Everybody Likes A Pony

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The Kitsap Business Journal launches what was undoubtedly its maiden voyage into the waters of nationwide controversy, and ends up at the bottom of Puget Sound. No sooner had John Gilmore alerted us to the now-famous "Pony In Slavery" column by KBP columnist Adele Fergusen than the column vanished full fathom five. (You can see the 404 here.) Whether that was due to the abuse and vituperation the column was receiving, Anansi only knows, but in any event the gesture was in vain: Fergusen's column can be found in its entirety here.

Like all things whose value derives mainly from five minutes of inaccessability, the Pony In Slavery column seemed like kind of a letdown when I found it. The premise, taking off from Ronald Reagan's joke about the kid looking for the pony in a pile of shit, is that blacks refuse to admit that slavery was a really a ponyโ€”a ticket that brought them from their own Kong-worshipping lands to the U.S.A. Or maybe slavery was the pile of shit and the U.S.A. is the pony. Or else the pony is Ronald Reagan and somebody dropped the ticket in a pile of shit, thereby getting kicked off the bus for violating the "Do not handle this ticket in an unsanitary manner" warning clearly printed on all bus tickets. In any event, it struck me as incredibly stupid and ill-conceived, but nothing beyond the insaniac stylings commonly found in our nation's local weeklies, where fossilized cranks are always churning out rambling columns about their own weird fixations. (That mad variety helps make this one of the two or three greatest countries between Canada and Mexico.) But then I was assuming from Fergusen's reference to her "black brothers and sisters" that she was a Sister, or maybe a plant designed to discredit GOP ladies who lunch. But it turns out she's a real columnist with a headshot that looks like one of those Onion columnist photos.

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  1. If, for reasons of history or sociology or what have you, certain behaviors are statistically more prevalent among certain ethnicities (i.e.: my people, the Jews, are disproportionately argumentative), allow me to postulate the following:

    African Americans are disproportionately good at cutting through bullshit.

    That’s the short but true answer to Adele’s ‘question’ of why George Bush has a 2% approval rating among them.

  2. And the Jews should thank the Nazis for the creation of Israel.

    *Invokes Godwin’s law on himself*

  3. Fergusen is right. Nowhere does she defend slavery. Nor, in the general case, is pointing out that an unjust action can have some positive results in anyway an attempt to defend or justify the unjust action.

    Modern African-Americans are are riding a pony that the boy found in the manure. They should count their blessings and take advantage of all the possibilities that lie before them as citizens of the most free and richest nation on earth. Instead, they have been trained for generations by demagouges who teach them to blame all of their problems on injustices suffered by their great-great-great grandparents. This refusal to accept responsibility is far and away the biggest roadblock in the African-American community. Your great-great-grandpa was a slave, and your grandma had to sit at the back of the bus? SO WHAT!?! Why does that matter a whit today?

  4. I seem to recall a black academic releasing a book a couple of years ago that pretty much stated the same thing: that slavery was a blessing in disguise and that blacks were better of in America, even with its racism and inequality, than back in Africa.

  5. Oy vey, I think we might actually be in danger of having joe transform into a black leader.

    Bruce Banner watch out.

  6. Chad, it matters because the forebears of the white people who forced Grandma to sit at the back of the bus taught their children that Black Grandma should still have to sit at the back of the bus, and they help to perpetuate or attempt to revive power structures that keep a lot of people at the back of a much more metaphorical bus.

  7. har

    My interest in this was only in the extension of ‘hidden pony’ reasoning.

    Like, if America was the pony hidden in slavery, I’m still curious… what was the pony hidden in Jim Crow, the KKK, economic disenfranchisement, and the like were. *MORE* America?

    The hidden pony in 9/11 was that millions of americans now get to learn about Islam’s rich cultural history? Thousands got an all expenses paid trip to
    Fallujah?

    People just refuse to see the upsides!

    JG

  8. African Americans are disproportionately good at cutting through bullshit.

    And disseminating it.

