• tim wood
    3.2k
    I am willing to go through many specific examples of evidence, like say, the 3/5 compromise, if really necessary. I am actually a bit confused by your doubts. Why do you think most Americans were NOT racist prior to the Civil War?ZhouBoTong

    Your question not directed to me, but I'll offer a reply. In order to speak of antebellum racism in contrast to any modern racism, you have to go to some trouble to understand and define the terms. If you don't, then the term becomes a label with little specific meaning - a piece of propaganda. As to the 3/5s compromise, you need to do some research; I don't think you understand what it was, what it was for, it's significance, or how it played out.

    As to racism however meant, its meanings are effected, even determined, not just by era, but by region. Not accounting for these means your statements are necessarily out of balance.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    It seems very safe to stake out the claim that "Prior to the Civil War, most Americans were racist". it's also safe to stake out the claim that Americans were racist after the civil war.

    Slavery was an attractive system of extracting involuntary low cost labor from a designated group of people (Africans, mostly). The English did not introduce slavery because they were racists. They bought sold, and transported slaves because it was profitable. Slavery is old school -- going back a very long ways.

    The Greeks and Romans owned slaves without developing intense negative feelings about the ethnicity of people who were slaves. Racism isn't a requirement for developing a slave system. Necessity and convenience are required.

    Our peculiar American problem was our high-minded ideas about freedom and representation. It was contradictory to talk about freedom and equality when the keystone of our economy was slavery. Slaves couldn't be equal and free and still be slaves. One solution was to classify the slaves as not fully human, The 3/5 compromise counted the slaves along with whites, just subtracting 40% of their numerical weight. The purpose was to reduce the represented population of the slave-holding states.

    Thomas Jefferson, slave owner, probably did not count Sally Hemings as sub-human when he had sex with her.

    Slave holders likely had intensely ambiguous feelings about their slaves -- valuing them on the one hand, intuiting that they were humans like him or her self, and yet treating them with scalding cruelty. The outcome of these intense feelings wasn't to free the slave; rather it was to keep and hate them.

    Slavery was an integral part of our economy, north and south. Northerners also had to square their ideals with their realities. (Granted, there were many people, north and south, who were not responsible for slavery's existence. But it was still a vital part of the economy.
  • Maw
    1.6k
    I won't commit to the belief that the privileged are incapable of knowing what is fair or not due to their fear of losing their privilege, which means I must accept their complaints of oppression as I would any other. To ignore those complaints would assume the privileged are intellectually or morally inferior and that they cannot judge actual oppression versus true equality.Hanover

    'White Privilege', as an extension of a dominate group identity, is, to paraphrase Charles Mills, as water to a fish. Invisible because it is natural to the dominate white polity that has not suffered the disadvantages, prejudices, and discrimination, codified, socialized or otherwise, that out-groups/minorities have been and are subjected to. Just as one isn't "intellectually inferior" because one isn't consciously aware that they are breathing, I don't necessarily find this form of white ignorance linked to "intellectual inferiority" unless, pace Mills, it is an ignorance that resists, an ignorance that fights, an ignorance that is militant and reifies itself, especially political. The challenge, as always, is to recognize it, understand how privilege is made manifest, and fight for those who are deprived of it.
  • Hanover
    5k
    The challenge, as always, is to recognize it, understand how privilege is made manifest, and fight for those who are deprived of it.Maw

    Ok. I recognize it and realize when failures are the result of bad decisions versus a bad environment.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    Prior to the 1890s, southern blacks were accumulating wealth and learning how to navigate the political system.frank

    Yes, as long as whites were held in check at gunpoint (the union army), black people made progress.

    Jim Crow was a violent movement intended to bring that progress to an end and reverse it.frank

    Indeed, but without Reconstruction and the Union Army, the progress NEVER would have occurred in the first place.

    White supremacists believed that the association of whites with black would destroy white culture, so their racism was (is) about what they see as self-preservation.frank

    I am not sure the point of this sentence...so, they are justified in their racism?

    The southern fascism you refer to only hurt black people. Does that give a hint as to why the rest of the country did not care?
    — ZhouBoTong

    It's a myth that racism only exists in the southeast.
    frank

    That was exactly my point. No one got up in arms over Jim Crow BECAUSE most of the country was racist anyway.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    It seems very safe to stake out the claim that "Prior to the Civil War, most Americans were racist". it's also safe to stake out the claim that Americans were racist after the civil war.Bitter Crank

    Indeed. Which is why I am finding it a little strange that I am here being forced to defend "most were racist before the Civ War."

