By Tingba Muhammad
One of the most unseemly manifestations of Black self-hatred is the often violently held belief that 500 years ago Africans sold other Africans into centuries of slavery. It is heard most often when a negro feels the need to shield whites and Jews from having to answer for their dominant role in the Black Holocaust. “It was Blacks who sold other Blacks,” says the negro, “so we can not hold whites responsible for a crime in which we participated.” And by that suspect reasoning, they dismiss out of hand 500 years of the most brutal and murderous history the planet has ever known.
It is almost impossible to imagine a Jewish person saying anything similar: “Since there were Jews that financially supported Hitler, and Jews that were soldiers and officers in the Nazi army, and Jews that delivered other Jews to the concentration camps, I don’t want to hear about any Jewish Holocaust. We Jews helped Hitler!” The fact is, there actually were Jewish Nazis, and at least 77 Jews were officers in Hitler’s army, and a Jewish police force called the Judenrat was in charge of rounding up Jews for the death camps (they even had uniforms and star-of-David badges), but no Jew allows those facts to minimize the German responsibility for their people’s suffering. People who had no possible connection to the Jewish Holocaust—like the PALESTINIANS—must pay the price even before those Nazi-collaborating Jews.
Only Blacks seem to have adopted a strange psychosis that exculpates the white perpetrator and blames the Black victim. But this internecine scapegoating wholly depends not just on a colossal ignorance of the historical facts but on the sleight-of-hand deceptions of white historians who seek racial advantage, not historical clarity.
One must look very carefully at the charge of “Black” participation in the African slave trade, and as always the very best place to start is with The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He described the method used by the European in his genocidal pursuit of free Black labor: “He goes into foreign lands of our people and the first thing he goes looking around for, with his green-blue eyes, just to get up to, is the woman, so that he can leave the seed of the devil there.” The first 15th-century Portuguese excursions into Africa prove The Messenger to be absolutely correct.
The Portuguese “explorers” used forced breeding on the Africans, a tactic which targets the genetic foundation of the indigenous population. European invaders deliberately created mixed-race subgroups with the intention of using them to capture and enslave the native populations. This “new breed” would serve as a “ruling class” to control the massive numbers of African slave laborers required by the colonies, and further serve as a buffer zone between the white oppressor and his Black victims. In America, we have come to know them as “house niggers,” or “mammies,” or “uncle toms,” and they were most often the lighter-skinned slaves—the children born of the rape of the Black woman. Back in Africa, the horrific suffering and debasement of the Black woman had a very specific economic purpose.
Arriving on the Cape Verde islands, about 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, Jewish slave merchants from Portugal in the mid-1400s sought to insert themselves in Africa’s commerce and trade. Just as The Messenger described, they kidnapped and raped African women, and the mixed-race offspring, called lancados, were raised on the island as European Jews, practicing Judaism and respecting Jewish authority. These lancados then were sent into the African mainland to set up an international “trading post” dealing in the fine fabrics being produced by the Africans. But soon they turned on their hosts and began trading in Black human beings. The lancados literally were trained by their Jewish fathers to be slave traders—trained in the Jewish family business of slave-dealing. It was these half-breed, mixed-race (or mulatto) “half-ricans” who infiltrated the Black African communities, seeking to satisfy the European lust for Black labor. Because of their African blood admixture, deceptive white propagandists call these mixed-race Jewish slave traders “Africans”; Blacks view them, rightly, as Europeans, given their racial and cultural distance from African society and its practiced norms of thousands of years. One scholar was clear: “The offspring of these lancados and African women were called Jilhos de terra and were generally considered to be Portuguese.”
Historian Walter Rodney described these “AFRICAN” slave traders thus: “Many of the private traders were mulattoes, already linked to the Africans by blood, and there were those who had become so integrated into African life that they wore tribal tattoos. It was these who were the authentic lancados, literally ‘those who had thrown themselves’ among the Africans.”
Even Christopher Columbus was involved in the early slave trade and learned his skills as a sailor on the African coast. The Messenger referred to him as a “half-original man,” meaning he had African and European blood. Jewish scholars such as Simon Wiesenthal, Cecil Roth, and Tina Levitan are adamant about Columbus’ Jewishness. One might easily conclude that the notorious explorer was one of these lancados.
It was probably during his slave-dealing on coastal Africa that he heard of a “New World” overseas from African mariners, who had been visiting the Americas for thousands of years (see Dr. Ivan Van Sertima’s They Came Before Columbus). And if Columbus were not such an important part of the American (white) self-image—and if more people knew that he trafficked in African slaves and Indians (600 of whom he enslaved and brought to Europe)—he would probably be labeled an “African” slave trader as well.
Once they muscled into monopoly positions in trade, the lancados brought in European weapons to foment strife and wars between African tribes. This led to massive disruptions of African societies and the displacement of whole populations, because of the transfer of captives, fueling the traffic in African human beings. This leads us to the important question of whether or not the “selling” of human beings was understood by the African tribal leaders to mean the kind of unspeakable cruelty and lifelong multi-generational bondage that Blacks experienced in the West. The answer is an emphatic NO! The labor systems practiced throughout the world for millennia (apprenticeship, peasantry, serfdom, indentureship, feudalism, tenant farming, sharecropping, etc.) had never had the dehumanizing commercial features that were a distinctive part of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Its horrifying brutality on a massive scale is entirely unique.
The term slavery itself has been strategically corrupted to include every labor system, no matter the nature of it or its severity. For instance, in some “slave” systems the “slave” had full legal rights and could negotiate the terms of his labor, including the time and compensation; some “slaves” could sue in court and could inherit property; some could ultimately take over their master’s business and even marry the master’s daughter. In one so-called slave society, it was believed that “when one gains a slave, he gains a son.” The “slave” had to eat and sleep in the same manner as the master. Even the Biblical story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his own brothers resulted in a “slave” becoming the most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh. NONE of these humane features characterized slavery in the Americas!
The variety of slavery that developed in the isolation of the sugar islands off the African coast was entirely unprecedented and unknown. It was a new, dark element that injected medieval monstrosities into an agrarian culture of farmers that had never seen such atrocities before the European lancado invasion. It was a true slavery, a horrific slavery, under which its victims had no rights and no hope—by design.
So the “African” slave traders who “sold us out,” upon closer examination were actually half-European by blood and totally European in mentality. Our African spirit of welcoming every people regardless of color made the African people vulnerable to this wicked “half-original” incursion, and we have been paying a high price for it ever since.
(Tingba Muhammad is a citizen of the Nation of Islam.)