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Old 29.05.2011, 15:05
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Re: Kids in blackface

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That's ok. Two things:

a) We are not in the US. From a European perspective is America synonymous with "New World" and means anything to the west from here.

b) English is not a language that is exclusively spoken in the US. If US Americans believe that only they should be referred to as "Americans", that's one thing. Claiming that this is the case "in English" seems wrong... the English speakers from England here seem to disagree...
Well, I'm a "US American" and I certainly don't mind if anyone in North or South America refers to themselves as "American."
But I will also say that I have met many Canadians in my time, and I don't recall any of them ever referring to themselves as "American" -- not that I'd care if they did. But again, it's just a matter of how often a phrase is used in a certain context.
But I actually can really respect the fact that to be an "American" means something different to someone who is not from the US. You know, in the US we grow up hearing terms like "the American way," etc. and just assume that the term "American" only applies to the US because we know that "the American way" doesn't really apply in Mexico, Canada, etc. So maybe this is just another example of how ethnocentric the US is (or at least in my opinion it is). I'm not sure if "ethnocentric" is the correct word here, but sadly, there are a lot of "US Americans" who seem to think that "the American way" is the one and only "way."
Side note ~ I was accused earlier of being American (not US American) by Economisto, who I think is from Mexico, and I can hardly expect that he was referring to both continents. So again, it's a matter of cultural semantics, I guess.
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  #342  
Old 29.05.2011, 15:37
peterg
 
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Re: Kids in blackface

Returning to the OP, the case is simple to me. It's all about intent. If the girls blacked up in order to poke fun or insult, then it's wrong. If it's done innocently, it's perfectly acceptable.

I suspect it was innocent, and therefore OK.
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  #343  
Old 29.05.2011, 15:48
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Returning to the OP, the case is simple to me. It's all about intent. If the girls blacked up in order to poke fun or insult, then it's wrong. If it's done innocently, it's perfectly acceptable.

I suspect it was innocent, and therefore OK.
This was covered on the first page
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  #344  
Old 29.05.2011, 16:10
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Re: Kids in blackface

Ok so americans making fun of Germans is ok, because they might have some German roots. Or because they are white. But if you took an African American friend along and she dressed up in this traditional costume and wore a blonde wig, would this be offensive? I as a white person would not be offended. The German members of EF can correct me, but I doubt they would be offended either.

Ah, a white person painted black is offensive, because some people used to do it in some shows and they were actually ridiculing people of African origin? See, this actually makes sense.

So the OP was disgusted that those Swiss teenagers had not heard about certain shows, performed in another country, by someone else's ancestors, long time before they were born?
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  #345  
Old 29.05.2011, 16:38
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Re: Kids in blackface

Kids in black, blue, pink, orange, yellow or KISS masks is fine by me.
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  #346  
Old 29.05.2011, 16:55
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Kids in black, blue, pink, orange, yellow or KISS masks is fine by me.
I wonder what the OP does on Halloween, all that disrespect to the dead etc..
  #347  
Old 29.05.2011, 17:20
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Re: Kids in blackface

@Ullainga - In the case of the American festivals, they are not "making fun of Germans." On the contrary, they are celebrating their German heritage. Not sure where the pic posted is from.

I do not know how much time, if any, that you have spent in the USofA, but many Americans are very proud of their heritage and have created festivals and many other things to express this pride. Many of my European friends do not understand the American fascination with hyphenation, ie Irish-American, Japanese-American, African-American. Nevertheless, it is a part of Americana. I was part of the "Young Scandinavians" growing up and my Mother is part of Daughters of Norway. My paternal Grandmother (Bavarian heritage) used to dress me on Lederhosen when I was (very) young. Sittande Maj is celebrated all over the midwest as is Oktoberfest.

Anyway, my longwinded point is that most of the time that Americans dress in traditional "old country" dress, it is to honor their heritage, not make fun of anybody.

fduvall

PS - And notice, I do not use the term USian, either. As we do have Canadian and Mexican members on EF, do you feel that the USAians have "usurped" the term American? Would you use it to describe yourselves and, if so, should we give it back?


