A New Hampshire state lawmaker came under fire this week after he argued that owning black people as slaves does not make someone racist.
USA Today reports that Republican state Rep. Werner Horn recently responded to a Facebook post from a former state House member named Dan Hynes, who argued that President Donald Trump couldn’t possibly be the most racist president ever because he never owned slaves.
Horn replied to the post by writing, “Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist… owning slaves wasn’t a decision predicated on race but on economics. It’s a business decision.”
In followup interviews, Horn confirmed that he does not believe owning slaves makes someone a racist.
“Slavery later on in the American South was not about the color of the skin of the slaves but their value as workers on the plantations,” Horn told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “The U.S. had abolitionists since the start, people who felt slavery wasn’t moral but they weren’t enslaving black people because they were black. They were bringing in these folks because they were available.”
In fact, white immigrants in North America were not subjected to slavery and were instead relegated to the indentured servitude system that allowed them to go free after their indenture expired.