The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson

THE ART OF
KEVIN BLYTHE SAMPSON

4/23/10

Henry Louis Gates gets slavery's history all wrong

Henry Louis Gates gets slavery's history all wrong

Henry Louis Gates gets slavery's history all wrong

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. attends the premiere screening of "Faces of America With Henry Louis Gates, Jr." at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. recently wrote an interesting piece for the New York Times called, "Ending the Slavery Blame Game." In the piece, Gates effectively argues that the fight for reparations is convoluted and somewhat mitigated by the fact that African elites participated in the slave trade. While describing complex business deals made between some African leadership and the Europeans who brought Africans to the New World, it almost appears as though Gates is saying that this disturbing relationship somehow undermines the right of African-Americans to hold our government accountable for its involvement in crimes committed against our people.

At very least, I am under the assumption that by "ending the slavery blame game," Gates is arguing that we should stop blaming the United States government and white America for the rape, murder, castration, lynching and beating of our ancestors.