    Jesse Jackson
    Al Sharpton
    Louis Farrakhan

  9. Reminds me of the WSJ using the term ‘Lucky Duckies’ for those working poor who didn’t make enough to pay taxes.

    I guess by such faulty logic and clumsy linguisitics you could say what a great thing the Irish potato famine was, or how 9/11 was a hidden pony for those getting construction jobs in NYC, etc.

    Anyone want to take a crack at the ‘top drawer blacks’ line? Smacks of a ‘those people’. I’m shocked she didn’t use the time honored ‘Some of my best friends are black!’

  10. African Americans are disproportionately good at cutting through bullshit.

    Horseshit. All you have to do to falsify this notion is look at the current crop of black leaders (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Maxine Waters – the list of con men, demagogues, and extortionists is pretty long, Joe).

    If we’re generalising,, I would say the African American community probably suffers under at least its fair share of delusions. C’mon – reparations? OJ didn’t do it? Give me a break.

    Chad, it matters because the forebears of the white people who forced Grandma to sit at the back of the bus taught their children that Black Grandma should still have to sit at the back of the bus, and they help to perpetuate or attempt to revive power structures that keep a lot of people at the back of a much more metaphorical bus.

    More horseshit. The percentage of white people teaching their children that the darkies should sit at the back of the bus is somewhere in the low single digits.

  11. “The percentage of white people teaching their children that the darkies should sit at the back of the bus is somewhere in the low single digits.”

    Sure.

    The percentage of people that would not want a black neighbor is somewhat higher than that. Or send their kids to a school where they represent a sizable share.

    The percentage of people who have no experience at all with black communities, but have very established opinions about ‘whats wrong’ with them, is remarkably high. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I grew up in NYC but my mom’s family came from small southern town. I went to school in Tennessee. I got a chance to see a lot of differences in the subtlties of racism in America. It aint all cut and dried. It’s still pretty funky, and depends on the context.

    Sharpton is hilarious, indeed. But i dont think black opportunist political leaders are any different in character than white ones.

    JG

  12. GILMORE: “The percentage of people that would not want a black neighbor is somewhat higher than that.”

    I’m pretty sure a lot of black people would be good neighbors indeed, but more often than not they wouldn’t, and I’m in no position to figure out which it is beforehand when I ponder buying a house in an integrated neighborhood — so why take a chance?

    “Or send their kids to a school where they represent a sizable share.”

    Well, schools with a lot of black students use to suck big time — even more so than your average public school, and bad schools are a big drain on real estate values.

    Anything else?

  13. I think Aikon just backed up your point there, Gilmore.

  14. These people do this…those people do that.

    Generalities, generalities.

    what’s wrong with some of my best friends being [insert racial definition here]? Nothing if I don’t try to extend my judgements of those persons to a larger group of people I don;t know.

  15. But gaijin, damnit these aren’t generalities, they’re approval ratings. APPROVAL RATINGS! That must back up my assertion.

  16. Fergusen is right. Nowhere does she defend slavery.

    From the article: “I have long urged blacks to consider their presence here as the work of God, who wanted to bring them to this raw, new country and used slavery to achieve it.”

    I don’t know whether that counts as a defense, but it is, in Tim’s words, “incredibly stupid.”

  17. This line of reasoning is as old as the hills and remains quite problematic. If we do not accept the concept of being guilty for our ancestors’ sins (contra Hesiod’s famous statement) then we should also not justify or defend oppression merely because that oppression benefited some later desdendants of that oppressed group.

  18. If you find a pony that’s been buried in a huge pile of shit, don’t expect it to be docile.

  19. Does anyone else here think Adele is hot?

  20. Should Israel honor Hitler without whose efforts it would never have come into being?

    Also, how about recognizgin that afer Hitler anti-semitism was no more respectable?

    And shouldn’t the Irish Americans thank the British for forcing their grand-grandparents through hunger to find a better life for them in America, where they can even become President?

    There is something ugly in telling a victim “sure, you suffer now, but your grandchildren will be better off for it.”

  21. I urge everyone to browse Adele’s collected works. The woman puts Andy Rooney to shame. Here’s a choice bit:

    Wide awake, I mused over other gripes I had with radio, and remembered when I suddenly had enough of the inability of the KVI talk show hosts to pronounce the word poem correctly and wrote them about it. This was after Rush had left for KTTH, but I heard Michael Medved, John Carlson and the others mispronounce poem as pome.

