Is It Slavery if the Slave Owner is Not White?

Last Updated on December 21, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • One of the curious things about slavery is if the slave owners are not white, then the concern over slavery declines.
  • This article covers this reality of slavery.

Introduction

Something odd about slavery is that its importance seems to decline when the slave owners are of any other race but white. This article provides evidence for this.

Why Non-White Slavery Gets a Get Out of Jail Free Card

Here are some curious facts about slavery and the reactions I have received when discussing or covering slavery.

Example #1: Slavery in Arab Countries

This article covers slavery in the Gulf states titled Did Slavery Ever Stop in Arab Countries? However, it is rare to discuss and for the media to cover slavery conditions in these countries.

Example #2: Slavery in India, Southeast Asia, and Africa

There is slavery in India and Southeast Asia, Africa, etc. However, again it’s not considered newsworthy.

Example #3: African Americans Enslaving Liberians

I wrote the article Did African Americans Enslave Liberian Africans? on how African Americans enslaved Africans in Liberia as soon as they arrived in Liberia. Black commenters have asked me to take down the article because it is apparently racist. It is confusing to cover the hypocrisy of African Americans enslaving Africans after they moved to Liberia to escape slavery. Apparently, as a researcher who is white, there are certain areas of slavery I am allowed and not allowed to research by blacks. Now, if blacks bring up the fact that whites enslaved blacks, this is considered normal, and I am also allowed to observe this historical fact, but I am not allowed to write about blacks enslaving blacks.

Example #4: Slavery in Rome and Brazil

I have discussed slavery in Rome, which makes people uncomfortable — as it was not primarily the slavery of blacks. It is also much more of interested in discussing slavery in the US than in any other place.

So while Brazil received the majority of slaves during the Atlantic Slave Trade, it is not held accountable for slavery because Brazil is not viewed as a white country.

Example #5: Slavery in Asia

Asia is similar, and it receives a get out of jail free card for slavery. I dated a woman in Singapore who was Indonesian, and Singaporeans who import Indonesians seem to treat them as slaves (from what I could see). She seemed to want me to break me out of her bondage.

However, Singaporeans told me Indonesians are not slaves — I just was not understanding their “culture.” When a white person goes to Asia, it is considered culturally insensitive to point out conditions that look like slavery.

Conclusion

Slavery has been effectively stereotyped as whites being the slave owners. Without this visual, slavery falls under most people’s radar. This, of course, reduces the incentives to combat modern slavery. The vast majority of the world’s modern-day slaves are owned by non-whites.

However, if the interpretation is that it is not really slavery (again, no whites involved), then the motivation to stop is reduced.