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Ok so americans making fun of Germans is ok, because they might have some German roots. Or because they are white. But if you took an African American friend along and she dressed up in this traditional costume and wore a blonde wig, would this be offensive? I as a white person would not be offended. The German members of EF can correct me, but I doubt they would be offended either.

Ah, a white person painted black is offensive, because some people used to do it in some shows and they were actually ridiculing people of African origin? See, this actually makes sense.

So the OP was disgusted that those Swiss teenagers had not heard about certain shows, performed in another country, by someone else's ancestors, long time before they were born?
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  #348  
Old 29.05.2011, 17:35
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Re: Kids in blackface

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This was covered on the first page
It wasn't 'covered' at all. Intent is everything.

And that's the first time I've seen a complaint about staying on topic.
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  #349  
Old 29.05.2011, 17:39
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Re: Kids in blackface

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So, after a bit of thought, I reckon as follows. Blackening up is offensive and shouldn't be done, for the mere fact that it's offensive to others...in America.

I am white but when I go to American I'm not white, I'm English. I'm not "white" because I was never part of the slavery/civil rights dynamic. I never benefited from it, was never harmed by it, and it's not my problem. I don't have any guilt about it and don't owe anything to anybody. Black-face is part of a collection of sensitive items in the States along with certain words and ways of speaking that cause offence. For this reason, it shouldn't be done there.

But Switzerland (and indeed the UK) has none of the heritage of slavery and civil rights and therefore what is offensive in one country, isn't in another. Much like words are not innately offensive, so actions aren't either. It's about being sensitive to one's surroundings and I very much doubt there'd be anyone, of any colour that would be sensitive to dark face paint in Switzerland. I know for a fact that black Africans aren't offended by it (where it's meant well).
Oh OH Oh Economisto you are a respected member of the forum even I like your posts, you got so many thanks for this too becuase when you speak everyone assumes that you are right, but this time you are so wrong!

I feel the guilt and shame of slavery and I was born British. What do you think colonialism and triangular trade was all about? Haven't you ever visited the Caribbean- been to all the sugar plantations? I am fully aware of my family's role with my brothers and sisters born in Kampala in houses with 26 rooms and African servants. One of the funniest things for me was visiting a Southern plantation with a British visitor ( actually related) and suddenly relaizing why they weren't impressed. Their family's money was partly made from a much bigger plantation.
I mean look how can the Brits say their hands are clean this is so ridiculous- go read:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...Af_ar4VU3UM:&t

Now for the Swiss- they had indentured slaves

Quote:
England provided most of the New World's indentured servants in the seventeenth century. Although no more than 3,500 came in a single year, this number was sufficient to make one of every ten colonials an indentured servant in 1680. Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland added to the stream in the eighteenth century. More than half, and perhaps as many as two-thirds, of all white immigrants during this century were either indentured servants or redemptioners. The use of this kind of labor was not equally distributed; most of it was concentrated in the three colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Throughout the colonies humane limits were set to the exploitation of indentured servants. The law provided protection for their rights, though some were afflicted by harsh masters. No matter how long the indenture, every servant knew he would in time become his own master; that the skills gained in service might permit him to obtain profitable employment when he was freed; and that indenture carried no lasting stigma.

Read more: The Labor Problemthroughout The Colonies - The Mercantilist Tradition - Indentured, Servants, Workers, England, Free, Servant, Wages, and Usually http://www.libraryindex.com/history/...#ixzz1NkqSknUF
Slavery ain't just a 'Black Thing'

Now back to kids in Switzerland colouring their faces- black brown whatever.

It is not necessarily racist. In Iran we have Haji Firuze he has a blackened face, he dances and sings and entertains.

