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  •  Nicely done . . . a couple of quibbles . . . (0+ / 0-)
    Slavery was thus determined by one's "African blood," and the condition was inextricably bound to the notion of "blood" and "blackness."
    That's not exactly true. "One's African blood" implies that individuals were subject to slavery by virtue of nothing other than their African blood, their blackness. That was never true in America. Black indentured servants were not slaves, and their children were not born into slavery:
    In 1619 the first black Africans came to Virginia. With no slave laws in place, they were initially treated as indentured servants, and given the same opportunities for freedom dues as whites.

    Furthermore, free blacks in the antebellum period were not slaves and their children were not born into slavery:
    On the eve of the American Civil War, 10 percent of African Americans nationwide, close to half a million people, were free . . . Some owned land, homes, businesses, and paid taxes. In some Northern cities blacks voted. . . Many free African American families in colonial North Carolina and Virginia became landowners. Some of them also became slave owners.

    But what is true is that slavery an an institution was determined by African blood. In other words, the concept of race was used to justify the inhumanity of slavery; only Africans, having been defined as something other than white, could be subjected to slavery.

    The other issue I have is with this:

    And hey, if I do come across some particularly nasty black person who wants to make his or her criticism personal, BFD. What the hell can they do to me?
    I dunno about that. Shaina Perry might disagree with that:
    Shaina Perry remembers the punch to her face, blood streaming from a cut over her eye, her backpack with her asthma inhaler, debit card and cellphone stolen, and then the laughter.

    "They just said 'Oh, white girl bleeds a lot,' " said Perry, 22, who was attacked at Kilbourn Reservoir Park over the Fourth of July weekend.

    . . .

    Perry was among several who were injured by a mob they said beat and robbed them and threw full beer bottles while making racial taunts. The injured people were white; the attackers were African-American, witnesses said.

    But I guess she can take comfort in the knowledge that what happened to her is as rare as voter fraud. I'm sure that'll help her cope with her trauma immensely.
    •  I'll match your PBS documentary (10+ / 0-)

      with Edmund Morgan's American Slavery / American Freedom any time.  My problem with conversations with you is that you you spend less time crafting arguments than you do writing them up, and that's hard for me to respect.  And you love to cherry pick examples, apply them sideways to the actual matter at hand, and then claim victory.

      For example, you use a case of physical assault in response to an argument that mere insults don't wound.  We're talking about criticism, not bottles to the face.

      The thing with armed assault is that it hurts every victim equally.  That's not the case with critique.  And this example is also disingenuous because you take a relatively rare incident (racially motivated black attack on a a white person) and use it to "prove" an equality that doesn't exist. Black perpetrators, for example, are a lot more likely to be prosecuted and convicted if the victims are white (even if they actually didn't do it, as in the Central Park jogger case) than white perpetrators if the victims are black.  So the crime, while equally heinous, takes place in a different context, with different ramifications.

      This is the only response I'm going to make to your postings in this diary, because you keep doing the same presto-chango, over and over and over in different venues.  You're simply not an interesting person to converse with -- not because you don't share my views, but because you present your own so sloppily. I love an opponent who is willing to follow his own logic to its bitter end, but you're just not that guy.

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 03:56:44 PM PDT

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    •  Pilkington (7+ / 0-)

      you can't possibly believe that Hepshibah was talking about violent assaults. Why do you choose to be malicious, not to mention inflamatory?

    •  what distinction you drew between what she said (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yasuragi, hepshiba, poco

      about slavery and African blood, and what you said about slavery and African blood... is beyond me.

      you literally said the same thing, except you used the words "as an institution."

      surely you're not enough of an imbecil[sic] to think she meant slavery in some other way besides institutionally.

      and to whip out a violent assualt to prove a point?  take this as an example of what Denise was talking to you about a few days ago about your posting pattern in race related diaries.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:31:45 AM PDT

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      •  She said that slavery was determined by (0+ / 0-)

        "one's African blood". That's simply not true. "One" could have had nothing but African blood and, if they were an indentured servant or a free person, then they would not have been subjected to slavery.

