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Who’s going to declare the peace?

To the editor: The Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, and in fact, justifies slavery and servitude where slaves are told to submit to their masters. Early Christian apostle, Paul, did not command slave owners to free slaves, but to treat them humanely: “Master, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” (Colossians 4:1). In antiquity, slaves were from a variety of places in the ancient world, who often practiced their own religions and culture. Unlike later European and American slave commerce, no particular race was targeted for slavery. But by the 15th century, Christianity had established domain over Western Civilization, where it was as complicit in African slave trading as any guilty party.

This wholesale commercial slavery of Africans locked the West into an ugly continuing racist construct, where greedy and white European-American Christians were the blood and backbone of the slave trade. No exegesis of biblical scripture can void the facts of this deracinated holocaust of Black lives.

Vermont was among the first places in colonial North America to abolish slavery as a republic and later by state constitutional dictum. Yet, according to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, “Vermont’s anti-slavery declaration was not entirely altruistic either. The declaration’s wording was vague enough to allow Vermont’s established accepted slave practices continue.” Therefore, it wasn’t until the (VT) Freedom Act of 1858, that any slave brought into or owned in Vermont was free.

Today, with only a slight increase in minority population, Census 2020 shows that 90 percent of Vermont’s population is white. Being Black in a mostly white state heightens Black sensitivity to being Black. It is systemic white racism that forces Blacks to be on the defensive and identify as Black. Whites don’t have to identify as white; they take their race for granted. But when many whites were radically put-off by antidiscrimination laws of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, they went on the defensive, also. With the two groups, Black and white, still on the defensive, the battle lines’ tension are unsheathed where old and new wounds run deep. Suspension of hostilities is elusive. Who’s going to declare the peace?

A typical slave state law-code defined a slave as, “A human being, who is by law deprived of their liberty for life, and is the property of another;” the property owners being white. Exactly how does a nation declare peace among themselves based on a foundation of law and religion where one race had explicitly owned another race? No room was left to doubt, Black lives didn’t matter then, and there’ll be no peace until Black lives matter now.

Vidda Crochetta

Brattleboro, May 2