THE DEMOGRAPHICATION RULES: Something we all can be thankful for!

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Enslavement around the world: According to experts with whom we've consulted, Thanksgiving occurred last week. (Except of course in Canada, where things always happen first.)

Despite our current difficulties, we Americans did have certain things we could be thankful for. For one thing, we could be thankful that we don't live under some of the moral standards which have widely prevailed in the past.

In yesterday's award-winning demographic report, we quoted Professor David Silverman describing the massive enslavement of Native Americans during this country's colonial period. 

Modern prevailing moral standards would balk at such behavior today. That said, over the course of the past many years, the moral standards of our human race have left a lot to be desired all around the world.  

How widely was the enslavement of humans accepted in the past? Like you, we aren't experts on that question, but here's part of what the leading authority on the topic currently says about the historical state of affairs around the world after our somewhat imperfect species first crawled forth on the land:

The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. Likewise, its victims have come from many different ethnicities and religious groups. The social, economic, and legal positions of enslaved people have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.

Slavery has been found in some hunter-gatherer populations, particularly as hereditary slavery, but the conditions of agriculture with increasing social and economic complexity offer greater opportunity for mass chattel slavery. Slavery operated in the first civilizations (such as Sumer in Mesopotamia, which dates back as far as 3500 BC). Slavery features in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1750 BC), which refers to it as an established institution. Slavery was widespread in the ancient world in Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa. It became less common throughout Europe during the Early Middle Ages, although it continued to be practiced in some areas.

Even the hunter-gatherers! Also, even in Sumer (no relation)!

We can all be thankful that we don't have to live with the moral standards which prevailed in those various places at those various times. Or, for that matter, with the moral standards which once prevailed even over here, in our own part of the world: 

In Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica the most common forms of slavery were those of prisoners of war and debtors...Warfare was important to Maya society, because raids on surrounding areas provided the victims required for human sacrifice, as well as slaves for the construction of temples. Most victims of human sacrifice were prisoners of war or slaves... 

Other slave-owning societies and tribes of the New World were, for example, the Tehuelche of Patagonia, the Comanche of Texas, the Caribs of Dominica, the Tupinamb√° of Brazil, the fishing societies, such as the Yurok, that lived along the west coast of North America from what is now Alaska to California, the Pawnee and Klamath. Many of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, such as the Haida and Tlingit, were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave-traders, raiding as far as California. Slavery was hereditary, the slaves being prisoners of war. Among some Pacific Northwest tribes about a quarter of the population was enslaved.

We recall the question our fifth graders asked us way back when, during the broadcast of the highly influential TV program, Roots. Here's what those excellent children asked:

How could people ever have been willing to treat other people that way? 

That's what these good, decent children, with their good, decent minds, asked us during a class discussion or three. They were asking a truly excellent question, one which came to us live and direct from their memorably good, decent hearts.

We believe we told them that moral standards were often very different at earlier times—that people had routinely accepted types of conduct we wouldn't accept today. Also, as we always did, we told them they should talk about such questions with their parents or their grandparents or their guardians, since they were the most important people in their good, decent young lives.

We were very impressed by Professor Silverman's erudition as he spoke with Martin DiCaro in a recent, hour-long interview session. (We were also impressed to see the Washington Times producing this frank discussion.) 

As you might recall, we saw Silverman say the following, midway through the hour. For the C-Span tape, click here:

DICARO (10/27/22): As far as I understand, one reason why the trans-Atlantic slave trade in Africans exploded was because it proved impossible to enslave Native Americans for various reasons. But I might be getting ahead of myself.

SILVERMAN: Well, you know, the last fifteen years of scholarship, or so, has exploded that idea—which, you know, which was standard fare in colonial American history courses for a long time.

What we've now discovered is that over the course of the big colonial era—you know, so 16th century all the way through the mid-19th century—Europeans, and then European colonists, enslaved upwards of five and a half million indigenous people

DICARO: I did not know—

SILVERMAN: Hemispherically, not within the boundaries of the United States. That's about forty percent of the volume of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In North America, in the North American context—so this would be in English, French, Dutch and Spanish colonies—during the 17th century, so during the 1600s, you would have been as likely in a colonial setting, to encounter Native American slaves as Africans. 

That will change dramatically in the 18th century...

That's what happened closer to home during that earlier period. For all our blue tribe's transparent moral posturing about our vast love for racial / demographic justice, we can all be thankful for one thing:

We can all be thankful that we arrived on the planet during an era, and in a place, where different moral standards prevail.

