Opinion: A case for slavery

APR Editorial Opinion: Bring back slavery for the greater good of American society.

We received a letter today that peaked our interest and that we would like to address today.

Dear APR,

My friend and me were arguing about the good of slavery but we hit a wall in the conversation. We both agree that slavery would be great to bring back but we were struggling to agree on why it would be a good thing. Can y’all maybe talk about slavery and why it would be good to bring back?

Have a good one

Studly, 36

Thank you so much for your question, Studly. Slavery is an issue that has a lot of weight but we ask that you set your biases aside for a moment and consider the benefits of it.

For much of school, you probably remember being told that the southern states in the US held slaves and that it was a “bad thing”. We would agree with you, Studly. Slavery is pragmatic and reasonable to bring back.

First, it’s important to dispel the notion that slave owners were bad people; they absolutely were not. Their image since after the Civil War was tarnished by northern states who were just trying to pander to blacks, which they’re still doing to this day. The people in the south who owned slaves were people who were trying to provide for their families in the most sensible way that they could for the time. Not paying people is a very sensible way to make money for your family if you’re competing with others for resources and especially so when the economic system around you encourages it. If I pay my servants $100 and my neighbor pays his servants nothing, my neighbor has a competitive edge when it comes to obtaining resources, like food. And on the flip side, if I’m a servant getting paid $100, I can lord my privilege over someone who makes nothing. It’s a lose-lose.

But that isn’t how the world is right now. Our economic system doesn’t actively encourage slavery, so why bring it back? To further level the playing field. A truly fair society is one where everyone is on an even playing field, not one where some make more than others and can later lord that over others. This isn’t anything too radical; it’s not even suggesting a move to a fully slave based society. Studly, it’s a fairness thing. Obviously, we can’t pretend that everyone is going to be on the exact same level when slavery is introduced, but we get close. Quite honestly, it just makes economic sense. If we relegate an already lower tier of citizens – the homeless – to slavery, the boom the economy would experience would be unprecedented and everyone can be a bit more competitive with each other and the rest of the world stage. And all homeless people could all be on a same playing field as each other, as opposed to fighting amongst themselves for limited resources. It’s fair and economical for all involved.

The homeless have a problem right now. There are only so many bridges to sleep under and only so much generosity we can give them. But just imagine the problems that would be solved by registering them as slaves. They include:

  • Providing shelter for the homeless
  • Providing food for the homeless; You’re not just going to let your slaves starve!
  • Give a homeless life meaning
  • Stimulate the economy; free labor will drastically boost and speed up economic growth
  • Cheaper goods; now that input costs have been reduced so much, the price to make goods goes down
  • Allows farmers to expand their farms, get new equipment, etc.
The Homeless, Paris
Now just imagine if instead of being ignored on the street begging for money, he was being ignored on a field producing products for us all

A homeless life in America today is worthless, and everyone knows it. But we can flip that and make the homeless life priceless by making them contributing members of society. Let homeless people contribute to society instead of freeloading, and let corporations/farms do what southerners were doing so long ago in American history; provide for themselves and their families in a fair environment where laborers and managers alike don’t need to compete with each other for workers and money; they just now have to compete for customers. An elegant way to refocus the priorities of corporate America that has for so long neglected the consumer.

Obviously, as mentioned before, slave labor can’t takeover the entire economy. But if menial labor is done by the lower class, society as a whole can elevate itself to higher paying jobs and more specialized fields that our country is going to need after this boom in economic production happens.

It would be disingenuous to pretend that we care any amount about homeless people, because we don’t, and just ignoring them has just cluttered out streets and increased crime. We vastly improve our economy and, on the side, we give the homeless what they want too. Not like it really mattered, but it’s a win-win.

Letter to the Editor: The term ‘people of color’ is like… definitely racist… right?

Dear APR,

I was flipping through radio channels and a Black Lives Matter event was being covered. The announcer was describing a specific activist in the crowd and referred to that person as a, “person of color” and I just thought to myself that the phrase “person of color’ is definitely really racist, isn’t it? How is it any different from calling a black person a “colored person”? I hope you guys can shed some light on this.


Dave, 28

Thank you very much for that letter, Dave. First and foremost, we’d like to say that we love all people, regardless of how colored they are. All readers are important to us here at American Public Radio.

To answer your question, the term is not racist. When you see someone on the street, the first thing you notice about them is their skin color, correct? Say you have to be able to quickly describe what you’re seeing; how do you do that? Well if they’re white, the answer is obvious. You just say, you saw a white person. Easy enough. What if they’re non-white? Asking them how they identify is much too personal and an educated guess is far worse, so you would call them a person of color. You make a good point that the term is anachronistic sounding, but that’s because we made the mistake of trying to make a new term using an old one as a base. The solution would be to go back to using the terms “colored person” or – for simplicity sake – “colored”.

Dave, you bring up a good point about why you believe the term is racist; It makes sense. But to counter your point, we ask you to ponder this question; How different are all of these races, really? The fact of the matter is, in our world, the biggest line of demarcation between people is between whites on one end and everyone else. All other minor subsets of “colored people” are irrelevant today (much like subsets of white people in America such as: Dutch, Irish, German, Swedish, etc.) and it’s easier to bring them together as one group. In fact, Dave, it’s racist to presume that they have different experiences just purely based on their skin color, so why not just group them all together? It saves time and it’s the most unintrusive way to label someone.

When you see a man in a hoodie approaching you at night and your instinct is to cross the street, you don’t care what kind of colored he is. You just care that he is colored at all, and you cross the street.

And, need we remind you, getting it wrong also makes you look a fool! Office Intern, Anna Holland, just today told of a time when she ate crow after mislabeling a Northern Cuban with a Southeastern Cuban. Classic mistake, but imagine the situation if she skipped the embarrassment and offending the person by just calling them colored? It’s impossible to mix up two, unimportantly specific, ethnic groups if you refer to both by the same name.

Race is a tough issue and racism is even harder, but think about it this way, Dave. You can’t be racist if you are trying not to offend people. When you are trying to minimize the potential miscatigorization of someone’s race, you are showing that you care about the feelings of the feelings of those groups; And to show that you care, you’d call them colored.

Thank you for the letter, Dave.

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