We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Critical Race Theorist literally knows nothing

“They literally know nothing” was what Obama advisor Ben Rhodes said about the Obama-worshipping journalists he fooled into repeating his Iran-deal talking points. But those guys are left standing by Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of ‘The 1619 Project’.

“it’s also hard to look at countries that didn’t have large institutions of slavery and compare them to the United States.”

Most people noticed her statement because of the immediately following sentence:

“If you want to see the most equal multi-racial democ… — it’s not a democracy — the most equal multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” Hannah-Jones said.

She knew enough to avoid (just!) going on record as calling communist Cuba a democracy – but she did not know enough to avoid talking about “countries that didn’t have large institutions of slavery” compared to the United States.

I saw from the start that some of Nikole’s 1619 rubbish merely exposed her utter ignorance of her subject. The blacks whom the Virginians bought from a Portuguese slave trader in 1619 were treated like whites – that is, they were treated as indentured servants who after 10 years were freed, given some farm tools, pointed at a plot of land and left to get on with it. (Some of them got on so well that before mid-century they were buying white and black indentured servants themselves to work their expanding acreages.)

One could justly say these early-arriving blacks were not treated exactly like poor English whites who – unless convicted of a crime – had always chosen to sign their ten-year indenture, to pay for transport across the Atlantic and survival while they found their feet. The closer analogy is to some Scottish whites. More than one clan chief sold some clansmen on indentures across the Atlantic when funds were low, and in 1707 a leading Scottish parliamentarian informed his peers that there was no need for them to fix the disastrous financial situation by accepting the English payment and voting their own abolition – Scotland’s elite could keep their separate parliament and avoid national bankruptcy by selling enough poor Scots to the Americas instead.

When the Portuguese offered to sell black slaves, those 1619 Virginians could only buy them as ten-year-indentured servants. They were still wholly under English common law and Lord Mansfield’s 1770s ruling merely echoed a two-centuries earlier ruling of Elizabethan judges that English common law knew no such state as slavery. It took the Virginians decades to start even questioning this and almost a century to unlearn it fully. As late as the 1690s, a black man who petitioned the Virginia council that his white master had made him serve not for ten years but for twelve “contrarie to all right and justice”, was freed by their order. If Nikole had called it the 1705 project, I’d have thought she at least knew something about the actual faults of the country whose history she was travestying. Only positive statute law can override English common law’s aversion to slavery, said Lord Mansfield – and 1705 was the year the Virginia legislature completed providing it. I knew from the start that Nikole was not just lying about all that, not just indifferent to the truth of all that – she was also pretty clueless about it.

But now it emerges she knows nothing about other countries either! “Countries that didn’t have large institutions of slavery”, she says. Which countries would that be, I wonder?

– Certainly not Cuba before Columbus or Cuba after Columbus (or Cuba under communism – you have to know nothing not to know that communism always reintroduces slavery).

– Certainly not Brazil before or after the Portuguese ruled it, or after it ruled itself – Brazil was the very last new-world country to abolish the slave trade (it needed an undeclared war from the Royal Navy to persuade them) and then slavery itself (they needed a bit of persuasion there too).

– Certainly not Mexico under the Aztecs, or Peru and Chile under the Incas, or any of them under the Spaniards (the absolute Spanish King could in time announce that slavery should end without needing to consult any tedious parliaments – and his unconsulted subjects in the Americas could pay absolutely no attention and go on buying black slaves from the Portuguese).

– Certainly not any of the western sub-Saharan African states, who sold the surplus they had left after the Dahomans had celebrated their murder spectacle, the Bemba had blinded enough singers to entertain them, the various cannibal tribes had eaten their fill, etc.

– Certainly not any of the eastern sub-Saharan African states, where the tribes raided each other and the Swahili worked for the Arabs, who found slave-raiding cheaper than slave-trading.

– Certainly not the Arab world. Historians who know what they are talking about speak of “the abolition of slavery” in the west and “the decline of slavery” (under intense western pressure) in the Arab world.

– Certainly not many other places. In 1776, Adam Smith accurately noted that slavery was almost universal, being absent only from parts of western and central Europe.

So what countries in 1619 – or a good deal later – could be giving her this problem of lacking historical “institutions of slavery” on US timescales. England? France (had serfdom for much of the period, but not slavery)? … It’s not that long a list (and it’s a bit white!). And I don’t think any of the countries she was thinking of are on it. “Ignorance is Strength”, said Orwell’s 1984. It’s certainly hers.

