Discuss racism and how it has affected the diaspora and others historically as well as it's current affects on our daily interactions. Personal experiences are important to this dialog...

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Beyond A Black and White Issue...Please watch and comment...

RACE-The Power of Illusion This is an incredible, highly interactive site on which you can explore the issue of race. Don't hesitate to engage yourself on this phenominal web will help you understand how little you really know about matters of "RACE." Or maybe you are smarter than you think...

Discussion Forum

Racism in America (USA) 1 Reply

Started by Lydell Jackson. Last reply by Lydell Jackson Aug 3, 2011.

Symbols/Icons of Racism 1 Reply

Started by Lydell Jackson. Last reply by Ngon'e Aw May 16, 2011.

Don't Beleive the Hype 4 Replies

Started by Joseph Jones. Last reply by Joseph Jones May 4, 2011.

This is absolutely ridiculous 2 Replies

Started by Joseph Jones. Last reply by Joseph Jones Feb 10, 2011.

Global Racism

Started by Lydell Jackson Oct 31, 2009.

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Comment by David 'PHULL' Dalgleish on November 3, 2009 at 6:50am
Yes, thanks Cyndi. Good heads up on the Segal book (which I've glanced at in the past), as it, and all of these posts add some context to the racism debate. I would slightly disagree with Segal and probably use the term 'Arabised enslavement', rather than put it on the religion per se, but some may see the issue of consistency as a rather minute one in the grand scheme of these issues.

The comments of the Arabic / Persian scholars about Africans is something I have covered in my forthcoming educational guide. Their views are particularly apt, as they inspired medieval and later European (so-called 'enlightenment') thought e.g. Kant, Montesquieu, particularly around the influence of climate of character and physique; and as you also point out, about the sexuality of black people (women in particular: such as the comment by Albertus Magnus quoted in

This latter label existed much earlier than Arabised enslavement though and the earliest source I have found is in 5th Century early Christian theologians.

You raise the word 'abd' in Arabic. Some suggest that the modern capital of the Ivory Coast - Abidjan - could mean slave port or slave town.

The role of Tippu Tip and others like him is considerably less well known than their European counterparts - however this does not discount their influence. What is clear is that some people in Africa bear an Arabic name as a legacy, as many of their American and Caribbean counterparts bear one of European lineage.

What is less clear, or perhaps more specifically, less commented upon, is what the other legacies are.

If you have any further links to the racial elements / legacy of Arabised enslavement I would be eager to learn more.

Lydell, is it a pretty decent documentary by televisions' standards. It was one of the diamonds in the rough of a rather sanitized 'Abolition' season (and bicentennary) we had 2 years ago (there's a whole host of other issues, UK members will be familiar with which I wont go into for now).

There is currently a 'race' season on one of our other public channels in the UK, which finishes tonight. I have mixed views about it though. I think the marketing (about debunking) is largely a misrepresentation.
Comment by Emilio Williams on November 2, 2009 at 4:25pm
Cyndi My Sister, That's a lot of tremendous information. I'm reading and will be back. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and preparation. Lovin it...Peace
Comment by YAA ASANTEWA - Cyndi on November 1, 2009 at 9:03am

Although outlawed in nearly all countries, forms of slavery still exist. Several estimates of the number of slaves in the world have been provided. According to a broad definition of slavery used by Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves (FTS), an advocacy group linked with Anti Slavery International, there were 27 million people in slavery in 1999, spread all over the world. In 2005, the International Labour Organisation provided an estimate of 12.3 million forced labourers in the world, Siddharth Kara has provided an estimate of 28.4 million slaves at the end of 2006 divided into the following three categories: bonded labour/debt bondage (18.1 million), forced labour (7.6 million), and trafficked slaves (2.7 million). Kara provides a dynamic model to calculate the number of slaves in the world each year, with an estimated 29.2 million at the end of 2009. The weighted average global sales price of a slave is calculated to be approximately $340, with a high of $1,895 for the average trafficked sex slave, and a low of $40 to $50 for debt bondage slaves in part of Asia and Africa.
Enslavement is also taking place in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The Middle East Quarterly reports that slavery is still endemic in Sudan. In June and July 2007, 570 people who had been enslaved by bricks in Shanxi and Henan were freed by the Chinese government. Among those rescued were 69 children. In response, the Chinese government assembled a force of 35,000 police to check northern Chinese brick kilns for slaves, sent dozens of kiln supervisors to prison, punished 95 officials in Shanxi province for dereliction of duty, and sentenced one kiln foreman to death for killing an enslaved worker. In 2008, the Nepalese government abolished the Haliya system of forced labour, freeing about 20,000 people. An estimated 40 million people in India, most of them Dalits or "untouchables", are bonded workers, many working to pay off debts that were incurred generations ago.
In Mauritania alone, it is estimated that up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population, are enslaved with many used as bonded labour. Slavery in Mauritania was criminalized in August 2007. In Niger, slavery is also a current phenomenon. A Nigerien study has found that more than 800,000 people are enslaved, almost 8% of the population. Pygmies, the people of Central Africa's rain forest, live in servitude to the Bantus. Some tribal sheiks in Iraq still keep blacks, called Abd, which means servant or slave in Arabic, as slaves. Child slavery has commonly been used in the production of cash crops and mining. According to the U.S. Department of State, more than 109,000 children were working on cocoa farms alone in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in "the worst forms of child labor" in 2002.
In November 2006, the International Labour Organization announced it will be seeking "to prosecute members of the ruling Myanmar junta for crimes against humanity" over the continuous forced labour of its citizens by the military at the International Court of Justice. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), an estimated 800,000 people are subject to forced labour in Myanmar.
The Ecowas Court of Justice is hearing the case of Hadijatou Mani in late 2008, where Ms. Mani hopes to compel the government of Niger to end slavery in its jurisdiction. Cases brought by her in local courts have failed so far.
Comment by YAA ASANTEWA - Cyndi on November 1, 2009 at 8:50am