    I wrote them that a po-em is a two-syllable word for a composition in verse and a pome is a one syllable word for a fleshy fruit with a central core and five seeds, such as an apple. Either they did not get my note or disregarded it, because the misuse continued, especially by Medved, supposedly the most literate of the bunch. I heard him doing it again in his new digs at KTTH. I hope he doesn’t taint his fellow workers with his refusal to accept that he is wrong.

  22. Jesse Walker,

    Once one starts to try to justify slavery as a benefit to North American blacks one has to justify many nightmares in the process, including the internal African slave trade and the African slave trade to the middle east, since both of these predated and facilitated the establishment of the African slave trade to the New World.

    Also, one has to ask whether she agrees with Bradford when he argued that the diseases wrought upon North American aboriginals were ordained by God?

  23. It’s hard for a pimp up here.

  24. Furgeson’s correct, of course.

    So, how’s Liberia doing? Lots of immigrants from the US?
    To save you the trouble: “Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population.”

    African Americans are disproportionately good at cutting through bullshit.

    Thus spake the actual, real-live racist.

    Once one starts to try to justify slavery…

    I don’t see any justifying, just describing reality.

  25. ?I think Aikon just backed up your point there, Gilmore.?
    Comment by: Brian24

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Funny how that works out.

    I wonder if dude ever thought about the cause-effect nature of these assumptions.

    ?Schools with black students are shitty? = the implication being?.because they have black students?? Right. Not because of the white-flight of the tax base, the lack of political representation they have in local govt, the glad handing that rich white suburbs receive from state legislators?

    People seem to want to latch onto either, ?people only have themselves to blame?, or ?it?s all someone elses fault?, and it just aint that simple. There?s a fair amount of both, and very little intellectual honesty about the situation in any quarter.

    JG

  26. It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with income level and class.

    I live in a pretty diverse area, but just because my neighbors are many shades of color doesn’t mean they aren’t going to chase away a new crack dealer or homeless guy who decides to put down stakes in the neighborhood.

    We’re all trying to keep our property values up.

  27. I seem to recall a black academic releasing a book a couple of years ago that pretty much stated the same thing: that slavery was a blessing in disguise and that blacks were better of in America, even with its racism and inequality, than back in Africa.

    That was Keith Richburg, then the Africa bureau chief, now the foreign editor, for the Washington Post. The book was Out of America, and it was mostly about crazy shit that he saw in Africa, but the line that got into universal circulation was:

    Thank God my nameless ancestor, brought across the ocean in chains and leg irons, made it out alive. Thank God I am an Americans.

    Strangely, the line inside the book is slightly less vivid, and maybe less controversial:

    I still recoil in horror whenever I see yet another television picture of another tribal slaughter, another refugee crisis. But most of all I think: Thank God my ancestor got out, because, now, I am not one of them.

    In short, thank God that I am an American.

    Thanks, Amazon search-inside-this-book function!

    I don’t know why the change-the first version is on the back cover-but maybe the See: They Even Say It Themselves crowd, or Richburg’s publisher, figured the chains and leg irons remark would get more traction.

  28. Mr. F. Le Mur,

    I don’t see any justifying, just describing reality.

    So, the presence of the offspring of slaves is the work of God? Did God bring slaves here to settle this “raw” land? Do you accept this as part of “reality?”

  29. I don’t know whether that counts as a defense, but it is, in Tim’s words, “incredibly stupid.”

    Sure it is, but about 80-90% of the US population is “incredibly stupid.” Even higher in most other places. The Washington Compost article above the one about artists’ suicides was even more incredibly stupid.

    I just hope some Japanese family doesn’t move in next door to us – the next thing ya know the ‘hood will be filled with doctors and engineers quietly taking pictures with better digital cameras than I can afford.

  30. Mr. F. Le Mur,

    BTW, in the future, quote me in full so that the whole and true nature of my comment is revealed.

