Here’s something I wrote for class:
The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade was worse than Holocaust…the end. Just kidding. Slavery was worse than the Holocaust but that was just the beginning. The Holocaust lasted four years and it’s reparations were paid within three years of it’s ending. While American Slavery lasted well over four hundred years and it’s reparations have yet to be paid while it’s official end date was well over one hundred and fifty years ago. That’s a long time in comparison to the three-year turnaround that the Jewish prisoners of war received.
Point 2: Bloodshed
Let’s examine the amount of human lives that were lost during the two time periods to see if the intensity of the holocaust balanced the scales.
“Operation Reinhard (1942–1943) was the largest single murder campaign of the Holocaust, during which some 1.7 million Jews from German-occupied Poland were murdered by the Nazis.”
This is one figure but it’s popularly reported that four million was the official death toll. For the sake of the opposition’s argument we’ll use a range of 2-4 millions lives as our marker for lives claimed by the Nazi regime during World War II.
While 2-4 million Jewish lives were lost over the course of four years. According the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Data Base of the 12 million Africans taken through the middle passage about 10 million made it too land due to the inhumane conditions of the ships they were human trafficked on. Of that 10 million 300,000 thousand were shipped to North America. That initial 300,000 turned to 4 million by the 1850 US Census. The last census before the formal abolition in the year 1865. Due to poor record keeping, done either unintentionally or intentionally these are the best figures we have to work with on both sides.
Point 3: Suffering
We’re the Nazi death camps were known for their swift execution style: think gas chambers or firing lines. This genocide was done swiftly and cleanly in comparison too generational impact that American Slavery had due too it’s economical benefits it produced for it’s overseers.
Both groups suffered tremendously however one was drawn out over the course of four hundred or more years and the others was taken care of in about four some would argue less:
Using an unusual dataset originating from railway transportation records, this study identifies an extreme phase of hyperintense killing when >1.47 million Jews—more than 25% of the Jews killed in all 6 years of World War II—were murdered by the Nazis in an intense,100-day (~3-month) surge.
– (Stone, 2018)
Now ask yourself which would you prefer? Regardless of how you answer when you compare the numbers directly it’s easy to see that Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade claimed more lives during transportation of human cargo than the minimum number of lives claimed during the entire holocaust. Even more than that: ten million lives were taken into literal generational bondage for what they had no idea would 15-20 generations or four hundred plus years. Talk about a nightmare.
Last but not least before we move on too the next point let’s discuss the intricacies of suffering. We’re talking about Male rape: taking boys manhoods also known as buckbreaking where the slave masters would tie young men too posts and rape them for the whole family and extended family to watch. Breeding farms where people like me were forced to literally have sex with their mothers. Human training: think about the way dogs were trained or look too Willie Lynch. Mental slavery: slavers took the option of education away from the their slaves as it was bad for business. You see if a slave could read they would cease to be a slave of course so education was perceived as an inherent threat. More so the mothers were instructed and adapted to the cruelty thy received so they began to mentally condition the young men too obey so that they were able to survive. The Me Too movement should go dig up the old bones of American Slavery and the amount of male on female rape that took place by European men against African women. Let’s not forget the vestiges of slavery that effect us to this day some 150 years after the “emancipation procolomation”. Let’s talk about the impact that suffering has on the DNA of a population. There was a study done on the survivors of Irish Potato Famine. The study found that not having enough food literally changed the DNA in one lifetime. Now just imagine what impact slavery had on not only genetics but also the social conditioning of the African Descedants of Slavery. That’s something that more than likely isn’t capable of occuring in the two to four years that Operation Reinhart persisted. Not to mention the social fabric of a government that allowed such a thing too persist has gone untouched unlike the German government which faced sanctions, trials, and was pretty much completely dismantled after the end of WWII in 1945 when many of the High Ranking German officials that led the way fled and scattered all over the globe, many of them settling in the South American jungles. In American the same families that perpetuated and made a killing off the backs of the African people they abused are the wealthy families that still hold power in certain areas of the country. On the lower end of that spectrum we have US police force which evolved from literal slave catchers. As we all know the roots are the most important part of the trees similar to the way that the foundation of a house is the most important part of the house. Last but certainly not least we’re still taught a bogus history that leaves out plenty in regards to our bloody past. We actually spend more time educating our youth on the mistakes of our neighbors than our own. The holocaust is beat into our heads despite the fact that the Germans treated their Jewish prisoners with more respect and decency than our founding fathers did their African help. What’s more is that whenever it’s brought up the response is always akin to go home if you don’t like it nigger. Instead of how can we make up for our mistakes as one people now that we know we were wrong. Maybe it’s because we’re still unconsciously programmed to believe white is right and might is right? In a nutshell, we’re taught that white people are superior to people of color which simply isn’t true but that’s the American way.
In closing, even if you disregard everything I say in that last paragraph as perspective even though it’s as close as we’ll ever get to an objective truth we have no choice but to agree with the facts I’m about to present. Jewish people received over a billion dollars in reparations and their own country. What did African American receive? More racism: in segregation, operation cointel pro, the school to prison pipeline, the war on drugs, the 18th amendment, and BET.
Reiter, B. (2019) If Germany atoned for the Holocaust, the US can pay reparations for slavery. University of South Florida. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/if-germany-atoned-for-the-holocaust-the-us-can-pay-reparations-for-slavery-119505