Slaves probably had it better.
I remember reading a very old book describing how the Americans had set up diplomatic relationships with one of the Maghreb emirates, and how they were shocked that the slaves were allowed to eat on the same table as the representatives of the Maghreb states. In Islam, slaves were to be given the same food and clothing as the masters, and to be treated as human beings with dignity. Of course nowadays, slavery is not an institution that should be revived, and most of the scholars would probably be against it.
Please note that this was at a time when slaves were systematically oppressed in the US (i.e. the plantation days before the civil war). They were treated like animals (as they were possessions for all intent and purposes).
The people who are described in this article are far different from those who used to inhabit those lands earlier. Almighty Allah will insha'Allah revive the nur in their hearts (of course everyone is not lost... but some people are).
Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). But when (once) Allah willeth a people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him any to protect.
(Surah Rad: Ayat 11)