Some Iranians claim this:

Quote:
In an essay on the Iranian Nowruz, Iranian-American scholars Golbarg Bashi and Hamid Dabashi offered an anti-racist criticism of the figure of Hajji Firuz and called for the elimination of Blackface from the Nowruz festivities. In their essay, they wrote of the "deeply racist figure of Blackface Hajji Firuz, doubtless a nasty remnant of African slaves that were bought and sold and made into an object of ridicule at the same time. We have been horrified to see Iranians celebrate the Nowruz here in the US in colorful parades down Fifth Avenue, an otherwise perfectly beautiful thing to do, while parading a figure of Hajji Firuz, much to the horror of African-Americans who cannot believe that in this day and age there are still people that flaunt such racist acts unconsciously." [3]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajji_Firuz

But most people see Haji Firuze as being Iranian and they love him, he's a bit like the Iranian equivalent of Father Christmas. The ceremony goes back to Zoroastrian times. It is not an negative stereotype.

To me the problem ( and this is what Americans understand) is that Swiss kids paint their faces but in doing so don't really learn about the culture itself- so it's blatant stereotyping, just like some of us when little used to dress up as cowboys or Indians, Acutally dressing up as cowboys and Indians is as much a stereotyping of cowboys as it is Native Americans, but generally the Cowboys are the goodies and the Indians are the baddies, so it's a negative stereotyping for a reason- cultural domination.

In the US we still do the Thanksgiving thing- but NOW the kids are educated in the whole history of how the Native Americans stopped the Pilgrims from starving to death and how American democracy has a lot owing to the Native American practices etc.

I don't care if my kids paint their faces, white, black, brown, red, yellow, green, blue.... cultures have been doing it for centuries it is part of self- expression and art. However if they are doing to identify with another race, I would first educate them by looking at the different skin tones of other races and educating them as to the culture of the race from THAT RACE'S PERSPECTIVE (as much as possible).

So you know for a fact Economisto that Swiss blacks aren't offended by it? I can tell you that I know for a fact that they are- now think about why they don't express it to you.

But that the Brits don't have slave blood on their hands- that really makes me laugh- and cry!
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  #350  
Old 29.05.2011, 17:50
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Re: Kids in blackface

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A distinction:

Blackening up your face for fancy dress - ok

Blackening up your face and acting like a chimp- offensive

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It wasn't 'covered' at all. Intent is everything.

And that's the first time I've seen a complaint about staying on topic.
Yes it was covered in the first page.
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  #351  
Old 29.05.2011, 17:54
hoppy
 
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Yes it was covered in the first page.
The problem is that no-one is really asking the Black community- we just make assumptions on bout their perspective:

Here's another perspective

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Dear friends,

this is Germany???s first antiracist media-watchdog, called ???der braune mob???, looking for some developing aid for our society once again.

Similar to the German UNICEF campaign ???Schools for Africa??? in 2007, where white children were supposed to show solidarity to african children by sporting blackface, we have another recent case now which is taking German blackface advertising to a whole new level.

Check out this clip (click on ???TV-Spot???):

http://www.atu.de/pages/shop/home.html
http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/2008/08/01/480/
  #352  
Old 29.05.2011, 17:58
hoppy
 
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Ok so americans making fun of Germans is ok, because they might have some German roots. Or because they are white. But if you took an African American friend along and she dressed up in this traditional costume and wore a blonde wig, would this be offensive? I as a white person would not be offended. The German members of EF can correct me, but I doubt they would be offended either.

Ah, a white person painted black is offensive, because some people used to do it in some shows and they were actually ridiculing people of African origin? See, this actually makes sense.

So the OP was disgusted that those Swiss teenagers had not heard about certain shows, performed in another country, by someone else's ancestors, long time before they were born?
Now think if that same person dressed up a bit like your avatar and started acting like a slutty bimbo and claimed that was truly representative of White women in general, I assume that you would be OK with that too?
That's the whole point it's not the colouring of the face it is the racial stereotyping that goes along with it.


The ignorance of some forum members and lack of education in this respect acts as a harsh reminder as to why I left.- Gee!
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  #353  
Old 29.05.2011, 18:09
peterg
 
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Re: Kids in blackface

Britain certainly has links to the slave trade. The prosperity of Bristol and Bath was largely based on it. The British role was facilitating the movement of slaves, rather than indulging in it on a big scale.