  31. So, the presence of the offspring of slaves is the work of God?

    I skimmed the article the first time and missed the “God” reference – but it’s compatible with the very common mindset that just about everything is the work of an invisble monster. Is it really stupider than the stories in the MSM wherein someone refers to a “miracle” because a doctor was wrong about an impending death? Does that sort of thinking become worthy of harsher criticism when the subject is something touchier than a doctor’s error?

  32. Mr. F. Le Mur,

    BTW, in the future, quote me in full so that the whole and true nature of my comment is revealed.

    Comment by: Hakluyt at March 16, 2006 10:50 AM

    No will do. The whole and true nature of your comments are revealed when you write them; I repeat just enough so that someone else can see what I’m referring to, which’ll be right here on this same page.

  33. Mr. F. Le Mur,

    Given that you yourself responded directly to the language quoted by Mr. Walker that I responded to I am quite incredulous regarding your skimming claim.

    As to your original response, as it doesn’t tackle the true nature of what wrote you aren’t really responding to my comment; you are responding to the quoted out of context portion of my comment though.

  34. But i dont think black opportunist political leaders are any different in character than white ones.

    No, but the fact that black political leaders are no better than white ones tends to refute Joe’s point about blacks being immune to bullshit.

    The percentage of people that would not want a black neighbor is somewhat higher than that. Or send their kids to a school where they represent a sizable share.

    I think you’re confusing race with class and income.

    Most people don’t want to send their kids to crappy state-run schools, regardless of what color the other students are. Most black kids are trapped in such schools, but I don’t think most parents who can afford to avoid the schools would change their behavior if the same crappy state-run school was full of white folk.

    The idea that most white people don’t want a black neighbor is one that I have never encountered in real life. Most people don’t want to live in the kind of crappy neighborhoods where a lot of black people get stuck, but if the new neighbors in your subdivision are pulling down $300G a year and keep their three-car garage full of late-model toys, I doubt any of the neighbors care that they are black.

  35. RCDEAN = ?the fact that black political leaders are no better than white ones tends to refute Joe’s point about blacks being immune to bullshit?

    OK. But to be clear, I aint joe, so I don?t know why yer tellin me? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Me=?The percentage of people that would not want a black neighbor is somewhat higher than that. Or send their kids to a school where they represent a sizable share
    RC=?I think you’re confusing race with class and income.?
    Not at all. I?ve lived in very rich neighborhoods that have actively blocked rich blacks (or rich-anyone not waspy, to be honest) from moving in. And I?ve also witnessed many parents in these areas who chose to send their kids to private schools simply because the local school (perfectly adequate and high performance) had a small ?ethnic? contingent that parents considered a potential ?bad influence?. The cumulative effect of this bias was for many of these rich kids to grow up with no contact with other races, and for the schools to be gradually drained of community support as they included more ?lower income students? from nearby districts?just a small proportion of the whole.
    ?The idea that most white people don’t want a black neighbor is one that I have never encountered in real life?
    And so you think that means it doesn?t happen at all? No one?s saying ?most? or generalizing about the mean. I?m just pointing out that this shit does happen all the time all over the place.

    Aside from wealthy communities, middle-low income working class communities are far more territorial about ?their? neighborhoods going ?black?. It?s seen as a sign of their own loss of status. In NYC, I can tell you from firsthand experience about turf wars in Brooklyn when some aspiring young blacks tried to move 3 blocks out of their neighborhood, and were informed in no uncertain terms that they should stay amongst ?their own?, regardless of what kind of rent they could afford. Such is life.

  36. I just clicked on Adele’s headshot.

  37. O felix culpa!

  38. R.C. Dean,

    Most people can admit that there is a lot of de facto segregation in this country based on the desires of individuals. Whether you want to call that racism is another matter.

  39. So…the children of the slaves are better off than the blacks living in ersatz “countries” haphazardly drawn on a blank map in Europe? Quel suprise! Gentlemen, the argument you are making is: “Sure we destroyed your families and enslaved your ancestors, but we screwed the other Africans even WORSE!”

  40. What a disappointment to see the number of commenters here who think Adele is right, or at least “not wrong.” I guess the 21st century truly has become the apologist century presided over by Pollyanna.

