To all of those of the Bartonian persuasion, as I enter this debate over whether or not slavery continues to exist in this country we must initially determine what is meant by the term, slavery. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines slavery as the, “submission to a dominating influence. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution states that, “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Therefore, your argument that slavery no longer exist has been previously held to be false by the 13th Amendment of a Constitution that you and I follow. Hence, this will not be an attempt to argue with you about a fact that has been proven before you came into existence.

In his book, Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington stated that, “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress”. It is sad that in 2003, we continue to disagree over whether or not slavery exists. True, slavery as existed in 14th thru the 19th century, no longer exist. Nevertheless, as all things fall apart and some manifest themselves in new ways; many are of the persuasion that it continues to be a living and breathing dagger in the hearts of those who are thriving to live their creed.

For the many who read this article, please do not get caught in the illusion of an invalid argument that is based on differing opinions and has been set straight in the 13th Amendment. I am of the notion that the basis of the constitution is that one is able to think and feel as they please. However, even deeper than the constitution is the concept of truth. I doubt that one could argue against the idea that perception is reality. Yes, you say that slavery does not exist, and undoubtedly there are many others of your similar thought. But, there are also others of mine and Mr. Sergeant’s notion that slavery does exist. So, it would be absurd for me to argue with you by way of verbal nuances whether or not slavery exists. I will also not address the racial implication of past debates of slavery because slavery exists amongst all races, cultures and societies.

Instead of arguing whether or not it exists, time and effort should be expounded in changing the perceptions of the ones who disagree with you. I come to you from the perspective of the 100,000,000 slaves stolen from West Africa. Why must you focus on slavery at face value? To determine the underlying constructs you must judge slavery not by external appearance, but must learn to delve into the deeper, subtler underlying issues. For instance, the inability to think and do as one wills as a result of being controlled by an external power source. Slavery has also been defined as the actions of one person, or group of people unfairly exploiting the labor or service so of another person or group, for the sake of profit or pleasure. Judging from this definition, slavery runs rampant in society and Mr. Sapp’s comment holds much validity.

Today it is estimated that prison corporations are making between $100-$500 million in profits each year. In contrast, the prisoners make about $1-$2 per hour. For years, federal law forbade prison workers from competing with free labor, but this has now been changed. Prison labor is being used to not only undermine free labor but also drive companies out of business. The state prisons have now formed similar companies to run prison businesses. A factory behind fences, in which a company is allowed to hire or rent a team of prisoners, is becoming common. Some of the largest U.S. companies-Microsoft, TWA, Sears, Gap, Eddie Bauer and others-are using prisoners as customer service agents, seamstresses, airline reservation agents, assemblers and other workers. Does this not fit the definition of slavery and give other examples that replicate what Mr. Sapp argues that runs rampant in the NFL

All of this and it is sad that you, Confused Barton, continue to be of the belief that slavery does not exist. Tell that to the millions of individuals who are a victim to a system in which there voice has no avenue through which to be heard. We live in a time when America is one of the most contradictory places in which to thrive. On one hand, we say that once a person pays their debt to society they are free to live, but by way of legislation, one looses numerous Constitutional privileges for life as a result of a choice for which the debt has previously been paid.

At this moment, I pour libation to purify your flawed logic that’s based solely on personal opinion and a lack of facts. I leave you with an idea to ponder: All institutions serve to perpetuate the social theory of the group, which created them. It is a sad day when you cannot connect bacon to the pig, in other words the issues that we face today are significantly correlated to SLAVERY.

You seem to have some pathology, which is caused by your ability to believe in something just because you wish it to be. Given all that has been previously stated, when we understand the inherent differences in the natures of our differing cultures, we can understand the differences in our behaviors and abilities to grasp certain information.

Word to the wise for Confused Eric Barton: We can’t solve your problem because you do not know what your problem is.


Howard HendersonDoctoral Candidate

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