How Not to Appropriate: A Guide for White People

How Not to Appropriate: A Guide for White People

The first documented ships carrying human cargo traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to North America in the early 1600s. And over the course of roughly the next 400 years, black people would witness the erasure of their lineage: names, identities, cultures, and humanity. Their bodies would be the property of mostly white men and women who possessed a bill of sale. These bodies would be subjected to back-breaking labor, beatings, lynching, rape, and other atrocities.

In August 2015, Newsweek reported Professor Thomas Craemer’s findings that slave labor earned Americans an estimated $5 to $14 trillion dollars — none of which was ever paid to slaves or their descendants.

Several hundred years prior to this, colonizers went about obtaining — stealing, through brutal force and murder — the land that would become the United States of America. Native Americans were never paid for the land that was taken from their people through massacre.

I imagine that it is not difficult to become one of the richest countries in the world when you build it for free.

And this began a pattern of taking through force — with no regard to original ownership, lineage, identity, culture, history, or humanity.