Slavery was no less brutal in New York than in the South - and just as pervasive. At one point, about four in 10 New York households owned human beings.The Times article followed a comment battle eight days earlier at Hit & Run on the all-important topic of whether Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Sweet Home Alabama" is racist in its response to Neil Young's "Southern Man."
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By conveniently "forgetting" slavery, Northerners have historically absolved themselves of complicity while heaping blame onto the shoulders of the plantation South.
Superiority complexes based on stereotypes seem to be most common and inappropriate in people who need to feel they are better than other people but who base their feelings on group membership rather than their own personal standing. The need to feel superior to some group of people may indeed spring from repressed feelings of personal inferiority to other people in one's frame of reference.
Inferiority complexes based on slavery need to be abandoned too, because it is fair to say that everyone's people -- black, white, yellow, brown, or red -- have been enslaved at one time or another in human history. See the Wikipedia entry for evidence of this. In other words, it's nothing personal. In terms of our ancestors, we've all had to get over it. Building friendships is the best antidote to brooding about it.
UPDATE: Pandering to blacks -- Walter E. Williams
UPDATE: The Untold Story of White Slavery -- Book review by Thomas Jackson