Saturday, July 23, 2011

The benevolent slavery of America

I wrote about the conservative pledge that Michelle Bachmann was so quick to sign. One little piece of that pledge touched on slavery, but since it was quickly deleted, I didn't comment about it. That piece was this text:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

We (in what is sometimes called the reality-based community) know how idiotic and offensive that statement is. We are pleased it was deleted so quickly.

Essayist Terrence Heath explores that little piece and why it was there.

A lot has been written in conservative circles since at least 2006 (Heath's quotes only go back that far) that try to paint the picture that slavery really wasn't that bad. These writings say such things as: Slavery in America was much better than the savagery of life in Africa. God wanted to bring the Black man to America and slavery was how he did it (this from the people who say the races shouldn't mix?). Blacks should be thankful for slavery. They were taken from vicious slavery of their degenerate tribal chiefs to the benevolent slavery in America. The slave trade has been renamed the "Atlantic Triangular Trade." Race relationships were good before the Civil War. Michelle Obama (descended from slaves) wants slavery reparations. When the Constitution was read in Congress last January the parts about slavery were omitted. Biblical law permits voluntary slavery (Blacks volunteered to be slaves?) because some people cannot live independently and are by nature slaves.

Note again these statements were made 40 years after the end of Jim Crow, in what should be an enlightened era.

A bit of history. Back in the late 1940s liberals were dismayed that some pretty anti-liberal people were fiercely loyal to the Democratic Party, and the party was home to Jim Crow. So when Democrat President Johnson signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights act, he was seen as a traitor. Nixon capitalized on that with his Southern Strategy and the GOP has been playing the race card -- and holding the South -- ever since.

So why isn't the GOP denouncing those kinds of statements? Perhaps they privately believe them. The people who do believe those statements make up a significant chunk of their base and they don't want to tick them off. And the citizens (or their church leaders) can't denounce them without going into serious contortions about what their leaders said.

And these are the people pushing Michelle Bachmann's candidacy.

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