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Creation 33(3):52–53, July 2011

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Slavery and ‘one drop of blood’



It is often assumed that slavery in the antebellum1 USA was driven by white vs black racism. In fact, it was, if anything, the other way around—it was slavery that exacerbated racism.

First, the evidence indicates that throughout history, people enslaved others whenever they had the means and opportunity, regardless of their ‘race’. Black people were captured by other black people for sale to non-African markets. Huge numbers of ‘white’ Europeans were enslaved by both whites and non-whites. The word ‘slave’ itself comes from one of those heavily enslaved white races, the Slavs. In fact, the Barbary coast pirates of North Africa had such a thriving and entrenched white slave trade in the early 1800s that it caused the US to send military forces into battle there, inspiring the famous Marine Hymn line, ‘To the Shores of Tripoli’.

As late as 2001, black Africans were still being kept and traded as slaves in the Sudan.2 Unfortunately, the silence from the ‘politically correct’ media on this open scandal has been deafening—perhaps because the perpetrators were other black Africans, or maybe because many were followers of the ‘religion of peace’.

Second, support for slavery’s role in heightening racism comes from comparing the different social outcomes in the US and Brazil. In the US during the era of slavery, there was an emphasis that was largely lacking in Brazil: that all people, being descended from Adam, are created in God’s image. It means they are all intrinsically equal, one human family, despite all the variety and cultural differences, as the Declaration of Independence said. So in the US, there was a pressure to concoct schemes to make the enslaved group less human—but not in Brazil. This is one important reason why, after slavery was abolished, Brazil had far fewer social problems involving black-white racism than the US.

It also explains why such biblically untenable (though allegedly biblical) notions as ‘pre-Adamite races’,3 and ‘the curse of Ham led to black skin’4 arose and/or were prevalent in the white culture of the USA, yet not that of Brazil.5 In a society with more biblical leanings, the anti-racist and anti-slavery implications of the straightforward history of humanity in Genesis had to be neutralized. Like today’s theistic evolution compromises, these ideas were not driven by what the Bible said, but by the outside ideas prevalent in the society, which were then read into the Bible.

One drop of blood: black or white?

Related to this is another interesting ‘racial’ difference in comparing Brazil and the US. In several Western societies, one is regarded as ‘black’ (or in Australia, Aboriginal) even if the majority contribution to one’s ancestry was ‘white’. In the slavery era in the US, this was known as the ‘one-drop rule’. At the time, it implied inferiority, with the ‘lower’ group’s ‘blood’ regarded as if it were a ‘contaminant’.6

This rule was enshrined in law in Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act, passed on the same day as the state’s evolution-inspired eugenics act to sterilize people by force. If a white person married someone who had even ‘one drop’ of African ‘blood’ (ancestry), their marriage was a criminal offence.

Given the lack of pressure in Brazil to relegate blacks to an inferior status to justify their enslavement, it’s no surprise that in Brazil the one-drop rule does not work that way at all. In fact, it almost applies in reverse. According to Jose Neinstein, executive director of the Brazilian-American Cultural Institute, for people living in the US, “If you are not quite white, then you are black”. But in his native country of Brazil, “If you are not quite black, then you are white.”7 Many Brazilians who regard themselves as white back home find that when they come to the US, people see them in the opposite way.

All of which only goes to show the arbitrary and culturally determined nature of many of our notions of race and skin colour. What a difference it could make, both to racist ideas and to the ‘politically correct’ overreactions to them, to fully grasp hold of the implications of Genesis. We are not only all related, but astonishingly closely related. We all go back to Adam and Eve—and even more recently than that, to Noah and his family. We really are one human family.

