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View Diary: Slavery, Race, and Reunion: The NY Times White Washes the Rape of Michelle Obama's Ancestor (Again) (51 comments)

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  •  I have to disagree with your assessment (7+ / 0-)

    that no white people own up to having slave-holding ancestors. From the shows I've watched; books and documentaries too, this is a common narrative. One of the powerful things about genealogical work is that you find out very quickly that the cliche that we're all family is pretty darn correct. People also begin thinking about the factors that made their lives possible--the good and the bad.
    As for not owning up to rape, you are correct. Technically we don't know what happened--just like with Hemmings and Jefferson, but we do know that an enslaved person has no real freedom to consent.

    •  What would have happened if Jefferson (0+ / 0-)

      had had the legal right to marry Sally Hemings, his wife's half-sister, in Virginia? What if she had been classified as White, and not a slave, having 7/8 White ancestry?

      They were together in Paris, where slavery was illegal, and he paid her wages. She could have remained free in Paris, but went back with Jefferson to Monticello. They had six children in a 38-year relationship.

      Is it fair to say that it was complicated?

      Busting the Dog Whistle code.

      by Mokurai on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:00:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what ifs... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and the reality is that she was owned as human property. consent? love?

        what of power?

        let's be real.

      •  She was 15 years old (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        at the time she became involved with Jefferson. She was his property. He had the ability to do whatever he wanted with her-including selling their children to another plantation.

        He ended up freeing a couple of their children-but not her, until he died. Why do you think that is?

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"- MLK

        by SwedishJewfish on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:50:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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