    The English did not introduce slavery because they were racists. They bought sold, and transported slaves because it was profitable. Slavery is old school -- going back a very long ways.Bitter Crank

    For sure. Racial slavery fostered racism. Slavery harms the owner as much as the slave (well not really, but certainly morally). The Frederick Douglas autobiography captures this (the degradation of the slave OWNER) very well.

    Racism isn't a requirement for developing a slave system.Bitter Crank

    Indeed it is not. But it certainly makes any slave system worse. Other slave systems typically did not have hereditary slavery either.

    The 3/5 compromise counted the slaves along with whites, just subtracting 40% of their numerical weight. The purpose was to reduce the represented population of the slave-holding states.Bitter Crank

    As to the 3/5s compromise, you need to do some research;tim wood

    There seems to be some confusion here. Yes, everything Bitter Crank said was correct. So why is it evidence that most of the country was racist? Because the ANTI-slavery side is the side saying that slaves should not count as a person (the COMPROMISE was to subtract 40%, the north did not want slaves to count at all). Obviously, counting them as a full person would have given more power to slave states, and that is no good. But saying they should not count as a person shows an inherent racism (otherwise they would notice the contradiction).

    Thomas Jefferson, slave owner, probably did not count Sally Hemings as sub-human when he had sex with her.Bitter Crank

    Well men have had sex with women throughout all of history, and still felt comfortable saying they should not be allowed to vote...so I am not sure how much respect is required. I would also think that Thomas Jefferson would be the type to talk how great the African people were, ALMOST as good as white people.

    Also, viewing the perpetuation of slavery as worth it, because I (Thomas Jefferson) would be a poor ass pauper without the slaves, may not be NECESSARILY racist (seems likely though), it is certainly condemn-able, and very hypocritical considering his own writings.

    any modern racism, you have to go to some trouble to understand and define the terms.tim wood

    I did, but I may not have been clear. I said, not modern I am uncomfortable racism, but old fashioned DEFINITIONAL racism. One race is superior/inferior.
  • frank
    3.4k
    That was exactly my point. No one got up in arms over Jim Crow BECAUSE most of the country was racist anyway.ZhouBoTong

    Yes. Yet Jim Crow only existed in the south. There is racism that leads to violent segregation and racism that doesn't.

    Maybe because there are other factors. :roll:
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    Maybe because there are other factors. :roll:frank

    I agree that there are. Hence why I said:

    Surely, slavery and racism are more significant causes of racial segregation than anything you mentioned here.
    — ZhouBoTong

    Notice I did not dismiss your factors. Just pointed to more significant over-arching factors. I have not been convinced (you haven't really tried to be fair) that slavery and racism were less of a factor in segregation than anything you have mentioned.
  • frank
    3.4k
    Notice I did not dismiss your factors. Just pointed to more significant over-arching factors. I have not been convinced (you haven't really tried to be fair) that slavery and racism were less of a factor in segregation than anything you have mentioned.ZhouBoTong

    Economic conditions in the South coupled with an establishment that fought vigorously to avoid reform left the white population psychologically vulnerable. And still, as white supremacists took over, a UNC professor wrote an article for the local newspaper quietly questioning whether it was true that blacks and whites can't live together. He subsequently became a target.

    So I'm saying economic conditions were the underlying disease. As i mentioned, symptoms of that were in abundance as progressives, populists, socialists, and communists all struggled to break the establishment's strangle-hold on the South. They all failed. That set the stage for Jim Crow.

    Why should we think of racism as the primary problem?
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    Why should we think of racism as the primary problem?frank

    I typed for a while, but then changed my mind and deleted it

    As long as everyone admits that racism was a major problem, and that segregation was certainly racist, I don't care what we call primary causes.
  • frank
    3.4k
    long as everyone admits that racism was a major problem, and that segregation was certainly racist, I don't care what we call primary causes.ZhouBoTong

    I was going to say something close to this, but thought I should defend my view for a change.

