Slavery nestled deep in the psyche of the United States. It is as much a part of the fabric of the country as is the Declaration of Independence. Slavery and the belief that “all men are created equal” are in direct opposition to each other. Because of that, slavery remains such a controversial part of the history of the United States that it glossed over regularly. It is so ignored by the mainstream that a euphemism was created to discuss the impact of slavery, especially its economy, that the word slavery was substituted with our peculiar institution.

Because our peculiar institution, especially in the southern United States, has become so pervasive, many U.S. citizens routinely underplay the part slavery played in the history of the U.S., especially in México-U.S. geopolitics. This has created a narrative that slavery was a historical footnote in the greatness of the United States which had little to nothing to do with U.S foreign policy and foreign interventions.

I’ve had numerous debates about slavery and plantations and their part in different invasions of México by the United States. For me, slavery was a significant factor while for those that argued against it seem to believe that slavery was but an indirect part of the larger issue. I’ve even had people argue that the issue of slavery in the country is being exaggerated for money. As if one slave really cared if he/she were the only slave in the U.S.

Politically, slavery remains a taboo topic in U.S. politics with everyone pretending that it is much ado about nothing.

I didn’t really grasp how much U.S. citizens underplay slavery as part of the history of their country until I understood that slavery was such a controversial topic that a more palatable phrase was created to have a proper discussion about it. Our peculiar institution is slavery but it is much more palatable in public policy discussions.

The need to gloss over the slavery factor in U.S. politics has allowed notions such as entitlements, the exceptionalism of the United States, and on up to today’s continued demonizing of México leading the narrative about national and local public policy.

It is difficult to argue policy with facts when the facts are distorted with euphemisms such as our peculiar institution.

Facts, though, remain, even if people try to bury them deep behind façades of politically correct language.

It’s time to call our peculiar institution for what it is – slavery!

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “Our Peculiar Institution”

  1. Martin
    Then you failed to point out Mexico has the highest number of of people living in modern Slavery in Central and North America. That peculiar institution doesn’t see to bother you when it comes to Mexico. See Martin there is not a nation on the planet that hasn’t had in the past or still have in the present some type of slavery. Slavery was going on long time before Europeans made it to the Africa. By many studies is still widely practiced in Africa. So Martin where is your equal outrage! Chirp,Chirp, Chirp, Chirp, Chirp…………..
    Then those decedents of former slaves, mostly being Blacks in America but not all Blacks in America today are decedents of slave that were held in America which others and you are trying to make the claim of how racist, oppressive and repressive America is of this group so answer this were is the mass exodus?
    Every where historically and in present day where people are mistreated based or race, culture, ethnicity, religion, etc, these group are leaving and have left those countries , areas of the world in large numbers.
    Then for such a racist,oppressive, repressive nation of minorities,especially Blacks America flies in the face of history it has a large number of minority groups ,some risking their lives, to try and get into such a racist, oppressive, repressive nation as America. The minority group currently in America we see no mass exodus either.
    Sorry Martin in modern times, in the U.S., such claims are mostly a whole heaping helping of Bovine Fecal Matter with the intent to create and keep in place a professional victim class wanting to claim some kind of special rights.

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