From another thread: > It is a sad day when Americans believe they are owed anything by anyone else. How should "ownership" in this context be defined? Are there different kinds of slavery? Must a person be defined as someone's personal propery in law to be a slave? What is the pragmatic difference between a serf and a slave? (besides a serf being tied to a specific estate) What is the moral difference between wages being set by a government, a trade association, or a labor contract? What is the difference between economic freedom, political freedom, moral/social freedom . . . . Is there a state of mental/internal freedom (attitude) and external (political, economic) freedom? Is a shop owner or a professional person "free" if he is required to serve every person regardless of their religion, race, or sexual orientation? Were bonded servants "free" or temporary slaves? Have children ever been "free?" Are Dalits "free?" If the governments in the Confederacy had simply purchased all existing slaves, turned them loose, and banned slavery, (and the Constitution not been amended except to technically ban slavery) would the black people have been free or would the US have created a "dalit" class? from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit In the context of traditional Hindu society, Dalit status has often been historically associated with occupations regarded as ritually impure, such as any involving leatherwork, butchering, or removal of rubbish, animal carcasses, and waste. Dalits worked as manual labourers cleaning streets, latrines, and sewers. Engaging in these activities was considered to be polluting to the individual, and this pollution was considered contagious. As a result, Dalits were commonly segregated, and banned from full participation in Hindu social life. For example, they could not enter a temple nor a school, and were required to stay outside the village. Elaborate precautions were sometimes observed to prevent incidental contact between Dalits and other castes. Discrimination against Dalits still exists in rural areas in the private sphere, in everyday matters such as access to eating places, schools, temples and water sources. It has largely disappeared in urban areas and in the public sphere. Some Dalits have successfully integrated into urban Indian society, where caste origins are less obvious and less important in public life. In rural India, however, caste origins are more readily apparent and Dalits often remain excluded from local religious life, though some qualitative evidence suggests that its severity is fast diminishing.