Those fifth grade Baltimore kids had asked an extremely good question. How could people ever have done such things? 

More specifically, what could explain the brutal behavior they'd seen enacted as they watched the eight nightly broadcasts of Roots? They were troubled by what they were seeing—but they were puzzled by it as well.

We were vastly impressed by Silverman's erudition during his hour with DiCaro. We were also impressed by DiCaro's interest in the questions under review—though in some instances, we would have posed different questions than the questions which came from DiCaro. 

For example, we would have asked Silverman about the way Native groups along the northeast coast of this country viewed the repeated acts of enslavement which occurred during the 16th century—for roughly a hundred years before the Mayflower, Silverman said.

Silverman described such repeated acts. What did the region's indigenous groups think about behavior like that? What were the moral frameworks which they brought to such matters in that particular place and at that point in time?

There's a great deal we all could learn about the history of human brutality. Then again, there's Silverman's approach to the history of the so-called "First Thanksgiving" in 1621.

It happened a very long time ago. Tomorrow, we'll turn to that!

Tomorrow: Demographically speaking, are "Americans" us or them?


68 comments:


  1. What is the point of all this, dear Bob?

    Yes, modes of production change, they come and go.
    Yes, we are aware. Hell, most normal people are aware. What else is new?

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  2. "For all our blue tribe's transparent moral posturing about our vast love for racial / demographic justice, we can all be thankful for one thing:"

    Somerby loves to drop snide comments like this one. With the word "posturing" he implies that our concern for social justice has been pretense. That is ridiculous. First, the abolitionists of the 18th and 19th centuries were sincere in their desire to end slave trading. Second, those on the left who supported civil rights were also entirely sincere in our concern for ending Jim Crow laws and improving conditions for African Americans and other minorities in our country following the civil war and during the 1900s. Third, the ongoing concern about discrimination is still sincere and not an affectation or pretense as Somerby implies. Fourth, the time period of the quotes Somerby presents preceded African American slavery in our country, so it is not right to extrapolate from that to current efforts to change treatment of minorities in the US.

    The recitation of these facts about slavery worldwide and in the past seems, in Somerby's telling, to excuse what happened and to justify resistance to change in our modern time period. It does not. In those same time periods there were other forms of brutality that are also no longer practised. No one wants to return to that time period. Further, no one alive now was a participant in any of those practices. And no one today is blaming anyone alive now for anything that happened in the past. Our concern is remedying the lingering attitudes and effects of discrimination against minorities -- so that brutal history, interesting as it is, provides perspective but changes nothing about today's civil rights efforts. So why does Somerby engage in this almost gleeful recitation? It is as if he thinks the ubiquity of slavery somehow means we do not have to change things now. And that is far from true.

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    1. I think the concern is feel-good moral posturing, not just historical understanding. The lip smacking outrage of so much of this is the tip-off.

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    2. That is what conservatives say, but I don’t see the lipsmacking. The outrage is about modern footdragging, not past atrocities.

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    3. And somehow an article by a serious historian, Silverman, about the true history of Native Americans, is evidence of “feel good moral posturing”, and induced Somerby’s own lip smacking outrage?

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    4. Then advocate for class equality in the same way if your social justice concerns are so genuine. The left could care less about class inequality which proved it is posturing in other respects.

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    5. Boom! Well framed.

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    6. But you meant "couldn't care less."

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    7. The lip-smacking outrage is coming from the social justice warriors.

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    8. What “foot dragging”?

      Like, who’s refusing to talk about the evils of slavery? The objection is to blame people now for it, or to engage in shaming behaviors and moral posturing.

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    9. It's all a distraction from the class issue. Not to minimize racism. It is a real issue, but best to hear about it from the actual victims. Not volunteered "representatives" living comfy lives.

      Talk about racism can never hurt advertiser profits. Dangerous talk about economic realities, on the other hand...

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    10. 12:26 and others:
      One can have a conversation about both. It’s not an either/or situation.

      You’ll notice that Somerby, for one, isn’t framing his current discussion in terms of his outrage over the lack of discussion of “class” issues. His framing is solely about racial issues and how upset “centrist” voters are to hear about them.

      You also have to ignore all of the discussions of socioeconomics that are taking place in order to postulate that liberals don’t care about it.

      Somerby ignores those discussions, so that you can come here and troll.