The birth of Islam also came a rebirth of the slave trade. As Ronald Segal in "Islam's Black Slaves" documents: "When Islam conquered the Persian Sassanid Empire and much of the Byzantine Empire, including Syria and Egypt, in the 7th Century, it acquired immense quantities of gold. Stripping churches and monasteries. Either directly or by taxes, payable in gold, imposed on the clergy and looting gold from tombs the state encouraged the search and sanctioned the seizure, in return for a fifth of the finds."
Segal notes: "Female slaves were required in considerable numbers for musicians, singers and dancers. Many more were bought for domestic workers and many were in demand as concubines. The harems of rulers could be enormous. The harem of Abdal Rahman III (912 - 961) in Cordoba contained over 6000 concubines! And the one in the Fatimid Palace in Cairo had twice as many."
Islam's Black Slaves also reveals that the castration of male slaves was common place. "The Calipha in Baghdad at the beginning of the 10th Century had 7000 black eunuchs and 4000 white eunuchs in his palace." It was noted that there were widespread "homosexual relations" as well. Islam's Black Slaves notes that Islamic teachers throughout the centuries consistently defended slavery: "For there must be masters and slaves." Others noted that blacks "lack self-control and steadiness of mind and they are overcome by fickleness, foolishness and ignorance. Such are the blacks who live in the extremity of the land of Ethiopia, the Nubians, Zanj and the like."
Ibn Khaldun (1332 - 1406) the pre-eminent Islamic medieval historian and social thinker wrote: "The Negro nations are as a rule submissive to slavery because they have attributes that are quite similar to dumb animals."
By the Middle Ages, the Arab word "abd" was in general use to denote a black slave while the word "mamluk" referred to a white slave. Even as late as the 19th Century, it was noted that in Mecca "there are few families that do not keep slaves they all keep mistresses in common with their lawful wives."
It was noted that black slaves were castrated "based on the assumption that the blacks had an ungovernable sexual appetite."
When the Fatimids came to power they slaughtered all the tens of thousands of black military slaves and raised an entirely new slave army. Some of these slaves were conscripted into the army at age ten. From Persia to Egypt to Morocco, slave armies from 30000 to up to 250000 became common-place.
Even Ronald Segal, who is most sympathetic to Islam and clearly prejudiced against Christianity, admits that well over 30 million black Africans would have died at the hands of Muslim slave traders or ended up in Islamic slavery.
The Islamic slave trade took place across the Sahara Desert, from the coast of the Red Sea, and from East Africa across the Indian Ocean. The Trans Sahara trade was conducted along six major slave routes. Just in the 19th Century, for which we have more accurate records, 1.2 million slaves were brought across the Sahara into the Middle East, 450000 down the Red Sea and 442000 from East African coastal ports. That is a total of 2 million black slaves - just in the 1800's. At least 8 million more were calculated to have died before reaching the Muslim slave markets.
Islam's Black Slaves records: "In the 1570's, a Frenchman visiting Egypt found many thousands of blacks on sale in Cairo on market days. In 1665 Father Antonios Gonzalis, a Spanish/Belgian traveller, reported 800 - 1000 slaves on sale in the Cairo market on a single day. In 1796, a British traveller reported a caravan of 5000 slaves departing from Darfur. In 1838, it was estimated that 10000 to 12000 slaves were arriving in Cairo each year." Just in the Arabic plantations off the East Coast of Africa, on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, there were 769000 black slaves
In the 19th Century, the East African black slave trade included 347 000 slaves shipped to Arabia, Persia and India; 95 000 slaves were shipped to the Arab plantations in the Mascareme Islands.
Segal notes "The high death rate and low birth rate among black slaves in the Middle East and the astonishingly low birth rate amongst black slave women" in North Africa and the Middle East. "Islamic civilisation lagged increasingly behind the West in protecting public health. The arithmetic of the Islamic black slave trade must also not ignore the lives of those men, women and children taken or lost during the procurement, storage and transport the sale of a single captive for slavery might represent a loss of ten in the population from defenders killed in attacks on villages, the deaths of women and children from related famine and the loss of children, the old and the sick, unable to keep up with their captors or killed along the way in hostile encounters, or dying of sheer misery
One caravan with 3000 proceeding from the coast in East Africa, lost two thirds of its number from starvation, disease and murder.
In the Nubian desert, one slave caravan of 2000 slaves literally vanished as every slave died.
Comment by YAA ASANTEWA - Cyndi on November 1, 2009 at 6:16am
Historically, West Africa is associated with the slave, gold and ivory trades, perhaps most often the former. West Africa is also the place of origin of vodou, the only indigenous African religion to survive the trans-Atlantic slave trade and remain in practice in the Americas today. The historical roots of racial discrimination in the United States today can be traced back to North American slavery and the kidnapping of more than 20 million Africans. It is easily assumed, therefore, that the African slave trade pit brutal, gun-wielding European slaver traders against unsuspecting, passive African victims. While the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English and French slave traders were often brutal, they were not always working alone -- many Africans were also complicit in this victimization. Precolonial empires such as Dahomey and Ashanti (located in what is now Benin and Ghana), where slave ports at Ouidah and Elmina flourished, accumulated enormous wealth and power as a result of the trade of their fellow Africans.