    Plus the UNC professor and all the others like him. They deserve more than to be lost by history in an ocean of hatred.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    I'm always a bit puzzled when someone says that white people cannot 'see' white privilege. Generally speaking, I take the notion of white privilege to mean something along the lines of the accumulated advantages of being white. I've even watched documentaries on white privilege when white people accepted the idea that they could not see white privilege, therefore when asked about it, they answered that they did not know because they were white and couldn't see it as a result.

    I don't know, perhaps I'm being a bit close-minded or harsh, but...

    How could you not see it if you had any close black friends and/or loved ones?
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    Racial slavery fostered racism. Slavery harms the owner as much as the slave (well not really, but certainly morally).ZhouBoTong

    Do you think this was true in the Roman Empire or for other Mediterranean Basin slave-holding cultures going back 1 or 2 millennia BCE? The Roman economy was also very dependent on slavery; 1/3 of the population of the Italian peninsula was slave. (I'm not sure what the fraction of slave populations were in say... Gaul, Dalmatia, Cappadocia, Mauritania...

    As far as I know, Roman slaves were the very model of diversity -- Greek, German, African, Middle Eastern, British... whoever could be hauled into slavery. Was the fatal flaw in Anglo-American slavery that the slaves were pretty much exclusively African?

    Slavery in the Roman empire varied from employment of Greek slaves as tutors for one's children to extremely harsh labor regimes in mining. Anglo-American slaves performed a fairly narrow range of labor in fields, farmyard, and house, and the exploitation seems to have more intense and systematic than slavery under the Romans.
  • tim wood
    3.2k
    The 3/5 compromise counted the slaves along with whites, just subtracting 40% of their numerical weight. The purpose was to reduce the represented population of the slave-holding states.
    — Bitter Crank

    As to the 3/5s compromise, you need to do some research;
    — tim wood

    There seems to be some confusion here. Yes, everything Bitter Crank said was correct. So why is it evidence that most of the country was racist? Because the ANTI-slavery side is the side saying that slaves should not count as a person (the COMPROMISE was to subtract 40%, the north did not want slaves to count at all). Obviously, counting them as a full person would have given more power to slave states, and that is no good. But saying they should not count as a person shows an inherent racism (otherwise they would notice the contradiction).
    ZhouBoTong

    Do some research. You and Bitter Crank. The slaves had no representation and would have no representation no matter how they were counted.The issues were how to tax and how to get a Constitution. Not simple. Read again: not simple. Learn, don't propagate ignorance.

    DEFINITIONAL racism. One race is superior/inferior.ZhouBoTong
    I think there is much truth in this. But think about it: if it is truly DEFINITIONAL, then it's not really racism, is it. For us it is, to be sure, because we know better. We know that any such definition is wrong in fact. All I can suggest is that the issues of slavery and racism, then, run deeper than simple arguments can reflect, and are consequently an injustice in themselves. Try for a deeper and more nuanced understanding. Not as a defense of either, but towards a greater comprehension of both and their relationship to each other.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    The challenge, as always, is to recognize it, understand how privilege is made manifest, and fight for those who are deprived of it.
    — Maw

    Ok. I recognize it and realize when failures are the result of bad decisions versus a bad environment.
    Hanover

    Bad luck anywhere in there?
  • Pfhorrest
    159
    Not to disagree with anything you say but maybe to explain part of it: it’s always seemed to me that the language of “privilege” makes it inherently a difficult thing for those who have it to either understand or accept, because it is fundamentally an absence of something, but is discussed as though it were the presence of something. One group “has privilege” over another when the first lacks problems that the other faces. Fixing the privilege is thus not done by changing anything about the first group’s circumstances, but by changing the other group’s circumstances. It’s not a problem that white people don’t face the challenges that non-whites face, it’s a problem that non-whites face challenges that whites don’t. And that’s not fixed by taking away something good from whites, but by giving non-whites access to those same goods. Put in terms of the language of “privilege”, that translates to saying that it’s not bad that whites have privilege, but that non-whites lack it; that is, they lack the absence of the problems that they face. That double negation is I think the root of a lot of difficulty people have with the concept.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    if it is truly DEFINITIONAL, then it's not really racism, is it.tim wood

    Right. If it's really racism it is never truly definitional.

    :roll:
  • Terrapin Station
    13.3k
    Really? The FACT that they made no effort to hide it means we have a LOT of evidence.ZhouBoTong

    Yeah, but you're saying that most Americans were racist.

