Saturday, June 3, 2023

Slavery as told through Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

Williamsburg Gazette, June 3rd, 2023. A last-word writer, for whatever reason, decided to take the stance that the Irish should not be counted as in need of reparations since they were never slaves but indentured servants. I thought it was time to research and write about Irish servitude and slavery. America needs to tell this story better. 

Slavery as told through Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Irish Indentured Servants and Slaves, a story not told well. A conversation around Indentured servants has found its way into the Williamsburg Gazette. In the last word, this historical past is attacked by people who should understand. Ignorance is all I can call it; as Joesph Filco wrote, in an opinion, "Education wars continue." "People who tend to take extreme views bring out the worse in themselves."  Yet extreme views are still a part of our society, and who is to judge what is extreme? After all, George Washington was an extremist. The Sons of Liberty was an extremist group, and Abraham Lincoln was an extremist, each killing and murdering thousands for change. Extreme is limited groupthink, as people are, by nature, tribal. In other words, we tend to group ourselves based on like-kind thought and employ our will. 

If we promote diversity, defined as a range of things, which is the definition, we exclude an excellent idea of seeking truth. When we exclude the extreme according to our dictates, we fail to achieve diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI). While DEI is meant to include, DEI is accomplishing exclusion; we see exclusion daily in our society through cancel culture and when mainstream media ignores prominent newsworthy events. In doing so, DEI is never really obtained; thus, the child's education must still be completed. The adult teachers' ideals are limited to groupthink for fear of exclusion. We see this in colleges, high schools, and grade schools; groupthink controls what our children learn.   

Americans have not been dedicated to learning about world slavery. If they have, they don't seem to care to understand that slavery in the thirteen colonies was a tiny portion of slavery in the world during the 1600s. Historian James Horn, a past director of the Jamestown Settlement, wrote in his book 1619 that there is considerable debate as to whether the first Africans arriving in Virginia were indentured servants or enslaved people. We don't know the truth, according to Horn. We know many Africans were able to obtain their freedom, with some moving to the eastern shore. The truth is not enough was written down historically concerning the 20 and something. Here, diversity of thought is censored by historians, the mainstream media, internet search engines, or groups of people who want to push a narrative in our schools. This is the educational war Joseph Filco describes. 

Irish indentured servants were a significant portion of the population throughout the period when white servants were used for plantation labor in Barbados, and a "steady stream" of Irish servants entered Barbados throughout the seventeenth century. Irish servants in Barbados were often treated poorly, and Barbadian planters gained a reputation for cruelty. The decreased appeal of an indentured servant in Barbados, combined with the enormous demand for labor caused by sugar cultivation, led to involuntary transportation to Barbados as a punishment for crimes, political prisoners, and the kidnapping of laborers who were sent to Barbados involuntarily. 

Author Robert West, in "England's Irish Slaves," writes, "The earliest written reference to the Irish is the establishment of an Irish colony on the Amazon river in 1612. Long before Africans arrived in America in 1619, another writer (Smith) reports in "Colonist in Bondage," "a proclamation of the year 1625 urged the banishing overseas of Irish political prisoners and the kidnapping of the Irish was common." 

West goes on to write; If there is one thing historians can agree on, as to the 17th-century American colonies, most historians agree that the treatment of white servants or white enslaved people in English colonies was cruel to the extreme, worse than that of enslaved Black people; that inhuman treatment was the norm, that torture (and branding of fugitive traitors, upon the forehead was the punishment for attempted escape. West cites another historical writer (Dunn): "Servants were punished by being strung up by the hands and matched lighted between their fingers, beaten over the head until blood ran,"--all this for the slightest provocation." Another writer of the time period Ligon reports as an eyewitness in Barbados from 1647-1650; he said, "Truly, I have seen cruelty there be these servants as I did not think one Christian could have done to another. 

Unfortunately, this story is not told well. Diversity of thought is squashed in our schools, social search engines, historians, and the mainstream media contribute to history masking. Even today, we see history being erased with the removal of Confederate historical art. We see slave history being retold, yet not all truthful. The history of the enslaved Irish person and servant has been changed to serve another outcome. Books being banned by both sides of the debate bring out the worse in humanity. Of course, one only has to dig deep into the dungeons of your free library. Where books by time period authors concerning the diversity of thought of the enslaved Irish person and servant exists, Joseph Fillco is correct; the education wars continue, the whitewashing of our world's history manipulated by the unforeseen Wizard of OZ who dwells behind the curtain, locked doors, and tall walls; they hide from most of us, but not me; I may not know who you are, but I know you exist. Interestingly, DEI is the same as DIE. 


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