        I really don't understand this issue that you guys are trying to make re words versus actions. Does it work the other way as well; are we to excuse racist speech at Daily Kos as not important because "nobody got hurt"? I don't think any of you would agree with that.

        Re Denise's comment, I think I'm pretty civil and reasonable in my comments. I have way over 4000 comments here at Daily Kos with almost no HR's, even though the majority of my comments are critical of the diary in question.

        But the question it raises for me, is, why post in a public forum if you're going to get upset when people challenge your beliefs?

        •  Read Edmund Morgan. Really. Because (0+ / 0-)

          you're just wrong about indentured servitude, on the facts.  And you're also wrong about "freedom," which was always precarious for blacks, even when they were not enslaved. In slave states and territories they knew quite well that any misstep could result in their reenslavement, which, of course, was not a risk for whites.  If they didn't have "black blood" they wouldn't need papers to prove that they were free. And in free states, it was their "black blood" that barred them from exercising the rights of free citizens, like voting.

          And I agree that you are generally civil, though sometimes intemperate.  "Imbecile" is not a pretty word to bandy around.

          The reason I'm not inclined to engage you is that your sloppiness in formulating your arguments and mustering your evidence makes you an unworthy opponent -- and you do seem determined to set yourself up as my opponent. Seriously, read Morgan, and I will be happy to talk to you about the arguments in the book until my fingers wear into little nubs from tapping the keyboard.  But when you make completely confident assertions that I know are wrong because I've spent my career going over the historical record, and then you simply ignore it when I point out you are incorrect on matters of fact, it's hard for me not to feel like a conversation is a waste of my time.

          You seem to think we're dogmatic, without reflecting that you show the very traits you accuse us of displaying.  If you can read my diary and think that the main message is that "racist speech is not important" because "nobody got hurt," what you show is not your cleverness, but your inability to understand the gist of my writing. And I don't mean you need to think my claims are correct.  I don't have problems with people who disagree with me.  But I do have problems with people who clearly misunderstand what I write, and then insist on their interpretation, over and over, even when I and other readers point out their misapprehension.  Being pithy is an admirable skill, but not when you miss the target by 50 yards.

          Look at it from my position for a moment. I'm 52.  I've been studying African American history since I was 18. I've had the privilege of working under the best professors in the field, as well as fine professors in half a dozen other fields. I read like a demon and I write and edit for a living now, after a 25-year career as a productive and hard-working university professor. This has given me respect for the expertise that comes from dedicated work and earnest application in one's discipline, and a lot of experience with young people who are sure they know more than they do. And here I am, confronted with a person who over and over makes claims based on assumptions that I know, from familiarity with the evidence, are incorrect. When I point him to sources, he ignores them, and simply raises more unsupported and incorrect claims in a cycle of illogic that I can either allow to exhaust me (since I don't have the energy I did when I was younger) or that I can ignore like my 150-pound timberwolves ignored the yapping of small dogs who thought they were big dogs.

          If you want to play with the big dogs -- the experts in a field -- and be taken seriously, I suggest you go out there, and try to gain some intellectual weight.  I say this in all kindness, because I actually admire and respect your persistence, and because I realize that expertise is made and not born.  You might want to reflect on your own words: "the majority of my comments are critical of the diary in question."  What is this about? Why are you seeking conflict? When and where do you feel comfortable admitting you might have something to learn? I think it is possible that you and I could some interesting conversations, but only if you are willing to be constructive and not competitive.  Challenge my beliefs if you like, but please, have the respect to do it with arguments of substance.

          "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

          by hepshiba on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 03:33:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't know who you're talking to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            denise b

            I'd of course prefer not to give away too many details about my personal life on a public forum, and I don't accept the validity of "pulling rank" in a discussion on the Internet, because, as they say, "on the Internet, nobody knows your a dog", but I will say that I've known on a first-name basis and had in-depth discussions of African-American history with people like St. Claire Drake, John Hope Franklin, David Garrow, Vincent Harding, Scott Brown, Clayborne Carson, Ronald Walters, and I've read far more widely than that. I'll put my knowledge of the subject up against anyone's.