References and notes

  1. Before the Civil War. Return to text.
  2. W. Williams (an African-American economist), Black Slavery is Alive in 2001, Available at www.capitalismmagazine.com, 4 January, 2001, acc. 10 October 2010. Return to text.
  3. This was to make Adam the progenitor of only the ‘white race’. Thus these alleged pre-Adamites were the ancestors of all other groups, who could then be labelled as subhuman. By not being in the Adamic line, it also precluded the possibility of their salvation through Jesus Christ, the ‘Kinsman Redeemer’ (Isaiah 59:20) and ‘the Last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45). Return to text.
  4. There was of course no curse on Ham, and no mention of skin colour associated with the account regarding the curse on Canaan, Ham’s son. For a fascinating explanation/exposition of other aspects of this, see the author’s book One Human Family: The Bible, science, race and culture. Return to text.
  5. See also the book by secular researcher Sylvester A. Johnson, The myth of Ham in nineteenth-century American Christianity, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Return to text.
  6. In Australia today, the ‘one drop’ can serve to endow victim status and access to various benefits even where the person has little historical or cultural connection to any Aboriginal group. Return to text.
  7. Fears, D., People of color who never felt they were black: racial label surprises many Latino immigrants, The Washington Post, p. A01, 26 December 2002. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

William G.
Thanks for the response, I bought the book, and have already started reading it thoroughly. I also want to thank CMI, and Dr.Robert Carter for cominig to our small church in Indiana in 2011. It has caused us to start a small outreach to the local commuter college here. We are attempting to show them some of your creation videos and get their opinions. God bless CMI.
William G.
As a Christian first, and African American I think it is important to expose the true history of the secular and religious factors that allowed an entire culture to feel justified in maintaining attitudes of superiority of one people group over another. The biblical record shows that from ancient times(the Egyptians and the shepherds -Gen.43:32:) any group that dominates feels that their culture is superior. But it was 'fear of being dominated that lead the Egyptians to enslave the Hebrews ( Exodus 1:9). The overarching problem in America and its failure to assimilate black people after 1874, was fear, especially in the south, that the former slaves,because of their numbers would soon dominate. This fear, both in the north and the south, lead many of the most conservative Christian scholars to 'wrest'(2 Peter 3:16) the plain teaching of the scriptures to support lies like the curse of Ham, pre-adamic people-without souls,The pure white race, and those with Black skin belong to the devil. Most of this was added to 'Christian" teaching BEFORE Evolution. The most hypocritical of all is that the same Church sent missionaries to save the poor blacks but refused to let the 'saved' blacks in their church building. The book of James says that that is sin; showing partiality and judging (James2:4). In America, evolution supported racism but its core is sin. In the 1990's the Southern Baptist Church repented of their sins against God and black people. What would have happened if it had of done this 100 years earlier?
Carl Wieland
William, I think you would enjoy One Human Family, which adds considerable more nuance to this complex issue. Though I think you will resonate with a lot of it, I would respectfully doubt, though, that the 'cultural dominance fear', while significant, was quite the factor you suggest. Especially given the fact that the attitudes in question, and the wresting of the Bible, were entrenched even at a time when European-Americans were overwhelmingly dominant numerically.

The book also deals with the differences in Australia (where Aboriginal people were always a stark minority) and South Africa, where the very opposite was true from the beginning. For example, this extract from the book:

A constant background concern for white South Africans over the centuries was being swamped by the native populations and cultures that surrounded them. To Afrikaners, it became known as the ‘black peril’ or Swart Gevaar, a concept prominent in the heyday of modern apartheid, too.

The term brings back memories of the ‘yellow peril’ from the days of the White Australia policy of my youth. This was the fear many in Australia had of marauding Asian hordes sweeping down from the north. It was likely driven more by cultural/racial fears than by rational strategic considerations. But the two ‘perils’ are not easily comparable. For Afrikaners, existing in a society (unlike Australia or the US) with a substantial black majority, Swart Gevaar could not be lightly dismissed as some abstract notion.

David J.
If one believes Genesis, we are of course one human physical family, all directly descended from Noah and his wife and no one else; ultimately from Adam and Eve some 6000 years ago.

And if one accepts the teachings of Christ, all who accept him as their savior are in one spiritual family, regardless of their ethnicity.

In eternity, we will no doubt be no longer defined by our ethnicity, even as the Bible says we will no longer be defined by gender.

But let's not be pollyannaish, race exists in this world. There are for example diseaese like tay-sachs and sickle-cell anemia that vary by race (or people groups if you prefer).

It would be somewhat miraculous if races could be different in so many physical characteristics like color, hair texture, stature, head shape, relativee limb measurements, and on and on, with hundreds of metrics known to any competent forensics expert - and not different in intelligence.

To believe that would be as naive as believing that all breeds of dogs are as different as they are, yet equal in intelligence. They most assuredely are not (there are entire books avaialble on the intelligence of dog breeds), so why think humans are any different?

