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So African involvement has to be qualified, as it varied and secondary to that of European and American powers. Further, such involvement is clearly central to related matters such as reparations. For even if African elites were as guilty, does that excuse European and American participation? And even if African states were equally culpable, from which African governments could we expect reparations?

These are critical questions, because the logic of reparations is that compensation is to be derived from corporate bodies — states, businesses, universities, etc. — that both participated in and benefited from slavery and the slave trade. The United States, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, etc., were all present (in one form or another) during the slave trade, and they all continue to exist. They all benefited from the trade and arguably owe a great deal to those whose labor was exploited but whose persons were abused for centuries. In contrast, European colonialism did away with African sovereignty; the Dahomey and Asante of the 18th and 19th centuries are no more.

When It Comes to the Slave Trade, All Guilt Is Not Equal

A renowned historian challenges the argument by Henry Louis Gates Jr. that Africans were equally responsible for the trade in humans, therefore complicating reparations.

ripping that con Henry Louis Gates Jr. a new Hole. I approve.

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