For What it’s Worth

By Adam Balm

My great-great-grandparents were not slaves. They were enslaved. The universal reference to our great-great-grandparents as “slaves” suggests not-so-subtly that this was simply what they were. That is not correct. It was what was done to them.

If God forbid some hillbilly climbs in your window tonight while you are sleeping and snatches a loved one and chains her up in his root cellar, he can call her his slave all he wants but that doesn’t make her one. It makes him a psycho and an asshole.

Our history is no different. That it was thousands of hillbillies and millions of loved ones over the course of hundreds of years doesn’t transform abduction into something benign or legitimate. And the fact that it was legal makes the whole thing even worse. This should be obvious to everyone.

It seems appropriate to point this out right now, as we review yet another murdered black kid’s transcript in order to determine, after the fact, what his life was worth.