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    11. You are the troll. I agree that it is mostly posturing by the left. Class inequality it not addressed in remotely the same scale. And the left's hostile attitude toward the white majority tends to intensify race hatred - further hampering potential coalitions that could change the class inequality that dominates our society.

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    12. 1:13: Why don’t you frequent a blog that talks about class issues, then? Somerby’s discussion, the one I am responding to, is about the discussion of racism in and of itself, not how it drowns out discussions of “class” issues. You brought that up. His contention is that merely discussing racial issues causes Democrats to lose votes. He does not argue that talking more about class issues will gain votes for Democrats. In fact, he and Drum have criticized progressive proposals for things like Medicare for All.

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    13. I was responding to a previous commenter who claimed the left does not posture about race. The lack of focus on class issues, the disparity between the two, shows that actually it is posturing.

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    14. Somerby has always been completely correct about our counterproductive and obvious race posturing.

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    15. Yes. Somerby-bashing aside, the biggest problem with the Left has been their unwritten contract with the Right to keep the battle lines focused on Race and other non-dangerous issues. Think about when this really took off. It was right after the OWS movement.

      You can totally talk about both. But we don't. Especially on cable news.

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    16. It's a divide and rule tactic that the Bob trolls sadly defend. Whether out of ignorance or malice, who knows?

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    17. 2:53 is a right winger, and thus their arguments are weak to non existent.

      Let's name a famous Leftist, hmmmm how about Marx - he kind of invented the "class issue".

      Let's remember Lincoln - he wasn't just concerned about chattel slavery, but also wage slavery.

      This identifying racists panic that right wingers like to spread is precisely because it is extremely effective, so they try to ameliorate it by attempting to distract with sudden posturing about concern over class.

      So it is YOU that is doing the moral posturing, supposedly so concerned that fighting racism will deny class issues, when in fact you are merely trying to rebuff an effective attack against the Right.

      Remember, throughout history Whites were enslaved, that is until America, when Whites were freed from slavery by enslaving people of color. Class is an important issue that Leftists work hard on, but as far as America goes, it has always been about race more than anything else.

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    18. It is hard to motivate the American people to be concerned about class issues when they all aspire to be part of the middle class and identify with consumerist overconsumption.

      And where were all of you when I commented about International Buy Nothing day? I heard crickets here.

      Leftist politicians are afraid to raise class issues (although they work toward class-related goals) because they will be called communist and socialist (which means communist in right-speak). Democrats know how to ignore such taunts, but it is difficult to attract "centrists" and independents with such talk. Folks here who claim that the left needs to embrace class issues are largely conservative trolls who want to push left-wing candidates into mistakes that will hurt their campaigns among voters who are less class-conscious than European and Canadian voters. (The left has low-information voters too.) It works far better to claim to be working toward prosperity for all, but then the class warriors here will complain that Democrats are focusing too much on identity issues. Candidates who ignore women's issues these days are dooming their campaigns. Just sayin'

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  3. Tomorrow promises to go on talking about Thanksgiving tomorrow. Why?

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  4. One neglected aspect of past slavery is Somerby's failure to understand that the enslavement of African Americans was accompanied by a moral justification based on the inherent inferiority of black people, using a psuedo-scientific genetic explanation arising with Darwin and emerging scientific ideas. That meant that even when African Americans were freed, the justification and rationale based on inferiority persisted and has continued to disadvantage free black people in our culture. In past periods of slavery, the justification was being prisoners of war or being born into servitude. Yes, Plato had his idea of gold and silver and brass people, the latter suited to slavery while the former were suited to rule, but generally the justification was situational, not inherent to the people held as slaves. That changed in the 18 century and makes the slavery practiced in our country different. The doctrine of white supremacy is based on these mistaken notions about inherent qualities of people, invented to justify the continuation of slavery. THAT is what is being addressed when liberals talk about social justice.

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  5. I am sure that Somerby realizes that when he raises these issues about past slavery, he is repeating arguments used by white supremacists, not just having an innocent discussion about Thanksgiving. He would have to be the world's biggest moron not to realize that he is furthering the dogma of Nick Fuentes and his fellow travelers when he suggests that slavery was no big deal because the Sumerians did it.

    Every time I think Somerby cannot be any worse in his bigotry, he comes up with something even further over the line. The best thing for Somerby these days would be to hang up his pen and stop this blog. What ever respect he earned with his long ago media criticism has gone with his retreat into defense of the indefensible and now his promotion of white supremacist garbage. I used to feel sad about that, but lately he just makes me angry.