    Only someone who was not a slave would decide that slavery had any upside.

    As for Adele finding God’s hand in subjecting Africans to slavery in another land, that’s nothing more than the flip side of the view of Americans such as Samuel Morse. Morse invented not only the Morse Code, but an intricate theory on why God was okay with Africans being slaves in America. Of course, he differed from Adele in that he thought slavery itself was fine, not that the unintended consequences of it would make it fine in the distant future.

    Many Americans seem to have lost the ability to look bullshit in the face and call it bullshit. Where is the “pony” for the Africans who actually were slaves? Who died on the way to America or during their slavery here? Who were raped at will, mutilated, sold as property, and watched their children subjected to the same?

    To Adele and all her supporters here, shame on you. Now if only I can find a pony in the bs Adele’s supporters have laid down here.

  41. James,

    You do realize that many European countries’ borders were drawn the same way, don’t you. Take a look at maps before and after WWI.

  42. Only someone who was not a slave would decide that slavery had any upside.

    This is not strictly true. There are cases of slaves being freed, later to voluntarily returned to slavery. Though, I wouldn’t doubt that this is an unfortunate result of their prior bondage. Very sad.

  43. Arrg! Time to go to bed. My grammar and spelling has turned to shit.

  44. The Real Bill,

    It also has much to do with pre-modern, non-Western attitudes regarding the nature of human society.

  45. Jesse,

    The “… the work of God,…” line doesn’t strike me as being particularly more or less stupid than other attributions to God. It makes absolutely no sense that God manipulates the universe but does all sorts of things that make it look like he doesn’t exist. “God works in mysterious ways” is the catch-all explanation and it covers slavery, the Holocaust, other genocides, the killing of upwards of a quarter of a million people in a tsunami, etc. People attribute all sorts of things to God, but is that really any more stupid than God killing his son to save humanity, but not bothering to tell most of the inhabitants of the world about it?

    Years ago, my mother was debilitated by illness, so I moved across the country to help her. I met my future wife in the city my mother lives and we now have kids. There’s a good chance that I’d have married and had kids regardless of my mothers illness, but I certainly wouldn’t have the exact wife or the particular kids I have now. In that sense, my kids are fortunate indirect beneficiaries of my mother’s debilitating illness. I’m an atheist, so I’m not going to attribute my mother’s problems to God’s interventions, but by telling my story, does that make me an apologist for debilitating illness?

    I find Adele’s “slavery as pony” analogy a clumsy one, especially since in RR’s joke there was no pony. But I don’t see it as an apology for slavery as much as an apology for that wacky God of mystery. She’ll catch more flack for it as an apology for slavery though, because a lot of people still subscribe to the “God did this or that” line of belief. Focusing narrowly on slavery obviates blinder examination.

  46. Anyone want to take a crack at the ‘top drawer blacks’ line? Smacks of a ‘those people’. I’m shocked she didn’t use the time honored ‘Some of my best friends are black!’

    Maybe she didn’t use that time-honoured line because she probably doesn’t actually know any black folks.

  47. I?ve lived in very rich neighborhoods that have actively blocked rich blacks (or rich-anyone not waspy, to be honest) from moving in.

    How was this done? Burning crosses on the lawn?

    No one?s saying ?most? or generalizing about the mean. I?m just pointing out that this shit does happen all the time all over the place.

    Which is it, Gilmore? I’m not saying it never happens, either, just that I think its more of a folk tale than many would admit.

    In NYC, I can tell you from firsthand experience about turf wars in Brooklyn when some aspiring young blacks tried to move 3 blocks out of their neighborhood, and were informed in no uncertain terms that they should stay amongst ?their own?, regardless of what kind of rent they could afford.

    Just out of curiousity, when was this?

    This story does confirm my personal experience that the worst, most bloody-handed racists are blue-collar Northeasterners.

  48. Just to clarify: I’m not saying racism is dead in this country. I’m just saying that its real incidence is grossly over-stated.

    Aside from the race hucksters who make a good living out of manufacturing racism, much of what is perceived as racism is not, but is instead either class/income based, or is a reaction to the fact that neighborhoods and schools that are predominantly black tend to be not your preferable neighborhoods and schools for reasons that are independent of skin color.

