I have probably already offended some black people, and the white people who like to represent them, because I used the word 'black' to describe their race. I don't know any black people. As a result, I do not know what black people like to be called. I do not know if they prefer black or colored or negro or African-American. There are other words used to describe the black race that are deemed to be so evil they cannot be spoken or written. Although black people often refer to each other using those terms, it is generally understood that nobody else is allowed to use those words. It must be a club sort of thing. I can respect that. I have belonged to clubs with secret words as well. It is not my intention to be offensive so I will not use those words. In any case, if I ever meet a black person I will ask him what he likes to be called and then I will call him that.
From what I can tell by reading the papers, I think it is true that most blacks today prefer to be called African-Americans. I could be wrong on this because I do not know who wrote the articles I have read. They could have been written by white people who want black people to call themselves African-Americans. Regardless, I have a problem with black people calling themselves African-American. Blacks were imported to this country during the colonial period. The slave trade had basically ended prior to the start of the Civil War in 1861. So, for the sake of illustration, I will assume that blacks were imported to this country from 1660 to 1860. I define a generation as 40 years. It therefore necessarily follows that the minimum number of generations a black person living in this country today can trace his ancestry back to Africa is 4. For most blacks who can trace their ancestry back to Africa it is probably closer to 5-8 generations before they get back to the original person who actually came from Africa.
Although no government survey or census form allows me to declare this truth, I am a Welsh-American. In fact, I am a third generation Welsh-American. That means I can trace my direct ancestry back to Wales more recently than any black can trace his ancestry back to Africa. Yet when I describe myself as being a Welsh-American I am castigated by my fellow citizens. I am made fun of and ridiculed by those who do not believe I should be allowed to describe myself as a Welsh-American. My point is this, if blacks can call themselves African-Americans then I most certainly can call myself a Welsh-American. That is my right and I am invoking it.
Now we need to consider some facts about slavery. Consider the following truths about Welsh enslavement:
- Many linguistic scholars believe that the word 'welsh' was once used as the word for 'slave'. This belief is based upon the fact that the Welsh people, being a generally docile folk who believe in minding their own business and leaving other people alone, were prone to being enslaved by the more warrior types who lived around them.
- Starting in the 12th century the Welsh were systematically enslaved by the Norwegians (Vikings), the Irish, and most recently, by the British. There is no history of the Welsh ever having enslaved any other group of people. There is evidence that some Welshmen were involved in ruling over black slaves in the Caribbean but it is also recognized that those who did so were sent there as slaves themselves by other nations in Europe.
- I do not know and was unable to find any figures that would indicate how many of the Welsh people were enslaved at any particular time. Given our reputation for taking care of our fellow Welshmen I expect that when one Welshman was enslaved, others would join him in support. My best guess then would be that rates of Welsh enslavement were quite high, although I do not know for sure.
- There were 27 million white citizens. Of those 27 million citizens, 385,000 owned slaves. Eight million white citizens lived in the slave holding states. If all slave owners were white, and they were not, then 1.4% of the total white citizenship owned slaves and 4.8% of southern whites owned slaves. Conversely, 98.6% of white citizens did not own slaves and 95.2% of southern whites did not own slaves.
- There were 4.5 million blacks in the United States. 3.9 million of the 4.5 million blacks lived in the southern states. Of that 3.9 million blacks living in the southern states, 262,000 were free men. The greatest number of free blacks lived in New Orleans (11,000). 28% of the free blacks living in New Orleans owned slaves. This led Duke University historian John Franklin to conclude "the statistics show that, when becoming free, blacks disproportionately became slave masters themselves."
- There were six blacks in Louisiana who owned 65 or more slaves. One black master owned 152 slaves. In Charleston, South Carolina, 125 free blacks owned black slaves. Six of those 125 owned 10 or more slaves. There were 69 free blacks in North Carolina who owned slaves.