It’s a pity, because the real history of how the Virginians gradually retreated from a custom of freedom that they’d started with is well worth studying. And the spectacle of a community with a custom of freedom slowly losing it holds a lesson for today.

39 comments to Critical Race Theorist literally knows nothing

  • Do you have any sources for the Bemba blinding singers? Just curious.

    If you had mentioned Arabs castrating or emasculating their slaves there is plenty of history and evidence on that subject.

  • Matthew H Iskra (July 16, 2021 at 9:27 pm), the Bemba’s habit of blinding adult males they enslaved if they were good singers – so they could be used as entertainers without needing close supervision to prevent their escaping – is covered in L.H.Gann and Peter Duignan, ‘Burden of Empire: An Appraisal of Western Colonialism in Africa’, (Stanford; Hoover Institution Press, 1977, c.f. page 140). I came across it through a brief reference in Thomas Sowell’s ‘Race and Culture’ (first published in 1994).

    As your words imply, it – like other aspects of how slaves were treated in sub-Saharan Africa – is not as well known as the Arab demand for harem guards. Sadly, while some 1600s blacks throve morally as well as economically in Virginia, others saw no need to rethink their former customs just because they themselves had been freed. Anthony Johnson, a black man who arrived in 1621, was doing well for himself by mid-century – he owned four whites with written indentures and one black man, John Casor, whom he did not free after 10 years. After 14 years of service, John freed himself at the start of the 1650s with the help of a white neighbour, but his black master did not provide the customary “farming tools and plot of land”, so, to get them – and a means to live till he did – John then entered freely into a (shorter, IIRC) written indenture to his white friend. His disgruntled former owner sued, claiming the white neighbour had stolen his servant. John won the case in 1654, but the owner appealed – and won on appeal in 1655. (Why John Casor lost the appeal is still debated today.)

    John Casor was the very first undoubted ‘legal’ slave in the Virginia colony – the very first man legally condemned to lifelong servitude without being convicted (or indeed accused) of having committed any legal offence.

  • Fraser Orr

    Thanks Niall, that was an interesting read. If you have suggestions for materials to learn more I’d be interested to hear.

    The thing that has always fascinated me about colonial America though is how men like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe could manage the compartmentalized double think of being such passionate advocates for liberty, in many respects not only the founding fathers of American liberty but that of the whole modern world (though if that be so then Britain is the founding grandfather.) Yet, at the same time return to their homes bristling with men and women laboring under the chains of slavery to which they held the key. Men whose richness of spirit and new ideas and passion for unadulterated freedom was paid for on the backs of the broken spirits and stolen labor of the powerless.

    I don’t say this to diminish their achievements, but it is hard to hold them in high esteem given this terrible blemish on their character. Jimmy Saville certainly did a lot of things to promote charity and “Fix it” for many sick and disadvantaged kids, apparently raising $40 million quid for charity at a time when a quid meant a lot more than it does today. But one can hardly separate his undoubted good works from the terrible stench of his villainous crimes. I doubt there are too many statues of Saville in Britain today.

    They may use the excuse that it was the way of the times in which they lived, but these men were surrounded by better men, Samuel and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and many others who portrayed to them a better way. They may not, therefore, plead ignorance.

    It is something I often struggle with when I think of these men. And not even so much MY judgement of them, but their own judgement of themselves. How they could hold two such diametrically opposed views in their head in amazing. How is a brain capable of doing so without disintegrating in a miasma of self contradiction? Amazing and perhaps a lesson on the nature of the human condition.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @Fraser,

    That’s why slavery is the US’ original sin, and will help destroy it from inside.

    Even ancient cultures like India and China were not exempt from the institution of slavery, I suspect, even if they used euphemisms for it.

  • Even ancient cultures like India and China were not exempt from the institution of slavery (The Wobbly Guy, July 17, 2021 at 7:36 am)

    Even???!!!!

    Not that I’m disagreeing with what you say, but where did that qualifier come from?

