I shouldn't have to say this, but just because we have a Black President in 2010 doesn't mean it was okay to invade and rape Africa 500 years ago.
I don't know where racists get the idea that LeBron James being able to sign a big money deal in the NBA means that 500 years of slavery, abuse, exploitation, segregation, dogs, firehoses, Bull Durham, George Wallace, the Klan, exploding churches, and Rush Limbaugh were okay. That's like saying it should be okay for people to rape you in prison, because once your therapy is complete, you're gonna have a really good story to tell.
Where does this idea come from? The slavers weren't looking to do hook Black folks up when when they showed up in West Africa. They didn't say, "If you come with us, your kids will dominate sports and pop culture one day," and even if they did, I don't think that's a very good selling point. They didn't rape our Black women to help their descendants with their hair care issues. Slavery was fucked up. Post Civil War America was fucked up. The 1960s was a less fucked up, but still fucked up. And every time someone suggests this myth that we are somehow better off today because Kunta and Belle watched Kizzy get sold off for learning how to read, it reminds me that things are still fucked up.
I don't think people who think this way really understand what slavery means. We didn't choose to go and there's wasn't an opt-out clause in our contract that said we could go back home if we didn't like it. We were stolen away from our homes. We had a religion forced upon us. We weren't even considered to be people. We were beaten, we were starved, we were forced to work, we were raped, we had no rights, no education, nothing of our own, isolated in a land that wasn't our own. And once we finally got free, we were resented by the oppressor for having the nerve to want freedom and equality. It took 100 years from the point slavery ended just to get the Civil Rights Act passed. And even now, we're still dealing with the problem of race in America, and if we weren't, I wouldn't be bothering to write this.
We were fine in Africa. The Africa of today isn't the Africa that was there when white folks showed up. We weren't bothering anyone when the slavers showed up with their hypocrisy and their Christianity (one and the same, really), and decided that our way of life wasn't good enough. Oh, and we had diamond mines. Can't forget that.
So, they enslaved some of us and colonized the rest. Yeah, you were really doing us a favor. If they really wanted to do something nice for Black people, they would have stayed the hell out of Africa. There wouldn't have been any exploitation of people OR resources. There wouldn't have been any colonization, any turning tribes against each other, and maybe, just maybe, none of the things that set Africa on the path to all this behavior that makes the world think that we are nothing but mindless savages. Yeah, you really helped us out, slavers. Our biggest problems before were just getting eaten by lions and the occasional tribal war. That shit is no problem at all when you're faced with smallpox, slavery, genocide, J. Edgar Hoover, and the crack epidemic. Clearly, we had no perspective at all.
Thank God you guys came and gave it to us, though. Now, we know what true wickedness is. Our form of slavery wasn't even the same as yours. In Africa, slavery was more of a debt to be paid for a loss of battle or crime committed, and eventually, the enslaved could leave. Your form was the corporate version of slavery, where slaves were a resource to be exploited; a commodity to be traded. Boy, were we naive!
So stop with the bullshit. Just because Michael Jackson sold a bunch of records and Roland Martin gets to be on CNN doesn't mean that everything that happened in 1849 was totally worth it. It was still a goddamn atrocity. The ends never justify the means. If they do, that means that the Holocaust and Hitler should be celebrated, because it got the Jews a free country, money, and gave us Steven Spielberg. Much like slavery, the Holocaust was fucked up. That's why they call it "The Holocaust," and not "Weekend at Bernie's 3: The Relaxing Gas-Chamber Sauna."
If someone truly believes that we should be grateful to white people for our peoples' journey through Hell, just because eventually, it worked out pretty decently, then that person should be thrown into piranha-infested waters for being that ignorant. Sure, we've made the best of a shitty situation, but claiming that the progress of the last 50 years means that the slave trade was okay makes them an asshole. America would be a much greater place today without all of that Black blood on its hands.