The eugenicists of the early 20th century, like the founding fathers of the USA, did not hate black people, but they did recognize that to allow white to interbreed with them would corrupt the white race and destroy our society.

Go to any large US city and walk around in white neighborhods and black ones. Which one do you want your children to live in?

Which race has created science and industry that have made the wolrd a better place?

In countries domeinated by which race do you see a concern for the less fortunate and the environment?

(No answer provided - decide for yourself.)

Carl Wieland
One Human Family does not fail to grasp all the nettles raised within this comment; including the fact that just as there are minor differences on average between different branches of the human family in such things as athleticism, which could well be genetically determined, there could well have turned out to be minor biologically determined differences on average in intelligence. But you start with what sounds like a calm comment and then use the thesis of what would at most be trivial differences (and the book looks at the evidence which is the key factor, and which does not support the thesis) to launch into frankly offensive nonsense such as talk of 'destroying' one group through 'interbreeding'. OHF shows not only the biological fallacies that all this involves (and it actually uses dog breeding as a major argument), but that the comment on the benign nature of the eugenicists is seriously mistaken. It also looks directly at such things as the factors that generated science and technology in Western Europe. Remember, this was inhabited by people that a Roman Caesar once derided as incorrigibly stupid, whereas in China, incredible inventions were already at hand many centuries before. Why did science explode in one place, but not the other? I won't spoil the answers, but suggest at least looking at the table of contents in the link above on the book's name to see the huge range of issues this non-politically-correct book gets into (in addition to seeing reader comments). David, it's not just that history is against your stance--so is the Bible, and so are the facts of science.
Dave F.
We receive many comments on our YouTube channel similar to Graham D., Australia and I believe the following could be applied which was included in the true story, 057 -- DEATH-BED SCENE OF DAVID HUME, THE DEIST by Solomon B. Shaw, [link removed as per feedback rules]:

Rev. Robert Hall, in his book Modern Infidelity written in 1835, says:

"Infidelity is the joint offspring of an irreligious temper and unholy speculation, employed, not in examining the evidences of Christianity, but in detecting the vices and imperfections of confessing Christians. It has passed through various stages, each distinguished by higher gradations of impiety; for when men arrogantly abandon their guide, and willfully shut their eyes on the light of heaven, it is wisely ordained that their errors shall multiply at every step, until their extravagance confutes itself, and the mischief of their principles works its own antidote.

I have a question for those who followed or still follow
‘one drop of blood’. If the day came when you needed a blood transfusion to live and the only one that could save you was a person of color would you stand by your principles and die?
gary F.
Slave: a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant.

Until the Lord comes again, there will always be slavery. It will differ in degree and type but we all are in subjugation to all types of people and systems (government mandates, corporations, God, etc). More importantly, do we want to be a slave of Christ? or to men? or to the lusts of our own nature?
Carl Wieland
While your point is understood in the way I hope you mean it, it would be unfortunate if it were to be seen as a sort of justification for, or a watering-down of the evils of, the sort of man-stealing that was so widespread in times past. And which the Apostle Paul condemns, and which was dealt a serious blow only through the efforts of committed Bible-believers precisely because of their biblical convictions (use the search engine on this site about slavery).
Thomas L.
This article claims that "a proper reading of Genesis" results in an anti-racism stance, since we all came from Adam & Eve. However it was "a proper reading of Genesis" that Bob Jones University used to justify its racist leanings, citing that the peoples were scattered at the tower of Babel and stating that "God has separated people for his own purpose ... and intends those differences to remain." Genesis is a big book with many interpretations.
Carl Wieland
Sorry, but there are normal historical-grammatical rules of interpretation by which it can be easily shown that there is only one meaning of Genesis that makes sense of the textual data, and it is the majority Christian view throughout history, namely that all people descended from Adam and Eve and only a few thousand years ago. This is reinforced in the New Testament. And as my book One Human Family (check out the book's table of contents and other sample sections here) documents repeatedly, negative consequences for the way people treat others are inevitably associated with serious distortions of that Genesis 'big picture' of humanity. Concerning Babel, Genesis states that God had commanded people to spread out and fill the earth, and when they disobeyed, He scattered them. Any reading of racial intent into that is what is known as eisegesis, reading things into the text that are not there.

