Slavery descendents’ demands for reparations from Britain make no sense

Asking the British government for reparations for slavery makes no sense.

First of all, Britain was the first country to ban the slave trade, precisely because it did not bring in any wealth to the British government, and it enforced it.  It was also one of the first countries to ban slavery and it enforced it throughout the Empire, a quarter of the world at the time.  England had already banned slavery after the Norman Conquest, again because the king did not receive any money from slaves.

Second, the British participated in the slave trade, but they did not enslave Africans.  They merely transported them from Africa to America, and the British were the most efficient operators of ships at the time.  These were private ventures, not state operations. If Jamaicans or other descendants ask the British government for a one-way ticket to Nigeria, then perhaps they will get it, out of kindness, but not from any legal obligation.  It is funny that since the foundation of Liberia so few African-Americans have wanted to return.

Thirdly, the culture in many Niger-Congo nations was that if you took part in a war and lost, you became a slave.  Free Africans became slaves because they took up arms, and lost, and they were enslaved by other Africans, not by the British.  If reparations should be paid, it would be by African slavers, especially the Kongolese and Dahomeans who deliberately set out to invade their neighbours’ lands to capture slaves. Good luck with that one.

Slave descendents benefited in many ways by being transported by the British. A journey to British colonies or the USA was preferable to the castration and sex-slavery of the Constantinople slave market, or the poverty of their home country. British destinations also granted their descendents the preferable passports of today, whereas their counterparts in French or Spanish ships have to contend with passportf from Venezuela, the cocaine triangle, or Haiti.  A slave’s descendents living in the United States benefit from an average salary of $75,000 a year, almost ten times the average salary in Nigeria.

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