White slavery and Indian slavery and every other type of slavery in the USA was just that. Slavery. When it was determined that no more white slaves could be brought into the country legally as slaves, the term 'indentured servant' was introduced - however, these 'servant's' were bought and sold by their owners so that the vast majority were never released from the bonds of servitude. Most died 'servants'. As white slaves became fewer, black slaves became cheaper.
The poor really have no color except when it comes to politics/money and power. Then it is much more beneficial to divide them into color in order to exploit them and separate them - a fact that was noticed early on in America by the politicians. The attempt to divide the people based on culture did not work - which is why the Irish finally succeeded in throwing off much of the prejudice directed at them. Not all of it but much of it. It was far easier to divide and conquer if they simply aimed their activities at those based on color - which is why it is white and black and brown today.
Until basic simple facts are recognized and understood nobody moves on. People will hold to their own prejudices as it suits them. I have no problem with Obama having told his personal experiences in his book - but as a leader, I certainly see him as part of the problem with that speech instead of being part of the solution. sw
In 1855, Frederic Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed New York's Central Park, was in Alabama on a pleasure trip and saw bales of cotton being thrown from a considerable height into a cargo ship's hold. The men tossing the bales somewhat recklessly into the hold were Negroes, the men in the hold were Irish.
Olmsted inquired about this to a shipworker. "Oh," said the worker, "the niggers are worth too much to be risked here; if the Paddies are knocked overboard or get their backs broke, nobody loses anything."