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    1. You mean to highlight the world history of enslaving people is honoring white supremacy?

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    2. No, I mean that white supremacists use the past history of slavery and new ideas about inherent superiority of races to justify an unequal society incompatible with our constitution and morality in the US (but compatible was places like Nazi Germany).

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  6. “We believe we told them that moral standards were often very different at earlier times—that people had routinely accepted types of conduct we wouldn't accept today.”

    That … is a woefully insufficient answer. Surely Somerby must know that.

    He makes it sound as though those older moral standards simply changed.

    The truth, as everyone knows, once they are taught it, is that people fought and died to change those moral standards. Those people had to identify a set of moral standards as wrong and unacceptable and fight to change them.

    Did Somerby teach his students that? That moral standards don’t simply magically change?

    Did he suggest a second question to his students, which logically follows from the first: How do we ensure that those previous, bad moral standards do not return? The answer, of course, involves the teaching of what happened, and a dedication to vigilance that they do not return.

    But I suspect Somerby did not say that. His answer was a cop out: “they should talk about such questions with their parents or their grandparents or their guardians.”

    In other words, Somerby abdicated his responsibility as a teacher.

    He did a disservice to those kids with his “answers” to their questions.

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    1. Hey yeah! I remember when were were taught in the 60s and 70s that slavery was great!

      Some of you people here are absurd.

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    2. Yes. Bill Maher has recently been
      peddling this old fish too. But
      if some people didn’t realize it
      was wrong we would still have
      slavery.

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    3. 10:04: your dumbassery notwithstanding, 10am makes a good point. There were many in the US right from the beginning, even before the Constitution was written, who bitterly opposed slavery.

      Read about Bartolom√© de las Casas, who spent 50 years of his life actively fighting slavery and the colonial abuse of indigenous peoples. This was in the 1500’s.

      So “moral standards” which tolerated slavery were not universal, even in those days.

      One set of moral standards had to be judged better than another and made to supersede the unacceptable set, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

      You simply cannot, as a teacher, say “moral standards were just different” and leave it at that.

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    4. Just realized there were 2 10:04 comments. My comment refers to the first 10:04, not the second.

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    5. And remember, Somerby was teaching young kids, who don’t yet know all of this stuff. They have to be taught.

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    6. When was the last time a teacher didn’t teach that the US had a history of slavery? That’s the premise I am questioning here — that it’s only been recently that these matters are discussed. It’s a false premise, though I know it’s highly satisfying in the moral outrage department.

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    7. 11:58: Somerby was talking about his teaching experiences 50 years ago. His answer to his students then was insufficient, and it is still insufficient. He is implying that his answer then (“moral standards were just different”) is still the correct answer. It’s a way of weaseling out of teaching about the rightness and the struggles of progressives to abolish slavery and Jim Crow by talking about “different moral standards”, as if one is as good as another.

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    8. Somerby does not object to slavery being taught, but being taught as deeply immoral and relevant to modern times.

      This is because Somerby is a troubled moron with a dark past.

      Slavery continues to this very day. What was different about American slavery was that it introduced race. Race essentially did not exist prior.

      For the most part, hunter gatherers were egalitarian, and the minimal (if any - the evidence is weak) slavery that occurred needs to be highly qualified as it does not resemble historical slavery.

      Slavery is endorsed by no less of an authority than the bible. Yet it is not natural to humans, it emerges from surplus societies that engage in mass commodification. America's contribution to slavery was to racialize it. That is why today in America a White person has a dollar in their pocket while a Black person has 15 cents.

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    9. "When was the last time a teacher didn’t teach that the US had a history of slavery? That’s the premise I am questioning here — that it’s only been recently that these matters are discussed. It’s a false premise, though I know it’s highly satisfying in the moral outrage department."

      There were textbooks adopted for use in the South that portrayed slavery as simply a form of labor. They depicted slaves as well-cared for and happy on their plantations. For example:

      "For much of the 20th century, southern classrooms treated Black history — when they touched the subject at all — as a sideshow to a white-dominated narrative.

      Teachers taught students to sing Dixie and memorize long lists of forgettable governors. Civil War battles got described in detail. Textbooks celebrated the violent overthrow of democratically-elected, multiracial governments. Lynching went unmentioned. The evils of slavery got cursory acknowledgments — and quick dismissals.

      “It should be noted that slavery was the earliest form of social security in the United States,” a 1961 Alabama history textbook said, falsely.

