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article imageOp-Ed: TIME editor compares Madiba with a white slaver

By Nicole Froio     Dec 11, 2013 in World
TIME magazine editor Fareed Zakaria has compared Nelson Mandela with George Washington and caused uproar for his insensitive words.
Mandela suffered because of the colour of his skin his whole life, and was imprisoned for over twenty years for his struggle for the freedom of his people, yet Zakaria found it necessary and acceptable to compare Mandela with a leader who owned and sold slaves.
Arguably, George Washington claimed to be against slavery on moral and financial grounds. He is reported to have said: "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." However that didn't stop him from owning and selling slaves for his own benefit and it doesn't change the fact that he had the overwhelming benefit of white male privilege which he could have used more constructively as opposed to just saying he was against slavery. At the time of his death, he owned 317 slaves, his wife owned 154.
He freed his slaves when he died, only after he could no longer benefit from their human lives.
Perhaps the scariest thing about this is that his tweet was favourited 300 times and retweeted by 711 people.
There is no place in the world for this racist, out-of-touch, offensive comparison.
Though you could say the comparison is drawn from the fact that George Washington was the first leader of a free, democratic country, like Mandela, the comparison is still offensive. The intention does not matter when people say things like this. And it's relevant to remember that America was colonized by white men and massacred their natives - and that even though Washington is considered the leader of the free world, it wasn't the case for people of colour in general.
Here's why you shouldn't compare Mandela to ANYONE WHITE : because his struggle his imprisonment was based on his being black
— Sydette (@Blackamazon) December 6, 2013
The suffering the triumph the abuse was based on his BLACKNESS . On his VIOLENT love of his BLACKNESS — Sydette (@Blackamazon) December 6, 2013
He was Xhosa AFRICAN MAN being told he was less than in the land his people had been ROYAL IN because he was black — Sydette (@Blackamazon) December 6, 2013
None of them went through that NONE . Nobody gave their last words multiple times because they knew how little a black life was worth
— Sydette (@Blackamazon) December 6, 2013
And no one spent a 20+ years wondering if folks would just kill him in the night cause they did it to MOST OF HIS COMRADES
— Sydette (@Blackamazon) December 6, 2013
And no one spent a 20+ years wondering if folks would just kill him in the night cause they did it to MOST OF HIS COMRADES — Sydette (@Blackamazon) December 6, 2013
@BabyWasu congrats @FareedZakaria comparing #Mandela to a slaver tops my list of stupidity for the night, I'm off to bed. @AfricasaCountry — Sean Burke (@Tehranical) December 5, 2013
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Nelson mandela, South Africa, World news, Time magazine, Jacob zuma
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