  49. REALBILL
    “NYC must be a racist shithole.”

    ??!?!!!!
    ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    ey, kiss my ass buddy!

    just kidding, but really.

    NYC is possibly the most ?integrated? place on earth, and a haven of tolerance and multi-ethnic intermingling compared to the rest of this country. I?d say it?s far, far LESS racist than the rest of the US? but that, due to the incredible diversity and density, we?ll experience a far wider range of face-to-face issues than people living in communities that are more secluded, segregated.

    But that doesn?t mean out of 10million or so, you don?t have some major wingnuts. Some Brooklyn goombah tried to brain a black guy for being in the wrong part of town this year. C?est la Bensonhurst. I live in between a seriously dense and cloistered Polish community (Greenpoint) which is very racist against Puerto Ricans, a dense, increasingly mixed Puerto Rican neighborhood that is mildly racist against whites (more economic tension than anything, but also linguisitic), and a Hascidic community that is willing to be landlords for everyone, but aside from that wouldn?t piss on any non-hasid who happened to be on fire. So, it?s not so simple as ?racist?? there?s just a whole lotta different folks. When you?ve got a whole lotta different folks, it?s a complex thing until you get beneath the surface. See John Rocker.

    The 80s in NY was really a lot worse. Yusef Hawkins, Crown Heights H&R riots, Bernhard Goetz, crack? etc. Things are really peachy these days by contrast.

    “such people are far inferior, both morally and practically, to working folk.”

    ?

    People who worship ‘working folk’ usually come from comfy suburban backgrounds and have a BA from liberal arts colleges, and dont particularly like smoking 100s, drinking Pabst, and being really mysogynistic most of the time.

    “working people” are just like everyone else.

    JG

  50. Only someone who was not a slave would decide that slavery had any upside.

    Does not that exclude absolutely every one? An couldn;t one also turn that around and say that only someone who was a slave could actually tell you whether it was good or bad?

    In either case, it kinda makes all this a lot of academic bulls*it

  51. American slavery sucked. It was made possible by blacks in Africa, who sold their neighbors/enemies to Whitey. In Central and South America, the Spaniards simply enslaved the locals.

    Random drawing of boundaries really screws things up. See Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. In fact, the arbitrary drawing of boundaries is usually intended to screw things up. Palestine. Iraq. Yugoslavia.

    None of the current blacks were slaves.

    They are much better off here, than anywhere in Africa. Yes, they should recognize that they personally benefitted from the suffering of their ancestors. No, they should not be grateful to whitey.

    If you want examples of self-destructive behavior, Google: Tamina Texas for the story of a former slave settlement that basically refuses to connect to the power and water grid.

    If people avoid poor people, they will disproportionately avoid blacks. I am no more interested in living near a trailer park of rednecks than any other ghetto.

    I don’t hate blacks.

    I hate poor people.

    And hippies.

    Screw you guys, I’m going home.

  52. bubba,

    You’ll find that many African slaves made their way into the Spanish and Portugese speaking Americas too. Indeed, the vast majority of the New World slave trade had nothing to do with the mainlaind English colonies that eventually came to be the U.S. since most African slaves went to either the Caribbean or Brazil.

    As to the issue of arbitrary boundaries, I can’t think of a country who boundaries aren’t arbitary in some sense.

  53. As a white boy having grown up in southwestern Indiana and worked in the factories and retail stores there for several years, I can say with some certainty that racism is alive and well. At least in that part of the USA, both the outspoken “the niggers are goin’ crazy in LA / Cincinnati / New Orleans” form and it’s more subtle “our new neighbors down the block are … black” form can be regularly experienced.

  54. Another major problem with this line of reasoning is that it simply forgoes all the problems associated with overcoming slavery (or the stigma of slavery for freedmen and their offspring). Orlando Patterson details these general problems in his work on slavery (he describes the institution as a form of social death which has in all societies taken many generations to overcome once a person or a group has lost the status of a slave).

  55. Hakluyt,

    Australia?