      The same forces that took over public spaces to erect monuments to the Confederacy and its white supremacist tenets also kept a tight grip on the history taught to Southern pupils. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) spent decades shaping and reshaping textbooks to put a strong emphasis on Lost Cause views of the Civil War and Reconstruction, which glorified the white supremacist foundations of the Confederacy and was used to justify segregation and authoritarian Jim Crow governance."

      "“With all the attention they received in terms of reference to the monuments, I think their most lasting impact was in controlling and censoring textbooks,” said Kevin Levin, a historian who has written on the Civil War in American memory. “That’s often overlooked.”

      But Black Southerners refused to accept these distortions. Black historians mounted challenges to Lost Cause mythology as early as 1913. Parents and grandparents pushed back against the school lessons given to their children. They passed family stories onto children and grandchildren. They took ordinary moments, like preparing food or fixing hair, to tell stories of Black achievement."

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    10. "Where does it come from, the ignorance that has been on display of late? In the college-age photos of white men, now elected officials, in blackface? In the simulated Klan lynchings for yearbook laughs? In mischaracterizations of black slaves as "indentured servants?" In the denials that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War?

      One answer is: from the 69,706,756.

      That's how many students were enrolled in the South's public elementary and secondary schools between 1889, when the government began counting students, and 1969, the height of the segregationist Jim Crow era, according to the U.S. Department of Education statistics. There they were subjected to the alternative reality of the Lost Cause, a false version of U.S. history developed in response to Reconstruction that minimizes slavery's central role in the Civil War, promotes the Confederacy's aim as a heroic one, glorifies the Ku Klux Klan, and portrays the white South as the victim.

      The poisonous Lost Cause lessons were taught to multiple generations of Southerners to uphold institutionalized white supremacy — in part through public school curriculums shaped by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). More famous these days for their controversial Confederate monuments, the UDC had an almost singular focus on making sure the Lost Cause propaganda was so ingrained in the minds of Southern youth that it would be perpetual. Their most effective tool? School textbooks.

      The constitution of the UDC's North Carolina Division, for example, said the group aimed to insure that "the portion of American history relating to [the Civil War] shall be properly taught in the public schools of the State, and to use its influence towards this object in all private schools." That barebones concept was given flesh by Division President Mrs. I.W. Faison, at the group's annual convention in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1909:

      We must see that the correct history is taught our children and train them, not in hatred towards the North who differed from us, but in knowledge of true history of the South in the war between the States and the causes that led up to the war, so that they will be able to state facts and prove that they are right in the principles for which their fathers fought and died; and continue to preserve and defend their cause, until the whole civilized world will come to know that our cause was just and right. … There is an expression often used by our people as the "Lost Cause." Let us forget such, for it is not the truth. …No, our cause was not lost because it was not wrong.

      A few years earlier, national UDC President Mrs. James A. Rounsaville put it this way at the group's annual convention in Charleston, South Carolina:

      It has ever been the cherished purpose of the Daughters of the Confederacy to secure greater educational opportunities for Confederate children, and by thorough training of their powers of mind, heart and hand, render it possible for these representatives of our Southern race to retain for that race its supremacy in its own land.

      The UDC's propaganda campaign utilized other tools to be sure. In 1932 alone, the North Carolina Division placed 183 portraits of Confederate figures in the state's public schools, along with 206 Confederate flags. The following year, it was 865 flags. The UDC, with schools' permission, also conducted essay contests on topics like "The Origin of the Ku Klux Klan" and "The Right of Secession." Submissions were routinely in the thousands.

      But the UDC's primary focus was on insuring that Southern schools used only those history books loyal to the Lost Cause. "

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    11. "Hazen’s Elementary History of the United States: A Story and a Lesson, a popular early 20th-century textbook for young readers, picked up the story of the first black Virginians from there.

      “The settlers bought them,” explained the 1903 text, “... and found them so helpful in raising tobacco that more were brought in, and slavery became part of our history.”

      Its barebones lesson plan included just two easily digestible factoids for the year 1619: the introduction of the Africans — with an illustration of two half-naked black people standing on a beach before a pontificating pirate and a crowd of onlookers — and the creation of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the first formal legislative body in the American colonies."

      From a Georgia State Research project:

      "If history is written by the victors, then post-Civil War America is a rare exception to the rule, says Chara Bohan, professor of educational policy studies in the College of Education and Human Development.