But this seems immaterial. Everyone agrees that slavery was A Bad Thing. But I feel no personal guilt whatever. I take responsibility for my own actions, or lack of actions, but not those of other people, and particularly not if they've been dead for centuries.

Does blacking up really saying "slavery was a good idea"? I don't think so. There is way too much over-sensitivity about this topic. It happened. It was bad. We stopped it. We are a new generation of people living in a new century with other issues to deal with.
  #354  
Old 29.05.2011, 18:14
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Re: Kids in blackface

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To me the problem ( and this is what Americans understand) is that Swiss kids paint their faces but in doing so don't really learn about the culture itself- so it's blatant stereotyping, just like some of us when little used to dress up as cowboys or Indians, Actually dressing up as cowboys and Indians is as much a stereotyping of cowboys as it is Native Americans, but generally the Cowboys are the goodies and the Indians are the baddies, so it's a negative stereotyping for a reason- cultural domination.
Nopey: When we used to play "Indianerlis" constructing tepees out of broomsticks we certainly did not think that the cowboys were cool. And we would root for the "Indians" in western movies too.
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Old 29.05.2011, 18:15
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Re: Kids in blackface

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In the US we still do the Thanksgiving thing- but NOW the kids are educated in the whole history of how the Native Americans stopped the Pilgrims from starving to death and how American democracy has a lot owing to the Native American practices etc.
Yes and they have little pageants where they dress up like Indians in ridiculous caricatures of traditional dress, and only later in life learn that we repaid their kindness by decimating their population through systematic murder and germ warfare, broke every single treaty we ever signed with them, and then stuck the few that were left on crappy reservations.

But still no one gets all guiltied up about that. It's even something of a taboo- Marlon Brando didn't win any popularity when he tried to spread the word about the plight of the Indians. We've got enough on our plates feeling responsible for the actions of an industry comprised of African warlords, European traders, and American buyers, whether our ancestors were involved or not.

Sangounder linked a good article covering white folk's need to feel offended for others, will link it again for good measure Link.

No doubt that blackface is controversial, in the U.S. Should kids here be made aware that such makeup can be offensive?- sure. But that's all. That's all.
  #356  
Old 29.05.2011, 18:19
peterg
 
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Re: Kids in blackface

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That's the whole point it's not the colouring of the face it is the racial stereotyping that goes along with it.
But what racial stereotyping? The OP talked about "2 white kids wearing beautiful African traditional clothing".

It may be a sterotype to suggest that all African women always wear these clothes, but it's not a negative stereotype, surely?
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Old 29.05.2011, 18:52
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Ok so americans making fun of Germans is ok, because they might have some German roots. Or because they are white. But if you took an African American friend along and she dressed up in this traditional costume and wore a blonde wig, would this be offensive? I as a white person would not be offended. The German members of EF can correct me, but I doubt they would be offended either.

Ah, a white person painted black is offensive, because some people used to do it in some shows and they were actually ridiculing people of African origin? See, this actually makes sense.

So the OP was disgusted that those Swiss teenagers had not heard about certain shows, performed in another country, by someone else's ancestors, long time before they were born?
You cannot assume the Americans in the photo (who, in fact, could be from Argentina, Brazil, Honduras or anywhere else in the Americas...) are making fun of Germans simply because they dress in Lederhosen any more than the OP should assume the Swiss girls were making fun of Africans. Haven't we learned anything from the last 18 pages? Context is everything. Assumption is nothing.
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  #358  
Old 29.05.2011, 18:57
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Re: Kids in blackface

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But what racial stereotyping? The OP talked about "2 white kids wearing beautiful African traditional clothing".

It may be a sterotype to suggest that all African women always wear these clothes, but it's not a negative stereotype, surely?
I used to volunteer at an African- American arts center, I donated the little of the African arte facts that I had inherited. I don't think that they would take kindly to me dressing up in traditional costume if i was blackening my face. I also worked in Southall- teaching. the mums gave me saris to wear and I attended Indian festivals and family celebrations wearing the sari and Punjabi tunic. I don't think that they would take kindly to me blackening or browning my face either.
UK affluence was built much on the backs of slavery- Colonialism- Irish etc. look at Africa House or many of the buildings in London. Those same companies still operate and Brits still profit. My family profited- they brought wealth back from the colonies to the UK. It seems that some have short memories when it suits them.