BTW, the book also documents from a secular ethnohistorian that the heroes of today's secular humanists, the Enlightenment Skeptics such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Hume, pushed the idea of 'polygenesis' (separate origins for different races) to displace the mainstream view of monogenesis--i.e. Adam and Eve, thus 'one human family'. And that, according to the same secular authority, this idea was useful "to justify slavery, anti-Semitism, and European domination of indigenous peoples."
Scott T.
This is an excellent example of why CMI should refrain from historical commentary and stick to defending young Earth Creationism.

Don't we have enough people in the world promoting politically correct worldviews, without having Christian "leaders" doing so as well?

There is nothing at all sinful or nefarious in the notion that God has created (through His providential working in history) different people groups (or, what sane people call "races") or that He's given them different talents and abilities - different ways of glorifying Him.

Inequality (and even racial inequality, where race is seen through sane eyes as indicated above), is a fact of life,

...even if the Neo-Marxist, rabid-egalitarians who write for CMI don't like it.
Carl Wieland
Actually, this is an excellent example of why you should read One Human Family, because it is anything but politically correct, as you will see from the comments on its website. But you will need to be prepared to look afresh at old prejudices that have been cloaked in Christian-speak, and for some weird reason seen to be associated with conservative, biblical theology by some. The book grasps the nettle of unequal outcomes in various people groups, and what emerges is a strengthening of the biological and biblical realities that the Bible's 'big picture' of human history would lead us to expect. I will wait to hear from you once you've read it, cover to cover.
Daniel B.
I'm a bit confused by the comparison with Australian Aborigines. The premise of The Rabbit Proof Fence is that people of mixed blood were encouraged to assimilate into the white community; you seem to say the opposite, that they were encouraged to acclaim their black identity.
Carl Wieland
I'm not sure how you gleaned that from the tiny aside in this article that mentions Aboriginal people. My book One Human Family: the Bible, science, race and culture (see here for sample sections and table of contents)goes into considerable, documented depth on Aboriginal issues including historical background. I have not seen the fictional film you mention, but here is an extract from my book:

In 1908 an inspector from the Department of Aborigines in the West Kimberley region wrote that he was glad to have received an order to transport all half-castes away from their tribe to the mission. He said it was “the duty of the State” to give these children (who, by their evolutionary reasoning, were going to be intellectually superior to full-blooded Aboriginal ones) a “chance to lead a better life than their mothers”. He wrote: “I would not hesitate for one moment to separate a half-caste from an Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic her momentary grief”. Notice the use of the word ‘momentary’ to qualify ‘grief’; such lesser-evolved beings, sub-human as they were, were to him clearly not capable of feeling real grief. The historical reality is that so-called 'half-castes' were regarded as more highly evolved than 'pure' Aboriginals, hence seen as having more of a biological 'chance' to become civilized.

