They stole a country.

One of the big things I learned when I spent a year in Holland was how sometimes people in America do not view other countries as .. well, countries. Instead of being viewed as places with real people, real feelings, and real lives .. I see a lot of people viewing places as just imaginary and far off, almost cartoonish even. Just like with the hurricane here .. how is it different than the tsunami? One is not less or more important than the other based upon where we are from.

Those who died in the tsunami had people in their lives that they loved, and who loved them. They had jobs. They had things they wanted to do that day. Their lives were no less important than our busy, American ones .. and just because we may not have ever visited that part of the world doesn't mean it should be treated as unimportant.

That's just the basic idea of what I want to say.

I learned something today that really disturbed me.

When slavery started in America, slave traders did not go to Africa and just round up slaves by the boatload. That is how I had always imagined it.

No .. it did not happen that way.

These people went to Africa and picked the so-called cream of the crop .. the best of the best. For instance, if you were an African who was good at knowing the crops .. then you were taken away to slave in Jamestown.

If you knew how to grow cotton and could do it well, then you'd be bringing with you something to the United States that the white Americans themselves could not and did not know how to do.

Slavery was terrible, and this sheds a whole new light and makes it even more terrible.

They stole a country. They took people away from their homes, loved ones, and lives to benefit our resources.

Imagine it in this day and age. You're sitting, watching a movie with your significant other. You're making weekend plans. You're happy. Your life is good. And then someone from another country comes and collects you .. takes you far away, to be abused, neglected, worked to the bone, and never seen again by your loved ones. You have no idea why or where you are going. You don't speak the language where you are going. You don't know anyone. All you would have is yourself, and the people they rounded up to come with you. All because you have a certain area in which you are gifted? Skilled? All for their benefit?

Beyond frightening.

And a great incentive to take a Black History class.

These are the things you don't hear in your high school, and even college, history classes.

These are the things people don't talk about.