    Yeah, I know, in the sense that it could be part of another country, or subdivided into many countries, its boundary is arbitrary. Still, borderless countries seem to fit a narrow definition of lacking arbitrary boundaries. And yes, I know that technically Australia can be claimed to border Norway and France.

  56. Another major problem with this line of reasoning is that it simply forgoes all the problems associated with overcoming slavery (or the stigma of slavery for freedmen and their offspring).

    No it doesn’t. It merely observes that these problems, as experienced by the current generation, are significantly less than those of living in Africa.

  57. bubba,

    Sure it does. The problems associated with overcoming slavery are indeed unique; they are not the same in kind or magnitude as the problems faced by simple immigrants or even indentured servants. This is why slavery, no matter what population it has been associated with, no matter what time it occurred in, has been such a uniquely problematic condition to overcome and escape from. Slavery equals social death, and a socially dead person must be revived – this entails far more effort than simply integrating new people into a society. It entails overcoming measures which had not simply ignored or had been ignorant of a people, but measures which actively destroyed the social nature of enslaved individual in society.

    anon2,

    But why don’t the borders of Australia take in say Papau New Guinea? Or why isn’t Australia merely within the confines of say the province of Queensland? National borders are artificial creations like any other human institutions, so its hard for me to see them as “natural” things. Thus in a sense they are indeed arbitrary.

  58. Of course this merely points out another problem with the author’s work; she just doesn’t apparently understand the nature of slavery as a world-wide social institution.

  59. Only someone who was not a slave would decide that slavery had any upside.

    Does not that exclude absolutely every one? An couldn;t one also turn that around and say that only someone who was a slave could actually tell you whether it was good or bad?

    Actually, no. The italicized statement was my way of saying that if you understand what slavery actually involved you couldn’t come up with Adele’s nonsense. Being a slave is the easiest and surest way to understand what slavery involves, but not the only way.

    An in-depth and objective look at the lives of slaves will lead you to a very different conclusion than Adele reached. Such a look will also clearly distinguish the experience of slaves from the experience of immigrants (Adele seems to find the two experiences similar).

  60. Lee Russ,

    Yes, its the voluntary immigrant v. slave comparison that is especially apalling. She uses indentured servitude as an example as well, but the vast majority of Europeans didn’t come here as indentured servants and indentured servitude – once one got past the period service – didn’t leave one enthralled for life either. This is one of the reasons why the experiences of African slaves and their descendants are rather unique in American history and the oppression suffered by them is only paralleled by the aboriginal population.

  61. RC DEAN SAYS =

    “This story does confirm my personal experience that the worst, most bloody-handed racists are blue-collar Northeasterners.”

    cute.

    ‘this anecdote affirms for me my pre-existing bigotry against Yankees!’

    Glad to have helped out. ??

    ‘bloody handed?’ Jeebus. Try West Tenessee buddy. I nearly got lynched for being *Catholic* in the wrong place. Or how about Texas? They drag black people behind their trucks when not putting whole families of em in jail for fun.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/26/60minutes/main575291.shtml

    I dont know where you got this thing about Yankees being more racist than the rest of em, but I’d be interested in hearing what exactly you base that on.

    JG

  62. RC DEAN SAYS =

    “This story does confirm my personal experience that the worst, most bloody-handed racists are blue-collar Northeasterners.”

    cute.

    ‘this anecdote affirms for me my pre-existing bigotry against Yankees!’

    Glad to have helped out. ??

    ‘bloody handed?’ Jeebus. Try West Tenessee buddy. I nearly got lynched for being *Catholic* in the wrong place. Or how about Texas? They drag black people behind their trucks when not putting whole families of em in jail for fun.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/26/60minutes/main575291.shtml

    I dont know where you got this thing about Yankees being more racist than the rest of em, but I’d be interested in hearing what exactly you base that on…. folk stories?

    JG

  63. GILMORE,

    Boston has long been a place of race hatred. No part of the country is immune from this collectivist scourge. But I don’t think that New Englanders are unique in these regards.

  64. I’ve got a theory about that – people in Massachusetts aren’t more racist than other parts of the country. They’re just meaner.

    It’s the inverse of the Old South, where everyone was racist but very, very nice.