            I'd love to have a more "substantive" discussion, sure. I don't make assertions of fact that aren't linked to legitimate sources. Do you deny that there were free blacks in the antebellum U.S., and that their children were not automatically born into slavery by virtue of their African blood? That was the point: your statement that slave status was determined by "one's African blood" is just simply untrue; otherwise, there's have been no such thing as free blacks. Maybe it's a fine distinction, but if you are all about not being "sloppy", then what's the problem with me pointing out that your language meant that anyone with African blood was automatically deemed a slave? That's sloppy.

            It's not a "substantive" critique of my comment to argue that even free blacks faced discrimination, or lived under the threat that they might be enslaved. Sure, I don't deny that. But that doesn't mean that they were slaves, or that their children were slaves. Children were born into slavery because their parents were slaves, not because of their African blood. This is just a fact, I don't see how or why you would deny it.

            Now, in my original comment I acknowledged that slavery as an institution was predicated on "African blood". Only black people could be slaves; not white people. As an institution, it was completely racialized, at least with respect to its victims (not all slaveowners were white, of course).

            I did not call you an imbecil. I said that I didn't think you were imbecilic enough to write a whole diary that in the end came down to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". I don't think that's what the "gist" of your diary was.

            I don't see that I've ever "ignored" anything that you've said. You are the one that has pledged to ignore me. I'm excited to read and learn and discuss any issue under the sun with anyone, particularly those who know things that I don't, as you clearly do. I'll even put up with patronizing statements like,

            If you want to play with the big dogs -- the experts in a field -- and be taken seriously, I suggest you go out there, and try to gain some intellectual weight.
            if it means I might learn something new today!

            I do truly apologize if I come across as trying to "compete". I'm not. I'll admit that, as I told Mally above, I do have more fun engaging with people with whom I disagree than I do "rah-rah"-ing with people with whom I agree (luckily it's not difficult to find people that disagree with me!) But it's not for "competition's" sake. What would I win? It's because I find it intellectually rewarding to be challenged on my beliefs and to challenge others. My understanding of the world and beliefs have been in constant development throughout my life. I believe that I know infinitely more than I did just a few years ago, and I was a verifiable idiot twenty years ago, now that I look back.

            But I will also say that if I put up a statement of fact, and I link to a legitimate source for that fact, and then you respond by saying,

            you're just wrong, read X
            I don't see that as contributing to a sustantive debate. Do you seriously think that I'm not going to run out to the library and pick up this book that you've cited, read it, and then come back and continue the debate with you? This is an Internet forum, not an academic journal. If I make an assertion of fact, and you disagree with it, quote an authoritative source to the contrary, and link to it. That's the closest that we can get to "substantive" discussions in a place like this: authoritative sources quoted and linked.

            And it also doesn't help substantive debate to respond to a statement of fact with a set of other facts, as if they somehow negate that statement. If I say, African blood didn't determine slave status because there were people with African blood who weren't slaves. You can't respond by saying that free blacks also faced problems, including the possibility of being enslaved. I can grant you that free blacks also faced problems, including the possibility of being enslaved, and still believe that there were people with African blood who weren't slaves. If you want to refute that not all blacks were slaves, you have to find a source that says that all blacks were slaves, quote the relevant text, and link to it.

            So, yeah, let's have a "substantive" discussion. Let's keep it free of ad hominem attacks, free of cursory dismissals of arguments because they "sound like" someone else's arguments, free of declaratory statements of fact unsupported by quotes and links, free of appeals to one's alleged years of study and superior understanding of the subject matter, free of generalized put-downs of each other's level of intellectual acuity. No, let's make good faith arguments that directly address each other's points, and that are supported by facts established by quoting and linking to authoritative sources.

