musa i of mali

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A Spoken word short film for those frustrated at Black History teaching in schools.

Disillusioned student Samuel King relays his grievances to his teacher that Black History Month isn’t taught with as much depth and with as much pride in schools.

Samuel engages in a short rebuttal with his teacher, before arguing that education in school does little to satisfy his thirst for knowledge of influential people in Black history who seem to be elusive in the curriculum.

Samuel names the likes of Patricia E. Bath, King Musa I of Mali, Mary Prince, Sir Trevor McDonald, Ella Baker, Septimius Severus, Fuse ODG, Jamal Edwards, Garrett Morgan and Kwame Nkrumah as individuals he could be taught about.

“There seems to be a lot you haven’t told us, and you shut down and hold back on the bold ones who stand against the way you’re trying to mould us”

anonymous asked:

I really love how smart and well verse you are when it comes down to history and culture. So of course I felt a little tempted to throw a history topic at you. The Barbary Slave Trade. It was surprising to find out that there was a White slave market.

haha thank you! I just like reading about this stuff :) And there’s still a lot I certainly don’t know!

Well, it is surprising mainly because the outlines of our world today is one shaped most recently by European colonialism. But that is why adopting the mentality that “white people” started the concept of slavery or racism or oppression in the world is extremely dangerous. “White people” do have the responsibility for the existence of African slavery in the Americas, but not slavery itself in the “Old World”. Slavery is older than before there was even a “Europe”. It is less surprising once we remember that the “West” didn’t always have this supremacy, that once the people with global and institutional power were not “white”.

The Barbary slave trade btw, was when Ottoman corsairs raided Europe for Christian slaves for not just Ottoman Turkey but the entire Muslim market. It is estimated that for the entire period, around 800k- 1.2 million Europeans were captured and sold into slavery in the Islamic world (not just Turkey but North Africa). The Ottoman Empire invaded and captured huge swathes of Europe. That is institutional power of sorts, no? Is there “white supremacy” then? Colonisation of the Americas started before that, but Safavid Iran, Ottoman Turkey and Qing China were all extremely powerful empires that were hardly at the mercy of Europe or the “West”.

  • Hurrem Sultan, the favourite wife of the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent was a Ukrainian slave girl captured by the Crimean Tartars and sold as a slave to the Ottoman Empire, where she was later selected to enter the sultan’s harem. Her original name is sometimes said to varyingly be Roxelana, Alexandra, Anastasia.
  • Black people in the US do not have to accept culpability for slavery because even if Africans were involved in the original slave trade…well they are mostly the ones who got victimised, not the slave traders. Attempts by white supremacists to bring this up is often meant to minimise the responsibility of white Americans for solidfying this institution in the Americas. But, it is important for us to never think that “non-white” people cannot be cruel. We can, and we have- because for much of human history, we did wield the power to do so.

“White supremacy” also cannot and should not be painted onto the entirety of human history, because that also neglects the cruelty- and therefore, complexity and sophistication of non-white civilisations. We were NOT noble savages but human- capable of good and evil. We were already familiar with violence. Let’s also think about it- 500 years ago, did Europe even see itself as a collective whole when they were fighting against each other so much? Was “whiteness” even a unifying concept? Did the concept of “Europe” as an identity vis a vis the rest of the world even exist the way it does today? (Hell, despite the European Union…there are lots of rivalries and tensions still).

It is important that we recognise our perception of the “West” as rich and powerful is shaped by European colonialism and the immense economic growth after WW2 due to the US Marshall Plan. For much of human history, this was not so. How valid is the term “white supremacy” when European countries feared the powerful Ottoman Empire? When Safavid Iran had the largest cavalry in the world? When Musa I, was emperor of the African Mali Empire, which was so wealthy that his distribution of gold on the way to Mecca could cause the value of gold to drop? Non-white civilisations have certainly been powerful enough to oppress, and Europe was not always in the position of supremacy it occupies today.