While “Black Lives Matter” has been getting a lot of headlines these days, most Americans are unaware of a movement called “Slave Lives Matter” that was almost as controversial as today’s movement. In the interest of posterity, I have decided to share a news article printed in 1848 for the first time since its first publication:
“Slave Lives Matter” Movement Gains Steam, Detractors
“The ‘Slave Lives Matter’ movement has continued to gain steam. Among the tragedies they describe are the horrific treatment, the systematic discrimination, and an oppressive system that has been built around the slaves in the United States.
Almost immediately, there has been a huge outcry among many white Americans, who are both offended and hurt by the accusations of the ‘Slave Lives Matter’ movement.
One American living in the north said, ‘I don’t understand why they are attacking all whites. I don’t own any slaves! And when I meet a slave, I treat them as equals. Now I feel like they’re attacking me. Isn’t that discrimination? Aren’t I being treated the way they are?’
The ‘Slave Lives Matter’ movement has argued that living in a country where slavery exists is not about any one particular person being bad or good, but about a system in which slavery is allowed to exist.
‘We strongly believe that if you are a free man, you are ultimately responsible for the system that benefits you and hurts others. You have an obligation to speak up, and if you don’t, you’re hurting us slaves.’
But there have been many who have questioned the very validity of the movement. Another northerner said, ‘I know a few free former slaves! And I know some wonderful slave owners that treat their slaves very well. As good as their own dogs! Why all this focus on the bad? I really think they’re overestimating the problem.”
The ‘Slave Live Matters movement pointed out that the overwhelming amount of blacks are still slaves, and that exceptions shouldn’t be used to ignore the systematic problem of slavery. As for well-treated slaves, they pointed to statistics that half of all slave infants die during their first year of life (double that of free infants), a life expectancy of 21 years for slaves, and more.
‘Regardless, all of those are just extensions of the main problem: slavery as an accepted institution in America,” a volunteer for the movement claimed.
Still, there have been many who question the tactics of the ‘Slave Lives Matter’ movement.
‘Look, I have a lot of sympathy for slaves, trust me,’ said one free man (who said he only owns ‘one or two’ slaves to help offset costs), ‘But the way they’re treating our police? Yelling and shouting and organizing? I don’t know, I don’t think that’s the way. It’s just uncivilized, all that protesting. They need to work within the system, they need to work with us. I care about them, but if they keep treating us like this, then I just can’t support them.’
The ‘Slave Lives Matter’ movement pointed out that their protests are overwhelmingly nonviolent, and that the force used against them is disproportionate. When asked about the slaves who have turned violent, they pointed out that the number is minuscule compared to the slaves who are nonviolently resisting an inherently violent system.
‘Whatever, man,’ said one white man who would only allow us to identify him as ‘They’re All The Same’, ‘They’re all violent. They’re thugs. I don’t buy that whole ‘non-violence’ thing. Did you hear about the attack in Dallas? Guaranteed the whole movement was behind it. The slaves have it so good in this country. Free food, free lodging. And they are rioting. That’s how they are. And we need to stop being so soft and accepting their insubordination. We need to beat them down until they’re grateful.’
‘Slave Lives Matter’ has insisted that what happened in Dallas is a tragedy, but that it does not represent them. When asked why they don’t speak up as loudly about that tragedy, they reemphasized that their movement is about a system of oppression, slavery, and that what happened in Dallas was not systematic, but s tragic anomaly.
‘That just makes me uncomfortable,’ said one slave seller, who was interviewed as he was trying to sell a slave covered in scars, ‘Can’t they see that all lives matter? Why do they keep saying ‘slave lives matter?’ My life matters too! You know, they’re the real discriminators, if you ask me.’
The ‘Slave Lives Matter’, however, has argued that there has been much more violence against their demonstrators than they’ve ever perpetuated. They shared multiple eyewitness accounts of slaves who were beaten and mistreated by policemen.
‘You just can’t argue with the fact that these police, as well-meaning as most of them are, are part of the same system that allows slavery,’ a spokesman for the movement said, ‘And so it shouldn’t be surprising that some of them are treating us unjustly.’
We asked our interviewees to read the eyewitness accounts, of which there were over a thousand, but which most told us they only had time to read ‘a few.’ Below are a sample of some of the responses:
“Clearly out of context.”
“Wow… that’s… hard to see… but, look, we don’t know the whole story.”
“Look at those thugs! Rioters! They deserve what came to them and more.”
“How do we know they didn’t do something to instigate this? I mean, look at them, they’re protesting. What did they expect, a walk in the park?”
“I just… can we talk about something else? This is depressing.”