    Until modern times, slavery was universal in two senses: no race, culture or creed of any size was not at one time a major source of slaves and at another time a major owner of slaves. In Europe, the long post-Roman evolution from slavery to its lesser cousin serfdom climaxed in England, where being born into servitude became unknown. By no accident, that society began to become wealthy and powerful out of all proportion to its size, and (after sundry individual back-slidings when its members ventured out into a still slave-ridden world) in time decided to lead (and do most of the heavy lifting in) a crusade against slavery world-wide – which is the reason slavery became rare.

  • Roué le Jour

    Fraser Orr,
    Thomas Sowell had explained that many founders believed slavery was wrong, while at the same time being fearful of the consequences of freeing them, i.e. race war.

    I should add that Sowell should be read in case I have misunderstood.

  • Fraser Orr (July 17, 2021 at 2:46 am), I think you are mistaken in diagnosing double-think in the founding fathers.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

    wrote Jefferson in his private diary about slavery. He never dared step into the debate publicly – but he clearly was not practicing double-think in the privacy of his own mind. Similar analyses apply to others.

    After securing a dated end to the slave trade as part of ratifying the constitution, many of the founding fathers and their successors hoped and imagined that slavery would gradually cease as some were freed and no others were imported. (With less public clarity, they were echoing Lincoln, who said he could endure – as the lesser evil – a US slavery that was definitely dying, but not one that was living and growing.) It was in the 1830 Virginia debates that this future hope, trying to become reality, suffered what at first looked like a just-defeated vote that would be won in a few years but was in fact a decisive defeat for the civil-vote-not-civil-war approach. Arguably the vote only failed because those wanting to abolish slavery did not agree on what alternative to choose whereas those wanting to keep it did agree on what they wanted. But it’s clear that the signal given was that there was no acceptable (to the free Virginians of the time) way to abolish. The effect on the minds of the upcoming generation can still be seen in the civil war, contrasting such elders as Lee (“I consider the whole system to be an unmitigated evil”) or Jackson (“It causes so many problems I wish it had never been invented”) with the passionate unqualified defence of all aspects of the Confederate lifestyle typical of the younger officers they led.

    For reading about slavery in history, one place to start is any work by Thomas Sowell with a relevant title. His often-well-researched sources and footnotes can point to further sources. For the US and Virginia especially, Boorstin’s middle volume (‘The National Experience’) is mainly on other things but has thoughtful chapters on the Virginia Debates, and on the mentality of blacks, and of the whites who lived where they were numerous.

    And of course this barely scratches the surface of a huge amount of information which (if you can distinguish it from misinformation) can shed light. For example, type John Casor into DuckDuckGo and you (or at least I) are offered first a Smithsonian link which is passable but (I believe) a bit slovenly on the dates and the intricacies of the legal case. Other links give more. I’ve read detailed descriptions of Lord Mansfield and of Somerset, later James Somerset. Unusually for a freed slave but wisely given his understanding of English culture, Somerset took a first name, not a last name when he was freed. Note incidentally the significance of John Casor being John Casor not just ‘John’, or ‘Johnson’s John’ – he was being named as an indentured servant, not a one-name-only slave. Knowledge of that bit of slave custom I owe to reading Mark Twain’s Thomas Sawyer, where it is mentioned very much in passing. Very wide reading of other subjects gave me some of my information on slavery and helped me understand specific works on it.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Rubbish! There was no slavery in Aboriginal society! They were too un-developed to be able to make iron shackles, so couldn’t keep people as slaves. And won’t it be fun, in the future, when robots read about slavery, look at their own circumstances, and rebel for their autonomous rights!?

  • David

    I was gobsmacked to read that of the 12 million or so slaves exported from Africa, 10.7 million survived the journey but fewer than 388,000 went to N. America and the rest to the Caribbean and S. Americas. Source

  • Lee Moore

    “it’s also hard to look at countries that didn’t have large institutions of slavery and compare them to the United States.”

    It’s not particularly clear, but if I had to hazard a guess, my guess would be that she was trying to say that there weren’t a lot of non slavey countries, so comparing {non slavey country} with {slavey USA} was tricky. Niall seems to agree with her on the difficulty of finding non slavey countries.

    I’m probably missing the point.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall: i have a few quibbles with what you wrote.

    Until modern times, slavery was universal in two senses: no race, culture or creed of any size was not at one time a major source of slaves and at another time a major owner of slaves.

    Here i have 3 quibbles.

    First, it must have been the introduction of agriculture & herding that led to slavery. What use could hunter/gatherers possibly have for slaves?