            •  This is what I mean (0+ / 0-)
              ... your statement that slave status was determined by "one's African blood" is just simply untrue; otherwise, there's have been no such thing as free blacks.
              It's a logic problem again.  Slave status was determined by one's "African blood."  White people could not, under any circumstances, be slaves.  In that, I am correct.  "Free status," for black Americans, however, was determined by a piece of paper. It was not determined, as it was for whites,  by the absence of "black blood."

              This problem you have with comprehension and logical fallacy makes conversation impossible, since you repeat the same error over and over and over again.  Until you cure yourself of that, no real exchange is possible.

              "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

              by hepshiba on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:09:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Because you're still wrong (0+ / 0-)

                If slave status was determined by African blood, then that would mean that all of those who had African blood were slaves. If my status as HIV positive is determined by the presence of the HIV virus in my body, it's also true that all people with the HIV virus in their bodies are HIV positive.

                But with respect to African blood and slavery, that was simply wasn't true. It's fundamentally illogical to say that "free status" was determined by a piece of paper, but slave status was not. Slaves were property, and in the English-American legal system, all property is determined by a "piece of paper". If anything, slave status was more dependent on paper than free, but actually, both were.

                Yes, white people could not under any circumstances be slaves. That is because slavery as an institution was defined by race. Only blacks could be slaves. But that does not mean that a person's slave status was determined by their African blood. It wasn't. You could have African blood and be a slave, and you could have African blood and not be a slave.

                •  It's your logic again (0+ / 0-)

                  that leads you to an inappropriate analogy.  The presumption in every Colony and territory where slavery was legal, was:

                  All black people are slaves.

                  The burden of proof was on the free black person to prove that s/he was not a slave.  

                  The proof was in the piece of paper.  But the paper was often not enough. In all slave states, it also usually depended upon the word of white men that the piece of paper was valid.

                  White people never had to produce papers to prove they weren't slaves.  

                  In order to enslave a person with white skin, or to demote them from "whiteness," society had to "discover" a percentage of "black blood" in that white body.

                  This is not equivalent to the HIV example, the difference being (and I can't believe you don't see this) that the HIV virus exists, and is measurable with a simple blood test.  

                  The entire point of my essay is that "black blood" and "whiteness" are both invented.  "Black blood" is specifically NOT measurable because it exists only as a construction in the white mind.

                  Segueing into the "property argument is a mere sidestep:

                  Slaves were property, and in the English-American legal system, all property is determined by a "piece of paper". If anything, slave status was more dependent on paper than free, but actually, both were.
                  You fail to look at your foundation assumption ("slaves were property").  The only reason that slaves could be considered property was their "black blood."  That was what determined their status as property, once again proving my point.  No white person was ever "potential property," but every free black person was by virtue of the possession of "black blood."

                  White people rarely had to produce papers to prove they owned slaves, and then, usually, only in contests over ownership with othere whites.  A white person's word was generally sufficient.  A black person's word, however, was usually not valid either in practice or in law.

                  So not only was slavery "as an institution" determined by race, but the slave/nonslave status of every individual black person was also determined by race, illustrated by the fact that free blacks lived precariously under rules determined by their "black blood," while free whites did not.  

                  This sort of sloppy logic and failure to comprehend the essence of an argument is exactly why discussions with you are not interesting.  

                  "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

                  by hepshiba on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 10:35:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and I take unbrage to the idea that I only (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denise b

        needle people in "race-related" diaries.  A quick perusal of my comment history will reveal that I needle people who believe all kinds of wacky things at Daily Kos. Climate Change/Peak Oil's one of my favorite topics, but I've also had lots of lively discussions about Peak Oil, health care/individual mandate, TARP/Wall Street bailouts, even abortion. I'm just the resident contrarian at Daily Kos across a range of subjects, and it suits me. I like to debate much more than I like to "rah-rah".

        •  A man after my own heart, (0+ / 0-)

          from a fellow contrarian, though one not nearly as smart as you. You frequently single-handedly raise the intellectual level of entire threads, not to mention the civility level.

          We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

          by denise b on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:51:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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