“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
My name is Sophia Reed and I am writing in response to the man who called in yesterday. He was comparing black slavery to the holocaust. I do not wish to compare which group suffered more because that is not the issues at hand, but to clarify some things. This gentlemen stated that 150 million black were killed during slavery and you told him that he was not correct. You asked him to cite his sources and he could not and therefore I am citing them for him.
“Approximately 11,863,000 Africans were shipped across the Atlantic, with a death rate during the Middle Passage reducing this number by 10-20 percent. As a result between 9.6 and 10.8 million Africans arrived in the Americas (http://www.gilderlehrman.org/).”
This means that any where between 1 to 3 million slaves were killed on the boat ride alone to America alone. This is not to include the slaves that were lynched once here and that died from other harsh forms of slavery, and does not include African slave’s descendants.
If you research and find exact research it is estimated that these numbers are more millions, since Africans had children once they were in America and grew in population. As we know slaves were killed for many reasons not only as slaves but also once declared “free.” That means as share croppers (which was another form of slavery) and in the civil rights movements error, where lynchings for being black were common. These types of killing of African Americans just stopped around the 1950- 60’s. Which is really not that long ago when you think about it. Considering when slavery first started in 1619.
And to further back up what the gentleman was saying. He said Africans were stripped of our language and you insisted that they were not, because that language still exists in Africa. What the man was trying to say, was that when Africans were brought here, they were punished and not allowed to speak their native language. Slave owners feared that they would plot to get away or revolt if they did not understand what they were saying. So overtime the language was lost. As well as our culture and name. Slaves were made to take on slaves owners last names and given English first sames. This is what the man was saying before you basically told him he was misguided and we still had our culture.
As an African American that watched your show, I must say I found your remarks to be very culturally insensitive. You further went on to say that blacks sold other blacks in the slave trade. This may have been true later on down the line once Jim Crow laws came into existence to turn blacks against one another. But when slavery first started, it was white Americans going to Africa to steal blacks. How could blacks sell blacks, if blacks were not originally in America? There were only whites and Native Americans.
I was highly offended when watching this segment of your show at the blatant biases. You did not listen to the man and then told him that what he was saying was untrue, when in fact you did not know if they were true or not. You just assumed. As Christians, we should always try to put ourselves in the place of others and not condemn them because we do not understand where they are coming from. Or just assume that they are incorrect because what they were saying did not sound right to us.
I hope you read my letter in full, even though it is long. I also hope you truly reflect on how insensitive your comments came off to your African American viewers. To call another man’s statement inaccurate and you yourself spout things that were not facts either. And then tell other African Americans who believed the same facts that the man said that they were uneducated in the matter. When what he said was true and you were just misinterpreting his intent. I do not mean to sound harsh, but my tone is just a reflection of how offended I was at your statements. As I am sure other blacks were as well.
Master's in Marriage/Family/ Couples Counseling Therapy
Resident in Marriage And Family Therapy
Author, Blogger, Speaker, Life Coach, Counselor