New Hampshire Republican lawmaker Warner Horn says owning slaves doesn't make you racist: 'It's a business decision'
The lawmaker, Warner Horn, added that owning slaves "wasn't a decision predicated on race but on economics."
New Hampshire State Representative Warner Horn believes that American slavery was not racist. The lawmaker expressed his controversial opinion on Facebook, saying that according to him, slavery had nothing to do with race.
The New Hampshire Union Leader made the remark when former state House member Dan Hynes (R) wrote a post on Facebook, slamming an article reporting that a historian had classified Trump being the most racist person in American history. Hynes wrote: "[W]hat does that say about all of the other presidents who owned slaves?"
Horn then replied to Hynes remark, saying: "Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist…" Hynes then responded to Horn's comment, saying: "I guess not. Which is surprising since everything else makes you a racist. I have been called a racist plenty of times by democrats."
The New Hampshire lawmaker again responded, writing: "It shouldn't be surprising since owning slaves wasn't a decision predicated on race but on economics. It's a business decision."
Horn later doubled down on his controversial remarks while talking to HuffPost on Thursday, and said: "Human beings have been owning other human beings since the dawn of time. It’s never been about race."
The lawmaker, however, attempted to clarify his position that he believed "slavery's not OK."
"It’s never OK to own another person. But to label the institution as racist is a false narrative," he told the outlet, adding that intent mattered while making that determination.
Slave masters, according to Horn, did not consider race at the auction block but instead thought of making "an economic decision" and buying whoever was available. The lawmaker said that when you look back at inventory lists, there aren't "white names,” or “Native American” or “Hispanic” names. He later clarified "I should’ve said European instead of white, but I’m a little less PC than normal people.”
Horn continued, saying that women and children cost less money than male slaves, 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," he said.
“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.”
The lawmaker's comments were condemned by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Stephen Stepanek, who said that Horn's remarks were "wrong."
"Representative Horn is wrong and his comments are not based in our platform’s belief in free people, free markets and free enterprise. Slavery throughout its history in the United States was a racist, inhuman, and immoral practice.”