    Are you comfortable admitting that Jefferson and Washington were racist?ZhouBoTong

    If I had enough info about things they said where I considered some of those things racist, sure. I don't know enough about either for that, really, though. (This is also not saying that they weren't racist. I'd need far more info about them than I have (or remember) to make a claim either way. I don't like making claims about stuff like that without a lot of info about it. I'm not a fan of being quick to judgment, pro or con, and I think that people being way too quick to judgment is a big problem in general. Many people rapidly make up their minds about stuff, in a highly judgmental way, based on very little info.)

    Surely, owning slaves (based on race) counts as evidence of their racism?ZhouBoTong

    In my opinion that's too simplistic. Racism hinges on their beliefs, and the mere fact of owning slaves in that historical context I don't think is sufficient to tell us what their beliefs were regarding "race." After all, it's not as if slave ownership was primarily motivated by racist beliefs. It was primarily motivated by economic desires--slaves were a source of relatively cheap labor, and they made it possible for a lot of people to make far more money than they could have made without a source of such cheap labor--in many cases, people would not have been able to be in business for themselves period without that cheap labor source. It's much like folks who hire illegal aliens in the U.S. now. That's not motivated by racism. It's motivated by wanting to capitalize on a cheap labor force. That doesn't imply that no one who hires illegal aliens (or own slaves) is racist--surely some are. But I don't think that the mere fact of owning slaves would be sufficient to imply that someone is racist. I think it's more complicated than that.

    Is it really debatable that "prior to the Civil War" at least 51% of Americans were racist?ZhouBoTong

    Definitely that's debatable in my opinion, yes. Even if you were to take slave ownership as evidence of racism--which I think is too simplistic, as I mention above, nowhere near 51% of Americans owned slaves. It wasn't even 51% of Americans in the South who owned slaves.

    However, it is fairly (entirely?) consistent through history that the lower classes are more racist (and the racist representatives they voted for represent their racism).ZhouBoTong

    Also, voting for someone isn't at all indicative of agreeing with all or even most of the policies they support. I always vote. Many people I know always vote. I doubt I've ever voted for someone where I agreed with most of their positions. I always have to vote for the "least crappy" viable candidate, and that's not at all an uncommon sentiment.
  • Hanover
    5k
    Bad luck anywhere in there?creativesoul

    Sure, and good luck, which I'd think would be as likely to befall one race as the next.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    I was going to say something close to this, but thought I should defend my view for a change.frank

    Yes, I felt a little bad after I sent that, since I had asked for more of an argument...and you gave one. But as I was responding I was realizing that we(I) were really whining over some small stuff. As long as we are all aware that racism was a significant force, I don't need to argue over "most significant" - everyone will have a different perspective.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    Do you think this was true in the Roman Empire or for other Mediterranean Basin slave-holding cultures going back 1 or 2 millennia BCE?Bitter Crank

    Yes, but not to the same extent.

    Was the fatal flaw in Anglo-American slavery that the slaves were pretty much exclusively African?Bitter Crank

    For me where slavery goes from an inappropriate method of labor usage (I don't think you think you are suggesting that the Roman slave system was something we should emulate?), to an atrocity, is a nice simple line...once slavery is hereditary, it is now a nasty transformative force. As soon as a slave owner claims that baby as an asset, they are viewing that baby and its people as somehow "lesser". And yes I am happy to concede that most business owners and shareholders absolutely view their employees as "lesser", but it is obviously nowhere near as extreme.

    Was the fatal flaw in Anglo-American slavery that the slaves were pretty much exclusively African?Bitter Crank

    I think the hereditary nature is more the "fatal flaw", but it being almost exclusively African is what makes it racist by definition (I am happy to concede that it "makes it APPEAR racist by definition" - I obviously don't know what these people are actually thinking; there are things that look like ducks, but are not ducks, but I am gonna call it a duck until I have information suggesting otherwise).

    Slavery in the Roman empire varied from employment of Greek slaves as tutors for one's children to extremely harsh labor regimes in mining.Bitter Crank

    The tutors were likely treated way better by their owners. The worse the slaves were treated, the greater the degradation of the owners. But if their owners had just written monumental documents on the ideal that "all men are created equal", then, unless a crime was committed, even enslaving a tutor is a humongous hypocrisy that will require the owner to use all sorts of cognitive bias to justify (to themselves). Hell, just having to call someone "Dominus" all day divides people into classes of betters and lessers (not sure if that is a real thing or just pop culture, haha).

