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A New Hampshire lawmaker has come under fire for claiming that American slavery was based on economics and not on racism, and that he doesn't think that slavery is racist.

Republican state representative Werner Horn made the comments in a now-deleted Facebook post, before reaffirming his position in multiple interviews with other media outlets, reports USA Today.

USA Today reports that Horn originally made the comments in response to a Facebook post from the former state House representative Dan Haynes, who took to the social media site to ask:

If Trump is the most racist president in American history, what does that say about all of the other presidents who owned slaves?

In response, Horn reportedly said:

Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist...

Writing on Tuesday, Haynes then said:

I guess not.

Which is surprising since everything else makes someone a racist.

According to USA Today, Horn then added:

It shouldn’t be surprising since owning slaves wasn’t a decision predicated on race but on economics. It’s a business decision.

On Thursday, Hayes took a different position on Facebook, saying that "slavery in the U.S. was in fact racist", reports USA Today.

However, Horn, a three-term lawmaker, doubled down on his claims in interviews with the Huffington Post and the New Hampshire Union Leader. Speaking to the Huffington Post, he said that he thought that "slavery's not OK", however, he also said:

Human beings have been owning other human beings since the dawn of time. It’s never been about race.

According to Horn, slave owners didn't consider race at the auction block, but instead, it was "an economic decision". He also added that women and children cost less than male slaves, saying:

Unless you’re going to try to tell me those plantation owners were so in the dark ages that they delighted in being also sexist and ageist — practicing age discrimination and sex discrimination when they bought slaves — I don’t see how you can say they’re being racist because they bought black slaves.

Essentially, his main argument was that slave owners were motivated by economics, meaning they weren't discriminatory.

Consolidating his argument, he said:

My comment specifically was aimed at a period of time when that was how you survived, that’s how you fed your family.

It wasn’t, ‘I want to own a black person today.’ It was, ’I need to feed my family; I need five guys who can work stupidly long hours in the sun without killing themselves.'

In a statement, New Hampshire Republican state committee chairman Stephen Stepanek said:

Representative Horn is wrong and his comments are not based in our platform’s belief in free people, free markets and free enterprise. Slavery throughout its history in the United States was a racist, inhuman, and immoral practice.

Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, criticised Governor Chris Sununu for refusing to condemn the comments. In a statement, he said:

Sununu’s silence on Trump’s racism has sanctioned this kind of behavior from his Republican Party and has permitted comments like these with impunity.

It’s disgusting.

In a statement to indy100, Werner Horn said:

Slavery is an abhorrent and immoral practice. It's an institution that is practised today. It has always been about exploiting those unable to protect themselves. There's no racial component, rather an irrational belief that another human can be treated like property. Any offence against a slave is allowed because they are property. 

Specific to the North American continent, Africans enslaved Africans. They sold them to Europeans who transported them to the Caribbean and the New World to fill a market demand for unpaid labour. I can't find a racial motivation in there, plenty of economic ones though. Everything from identifying a people who lacked a nation state to protect them, to jamming as many people as possible in the holds was done to ensure the largest quantity of slaves were available for purchase at their destination.

Africans weren't the only ones slaves on the North American continent either. The Irish and the Chinese were two other races that were exploited for their industry. In both cases those people lacked a nation state to prevent their exploitation. 

The common thread through all of this is economic gain through abhorrent and immoral means. Race wasn't the driving factor

HT Huff Post

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