Teddy M.
Good luck, Mr. Wieland, in trying to sort out American opinions on slavery given the myths that have risen in various parts of the country to either vindicate or castigate. For example, who wants to hear that one of the largest slaveholders in South Carolina just prior to the outbreak of war was a freed black man? As were many slaveholders in Tennessee. Or that the overwhelming majority of white southerners did not own slaves? Or that wealthy abolitionist leaders in the North, bless their hypocritical hearts, were more than willing to work immigrant Irish families to death in their textile factories processing slave picked cotton? And Southern Baptist origins had to do with NOT holding missionary candidates to some litmus test regards slavery. Good thing, too, since neither Jesus nor Paul nor Peter did either. The North/South split amongst Baptists came because northerners wanted to impose on missionary candidates cultural norms that were not biblically based. Even today, who wants to admit the North is still de facto segregated after clamping down on the South a half century ago? The implication that the South is the only place where racism is openly expressed demonstrates, at best, a tenuous grasp of race relations in the US today. Oh, while we're asking questions, what is the attitude of most African Americans these days towards Asians and Jews? (Spare me the anthropological excuses.) I admire your willingness to respond to your commentators but I daresay your time would be better spent on your next book. Meanwhile, I look forward to reading One Human Family and will base my opinion of it on its whole rather than the brief review presented here.
Carl Wieland
Thanks for your willingness to read OHF; I think you'll find that it is far from "Pollyanna" in its approach to the reality of human sinfulness and the failings within Christian cultures, too. One you've read it, feel free to comment on the book's website.
Joseph L.
A new view, historically, which is why you keep running these articles. The majority of European Christians did not take your view, because it is not taught in Scripture. Although there is no such thing as "pre-adamites", most people of the past knew nonwhites were non adamites, and acted accordingly.
Carl Wieland
Hmm... no, it's not a new view at all, it's called orthodox, historical Christianity. And it will be instructive for readers to see this sad example of how polygenism (see my response further down that mentions Voltaire) is used by people in a Christian culture to promote racism/segregationism. See: Is Christianity ‘for whites only’? A refutation of the ‘Christian Identity’ heresy
Michelle J.
This article is doing more than a little whitewashing of the actual history of proslavery Christianity. Yes, evangelicals were sometimes strong antislavery voices. But it is also true that the South before and during the Civil War vociferously argued that its proslavery position was justified by the Biblical text, and that it was the compromising, not-literal-enough liberals of the North that got to their antislavery position through creative reinterpretation of the text. And it's not an accident that segregation, laws against interracial marriage, etc., hung on the longest in these same Biblicist, fundamentalist, southern communities. Just think Bob Jones University. Where do you think the Southern Baptist denomination came from in the first place? That's right, they were the proslavery wing of the Baptists. So it's the height of irony to see fundamentalists now claiming that the Bible is so strongly anti-slavery and anti-racism. The fundamentalists, on average, were the slowest of all the Christians to get with the program of ditching slavery and racism!

I recommend people read Mark Noll (e.g., "America's God", "The Civil War as a Theological Crisis" for the actual history of American slavery and just how strongly the Southerners felt supported by the text of the Bible. Noll doesn't whitewash the uncomfortable truths.
Carl Wieland
First, my book on which this article is based does not fail to grasp the nettle of all sorts of Christian failings, not seek to 'whitewash'. But you are gilding the lily in the opposite direction, if I may say so (and Noll is hardly an unbiased observer, as he seems to take delight in trying to prove the failings of taking the Bible seriously in such areas as creation--see his 'Scandal of the Evangelical Mind' which is even more tragic for the fact that it is partway 'on the money' in places). The reason for the greater emphasis on slavery justification in the South is the economic/opportunity issue (unless you want to defend the proposition that southerners were somehow uniquely more immoral than northerners in the antebellum US). There is a tragic history of slavery in the North as well, as my book documents, and deplores. But rather than the text of the Bible providing true vindication, it shows how in each case, racism (which was used as a justification for slavery, rather than its cause) involves twisting or rejecting the Genesis big picture, which I choose to call One Human Family. If one can focus a little larger than the US situation, the book shows how wherever one turns, whether it is Aboriginals in Australia even, the OHF concept has been an antidote to racist atrocities. I commend it to you as a balance to Noll (btw, I formally reviewed his Scandal 16 years ago, here). For far more detail on what the Bible teaches about slavery, I recommend using the search engine on this site under that topic.
M. M.
I would still argue that if you were to go back in time throughout the history of Brazil from the end of slavery and asked black Brazilians to comment on whether "Brazil had far fewer social problems involving black-white racism than the US" they would raise an eyebrow of incredulity. They may even comment that the difference is akin to how I differentiate winter in Kansas to winter in Utah...one is cold...and the other is cold. As far as Jim Crow laws are concerned, I would argue that you read too much into the existence of the Jim Crow laws as indication that Brazilians were some how above such laws (I don't know enough to say that Brazil had no equivalent law but will stipulate that there didn't). Personally, I think their society was such that such laws weren't needed. Everyone knew their place if you will. I am confused by your argument regarding religion. I admit I haven't read your book, but 1. Brazilians are historically religious (even though not the case today), 2. I don't think Southern whites struggled so much with their superiority that they felt the need to look to the Bible to justify themselves. My bet is that having backing from the Bible was just icing on the cake to them. I doubt they would have acted differently had the Bible said to treat black people right y'all!!! And knowing both cultures, my bet would be on the Catholic Brazilians to seek such justification before any American. I suspect a Catholic Brazilian would even be more sincere about seeking such justification than a the South African. One more point, the vast difference in black populations b/w the US and Brazil w/ Brazil's black pop being much much larger has played a part in all this. NYT article on topic: http://nyti.ms/QIgTIG. I agree with much of the NYT article...but not all.
Carl Wieland
A few points in response, if I may.