    Anglo-American slaves performed a fairly narrow range of labor in fields, farmyard, and house, and the exploitation seems to have more intense and systematic than slavery under the Romans.Bitter Crank

    And I would argue that a little racism made it much more justified to be more "intense and systematic". While I am sure it existed at times, do you know of hereditary slavery ever being common in Greece or Rome? A quick google search hints at what I already thought, it wasn't common...but that doesn't help a ton.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    We have had a good run for the last couple weeks. I am alternating between complete agreement in one thread, to utter disbelief in the next. Fun times.

    Yeah, but you're saying that most Americans were racistTerrapin Station

    I would say you have the higher burden of proof. But, of course, I can't prove I knew the thoughts of every American...but I would be willing to bet everything I owned on "most".

    Can we admit that "most" "white" countries were racist at this time? Imperialism and the race for Africa were surely racist, right? (racist defined as one group viewing themselves superior to another based on the vaguely defined idea of race - I am worried you are thinking of racism as I like/don't like a certain group. That is more modern racism. The superiority is the real problem though. Humans like dogs, they are not viewed as equals - and I am fine if you want to say I am racist against dogs, haha).

    If I had enough info about things they said where I considered some of those things racist, sure. I don't know enough about either for that, really, though.Terrapin Station

    Now I get you are the King of Subjectivity, but at some point we have to work with what we have. Based on your quote above (yes taken to extremes), there is not ONE SINGLE HUMAN that we can call racist. Additionally, there is NOT ONE SINGLE HUMAN that we could call christian, or atheist, or a fan of Liverpool FC...right? Even if they act christian, and call themselves christian, we don't know whether they are just taking a piss or not. what am I missing?

    If I can provide a letter from FDR referring to "white supremacy", is that evidence of racism? And FDR was one of the most racially progressive presidents in history up to that point (he knew white people wouldn't vote for someone who cared about minoritites so he had his wife work to help them, while he appeased the white folk.)

    This is also not saying that they weren't racist. I'd need far more info about them than I haveTerrapin Station

    Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal". He owned slaves that did nothing wrong other than being born black. What possible justification is MORE likely than racism?

    Racism hinges on their beliefs,Terrapin Station

    Right. Which we can never know for sure. But we can make some pretty solid assumptions based on their words and deeds.

    Also, voting for someone isn't at all indicative of agreeing with all or even most of the policies they support.Terrapin Station

    Right. But that is how we got trump, right? "sure he is a scumbag, but look at that stock market!"
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    My understanding of slavery in Rome, at least, was that it was hereditary, but the Romans allowed some (limited) avenues of escape from bondage. A slave might be able to conduct business on the side and earn money to buy his freedom. Slaves were sometime granted manumission as a reward. But most slaves stayed slaves. The Romans had mixed feelings about slaves -- not guilt. They didn't trust their slaves, for the most part; they didn't like the habits of a lot of their slaves. But... the better off classes could not live their desired lifestyle without plentiful slaves.

    Slavery held Rome's development back. There was no need to develop efficient technology when you had this steady supply of fresh slaves coming into the heart of the Empire from the expanding periphery. When the Romans felt the need, they could put together mechanized industrial operations. One of the large water powered grain mills in Spain, I think it was, ran multiple grinding wheels by a cascading water supply. One falling stream was able to power multiple grinders in close proximity to each other. The output of flour was quite high (by Roman standards).

    There are some other examples of remarkable Roman technology, but for the most part, they didn't pursue technology. There was no need -- until late in the empire when expansion ceased and the periphery began to shrink. As the periphery shrank, and as provinces moved out of centralized Roman control, the economy began to shrivel up and "efficient technology" would not be a concern for a long time.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    I think the hereditary nature is more the "fatal flaw", but it being almost exclusively African is what makes it racist by definitionZhouBoTong

    My objection to slavery is not that it was racist, but that it was extremely exploitative, extremely dehumanizing, and extremely cruel. Racism, to my way of thinking, does not make slavery worse. Racism, could not make slavery worse. Whether the slaves were one ethnicity or a dozen ethnicities doesn't matter. Being reduced to chattel property and treated as an object can't be topped.

