Tag Archives | slavery

Thomas Jefferson: Thinker, Patriot, Hypocritical Monster

Picture: Portrait by Charles Wilson Peale (PD)

Paul Finkelman has published an op-ed at the New York Times on academic history’s failure to come to terms with Thomas Jefferson’s paradoxical support of slavery. It’s worth a read.

Via New York Times:

We are endlessly fascinated with Jefferson, in part because we seem unable to reconcile the rhetoric of liberty in his writing with the reality of his slave owning and his lifetime support for slavery. Time and again, we play down the latter in favor of the former, or write off the paradox as somehow indicative of his complex depths.

Neither Mr. Meacham, who mostly ignores Jefferson’s slave ownership, nor Mr. Wiencek, who sees him as a sort of fallen angel who comes to slavery only after discovering how profitable it could be, seem willing to confront the ugly truth: the third president was a creepy, brutal hypocrite.

Contrary to Mr.

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Republican: Slavery Was ‘Blessing In Disguise’ For Blacks

The sad part is there are probably millions of Republican rednecks who agree with him. Via Reuters:

Republicans in Arkansas are struggling to get past the controversy generated by a state lawmaker who wrote that slavery might have benefited blacks and a candidate who has advocated expelling Muslims from the United States.

The Republican politicians’ comments have been roundly criticized and have created an opportunity for Democrats ahead of the November 6 election. Arkansas has a Democratic governor but has voted Republican in the past three presidential elections.

In his self-published 2009 book titled “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” state Representative Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro, Arkansas, writes that “the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.”…

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Man Forced To Do Prison Labor While Awaiting Trial Sues For ‘Slavery’

It’s always good to see someone pushing back against the grotesqueries of the prison-industrial complex. Via Boing Boing:

In 2008, Finbar McGarry, a grad student at the University of Vermont, was arrested on gun charges. McGarry’s charges were ultimately dropped, and he was released. But while he was awaiting trial, his jailers ordered him to work for $0.25 in the jail laundry or be condemned to solitary confinement. He’s now suing, saying that this amounted to slavery.  If he wins, it will have huge repercussions for America’s jails, where pre-trial prisoners who have not been convicted of any charge are forced into hard labor.

During the course of his work, McGarry says he contracted a serious MRSA lesion on his neck—a potentially deadly bacterial infection. In 2009, he pressed a suit in federal court for $11 million—claiming he was made a slave in violation of his 13th Amendment rights. The judge ruled that McGarry’s constitutional rights had not been violated, but that finding was overturned on appeal last week.

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The Adidas Shackle Shoes

Guaranteeing legendary collector status for the few advance samples in existence, Adidas has canceled its controversial “shackle shoes.” Jesse Solomon reports for CNN:

German sports apparel maker Adidas has withdrawn its plans to sell a controversial sneaker featuring affixed rubber shackles after the company generated significant criticism when advertising the shoe on its Facebook page.

The high-top sneakers, dubbed the JS Roundhouse Mids, were expected to be released in August, according to the Adidas Originals Facebook page. “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” a caption below a photo of the sneakers read.

The June 14 post prompted plenty of criticism from around the Web, with many of those commenting saying they felt the shackle invoked the painful image of slavery.

“Wow obviously there was no one of color in the room when the marketing/product team ok’d this,” said a commenter, identifying herself as MsRodwell on nicekicks.com.

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California Court To Rule Whether SeaWorld Whales Are Illegal ‘Slaves’

killerwhaletRegardless of the slim odds of a favorable ruling, it’s a groundbreaking case in its use of the Constitution to fight for intelligent animals’ freedom. Via PhysOrg:

A California federal court is to decide for the first time in US history whether amusement park animals are protected by the same constitutional rights as humans.

The issue arises from a lawsuit filed by rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a San Diego court on behalf of five orcas named Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises. The whales perform water acrobatics at the SeaWorld amusement parks in San Diego and in Orlando, Florida.

PETA argues that continuing the whales’ “employment” at SeaWorld violates the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits slavery. District Judge Jeffrey Miller heard arguments in the complaint Monday and reviewed the response from SeaWorld, which asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. His ruling is expected to come later.

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Photos Of Child Slaves, 1863

Child SlavesVia How To Be A Retronaut, scans of a series of collectible cards, sold to raise awareness of the anti-slavery cause, with photos of slave children whom abolitionists had brought North and freed. It’s an interesting glimpse into how widely “blackness” could be defined in the slave-era South:

‘Slave children, freed and brought North by abolitionists to emphasize the plight of slaves. The proceeds from sale of the photographs were to be used to educate freed slaves who had come under the jurisdiction of the Union Army in the New Orleans area. A caption on one of these photographs points out that the children had been turned out of a hotel in Philadelphia because of their “color.”’

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Study: Confederate Flag Triggers Anti-Black Mindset

confederate_tshirtShocking discoveries: apparently, symbols from the past can retain a potent negative impact, and the Confederate flag is definitely racist. In two studies, after being exposed to a subliminal image of the Rebel flag, whites (of all political affiliations) displayed increased animosity towards black people. Miller-McCune reports:

The Confederate flag, which continues to fly on buildings throughout the American South 150 years after the Civil War, is a potent symbol. But of what? Cultural heritage, answer many Southern whites. Lingering racism, insist many blacks.

Newly published research provides evidence supporting the latter view. It suggests exposure to the flag evokes anti-black sentiments among whites, regardless of their stated beliefs on racial issues.

Specifically, white students at a large state-supported Southern university who were exposed to images of the still-ubiquitous battle flag judged a fictional black character more harshly. They expressed less willingness to vote for presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

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