    Second: it seems to me that, in the old times, people did not much care about ethnicity in connection with slavery. The Romans, for instance, were happy to make slaves of rebellious allies in Italy, AND of people North of the Alps, AND of North Africans.

    Third: my understanding is that full (chattel) slavery was pretty rare in India and China. I might very well be wrong, but i’d like to see evidence one way or the other.

    In Europe, the long post-Roman evolution from slavery to its lesser cousin serfdom climaxed in England, where being born into servitude became unknown.

    No quibbles here, but it is not entirely clear to me whether one could become a serf even if not born into serfdom, or serfdom was completely eradicated.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT blinding slaves: see also Herodotos on the Scythians, who apparently blinded all their slaves.

    Presumably so that the slaves could not jump on a horse (of which the Scythians had plenty) and gallop away.

  • Snorri Godhi

    David: very interesting link.
    I found similar figures in Angus Maddison’s books.

    Presumably, so many slaves went to the Caribbean because they were worked to death over there, the women being too weak to reproduce.
    After the abolition of the slave trade, slave-owners must have had an incentive to ensure the survival of their slaves, resulting in the large Black Caribbean population today.

    Sometimes, being a realist about incentives can be saddening.
    But reality needs to be faced.

  • Exasperated

    @David
    Yes, Henry Gates has offered an exponentially more insightful understanding of the history and institution of slavery in the United States. It was far more complicated and nuanced than the stereotypes and movie industry would have us believe.
    What I don’t understand is why the non slave owners submitted to the defense of slavery. Their wellbeing was undermined and the economic development of the south was short circuited (not that climate wasn’t a factor). Victor Davis Hanson’s “Soul of War” references the diaries of the men who composed Sherman’s Army of the West. They referred to the poor southerners as “Dirt Eaters” and were disgusted and appalled at their circumstances.
    Off topic, but as a person who has done genealogy for Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, I have come across very little slavery.

  • Rubbish! There was no slavery in Aboriginal society! They were too un-developed to be able to make iron shackles, so couldn’t keep people as slaves. (Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray, July 17, 2021 at 9:46 am)

    I assume you are indeed unlicensedly joking and do not imagine no slave was ever bound in bronze-age shackles or earlier. 🙂

    For anyone who is interested, the enslavement of women was very common in Aboriginal society. Early British explorers encountered women who were 400 miles or more from where they were born, having been kidnapped by a neighbouring tribe in a raid, then kidnapped when that tribe in turn was raided by another tribe and so transferred, by sale sometimes but often by capture, till they ended up a long way from their birth tribe where (allowing for the not-quite-perfectly feminist culture of the Aborigines in general) they might have been a bit less unfree.

    But all was not unequal in australasia before the whites came – men could be enslaved too. Whether the New Guineans tendency to fatten up and then eat some captives counts as slavery I will leave to you – no iron cooking utensils were used.

  • Exasperated

    First, it must have been the introduction of agriculture & herding that led to slavery. What use could hunter/gatherers possibly have for slaves?

    I don’t know, I could be remembering wrong, but didn’t Native North Americans have slavery? Maybe their economies were more mixed than I thought.

  • First, it must have been the introduction of agriculture & herding that led to slavery. What use could hunter/gatherers possibly have for slaves? (Snorri Godhi, July 17, 2021 at 2:06 pm)

    Can you really not imagine a use they might have for female slaves after they slaughtered the neighbouring tribe’s menfolk? Can you also not imagine a use for child slaves brought up in subjection and so relatively submissive and docile? Killing the enemy adult warrior males (maybe keeping e.g. a few good singers Bemba-style) and enslaving the women and children is well-attested of some primitive peoples.

    That said, it has certainly been suggested that the pastoralist lifestyle taught skills that were useful when humans, not animals, were to be caught and herded, so its appearance in ancient time may have led to an increase in the volume of slavery.

    Second: it seems to me that, in the old times, people did not much care about ethnicity in connection with slavery. The Romans, for instance, were happy to make slaves of rebellious allies in Italy, AND of people North of the Alps, AND of North Africans.

    True but in what way is that a quibble with anything I said. When slavery is normal, it needs no such excuse as a well-developed racial theory. Slavery was so normal in the ancient world that anyone could be a slave. Only when slavery is sufficiently wrong that you cannot own people like yourself as property do you need to argue that some huge racial or cultural gulf makes it nevertheless OK to own ‘them’.

