Whataboutism is always a lazy defense that avoids discussing the topic by distraction but to use it to defend slavery is just disgusting. When confronted by the truth of slavery in America Eddie Hyatt's first response is to scream - there were white slaves too! No Eddie there were not. At least not in America, which is what we are talking about. We are not talking about the Assyrians, Babylonians, or Persians. The fact that they too incorporated slavery into their societies does not change the point of CRT. The underlying false premise Hyatt offers is that CRT wants us to believe that slavery was unique to America. That is a false strawman argument set up so Hyatt can knock it down by wielding the Hittites against it. Hyatt makes two other specious arguments here. The first is that somehow the American version of slavery was "less vicious" than others. Besides that claim probably being false, is that really the point? I enslaved you better? What do you want? A cookie? The more insidious lie here is the notion that because America was a Christian nation, which it was not, that it somehow led to abolition quicker than other nations. Except when you look at real history you will find America was one of the LAST countries to abolish slavery and in fact we went to war against ourselves over the matter. Only Cuba and Brazil abolished slavery after the United States. So the fact that slavery was not unique to America does not "blow CRT out of the water" and in fact only supports it further.
"Truth No. 2: Moral outrage erupted against slavery in Colonial America - A great, spiritual awakening, beginning in 1726, morally transformed Colonial America. This Christian revival breached racial and cultural barriers, ignited an abolition movement, and paved the way for the formation of the United States of America. It also unleashed the moral outrage that brought about the end of slavery on the American continent. Early preachers of this Awakening, such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, William Davies, reached out to blacks, both slave and free, and saw them respond en masse to the Gospel message. Their message had a leveling effect on American society for they preached that all are the same in the sight of God. All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, and all stand in need of a Saviorand that Savior is Jesus Christ. As a result of their preaching and compassionate outreach to blacks, racial and cultural barriers were breached in colonial America. Blacks and whites worshipped together, and black preachers and black churches began arising throughout the land. For example, while a slave on the Stokeley Sturgis plantation in Delaware, Richard Allen was powerfully impacted by the abolitionist Methodist preacher, Freeborn Garrettson, who preached to both slaves and the Sturgis family. Not only did many slaves respond to Garrettson's Gospel message, but he was able to convince Sturgis that slavery is a sin. Sturgis immediately began making arrangements for his slaves to obtain their freedom. Allen obtained his freedom and went forth preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and became a very successful evangelist to both black and white audiences. In 1784, he preached for several weeks in Radnor, Pennsylvania, to a mostly white audience, and he recalled hearing it said, "This man must be a man of God; I have never heard such preaching before" (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 95-96)." - Eddie Hyatt
I do not wish to get into arguing over the distraction Hyatt employs. The fact is that if there was such a great spiritual awakening in 1726 that so drastically changed the colonists' minds about slavery, why did it take another 136 years to abolish it? Why did it take the deaths of 750,000 Americans in the Civil War for the Union to force the south to free their slaves? Why do people in the south to this day still fly the flag of treason and celebrate the Confederacy war figures? You see, what Eddie Hyatt is doing is finding individual stories of people who were genuinely offended by the realities of slavery in America and applying that to a country that did not agree. So bully for Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, and William Davies for correctly understanding that owning another human being was morally wrong. That does not change the point of CRT one iota. While I am glad for Richard Allen that he was lucky enough to hear Freeborn Garrettson's message there are countless others who never had such an opportunity within their lived experience as slaves in America.
