Phi Beta Cons

Forget Group Guilt

The recent exhibit at the normally sober New York Historical Society, “Slavery in New York,” based on the work of historians of slavery, was marked by distorted, sensationalistic, and one-sided history. Furthermore, it sought to cultivate inherited group guilt and purveyed contempt for white people. It seemed obviously aimed at making the case for reparations.
Except for a brief mention in a short preview video, the exhibit omitted treatment of the massive African involvement in the slave trade, detailed in the current issue of Academic Questions by Sheldon Stern, “The Atlantic Slave Trade: The Full Story.”

  As Thomas Sowell explained in an essay titled “‘Multicultural’ Education,” available at tsowell.com:

The widespread revulsion which this hideous institution [slavery] inspires today was largely confined to Western civilization a century ago, and a century before that was largely confined to a portion of British society….The resistance put up by Africans, Asians, and Arabs was monumental in defense of slavery, and lasted for more than a century. Only the overwhelming military power of the West enabled it to prevail on this issue, and only the moral outrage of Western peoples kept their governments’ feet to the fire politically to maintain the pressure against slavery around the world. Of course, this is not the kind of story that appeals to the multiculturalists. If it had been the other way around–if Asian or African imperialists had stamped out slavery in Europe–it would still be celebrated, in story and song, on campuses across America.

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