Was Slavery a Choice?

400 years ago, the South had a thriving economy off of free slave labor. With a majority of those slaves being from Africa, with the system running on pure racism, it’s regarded as one of the lowest points in American history.

Kanye West, a rapper, made a comment which stirred many debates within the public among celebrities and non-celebrities alike. One comment attracted plenty attention which was made from William Adams Jr., or his more common name, Will.i.am. Adams recalled his grandmother and great-grandmother and their struggles. “When you’re a slave, you’re owned. You don’t choose if you’re owned. When you’re a slave you’re deprived of education. That’s not choice, that’s by force.” said Adams.

The conversation surrounding “was slavery was a choice” occurred when Kanye West appeared on TMZ for an interview.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years?” West said. “That sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison.”

What West does not know is that slavery still exists in the form of domestic Servitude, human trafficking, and others injustices.

Domestic Servitude appears to be a live-in help when in reality the person being served has active control of the person serving them. It is a form of forced labor, but it also warrants its own category of slavery because of the conditions workers are often kept under.

Human trafficking is when men, women, and children are abducted and forced into labor, sexual exploitation or sexual acts. It’s a serious and frequent crime in the United States today with up to 40,000 cases being reported in the past decade, the majority of cases occurring on the Eastern coast.

The Vice interviewed a man who was a slave during the 50’s– the same time as the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans were already granted freedoms, and yet this wasn’t the only case of someone being subjected to slavery even though their freedoms had already been granted.

Many slaves were beaten into fear in order to maintain submission and prevent rebellions. So, in other words, it was a systematic oppression that was forced upon them– not given.

Even as the world continued to evolve and change, they were still subjected to brutal torture and oppression. So, was watching loved ones slaughtered and forced to work a choice? Was being a lynched a choice? Or perhaps, was the mass oppression of a race that still continues today in America a choice?