    You know, Karl Marx identified "wage slavery" as the curse of the working class. The employer doesn't exactly "own" the worker, but the worker is entirely dependent on the "wage-paying class" for their minimal sustenance. In one of his examples, he said a farmer could use a Negro slave to re-roof a barn. Or he could hire an Irishman to do it. Which worker was the better deal? The Irishman of course.

    If the slave fell off the roof and died, the farmer faced the large loss of the slaves substantial value. If the Irishman fell off the roof and died, the farmer wasn't out anything -- unless he decided to give the widow the irishman's unpaid wages--a small sum.

    Capitalism can use slaves, but it is cheaper to use more disposable employees. From the capitalist's point of view, the purpose of hiring a worker is to exploit his labor as much as possible and pay him no more than it takes to keep him on the job. Since the worker is dependent on labor, the amount that it takes to keep him coming back is not that much.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.3k
    I would say you have the higher burden of proof.ZhouBoTong

    Note that I'm not making the claim that "most Americans were not racist." Rather I'm skeptical about the claim that most were.

    Based on your quote above (yes taken to extremes), there is not ONE SINGLE HUMAN that we can call racist.ZhouBoTong

    That's not what I'm getting at. (And I'm not sure why you'd read it that way. The quote that's a response to is me simply saying that I don't know/don't remember enough about what Jefferson or Washington said.)

    All I'd require is statements that reflect beliefs re some common definitions of racism, such as:

    "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"

    (I'm not saying it strictly has to be that particular definition--that's just an example)

    I wasn't saying anything about sincerity, by the way. I literally don't know, if I ever knew (and just don't recall), racist things that Jefferson, Washington etc. said--not because I'm denying they ever said anything. I'm claiming a lack of sufficient familiarity and/or memory with what they said.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal". He owned slaves that did nothing wrong other than being born black. What possible justification is MORE likely than racism?ZhouBoTong

    I had just explained the monetary motivations, for example. (The comments about cheap labor.)

    If I can provide a letter from FDR referring to "white supremacy", is that evidence of racism?ZhouBoTong

    If he's claiming something like white supremacy, sure.

    I wouldn't at all doubt that some presidents were racist, by the way.

    Right. Which we can never know for sure. But we can make some pretty solid assumptions based on their words and deeds.ZhouBoTong

    Yeah, I wasn't making a point about knowing that for sure. Things people say are good enough. But it would have to be something that we're not just interpreting as racist. For example, William Shockley, a Nobel laureate who was the co-inventor of semiconductors, supposedly said that whites have superior intelligence. That would be sufficient to count as racist (of course).
  • unenlightened
    4k
    One of the many privileges of being white is being able to say "I don't believe in races" and have anyone at all give it a moment's credence.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    Note that I'm not making the claim that "most Americans were not racist." Rather I'm skeptical about the claim that most were.Terrapin Station

    Ok, just to measure where we are at; are you equally skeptical of the claim, "prior to the Civil War, most Americans were NOT racist"...?

    That's not what I'm getting at. (And I'm not sure why you'd read it that way. The quote that's a response to is me simply saying that I don't know/don't remember enough about what Jefferson or Washington said.)Terrapin Station

    Fair enough, I think I was just having a hissy-fit anyway.

    "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"Terrapin Station

    Social Darwinism and the White Man's Burden were popular at the time (both clearly and explicitly expressed "an inherent superiority of a particular race"). Doesn't a lack of backlash count as a type of tacit acceptance?

    Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal". He owned slaves that did nothing wrong other than being born black. What possible justification is MORE likely than racism?
    — ZhouBoTong

    I had just explained the monetary motivations, for example.
    Terrapin Station

    Yes, but they are VERY petty. How serious is the rest of the world supposed to take his words in the Declaration of Independence if a minor personal financial concern is enough for him to abandon the principles entirely? (notice if he is racist he does not have to abandon his principles - that is why I hold it up as a MORE LIKELY reason)

    If I can provide a letter from FDR referring to "white supremacy", is that evidence of racism?
    — ZhouBoTong

    If he's claiming something like white supremacy, sure.
    Terrapin Station

    I may have to track that down. A quick search suggests I need a j-stor account. It was written in the 1920s (before he was president). Discussing Hawaii, he described the Japanese as a potential threat to white supremacy.

