A Republican state representative in New Hampshire is taking heat for comments he made this past week in which he said the practice of slavery in the United States wasn’t racist.
Republican Rep. Werner Horn penned the comments on a social media post that a friend of his, former Rep. Dan Hynes, made, HuffPost reported. Hynes had shared an article about how President Donald Trump had been identified by historians as tied for the most racist president in the country’s history, a notion that he had disagreed with.
“If Trump is the most racist president in American history, what does that say about all of the other presidents who owned slaves?” Hynes wrote.
Horn chimed in by disagreeing with that premise.
“Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist,” he responded.
In subsequent comments within the post, Horn went onto say that “owning slaves wasn’t a decision predicated on race but on economics.” He added that it wasn’t inherently racist, but rather a “business decision.”
Local media took note of the lawmaker’s comments, which prompted strong condemnation from across the state and the nation as a whole. But speaking directly to HuffPost about the matter, Horn continued to insist that slavery in the U.S. wasn’t racist.
“It’s never OK to own another person. But to label the institution as racist is a false narrative,” Horn said.
He also said:
“Human beings have been owning other human beings since the dawn of time. It’s never been about race.”
While it’s true that other parts of the world historically adopted slavery standards that weren’t based solely on race, by the mid-1600s slavery in the Americas (and most of the Atlantic) was undoubtedly based on skin tone, due to the African Slave Trade.
— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) July 19, 2019
Indentured servitude was still a thing in the colonies, but it came with the general promise that a person in that system could one day attain their freedom. African slaves imported to the Americas, on the other hand, could not get their freedom unless their owners conferred it to them.
Slaves were also treated by their owners in harsh ways. Many have tried to rewrite history about the matter, stating that slaves were owned by benevolent masters who took care of them and treated them well. The historical record says otherwise, as many so-called “good” slaveowners were actually pretty rotten, including Robert E. Lee, according to reporting from The Daily Beast.
Slave owners themselves said some pretty rotten things about their “property” also, and it wasn’t based on economics, either. Alexander H. Stephens, then serving as vice president of the Confederate States of America, said in his “Cornerstone Speech” that the foundation of the rebellious nation rested “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.