"Although the preaching of the first-generation Awakening preachers was evangelistic in nature, second generation Awakening preachers took their message to its logical conclusion. If all are equal in creation, and all have sinned and stand in need of a Savior, and Jesus died equally for all, how can slavery ever be justified? They, therefore, began to vehemently attack the institution of slavery. Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803), for example, who had been personally tutored by Edwards, pastored for a time in Newport, Rhode Island, an important hub in the transatlantic slave trade. He was outraged by the "violation of God's will" he observed in Newport. He declared, "This whole country have their hands full of blood this day" (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 92). In 1774, after the First Continental Congress had convened in Philadelphia, Hopkins sent a pamphlet to every member of the Congress, asking how they could complain about "enslavement" to England and overlook the "enslavement" of so many blacks in the Colonies. The abolition message caught fire and was heard throughout the land. Evangelists, such as Samuel Cooke, Freeborn Garrettson, James O'Kelly and others, labored incessantly for both the salvation of souls and the abolition of slavery. In a sermon preached and published in 1770, Cooke declared that by tolerating the evil of slavery, "We, the patrons of liberty, have dishonored the Christian name, and degraded human nature nearly to a level with the beasts that perish." The Baptist preacher, John Allen, was even more direct, and thundered, Blush ye pretended votaries of freedom! ye trifling Patriots! who are making a vain parade of being advocates for the liberties of mankind, who are thus making a mockery of your profession by trampling on the sacred natural rights and privileges of Africans (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 94). This abolition movement gained momentum and eventually impacted all of colonial America, including America's founding fathers." - Eddie Hyatt
Once again, we see more of the same tactic employed here. I will assume Hyatt is correct about people like Samuel Hopkins. CRT does not seek to change the role of Samuel Hopkins in history. It seeks to tell the whole truth about the people other than Samuel Hopkins. There is no doubt that there were individual people who were outraged and worked hard to end the scourge of slavery and they should be celebrated. I seriously doubt CRT seeks to diminish them in any way. The cold hard reality however is that they were unsuccessful in their efforts and for over 100 more years slavery ruled in this country until the Civil War. So, the fact that some people may have been outraged as far back as colonial America changes nothing regarding the truths CRT seeks to speak to.
"Truth No. 3: America's founders turned against slavery -By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, virtually every American founder, even those who owned slaves, had taken a public stand against slavery. What makes this particularly amazing is the fact that this was happening at a time when slavery was accepted and practiced in most of the world. Dr. Thomas Sowell, who happens to black, has said, Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century - and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of the 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 90). Dr. Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia physician, member of the Continental Congress, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a vocal opponent of slavery. He helped found the first American abolition society in his hometown. He called slavery a "hydra sin" and called on the pastors and ministers of America to take a public stand against it (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 100-101). Benjamin Franklin liberated his two slaves in 1785 and began advocating for abolition. He joined the abolition society of Philadelphia and later served as its president. In a public address to this society, Franklin called slavery, "an atrocious debasement of human nature" and "a source of serious evils." George Washington was born in Virginia into a slave-owning family but came to abhor slavery as did most other founders. In a letter to Robert Morris, dated April 12, 1786, he said, "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." Washington set up a compassionate program to disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery. Those slaves who wanted to leave were free to do so. Those who chose to remain were paid wages, and he began a program to educate and prepare the children of slaves for freedom. In a conversation with John Bernard concerning abolition, Washington declared,
Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 43). Thomas Jefferson called slavery a "moral depravity" and "hideous blot" and said it presented the greatest threat to the future survival of America. James Madison, America's 4th president, called slavery "the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man." By the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution of 1787 virtually every founder had come to agree with John Adams who declared, Every measure of prudence ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States . . . I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101)." - Eddie Hyatt
Number 3 is essentially the same as number 2 - there were individual people who were against slavery. Now, I think Hyatt's rose-colored version of some of these folks is not historically accurate. It is true that in his will Washington freed his slaves. IN HIS WILL. I might add, he is the only founding father to do so. I am unsure how righteous your point is that after someone has lived their entire life employing slaves for 14-hour summer days on his four plantations, that upon his death thinks better of the practice. The larger, overarching point that Hyatt never addresses is all of these individual people amounted to nothing in the public square. America held tightly to its grip on slavery for over a hundred more years and finally abolished the practice after the rest of the world already had and the Civil War had ended.
"Truth #4: America's Founding Documents are Colorblind - Because America's Founders turned against slavery, there are no classifications based on race or skin color in America's founding documents. Neither is there any mention of slaves or slavery. The language was purposeful for James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, said, "The Convention thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men." Nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution indicates that the freedoms guaranteed do not apply to every individual. America's founding documents are, indeed, colorblind even if her history has not been. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) understood this and in his stirring, I Have a Dream speech, he challenged America, not to dispense with her founding documents, but instead, to live up to them. Speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared, When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed, I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Frederick Douglas (1818-1895), the former slave and famous abolitionist, understood the colorblind nature of the founding documents and argued that their language must be understood as applying to everyone. "Anyone of these provisions in the hands of abolition statesmen, and backed by a right moral sentiment," he declared, "would put an end to slavery in America." CRT proponents insist that America is racist and founded on racist principles. They are wrong. David Azerrad was correct when he said, "The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution" (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 127-28). There are racists in America, but America itself is not racist. America's founding documents are colorblind and at the time of her founding she was at the forefront of the fight to end slavery." - Eddie Hyatt