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Raymond Sheppard: The end of slavery?

Raymond Sheppard speaks at a recent rally at Halifax Regional Police HQ. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The biggest falsehood the world over is that people of European descent are superior to Africans and others, and that Africans and other People of Colour are inferior. The second-biggest falsehood is that the enslavement of the African ended. The deliberate deception that slavery ended is the original sin continuing with a vengeance.

It’s hard to believe, but African people in North America and beyond are still in a state of slavery. For most of us the chains are gone, but the system of slavery is still intact, through power, control, privilege and profit. 

Many out there, especially non-African people and maybe even a few African people, believe that slavery ended. But with the maintenance of unearned/undeserved privilege, daily and systemic anti-Black racism, environmental racism, apartheid morals, as well as racism in health care, education, employment, housing, the media, the military, mental health, and of course the list goes on. Slavery did not end; it merely morphed into a mental system, a planned system of limitation and falsehood. 

Many millions of people the world over hold the mis-truths of the end of slavery with some conviction while holding onto their undeserved/unearned privilege.

So, as an African Nova Scotian I wonder how this came to be?

In our minds, we have an internal belief system of what we believe is real. Some beliefs we believe with more conviction, and some beliefs are more important than others. 

Runaway slave ad, Digby, Nova Scotia

It takes much more to change someone’s belief when that feels that to do so might cause early death or change what they believe are blessings from the Creator. Most times you can talk until you are blue in the face, but one’s solid belief in a higher power will go unchanged because they associate direct benefits from believing. Truth does not have to be factual to be believed. Most times a lie is 50 percent the truth and this is what makes it believable.

African People during the Atlantic slave trade received a few crumbs from master’s table and today we have also received a few crumbs from master’s table only to be celebrated as major accomplishments. There have been no longlasting significant improvements or accomplishments to be hailed by the oppressors.

If one is convinced to believe fully that something is truthful, then they would believe it, but just because you believe something totally does not make it true. Much like how one person’s garbage can be another person’s treasure, it is a value statement. Regardless of the many satellites in space showing the earth as round, many still believe the earth is flat.

Of course, when it comes to truth there exists an inward truth, or as many would refer to it as subjective phenomena. This boils down to things known by themselves or by an individual’s most intimate associations. For example, green is my favorite colour.

All the BS lies and generalization about African people have survived for centuries, because the lies are perpetuated and repeated every single day and few have taken the time to know and accept the truth.

In order for racism to be successful, there must be false beliefs based on half-truths, straight up lies, and much propaganda. With the plan—demic of hate against African people, there is no truth. I believe truth is necessary, and it will come during our lifetime. No truth, no justice, no reconciliation and no reparation. 

I believe this is why many governments, health professionals and scientist do not embrace race-based data, so they can continue to keep African peoples in the dark, perpetuate the falsehood that slavery has ended and that we as African people are so much better off.

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