In my area you could not get away with not teaching about the native Americans and their decimation; it would be a major faux pas as a teacher you would probably get fired and the school sued. However, there is still so much that needs to be done to protect the few rights that Native Americans have left. Many of my friends claim to have Native American heritage of which they are very proud. I bought Native American artefacts and donated them to my daughter's Elementary school which has a major exhibition and a teacher in charge of the collection who researches the subject. We have a native American Museum/ cultural center about 1 hour's drive away and several local communities. So much has changed in this respect.
The new problem is the treatment of Mexican's- they are the new' slaves' just as Switzerland has theirs.
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Old 29.05.2011, 19:35
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Oh OH Oh Economisto you are a respected member of the forum even I like your posts, you got so many thanks for this too becuase when you speak everyone assumes that you are right, but this time you are so wrong!

I feel the guilt and shame of slavery and I was born British. What do you think colonialism and triangular trade was all about? Haven't you ever visited the Caribbean- been to all the sugar plantations? I am fully aware of my family's role with my brothers and sisters born in Kampala in houses with 26 rooms and African servants. One of the funniest things for me was visiting a Southern plantation with a British visitor ( actually related) and suddenly relaizing why they weren't impressed. Their family's money was partly made from a much bigger plantation.
I mean look how can the Brits say their hands are clean this is so ridiculous- go read:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...Af_ar4VU3UM:&t

Now for the Swiss- they had indentured slaves



Slavery ain't just a 'Black Thing'

Now back to kids in Switzerland colouring their faces- black brown whatever.

It is not necessarily racist. In Iran we have Haji Firuze he has a blackened face, he dances and sings and entertains.

Some Iranians claim this:



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajji_Firuz

But most people see Haji Firuze as being Iranian and they love him, he's a bit like the Iranian equivalent of Father Christmas. The ceremony goes back to Zoroastrian times. It is not an negative stereotype.

To me the problem ( and this is what Americans understand) is that Swiss kids paint their faces but in doing so don't really learn about the culture itself- so it's blatant stereotyping, just like some of us when little used to dress up as cowboys or Indians, Acutally dressing up as cowboys and Indians is as much a stereotyping of cowboys as it is Native Americans, but generally the Cowboys are the goodies and the Indians are the baddies, so it's a negative stereotyping for a reason- cultural domination.

In the US we still do the Thanksgiving thing- but NOW the kids are educated in the whole history of how the Native Americans stopped the Pilgrims from starving to death and how American democracy has a lot owing to the Native American practices etc.

I don't care if my kids paint their faces, white, black, brown, red, yellow, green, blue.... cultures have been doing it for centuries it is part of self- expression and art. However if they are doing to identify with another race, I would first educate them by looking at the different skin tones of other races and educating them as to the culture of the race from THAT RACE'S PERSPECTIVE (as much as possible).

So you know for a fact Economisto that Swiss blacks aren't offended by it? I can tell you that I know for a fact that they are- now think about why they don't express it to you.

But that the Brits don't have slave blood on their hands- that really makes me laugh- and cry!
Awesome post, just shows that the green often means very little in terms of actually saying something.
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Old 29.05.2011, 19:42
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Re: Kids in blackface

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Britain certainly has links to the slave trade. The prosperity of Bristol and Bath was largely based on it. The British role was facilitating the movement of slaves, rather than indulging in it on a big scale.

But this seems immaterial. Everyone agrees that slavery was A Bad Thing. But I feel no personal guilt whatever. I take responsibility for my own actions, or lack of actions, but not those of other people, and particularly not if they've been dead for centuries.

Does blacking up really saying "slavery was a good idea"? I don't think so. There is way too much over-sensitivity about this topic. It happened. It was bad. We stopped it. We are a new generation of people living in a new century with other issues to deal with.
Human trafficking and slavery still continues to this day. It's not as visible obviously then before, but it still exists. We all profit it from it in one way or another via products purchased or services used.
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