  1. Speculation about what people might say going back in time is probably unhelpful, cf. documentation.

  2. To clarify the confusion re the argument, which is not unique btw, it is as follows. First, let's understand what is meant by a self-consciously biblical (we're not just talking religion here) culture. Spanish colonial cultures were never this in anything like the sense of the Reformation-affected cultures originating from Western Europe. This made the Bible accessible to the common man and ensured that it infused people's thinking in a historically new way. The point of the argument is firstly that even in such cultures, the sinful nature of man is ever-present, and of course only a fraction of the culture is actually composed of committed followers of Jesus Christ anyway. However, the ever-present biblical consciousness means that open, wholesale practice of enslavement of other human beings occuring in such a culture is a constant potential clash in people's thinking with the notion that all are human beings made in God's image. (It is no accident that the abolitionist movement was driven by committed biblical Christians, as we have documented in detail elsewhere on this site.) So there is a 'pressure' for those practising such things (for self-centred, economic reasons) to put up and 'sell' whatever ideas are expedient and effective as justification. Where the enslaved group consists exclusively of a people group who are readily identifiable as different from the enslaving group, there is an obvious 'niche' to be filled, i.e. the arising of ideas within that biblical culture which directly or subtly deny or counter the Bible's One Human Family picture of human history as per Genesis. For example, the idea that God created other groups before Adam, and that these were the ancestors of the non-white races. And also, the idea that we all started equal, but then one group got 'zapped' later, i.e. the mythical notion of the 'Curse on Ham' (no such thing, actually) leading to black skin and the inevitability of their enslavement as somehow 'God's will'. This idea, for instance, was pretty well unique to the Protestant US and the Boer-Afrikaner southern African culture. In short, there is an irony there, namely that there is pressure in a biblically oriented culture to 'dehumanize' the enslaved group to justify their enslavement which is not there to anything like the same extent in a non-biblical or perhaps less biblically-aware (as opposed to religiously or church-aware) culture. Now that does not mean that there will be no racism in such a less biblical culture, and overall, the social pressures within a more biblical culture may well have mitigated the horrors of slavery to an extent. They eventually led to the abolition of the institution, as we have noted. But all of that is not the point. The point is that FOLLOWING such an abolition, the dehumanization of the formerly enslaved group within that culture (not necessarily by the true believers, either, but by others to seek to lull their sensibilities)makes it more likely for that culture to have post-slavery racial ructions, as we saw with the tragic segregationist pressures in those two parts of the world mentioned. I maintain that this degree of institutionalized racism (Jim Crow/KKK lynchings, apartheid) was not comparable to the 'intrinsic' racism in all cultures, including Brazil.