  65. “If we’re generalising,, I would say the African American community probably suffers under at least its fair share of delusions. C’mon – reparations? OJ didn’t do it? Give me a break.”

    I’m sure most black people realize OJ did it, they’re just happy to see that money buys the justice system equally for blacks and whites. Would there really have been such intense media coverage if a white star had killed a black woman? As for reparations, what’s wrong with wanting your great grandparents to be reimbursed for dead labor? 1860 wasn’t that long ago.

  66. The Real Bill: thank you for proving my point. The boundaries of Yugoslavia were drawn by the same narrow class of idiots that drew the boundaries of the Congo, and we see how well that turned out, in both cases. Tribalism is not an African phenomenon.

    At least the Europeans, in dealing with Eastern Europe, bothered to visit the places they were carving up. Relatively few of the diplomats ever saw Africa or spoke an African language. After the Napoleanic Wars, the maps of Western Europe were adjusted to reflect ethnic differences, as well as to make the borders more defensible. A similar process undertaken in 1960 in Africa might have led to a very different present.

    Instead, the departing colonial powers simply handed over the keys to their nearest native assistants, Quislings when you get right down to it, and let them do as they pleased. Since the colonials had made a point of setting the tribes against each other in divide-and-conquer schemes, it’s a bit disingenuous to exhibit shock at the path Africa has taken in the years since.

  67. The problems associated with overcoming slavery are indeed unique; they are not the same in kind or magnitude as the problems faced by simple immigrants or even indentured servants.

    Hakluyt, this is a complete nonsequitor. The Blue-Hair’s argument is not that it doesn’t suck to be a slave, or the descendent of a slave. The argument is only that it sucks even more to be an African, in Africa. Therefore as a lesser of two evils, it is “lucky” to be a descendent of a slave, since you get to live in America, where it sucks less. Of course it would be even luckier to be rich and white.

    You are trying very hard to refute the argument that this somehow excuses the practice of slavery, but I don’t think anyone is really trying to make that argument. I’m certainly not.

    I suppose you could perform some sort of analysis about the collective suffering of Africans in the US versus the collective suffering of Africans in Africa, and try to determine whether Slavery was a net benefit to blacks, but I’m not going to even pretend that it was. It’s clear that the current generation of African Americans got most of the benefit of being Americans, while their ancestors bore most of the cost. Therefore, sunk cost accounting would argue that the current generation is “lucky” even if the total effect of Slavery was very, very negative. Very, very, very, very.

  68. I nearly got lynched for being *Catholic* in the wrong place. Or how about Texas? They drag black people behind their trucks when not putting whole families of em in jail for fun.

    15 yard penalty. Unsportsmanlike Conduct. One can find anecdotal racism in any particular location.

    Of course the “nearly lynched” anecdote made me think of Sir Robin, who nearly fought the Chicken of Bristol.

  69. Not to wear out my welcome, but might I remind the gentle readers that it is largely pointless to get worked up about every half-baked editorial. If you read something that’s thought-provoking, then great. Otherwise, just ignore it. I’ve seen two interviews this week, one was Al Franken, the other name escapes me, where the subject spent all or most of his time bashing Bill O’Reilly. What a waste of time. Documenting the extent to which Bill O’Reilly is an idiot in no way refutes his points, nor advances your own.

    Seriously. Bill O’Reilly is an idiot. Al Franken is an idiot. This no-name editorialist is probably an idiot. Tell me something I don’t already know.

  70. Bubba:

    “One can find anecdotal racism in any particular location”

    Uh, bullshit, Tex. Dragging guys to pieces was fortunately pretty regionally limited. As was slavery. If you’re arguing that NOW, racism is fairly evenly spread throughout our dear nation, i’d probably debate that too. In the south at least people are less embarrassed about admitting it.

    “might I remind the gentle readers that it is largely pointless to get worked up about every half-baked editorial”

    Well said. Does that mean you’re done posting? ๐Ÿ™‚

    peace
    JG

  71. Oh my god. This woman is from my hometown. She’s been writing this tripe for years, but I never expected anyone to pay attention. I’ve never been happier to have gotten out of there.

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