“Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.”
- Hon. Dr. Eric Williams, historian, first prime minister of independent Trinidad and Tobago (1944) (Qtd. in Ron and Norwood, below)

Modern American racism was intentionally crafted in the American colonies as a form of social control — not just of Africans and Native Americans but also over poor white people. “[Slavery] made whiteness the mark of freedom, ensuring that ‘ordinary’ English settlers identified with their social betters instead of making common cause with the new [African] arrivals.“ (ibid) This intentional construction can be seen in the evolving legal definitions of whiteness over the years, from requiring three white grandparents to the “one drop rule.” Slavery, originally an economic choice, gave rise to an entire racial system for organizing society — which has been reinforced, in subsequent years, by bringing other people of color to this country as migrant workers.

(Drawn from "America Cannot Bear to Bring Back Indentured Servitude," by Ariel Ron and Dael Norwood, The Atlantic, 3/28/18)

White Supremacy vs. White Nationalism
According to Eric Ward, Executive Director of the Western States Center and an expert on fighting white nationalism, these two ideologies differ in important ways, despite starting from a shared belief that white people and culture are superior to people of color.

White Supremacy:

Goal: Exploit the bodies of people of color for economic and other gain, including sexual assault.

History: Foundational system that pervades all aspects of American life.

Impact on Jews: Ashkenazi and other white-appearing Jews benefit from many of the same privileges as other white people.

White Nationalism:

Goal: Expel people of color to create a “pure” white-only ethno-state.

History: Particular political ideology arising in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement.

Impact on Jews: Views all Jews as non-white and the root cause of white America’s ills.

For discussion:
1. Which is a better analogy for Egypt in the Exodus story, white supremacy or white nationalism?
2. How is white supremacy a root cause of forced labor and trafficking today?
3. How do these play out in our immigration system?

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story
Source: The Other Side of the River, The Other Side of the Sea