    Third: my understanding is that full (chattel) slavery was pretty rare in India and China.

    India) Much of Indian history was Muslims conquering Hindus, or trying to. One of the nicer Muslim rulers in India proclaimed a law: if a slave bore a son to her master, she had to be freed.

    The complex hierarchy of Hindu society is quite a subject (and my comments are tending to be quite long. 🙂 ) It had its bottom layer. The conquest of India by “Indra the fort destroyer” is a semi-legendary 1000BC event that I would argue included lots of enslaving. In its long later evolution, Hindu social structures, like the beginnings of European serfdom, may have helped reduce the proportion of wholly unfree.

    China) The middle-generation woman in ‘Three Wild Swans’ describes seeing a sign in the city of her birth: “Daughter for sale for 10 kilograms of rice.” Go back centuries and China has the Mongol invasions. Whether to call the first emperor’s wall project like chattel slavery or like Mao-style slavery is debatable I guess. Etc. (And of course, “at some time” includes “in our time”; Mao? Xi? …)

  • I could be remembering wrong, but didn’t Native North Americans have slavery? (Exasperated, July 17, 2021 at 2:46 pm)

    You are remembering right; Native North Americans did have slavery. Like the people of Dahomey, one of the things they did with their slaves was kill them in amusingly sadistic ways. Some tribes were stronger and did more, and some tribes were weaker and could do less, but only in the very far north (e.g. Eskimos) do you find tribes with little evidence of enslaving. During the US Civil war, the Civilised Indians sided with the Confederacy. (So did the ‘uncivilised’ ones in effect, but they did not make a formal alliance, adopt a lifestyle that included buying and owning black slaves, etc.).

  • Exasperated

    Let’s keep in mind that much of this propaganda is about justifying reparations, by all. Never mind that the beneficiaries of slavery were the same people who always benefit, as in the 2008 economic meltdown. We are supposed to believe that the Swede and his descendants, arriving in the 1860s, scratching out enough food, and living in a sod home on the northern plains is a beneficiary of slavery.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT the enslavement of women, mentioned by Niall in a couple of comments above, i’d like to note that Chinggis Khan’s Mum (Hoelun) was herself ‘enslaved’, i.e. captured by Temujin’s dad Yesugei while she was being brought home by her legit husband.

    According to established steppe custom, when Yesugei and his pals attacked, Hoelun’s husband jumped on his horse and rode away. It seems that the steppe nomads lived by the principle: better to live and fight another day. Temujin himself did that when a raid kidnapped his first wife.

    All the same, Hoelun did the best under the circumstances, for which i greatly admire her. When Yesugei was poisoned and the clan abandoned her, her children, Yesugei’s first wife, and *her* children, Hoelun became the bastion of the family. She can hardly be described as a slave.

  • Snorri Godhi

    P.S.

    Much of Indian history was Muslims conquering Hindus, or trying to.

    I suspect that most non-Muslims Indians would object to that.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Bravo, Niall. Superb. Not only your original post but also your well placed remarks in the comment section.

    One can learn more information (and obtain a far more holistic and accurate understanding) about the history CRT misrepresents from a dozen paragraphs on Samizdata than one can learn from all the Fake News Media articles on the subject for the past dozen months combined. This is a remarkable state of affairs, and the implications of this reality are more than a little scary.

    In nearly any non-dystopian world this post would go uber-viral in the English-speaking world.

  • Lee Moore (July 17, 2021 at 12:52 pm), I (obviously 🙂 ) don’t think her remark can be read in the way you suggest – not in itself, especially not given its context, and even more especially given her background. IIUC, your suggested interpretation of her remark would mean Nikole thinks it is really hard to find a country that was not comparably involved in slavery to the US – that is, Nikole was saying the US is not specially guilty of slavery; everyone was doing it.

    That doesn’t sound like the author of the 1619 project to me.

  • David (July 17, 2021 at 12:46 pm), while various ways of estimating provide various particular figures, the ones you quote are certainly correct in their ranking of who bought the most slaves and who bought the least. In the western hemisphere, South America (first and foremost Brazil) received the greatest number and the US the least. Also, first to last, the Arab world took millions more black slaves than the whole western hemisphere. And (during the whole period) a greater number than all these figures combined were enslaved in sub-Saharan Africa and never left that area.