    I wouldn't at all doubt that some presidents were racist, by the way.Terrapin Station

    The trouble is I would want to show that MOST were (are), haha.

    William Shockley, a Nobel laureate who was the co-inventor of semiconductors, supposedly said that whites have superior intelligence. That would be sufficient to count as racist (of course).Terrapin Station

    Imperialism was practiced for about a century and was based on one groups "superiority" over the others, right? As Europeans countries raced to claim Africa until only Liberia (American founded country for returning slaves) and Ethiopia (whooped the weak ass Italians in a tiny war) remained independent; were they treating the Africans as equals?

    While that doesn't show most people were racist, it shows that most "white" countries were racist?
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    I recognize it and realize when failures are the result of bad decisions versus a bad environment.Hanover

    Some bad decisions are the result of bad environment. Do you recognize that too?
  • Hanover
    5k
    Some bad decisions are the result of bad environment. Do you recognize that too?creativesoul

    Sure, and some good decisions are made in bad environments.

    Perfect freedom doesn't exist, but our choices matter.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    My objection to slavery is not that it was racist, but that it was extremely exploitative, extremely dehumanizing, and extremely cruel.Bitter Crank

    Phew. I wasn't sure where you were going with the argument. I am more OK with this direction...but I may still argue a little, haha.

    Racism, to my way of thinking, does not make slavery worse.Bitter Crank

    Surely, slavery for the child's tutor was "better" slavery in the salt mines? In the same way, racial slavery had the potential to be worse. Also, racial slavery in a country where "all men are created equal" is stating that they (slaves) are not men. This is dehumanizing for the slave, but it also affects the owner. If they are not men, maybe severe beatings are the only way they will learn. Non-racial slavery would understand that NO ONE WANTS to be a slave. Racial slavery assumes that they are happiest and most fulfilled as slaves.

    So I am not going to say that racial slavery is worse than the worst forms of non-racial slavery. The point is, racial slavery almost guarantees that slavery is the worst form, savage and brutal.

    Racism, could not make slavery worse.Bitter Crank

    Again, you would have to sell me on "all slavery is equally bad" before I could accept this. Your tutor vs mines example seems to show some forms are worse.

    Being reduced to chattel property and treated as an object can't be topped.Bitter Crank

    Sure it can. Being nicely treated as property is way better than being horrifically treated as property. I can admit all slavery is entirely wrong. But to say it as if it is some "infinite" that can't be topped seems to ignore reality. Kind of like saying "there is nothing worse than death"...well what about "torture then death"...sounds worse.

    You know, Karl Marx identified "wage slavery" as the curse of the working class. The employer doesn't exactly "own" the worker, but the worker is entirely dependent on the "wage-paying class" for their minimal sustenance. In one of his examples, he said a farmer could use a Negro slave to re-roof a barn. Or he could hire an Irishman to do it. Which worker was the better deal? The Irishman of course.Bitter Crank

    I obviously generally agree with Marx's analysis of capitalist society. However, if I combine this paragraph with your previous idea that all slavery is equally (maximally) bad, then aren't you suggesting that being stuck working 40 hour a week jobs we dislike until death is equally bad to the enslavement of Africans that occurred in America for a couple hundred years? I can agree it is bad, I might even agree with "wage slavery", but you are going to struggle to convince me that my life is nearly as bad as a slave in Alabama in the mid 1800s. And you would NEVER be able to convince me to CHOOSE 1800s american slavery over modern wage slavery.

    Capitalism can use slaves, but it is cheaper to use more disposable employees. From the capitalist's point of view, the purpose of hiring a worker is to exploit his labor as much as possible and pay him no more than it takes to keep him on the job. Since the worker is dependent on labor, the amount that it takes to keep him coming back is not that much.Bitter Crank

    You don't need to convince of me of your economic ideas. I was partially on-board when I started at this site, and you have convinced me enough that I would happily vote for you as Labor Tsar, should the opportunity arise. And I do believe that if ALL economic problems are solved, then racism would only be a minor annoyance. However, with all of the progress society has made, economic progress does not seem to be one that is going anywhere (it is too emotional, too personal, and too complicated). However, racial progress has been tackled legally. While there are setbacks, each legal step is progress (however slow).
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