There are two aspects to the argument on whether or not slavery was a choice. We will address the lesser first and deal with the greater another time, very soon. Some people are saying slavery was a choice because our ancestors had the option to choose between slavery and death. And the fact that they didn’t choose death automatically means that they chose to be slaves.
I agree that it was a "choice", but nonetheless, it wasn’t a “choice” that they asked for or what they offered to themselves. You can always say it was a choice. But can you also say that they created the circumstance that forced them into the predicament of being subjected to such choice? Yes, it was a “choice”, a "choice" they all wished they didn’t have to make, it was forced upon them. A choice is a symbol of freedom, which means that if someone is controlling the choice you have to make, technically you are not really making a (free) choice, in essence of the freedom that is supposed to come with it.
Furthermore, when your options are between death and slavery, there is no choice to be made, because both death and slavery in this context is exactly the same thing. Either choice you make, you will still be forcefully surrendering your life.
Some of you also believe that our ancestor who made the “choice” to be slaves over death made a cowardly decision. Death is the unknown; it is the stage of absolute uncertainty. At least with slavery, there was still the possibility of freedom, a chance to overthrow the oppressor. When our ancestors “chose” to be slaves, they were just buying their time, waiting for the appropriate moment to exact a rebellion against their oppressors, which is exactly what they did. Not because they went along with it doesn’t mean they had to intention to prolong the bondage.
You can do the Killmonger (Black Panther) thing and assume that the ones who killed themselves did so because they rather die free than to be slaves. That may be the case for some, but realistically, in situations like these most people take their lives out of fear, not necessarily bravery or anything else. But in respect for our ancestors, I will end that point there.
Slavery Was a Choice, a Choice We Wished We Didn’t Have to Make