New Hampshire state Rep. Werner Horn (R) is under fire for a since-deleted post in which he wrote that “owning slaves doesn’t make you racist.”
Rep. Werner Horn posted the comment on Facebook in response to a post shared by former state Rep. Dan Hynes (R) in which he bashed HuffPost for a story about a historian who said President Trump is tied with former President Andrew Johnson as the “most racist president in American history.”
“LOL. This is why no one believe the media (huffpo),” Hynes wrote. “Trump is the most racist president in American history, what does that say about all of the other presidents who owned slaves.”
“Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist…,” Horn replied to Hynes in a since-deleted response.
Horn later explained to the HuffPost that he was being sarcastic in his response and said his comments shouldn’t be cast as “support for either slavery or racism.”
But in a follow-up statement, Horn told the news outlet: “It’s never OK to own another person. But to label the institution as racist is a false narrative.”
The HuffPost adds:
According to Horn, slave masters didn’t consider race at the auction block but instead were making “an economic decision” and purchasing who was available. When you look back at auction inventory lists, Horn said, there aren’t “white names,” or “Native American” or “Hispanic” names. (He later clarified by adding, “I should’ve said European instead of white, but I’m a little less PC than normal people.”)
And, Horn continued, women and children cost less than male slaves, so does that mean they were being discriminated against? “Unless you’re going to try to tell me those plantation owners were so in the dark ages that they delighted in being also sexist and ageist — practicing age discrimination and sex discrimination when they bought slaves — I don’t see how you can say they’re being racist because they bought black slaves.”
Essentially, Horn claimed slave masters were mostly motivated by economics — and that meant they weren’t discriminatory.
“My comment specifically was aimed at a period of time when that was how you survived, that’s how you fed your family,” Horn added. “It wasn’t ‘I want to own a black person today.’ It was, ’I need to feed my family; I need five guys who can work stupidly long hours in the sun without killing themselves.”