    Two caveats:

    1) There were many years in the 1700s when the Americas took more black slaves than the entire Arab world in that year. There were years in the 1700s when British traders transported more slaves than any other one group. The Arabs kept their lead because they started enslaving blacks much earlier and kept on much longer, and increased their rate in the late 1700s and 1800s when their ability to raid for white slaves began to be restricted even in the Ukraine and the Balkans.

    2) I owe to Thomas Sowell this reflection (quoted from memory – gist is right):

    During the 1700s, ‘the British’ became the world’s leading slave traders. During the 1800s, ‘the British’ became the bitterest enemy of slavery the world had ever seen.

    In context, Sowell was not talking about slavery as such but warning against treating such terms as ‘the British’ as having a single invariant role with respect to historical issues.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

    I certainly understand that Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe may have felt it impossible to eliminate slavery from the parturition of the United States (though if there ever was a “hill to die on” surely that is one?), however, that does not excuse them from their own personal actions. If Jefferson trembled for his country, why did he not tremble all the more for himself? As Stalin said “one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic”, and so too here it seems that these words seem to be more to defect blame to “my country”, to the collective, from his own, personal sin here.

    To say he would have been ostracized from society, I say good. Sell up. Move to Boston or Philadelphia. I think for many plantation owners in the south I might be more convinced by their claims of ignorance, claims of “that is the way we do it down here”, claims of “that is the way my mamma raised me”, than I am from the sophisticated Jefferson who had seen in the Yankee territories a way without slavery. In fact, in his ambassadorship to France he had seen a whole continent that did not depend on slavery.

    I honestly admire much of what he did but how can one write “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” and yet not choke on his own words as he thought of Sally Hemmings in his bed, or her brother Peter Hemings, 5 years old at the time, who he would sell like cattle to his son in law. Or, when Jefferson moved into the White House, president to a nation dedicated to freedom, how could he reconcile that with bringing two women, Edith Fossett and Fanny Hern with him in chains to be his cooks? He didn’t own slaves in a theoretical sense, he owned real people, with real names, whose lives, freedom, labor and spirit were stolen from them.

    It seems that he, of all people (along with Washington and the others) bear a deeper guilt than some ignorant southern planter who probably didn’t know any better. And just because you are working politically as best you can to get rid of such a terrible institution, does not in any sense alleviate you of your personal guilt for your personal choices. I think again I’d reiterate my example of Jimmy Saville. No amount of good works can outweigh his terrible crimes, and it is hard to conclude any differently on Jefferson, Washington and several of our first few Presidents.

    I appreciate your book recommendations, I’ll definitely add a few of them to my list.

  • Eric Tavenner

    Fraser Orr
    There’s the little problem that at the time by Virginia law, freed slaves would be automatically be re-enslaved in a week if still Virginia.

  • Exasperated

    Much as I despise Presentism, I do make an exception for the people responsible for chattel slavery and scientific racism. Even though, admittedly, had I been born in the antebellum south, I would have known no better.
    That said, reality is that Jefferson lived way beyond his means and was perpetually in debt. I don’t know if or how this might have impacted his slave holding.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Nope! Slavery was non-existent in Aboriginal society. What is more, they were the world’s first, and best, agriculturalists (See ‘Dark Emu’, written by a white man who identifies as indigenous.) I suppose the shields were just bio-degradable paintings, misinterpreted by war-minded whites. As for mistreatment of women, hasn’t that happened in all cultures, including European countries?

  • Tim Worstall

    Good grief. Cuban slavery was more ingrained than even the Deep South. Lasted longer too…..

  • Paul Marks

    Excellent post.

    Yes – it is not just the “interpretation of the facts” of modern “intellectuals” that is wrong, they are wrong about the facts themselves.

    What is taught by the schools and universities is just wrong – flat wrong, factually wrong.

    They teach that Ireland had “laissez faire” in the late 1840s – when, in reality, the Poor Law tax (introduced in about 1831 in Ireland) went higher and higher, crushing the economy.

    They teach that Herbert Hoover practiced “laissez faire” – when he actually PREVENTED wages adjusting to the Credit Money bust of 1929, as they had adjusted to every other Credit Money bust since 1819 (most recently 1921).

