#39: What if slave trade happened in reverse?

Our 39th prompt comes from Sir Pie. He says:

Slave trade was in reverse, Africans trading Caucasians and Arabs, describe the world today.


Sir Pie,

You are in luck. When we were learning about slave trade during history class in high school, I spent a lot of my time imagining alternative scenarios because our history teacher was boring as hell, and one of those was “What if Africans instigated the slave trade instead?” Here’s how I think the world would look today if that happened.

  • In addition to Trans-Atlantic slave trade (in which we’d have brought white people), we’d also speak of Trans-Indian and Trans-Mediterranean slave trade.
  • We’d make the Arabs and white people work on giant plantations of sorghum, millet and teff. Instead of wheat, maize and rice being the world’s staple starches, it would be these three guys. We’d also put them to work in the mines. Gold and diamonds don’t dig themselves up bruh.
  • As a result, bread, cookies, cake, pasta, pilau, biryani, boiled maize, roast maize…you name it would be considered food for the uncultured white/Arab people. Not for we noble Africans. Heck, it is possible they would not even exist. There would be African fusion restaurants in every country, and we’d set the standards for fine dining.
  • The world would be obsessed with producing the finest palm wine, umqombothi, muratina, busaa, tej and other African booze. We’d have sommeliers recommending the best mnazi, and TV shows would invite chang’aa connoisseurs. We’d look down upon wine, whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and brandy. They’d probably be treated the way we treat kumi kumi. “You mean to tell me the poor white people are still squeezing grapes and making wine? Must suck to be poor!”
  • We would be obsessed with black standards of beauty. White and Arab people would get their skin melanated. Light skinned Africans might then feel pressure to do the same. Everyone would be falling over themselves to get a chemical applied on their hair that “magically” makes it 4C. If your hair is any colour other than black, you’d just have to dye it because who wouldn’t want black hair? People would also get cosmetic surgery to widen their noses. The Kardashians would be black, with 4C hair and wide noses, married to/dating exotic white and Arab men.
  • Instead of people being told they need to speak English (or French or German or whatever else), they would have to speak Niger-Congo languages. These would be the official languages of business. We’d have people in restaurants, on public transport and in the streets demanding that foreigners speak Zulu, Shona, Yoruba, Igbo, Ubangi, Kikuyu, Luhya or whatever the primary language in the area is. Kiswahili would still exist (because Arabs would be here) but it would be treated the way people treat patois or African American slang. You know, it would be appropriated to death. Drake would probably be singing in Kiswahili.
  • Black privilege would be a real thing. We’d have white people on the streets protesting that “White Lives Matter” and screaming that just because they are melanin deficient, doesn’t make them less human. Of course, black people would be counter-protesting while telling them to “go back to Europe you ungrateful f*cks!” “Is it because I’m white?” poor Garrett would ask as the black shop owner follows him around the store. The places they live would always be the most dangerous parts of the city/country/world. Sometimes they’d be joined by Arabs as allies in their protests. Though some Arabs would say that they kinda-sorta pass for light skinned black people and enjoy some black privilege. White and Arab people would accuse us of appropriating their culture if hair straightening for black people became a thing. “We’ve had straight hair for hundreds of years, and now it’s suddenly cool?” Rachel Dolezal would actually be a black woman.
  • The first and second world wars would have happened in Africa. We would also be bombing Europe and North America every decade and sending troops there for “peacekeeping missions.” White people would automatically be assumed to be terrorists, because they’d probably try to retaliate. The refugee crisis would be them running away from their countries to come to Africa.
  • Mud architecture would be the standard for buildings around the world. When assessing the beauty of a building, we’d say “Wow, this looks exactly like the Djenne Mosque! The architect did a great job!”
  • The industrial revolution would have happened here. We’d experience economic booms like no other, while the rest of the world dealt with economic stagnation. We’d guess that it’s because we’re just better than them.
  • Of course, white and Arab people would be considered second class citizens/human beings. We’d have pseudo-scientists debating whether it’s the size of their crania that makes them inferior, or whether it’s the melanin deficiency. We’d parade them in human zoos and ask ourselves why they tend to have flat bottoms, why their lips are so thin, and why their private parts are so… Whatever the case, we’d be happy to have a reason to treat them like shit.
  • Christianity and Islam would be considered cults. Practicing them would get you charged with witchcraft. Or paganism. The world’s largest religions would be Voodoo and Santeria. We’d have people knocking on doors asking if you believe in Ra (or Ngai, or Anansi the Spider or whichever other deity). We’d ask people to name their children after Orishas because that buys them favour in the eyes of God. White and Arab people would be asked if they have Orisha names. “Your name is Becky? What’s your Orisha name? You don’t have one? Wow, your parents must be hippies.”
  • White and Arab families would be broken. We’d accuse their kids of having daddy issues. They would have high rates of illiteracy and delinquency because of how we treat them and the lack of opportunities, but we’d just attribute it to their skin colour. We’d keep asking why they “talk like that.” Why they don’t go to university. Why they are poor [it’s probably because they are lazy]. Why their countries are poor. Why they are suddenly experiencing trauma [surely it’s not because of us].
  • Of course, we’d have colonized Europe, the Americas and parts of the Middle East. What good is slavery without some colonialism on the side?

What else do you think would have happened if we’d enslaved the world instead? Let me know in the comments! 🙂 [P.S. Aamer Rahman has a really good bit on reverse racism, check it out!]


This post is part of a daily writing experiment that I’m running for a year. I’d love it if you took part! ?

One thought on “#39: What if slave trade happened in reverse?

  1. Interesting!
    -Monogamy would perhaps be frowned up besides being a minority practice.
    -Instead of Spiderman, the world’d be crazy about Luanda Magere.
    -Zulus or Xhosas would have trecked to Netherlands and it would now be called North Africa or Mzansi.

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