What if there was a huge continent ripe for exploitation in the 16th century? What if Europeans decided that the present occupants were savages? What if those Europeans justified moving those occupants – let’s call them “indigenous people” – off those lands, pushing them further and further west to lands they didn’t know, lands that were less and less productive?
What if those Europeans didn’t mind getting rid of those people via mass slaughter? What if those Europeans justified their behavior by saying that they were civilizing those savages? And saving them by converting them to the Europeans’ religion? And that they had a God-given right, a “manifest destiny” to occupy the whole of the continent, virtually wiping out the original inhabitants?
What if, in order to more efficiently exploit those lands, the transplanted Europeans bought and enslaved men, women, and children, tribes, and nations from another continent? What if the justification of this was that the enslaved people were deemed “inferior” and “less than human”? What if, centuries later, the descendants of those enslaved people were still disadvantaged by a history of exploitation and degradation? What if, when you brought up this history to other people of your own race, you were called “unAmerican”?