Note, by the way, Graham P's comment above in agreement with all the points made in the article; he is not speculating so much as giving his own perception as one who has lived there.
M. M.
I have to disagree with the "all is well" in Brazil notion and that there is no racism or not a significant amount. Brazil is fairly well segregated with a large white population in the south and a large black population in the north. it is true that in many areas, blacks and whites live together in peace. But I would hesitate to say they live without racism. Brazilians would like you to believe there is no racism in their country...citing the War of the triple alliance in which the blacks fought along side whites valiantly. Brazilians admit there was rampant racism prior to that war. But the fact is that it isn't that there isn't racism in Brazil, but that it's presence isn't as widely rejected as it is here in the United States. In the United States, any hint of racism, outside of the south, is deplored. If one is racist...he keeps it to himself and within his own circle. In Brazil and other Latin American countries, racism is alive and well. The difference is that it is tolerated. It's presence isn't as acutely despised as it is here in the US. And let us NEVER forget that racism is NOT simply a white against black problem...but any time one denigrates another simple due to the color of one's skin or for carrying the blood of that race.
Carl Wieland
In the book from which this was derived (see the link for table of contents and sample sections), One Human Family, the matter is expanded/nuanced a bit more, but I don't think it's quite fair to suggest that even this article was saying there is no significant racism in Brazil. It did not say 'all is well' but rather something which is easy to justify and confirm, namely that "Brazil had far fewer social problems involving black-white racism than the US." You may be thinking only in terms of comparing the two cultures today; the real stark differences come when we look at the century or so after slavery was abolished in both cultures. Brazil had absolutely nothing like the Jim Crow laws, etc. The other culture that (ironically, due to its Christian heritage) was under pressure to dehumanize the enslaved people group (to overcome the clear One Human Family implications of the Bible's Genesis history), doing it via various anti-Genesis stratagems (polygenic views of creation, mythical curse on Ham ideas, etc.) was in southern Africa, which is dealt with in considerable detail in the chapter on apartheid. You may be pleased to discover that its findings strongly concur with your comments about racism being far from simply a white vs black thing.
John W.
I have been wondering how you get "one drop" of "black blood"? Never mind how that could affect your ethnicty. How foolish racists and bigots are.
Carl Wieland
Yes, foolish indeed, though of course the 'one drop' was really metaphorical, it referred to degrees of dilution of ethnicity. We still use 'blood' to refer to genetic relatedness, even though it is really the DNA code, which is hardly confined to blood.
Lew D.
I read your site daily with great profit and have recommended it to many other Christians. I concur that the historical institution of slavery was based on the need for labor. The industrial revolution significantly reduced the need for intensity of labor. But having read hundreds of pages of speeches made during the Congressional debates leading up to the Civil War in America I can tell you that for many southern plantation owners and politicians, slavery was entirely justified because of their opinion of the status of black Africans. In this regard, they were consonant with Aristotle who wrote that some men were destined for slavery.
Carl Wieland
Thanks, Lew; I think you would be fascinated by One Human Family, of which this article condenses one tiny portion. See end of my earlier comment to Graham D.
Very interesting article indeed. It immediately got my attention when I first read it in Creation Magazine. Two things stand out to me:

  1. The one drop rule applying almost reverse in places like Brazil.

  2. The fact that Walter Williams is cited where he says that black slavery is still alive and well in certain parts of Africa. I recently got independent confirmation that Williams’ statement is indeed correct. Shock and horror broke out when the Sowetan newspaper on 7 May 2012 reported on slave owners who were recently (in 2012) caught out. Worth a read on their site [link deleted as per normal policy—Ed].

It seems to me that, even in South Africa, the politically correct establishment have “protected” people even of different races, from the truth—despite us living on the same continent.

Blessings to you and CMI!
Gordon C.

What an eye opener!

By the grace of God,may the truth set us free!
Graham D.
Examples of slavery mandated by God as per the bible:

Exodus 21:2–6
Exodus 21:7–11
Exodus 21:20–21
Leviticus 25:44–46

And even in the NT

Luke 12:47–48

What does this ministry have to say about this? Are you going to somehow justify such cruelty as portrayed in both the Old and New Testament? Or will you simply ignore this; I think the latter is very likely.
Carl Wieland
Actually, Graham, incomplete information is worse than no information at all. To cite those examples out of context is bad enough, but you have also ignored the feedback rules, in that you are supposed to have searched our site first.
Even a cursory search would have revealed several articles, and reading them would have shown you why it was Bible-believing Christians whose passionate commitment to the teachings of Scripture led to the abolition of slavery, not the Enlightenment (in fact, the heroes of many of today's skeptics/humanists, the Enlightenment philosophers Hume, Voltaire and more, defending polygenesis in opposition to biblical creation of one couple precisely because of the desire to support the inferiority of certain ‘races’, which justified slavery and economic subjugation of other people groups (see for example Anti-slavery activist William Wilberforce: Christian hero).
And far from avoiding such topics, there are major sections on slavery, apartheid, Christian atrocities, even pedophilia and more in my recent book One Human Family (sample reading, including the full topic index, by following the link to the book’s title).
Graham P.
I agree with all this. When living in Brazil in the 1990s, it was clear to me that almost everyone considered themselves ‘white’ despite their skin colouring. The Brazilian census shows that nearly 90% of people there say they are ‘white’, which is interesting. What’s more, all Brazilians are aware of the circumstances of their emancipation: a Brazilian Princess wanted to marry a slave she was in love with, so she abolished slavery. In an incredible parallel to the Good News, she cancelled the certificates of all slaves to save the one she loved.
Patrick C.
Well written, well explained, well done. Thanks for this article:)

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