    They lead children to think that it was Europeans who introduced slavery into Africa. Ignoring both the Islamic slave trade, and the fact that the African tribes practiced slavery themselves. As nearly all societies in history have done.

    They might as well teach that the Moon is made of cheese – and that the 1930s were cooler than now in the United States (indeed they actually do teach children to think that the United States was less hot in the past).

    Nothing they teach can be trusted – and the left are starting to gain control even over such subjects as mathematics.

  • Paul Marks

    Niall – you are correct, Virginia went from indentured labour to hereditary slavery in a series of steps.

    It could have been prevented – and it should have been prevented.

    If people just assume “white people are naturally evil” than the real story of what happened in Virginia and elsewhere will not be examined or learned from.

    In Georgia it came down to a court case (supported by George Whitfield – the Predestination supporter) which overturned the anti slavery provisions of the foundation of the colony.

    Far from being ancient – there were plenty of people alive in 1776 who could remember when slavery had been unlawful in Georgia.

    And without Georgia – there is no solid “Slave Power” in the South, as a look at a map will confirm.

  • Eric Tavenner (July 17, 2021 at 10:33 pm), your belief that a manumitted Virginia slave was by law re-enslaved in a week is mistaken.

    At the time of the civil war, one in ten of Virginia’s blacks were free. The state census records more free blacks than slaveowners. Some were descended from the original freed-after-ten-year-indenture blacks of the 1600s. Some were freed by their Virginia owners in the 1700s and 1800s, or were descended from such people. A few freed blacks migrated to Virginia from the deep south where freed blacks were much fewer and less accepted.

  • […] Critical Race Theorist literally knows nothing […]

  • Rich Rostrom

    Some notes:

    R. E. Lee regarded slavery as a social evil, not as a crime. Throughout his life, until perhaps late in the Civil War, he personally benefited from the compelled labor of black slaves, and he never expressed the slightest qualms about it. Nor did it ever disturb his conscience that his Virginia friends, neighbors, and relatives all lived in wealth derived from slave labor.

    White non-slaveholders in the South supported slavery because it kept the blacks below them. They had as much cause as slaveowners to fear slave insurrection. (That is, as slaveowners in their particular region. Where slaves were few, e.g. the Upper South, even the slaveowners were less paranoid.) Also, the “poor whites” hated the thought of having to defer to even a few “rich niggers”.

    As to the Indians: the “Five Civilized Tribes” in now-Oklahoma (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole) included many slaveowners. One ironic comment about racial hierarchies of the time: when the Cherokees were driven from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears”, they took their slaves with them. The Five Tribes allied with the Confederacy – but it should be noted that many “Pin Indians” adhered to the Union, including Cherokee Paramount Chief John Ross (who was a slaveowner). This heritage had a recent consequence. By the time of emancipation, the slaves of the Indians had lived for many years as parts of the tribal communities and households. They had learned to speak the Indian languages, and were regarded as members of the tribes. (Bear in mind that until about 1900, there were no other communities in the Territory.) This status continued until around 2008, when the Cherokees expelled several thousand descendants of their former slaves.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Oh, and does Hannah-Jones know that Fulgencio Batista was a mulatto? Castro’s revolution was supported by many Cubans who wanted to restore white supremacy. (Batista was a piece of work, but a lot of the animosity toward him had other causes.)

    She might want to read Black Man in Red Cuba by John Clytus, a black American who went to Cuba in 1960, and returned thoroughly disgusted with the Castro regime’s racism.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Incidentally, Australia had a semi-slave arrangement known as black-birding, where Pacific islanders were ‘indentured’ to work in Queensland farms, and then returned home. Then various states would promise wages to Aboriginal workers, and either forget, or just didn’t pay them. But the Aborigines didn’t have slavery! Because they were stone-age people, and you can’t make hand-cuffs out of stone.

  • bobby b

    “Because they were stone-age people, and you can’t make hand-cuffs out of stone.”

    You never watched the Flintstones, did you?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Yes, I did watch the Flintstones. When I found out that cartoons are not real, I was devastated, but I recovered, thanks to my good friends Bugs Bunny and Michael (Mickey) Mouse. And Astroboy, a Japanese person.

  • TDK

    Third: my understanding is that full (chattel) slavery was pretty rare in India and China.

    When Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833, an exemption was granted to India which was controlled by the East India Company who abolished slavery in 1843. From memory, I believe bonded labour continued.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>