethnicities are real... The question is if these arguably shallow differences merit people being classified as different "races", or mere variances within one and the same race. The concept of different races can not be adequately defined by science. It's an artificial construct with many divergent connotations, which is one of the many reasons why it's so controversial, and a topic generally avoided in scientific circles for some time now.

I really can't believe that you brought pygmies into this...

I too, can share images of short and tall people.
Small man large man.jpg

These differences aren't particularly relevant. Differences in color, height, which places on this planet all your many millions of ancestors were chucking sharpened sticks at antilopes a couple ten thousands years ago, they're all irrelevant towards attempts at racially classifying people into these macro-groups that make no real sense, unless you really want it to...
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,463
Dispargum
Sundiata, you're on the list now, too. Everybody, drop the discussion of race and get back on the topic of whether or not some countries are unfairly vilified for their slavery pasts.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,636
San Antonio, Tx
Don’t forget that the U.S arguably had the biggest social issues as well as internal war regarding slavery’s legacy than any other single country, it seems that apart from Haiti of course, every other American country ended slavery gradually under the new emerging enlightened ideas of the time.
You mean Brazil, don’t you - (where slavery held out for a good while)?
 
Jul 2019
47
Ghana
Sundiata, you're on the list now, too. Everybody, drop the discussion of race and get back on the topic of whether or not some countries are unfairly vilified for their slavery pasts.
My apologies for overstepping forum rules, I didn't see your original mod message until after I posted.

Is it possible to discuss how the development of scientific racism influenced the racialization of slavery, which plays a key role in how the history of slavery is often perceived today? Followed by periods like the Jim Crow laws in the Southern USA until the 1960's, or racial segregation to varying degrees across colonial Africa, these periods in history have strengthened the narrative of the "European colonizers" and the "native victims", rightly or wrongly so.

As has been pointed out, if OP was francophone he'd be exposed to the same kind of vilification of France's colonial history, likewise for Portugal and Spain if he was a Portguese or Spanish speaker. If he was a Japanese, Korean or Chinese speaker, he might not care about Europe's colonial history at all, but ask whether Japan is unfairly vilified for its colonial past, or if he was a Turkish speaker, he might ask about the vilification of Turkey over its not so spotless imperial legacy. Belgians, Russians, Arabs, Aztecs, and Ashantis, they're all vilified or victimized by someone... It really depends on who you ask...

OP asks a fair question, but it's also a little strange when colonial rule didn't end in places like Angola and Mozambique until 1975 and white minority rule didn't end in colonial offshoots like Rhodesia until 1980, Namibia until 1990 and South Africa until 1994. There are still a good number of people alive today, who fought in those relatively bloody conflicts. In those contexts, it can't be called surprising that some people still hold a grudge against the countries that they've been fighting against for their independence for so long, so "recently". That doesn't mean that most people in former colonies have a negative view about their former colonizer, quite often they don't.

In addition, other examples in living memory, like the CIA backed coup against Kwame Nkrumah, the US backed and Belgian supervised assassination of Patrice Lumumba, controversial deaths of people like Samora Machel or Thomas Sankara, as well as the fact that a large part of the Cold War was essentially fought out in Africa with the guns, finances and political, logistical and sometimes plain military support of the great powers of the world, makes people link the earlier colonial and trans Atlantic periods to current affairs. Unwavering French support for bloody dictators like the Bongo's in Gabon doesn't help, and there are actually some striking parallels to earlier periods, especially with regard to the nature of the close relationship between, say, large corporate entities like Areva and French military activity in West Africa, or how some of the worlds leading billion dollar companies like the British-Dutch Unilever made a big part of their original wealth from the exploitation of African human and palm oil resources (the Royal Niger Company was also absorbed by Unilever), or how many of these companies continue to exploit cheap labor in these former colonies (near slave conditions on many plantations that supply a large quantity of the world's cocoa, or the coltan mines in DRC, for example). These are just quick examples off the top of my head, but there is a lot of this kind of stuff, like Italian nuclear waste dumping off the coast of Somalia, or other examples such as the expulsion of the Chagosians from their islands in the Indian Ocean between 1967 and 1973, by Britain and the ongoing dispute about their right to return. These things just feel like echoes of previous periods for a lot of people. There is just an unhealthy power dynamic between the former great colonial powers and their former colonies today, which is one of the reasons that some countries are still vilified for their past in some circles, but that doesn't mean that other countries aren't being vilified for their past, you just might not be exposed to it as much.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,463
Dispargum
Is it possible to discuss how the development of scientific racism influenced the racialization of slavery, which plays a key role in how the history of slavery is often perceived today? Followed by periods like the Jim Crow laws in the Southern USA until the 1960's, or racial segregation to varying degrees across colonial Africa, these periods in history have strengthened the narrative of the "European colonizers" and the "native victims", rightly or wrongly so.
That might be better in its own thread. Race has proved problematic in this thread. People can't even agree what race is. It might be a good idea to define in your OP just what race is.
 
Jul 2019
47
Ghana
That might be better in its own thread. Race has proved problematic in this thread. People can't even agree what race is. It might be a good idea to define in your OP just what race is.
Thanks for the answer, and I understand. Although I'm not particularly enthusiastic about having a big race debate, so I'll probably just retreat back to my little corner, lol.

I'm new to the forum, but have been stumbling across many quality threads here, long before joining, so I was a little surprised by the amount of thinly veiled nationalistic, racial, religious or political jabs and generally uncourteous bickering that goes on here, and to notice what can only be described as revisionist tendencies in this thread, from "both sides of the spectrum", which is why I didn't really wish to participate in it in the first place. I should have probably listened to my inner voice which said, "stay away from these kind of threads"...
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,620
Westmorland
To get back to the OP, it seems to me that the answer is quite simple.

If we accept that slavery is a bad thing (notwithstanding that some of us might also accept Picard's point that there are different manifestations of the phenomenon), then it's hard to see how any amount of vilification of those who practised it could be regared as unfair.

Unfairness might arise if, as we see all too often, lazy correlations are made between those who practised slavery and those who just happen to have been born in the same countries many years later. Unfairness might also arise if those who us who live in countries where slavery was practised stick our fingers in our ears and pretend that it wasn't so bad after all or that we are all being picked on.

We are supposed to be historians. We are supposed to be on the lookout for sloppy thinking, revisionism and bowdlerisation. We are supposed to be able to step out from behind the protective carapace of nationality and it's associated bundle of good stories to look at things objectively.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,741
Semantically vilification is by its nature unfair. What's asked is if the emphasis on slavery as historically practised by some nations is unfair, and thus constitutes vilification.

An argument that vilification is fair seems just inherently weird. An argument that the current attention is deserved, and thus does not constitute vilification, makes sense.

If anything too little attention might be paid to the phenomenon and its history, and it is a fair point that there might be imbalances in the accounts and relative attention, sometimes glaring.