Q#1 for Daisy: Slaves as Settlers?

Added on by PS Cat02.

Here is an e-mailed question we received yesterday that I forwarded to Daisy:

Hi - I very much liked your [How To Solve Illegal Immigration video], but I must point out that to me the two categories of settlers and indigenous peoples doesn't seem to apply to the predecessors of African Americans who were, literally, dragged here kicking and screaming... Have I missed something? (from Maryellen)

Daisy's response:


There's no doubt that slaves from Africa were oppressed, murdered, and then some. But within the framework of settler colonialism, slaves brought from Africa are settlers. They certainly are not native. There are numerous examples of native peoples enslaved by settlers but I don't think that's what the e-mail is inquiring about. Practically all of Africa was colonized by European states - therefore (most) Africans in Africa were colonized. However African slaves brought to the Americas were not colonized; they were enslaved - which is also despicable but basically a different form of violence. So both groups - native peoples and slaves - were/are victims within the centuries-long historical trajectory of Euro-American Imperialism, but they're still different classes within the settler/native paradigm.

People get confused because they want to mix the native/settler dichotomy with other dichotomies - oppressed vs. oppressor, good vs. evil, etc., but this results in a faulty analysis. One can also make distinctions between different motivations or circumstances for settler mobility - for example, settlers who arrived in the New World seeking gold and other kinds of fortunes, settlers fleeing oppression elsewhere, settlers enslaved and brought kicking and screaming. It would be wrong to say that there aren't enormous differences regarding how and why these different groups of of non-indigenous people came (or who were unwillingly brought) to the "New World" from elsewhere. But these differences do not negate one's status as a settler within the settler colonialism paradigm. Just one example: historically speaking, the ruling class in the U.S. has treated black people as a threat and has responded with a thousand different mechanisms of oppression. But the perceived threat of black ascendancy to political and economic power is not based on African Americans' reclaiming of native land. This in itself is an important difference; please consider the implications.

The presence of slave labor almost guarantees the rapid economic development of settler states, which obviously benefits from the exploitation of that labor. And because this exploitation takes place on native land, this in turn generally accelerates the displacement, removal, assimilation, killing, etc. of native peoples living within the territorial boundaries of the newly formulated settler state. This is not to say that slaves from Africa were happy to participate in the genocide against Native Americans; you could say their status as settlers was forced upon them.

- Daisy


Thanks to Daisy for taking the time to respond.

Please go to the next diary entry to read Daisy's response to a second question regarding the How To Solve Illegal Immigration video.

~ pinky