‘Stopping racist practices at year 350 of 400 years, but then taking no effort to dismantle them is not the same as truly combating racism…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., claimed that the United States “created” slavery during a bizarre Senate speech on Tuesday.
Sen. Tim Kaine: “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.” pic.twitter.com/VM86sRrtn1
— The Hill (@thehill) June 16, 2020
“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort in 1619,” Kaine said.
“They were slaves—they had been captured against their will—but they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery,” he continued. “There were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time. The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”
This is historically false — slavery was present throughout Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world long before the United States was founded. But Kaine continued to push his theory.
“[Slavery] got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states,” he added. “It got created by the court systems in colonial America that enforced fugitive slave laws.”
Kaine then argued that the U.S. has “never gone back to undo” the system of slavery it created, despite ending some of its practices—which is why congress needs to “dismantle the structures of racism” that exist in the legal system, he added.
“Stopping racist practices at year 350 of 400 years, but then taking no effort to dismantle them is not the same as truly combating racism,” he said.
Before gaining national notoriety as Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 running mate, Kaine served as governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010 but showed little interest at the time in dismantling the commonwealth’s four-centuries-old practices.
However, current seat-holder Ralph Northam—after having been snared in a scandal over his own racist yearbook photo—has proceeded to enact several laws and fiats to do so.
Those include a symbolic purge of Virginia’s obsolete, “racist” laws and the removal of Confederate statues long deemed historic landmarks.
Earlier this week, Northam—who previously ended the state’s Lee–Jackson Day honoring two top Civil War generals—declared Friday’s “Juneteenth,” the date upon which slaves were freed during the war, to be a new state holiday.
But Kaine’s remarks evoked controversial comments that Northam made in a February 2019 interview with CBS’s Gayle King, during which he euphemistically appeared to downplay slavery by referring to the first slaves to arrive in the U.S. as “indentured servants.”
After facing online backlash, Kaine’s office tried to clarify his recent comments in a formal statement.
“Did slavery already exist in the world? Of course. But not in the laws of colonial America at the time,” Kaine said in the statement.
“We could have been a nation completely without the institution,” he continued. “But colonial legislatures and courts, and eventually the U.S. legal system, created the institution on our shores and maintained slavery until the 13th Amendment. As I said, we didn’t inherit it. We chose to create it.”