In fact, Europeans often acted as junior partners to African rulers, merchants, and middlemen in the slave trade along the West African coast from the mid-15th century on. Two factors contributed to this dependency: the coastal geography and the diseases of West Africa. Seasonal wind patterns along the Atlantic coast of Africa generated heavy surf and dangerous crosscurrents, which in turn buffeted a land almost entirely lacking in natural harbors. Hazardous offshore reefs and sandbars complicated the matter even further for seafarers along the West African coast
European commerce in West Africa took place, therefore, most often on ships anchored well away from shore and dependent on skilled African canoe-men whose ability to negotiate across the hazardous stretch of water between the mainland and the waiting ships made the Atlantic trade possible.
Even in places where Europeans were able to conduct trade on the mainland, their presence was limited by an epidemiological situation that impeded their livelihood and threatened their lives. Malaria, dysentery, yellow fever, and other diseases reduced the few Europeans living and trading along the West African coast to a chronic state of ill health and earned Africa the name "white man's grave." In this environment, European merchants were rarely in a position to call the shots.
Furthermore, when Europeans first initiated a trading relationship with West Africans in the mid-15th century they encountered well-established and highly-developed political organizations and competitive regional commercial networks. Europeans relied heavily on the African rulers and mercantile classes at whose mercy, more often than not, they gained access to the commodities they desired. European military technology was not effective enough to allow them this access by means of force on a consistent basis until the 19th century. Therefore it was most often Africans, especially those elite coastal rulers and merchants who controlled the means of coastal and river navigation, under whose authority and to whose advantage the Atlantic trade was conducted.
Domestic slave ownership as well as domestic and international slave trades in western Africa preceded the late 15th-century origins of the Atlantic slave trade. Since most West African societies did not recognize private property in land, slaves functioned as one of the only profitable means of production individuals could own. West Africans, therefore, acquired and expressed wealth in terms of dependent people, whether as kin, clients, or slaves. Moreover, caravan routes had long linked sub-Saharan African peoples with North Africa and the wider Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds. Not only was slavery an established institution in West Africa before European traders arrived, but Africans were also involved in a trans-Saharan trade in slaves along these routes. African rulers and merchants were thus able to tap into preexisting methods and networks of enslavement to supply European demand for slaves. Enslavement was most often a byproduct of local warfare, kidnapping, or the manipulation of religious and judicial institutions. Military, political, and religious authority within West Africa determined who controlled access to the Atlantic slave trade. And some African elites, such as those in the Dahomey and Ashanti empires, took advantage of this control and used it to their profit by enslaving and selling other Africans to European traders.
It is important to distinguish between European slavery and African slavery. In most cases, slavery systems in Africa were more like indentured servitude in that the slaves retained some rights and children born to slaves were generally born free. The slaves could be released from servitude and join a family clan. In contrast, European slaves were chattel, or property, who were stripped of their rights. The cycle of slavery was perpetual; children of slaves would, by default, also be slaves.
Although the historical reality is sometimes difficult to accept by African Americans who still face racial discrimination over a century after the abolition of slavery, African complicity in the slave trade neither justifies today's social problems nor minimizes their seriousness. Fifteenth-century Africa, was not a homogenous group of people. Some African elites benefited from the enslavement of their rivals, their enemies, their poor, and other
* culturally foreign groups from the 15th century through the 18th and even into the 19th centuries. Class, language, religion, gender, and ETHNICITY divided Africans,
and it was along these lines that certain Africans participated in the slave trade. Understanding the dynamics of African complicity in the slave trade is important in understanding Africans as historically active and diverse human beings. This understanding should not detract from the horrors of the slave trade or from its American legacy of inequality and racism.
Comment by Lydell Jackson on October 31, 2009 at 11:41pm
The above video is one of the most enlightening and historically accurate to date that deals with this controversial subject in a totally objective way. I am much more informed and better equipped as a human being because I've watched it...

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