It was disappointing to see, in my view, dangerous misinformation published within the article "Fascinated by white slavery" on page 11 of last Saturday's Essence magazine.
In the interview, author Sherryl Jordan is quoted as claiming that "over several centuries, until the 1800s, there had been a white slave trade as extensive and horrific as the trade of black slaves, which we all know about; few of us know about the trade of white slaves".
"Over those centuries, over a million white slaves were sold in northern Africa to Muslim masters."
Firstly, the trans-Atlantic slave trade took at least 12 million people from Africa, with many more being killed in the process of raids and transportation.
American slavery was also racialised and therefore inherited, meaning slave owners kept the children and further descendants of those Africans as chattels over the course of centuries.
This in turn led to the post-slavery history of racial segregation in the US, denial of equal human rights, ongoing mass incarceration, and systemic oppression of black people internationally.
Meanwhile, the estimate of 1 million Europeans abducted between 1530 and 1780 may well be exaggerated, as it was extrapolated from records that were only available for the most intense slaving period (from 1580 to 1680).
The northern African practice of slavery was also not limited to European, white or Christian slaves.
Slavers in this region enslaved African, black and non-Christian people as well, in far greater numbers in fact – so it's false to frame it as similarly racialised except against whites, and as distinct from "the trade of black slaves".
To claim the north African enslavement of white people is equivalent in extent and horror to American slavery – when it was a fraction in size, non-racialised and therefore not usually inherited, and didn't result in continuing global systems of anti-whiteness – is egregious nonsense.
Jordan's suggestion that the two practices of slavery are equivalent and yet we only know about black slaves also implies some sort of current institutional racism against white people – which is of course, false.
All institutions of wealth and power across European settler colonising nations (including New Zealand), from Governments and courts to education and media systems, have always been imposed and dominated by white people.
Institutional racism, in which these institutions usurp and maintain power for the material benefit of white people – at the expense of indigenous people, black people and people of colour more broadly – is extensively documented as continuing to this day.
Such myths of white enslavement being equivalent to the trans-Atlantic institution are rife among white nationalist groups.
The argument being "whites had it just as bad, so the current disproportionate concentration of global wealth and power in our hands is simply proof of our superior nature".
This blatant white supremacy denies the responsibility of European imperialist nations for intentionally creating extreme and enduring racial injustice.
Furthermore, false victimhood continues to motivate white supremacist violence, including that of the Christchurch terrorist attack.
For this reason, editors have a particular responsibility to carefully fact-check all such claims.
Printing such misinformation was, I believe, a serious breach of ethical standards.