      Last year, Bohan and her collaborators, including Dean’s Doctoral Fellow Wade Morris, analyzed history textbooks published in the decades after Reconstruction and found the “Lost Cause narrative,” which advocates a heroic view of the Confederacy, not only predominated in Southern classrooms but crept into history textbooks used across the North as well. By the 1930s, the so-called “mint julep” portrayals of figures including John Brown, John Wilkes Booth and Nathan Bedford Forrest had become the national consensus.

      This recasting of history carries on today, says Bohan, as publishing companies continue to print different versions of history books to comply with the priorities and educational standards of various states. We spoke with Bohan about her research and the lingering implications of Americans’ miseducation.



      How did these “mint julep” history books come about?

      After the Civil War, from the 1870s through the 1910s, public schooling became more widespread in the South, and Confederate sympathizers wanted to ensure that their children received an “appropriate” education on Southern history and culture. To that end, Southern states developed statewide adoption policies for textbooks. This allowed the state textbook committees to control content by demanding changes or threatening to cancel book contracts unless the publishers acquiesced. Today, most of the states with statewide textbook adoption policies are still in the South.

      To keep their business, Northern publishers began adapting history books to appease Southerners, essentially publishing a separate version of Civil War history for those states. These editions reinforced a Lost Cause narrative for Southern audiences. For example, they depicted enslaved people as happy and content. Officials even counted the textbook lines to make sure authors had mentioned Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee as many times as Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant.

      What our research shows is that as time progressed, increasingly the Southern version of events began infiltrating Northern textbooks as well. As the Southern and Northern narratives merged, Southerners really influenced how and what Americans learned about the Civil War no matter where they lived.



      The North won the war, but the South still got to write the history?

      The South certainly won the textbook war, although it happened gradually."

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    12. When you look at the current right wing attempts to ban books and dictate what gets taught, you can see that this is just part of an ongoing attempt to control how our history is taught in the racist South and some parts of the North. This is nothing new. It is an extension of Jim Crow, not anything to do with woke or progressives or liberals gone to extremes. This is a battle to prevent the South from continuing to whitewash what happened during slavery and the civil war and Jim Crow era (which ended in the late 1960s with the civil rights movement). Racists are pushing back on that attempt to overturn Jim Crow and Republicans have made that central to their efforts to wield power in our country. You are either with the racists or against them. And that has nothing to do with being woke or too PC or annoying centrists. It has to do with being racist or anti-racist.

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    13. Somerby is pretty obviously with the racists, not against them.

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  7. I think the reason why the Washington Times goes into this too is to combat the claim that slavery was some kind of invention of white people, which is what you hear all the time on MSNBC.

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    Replies
    1. You do hear a lot of dubious stuff
      on MSNBC but not that,
      actually.

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    2. No, they don’t talk about slavery, and they don’t call it an invention of “white” people [sic].

      They talk about ongoing discrimination in the US that happens to be a legacy of the specific form of slavery and Jim Crow segregation that occurred right here in the USA and that affects present day Americans.

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    3. The white bashing on MSNBC has started to antagonize a lot of progressives I know. And they do indeed blame white people for most of the ills in the world.

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    4. 10:07, no, they mostly blame Republicans.

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    5. Well, progressives often are
      basically right wingers who hate
      mainstream Dems more than
      anything. But it’s true, Joy
      Reid had been obnoxious
      at times and I don’t see it doing
      anyone any good.

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    6. Joy Reid’s quelled the white-bashing a bit after that other woman on the weekends got fired for it. But she can be pretty clumsy and appalling in her constant name calling. Lately it’s been “anti-Semitic.”

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    7. Yeah, 11:54. She almost sounds like Mitch McConnell.

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    8. White people did invent racializing slavery, you dope.

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    9. "And they do indeed blame white people for most of the ills in the world."

      If you are in charge, the buck stops with you. When white people are in charge, they are responsible and that means they get the blame when things are wrong.

      Delete
    10. "The white bashing on MSNBC has started to antagonize a lot of progressives I know."

      If someone thinks that what happens on MSNBC is "white bashing," they aren't very woke. Given that progressives are pretty woke, I doubt they are the ones who complain about white bashing. Somerby said it was the centrists who were upset about it. I think a centrist is another name for a never-Trump Republican, or a Democrat who was OK with being a Democrat until someone called him a racist. These miscategorized people will sort themselves out once Trump leaves politics and racist people are free to be Republicans again.

      Delete
    11. MSNBC is "cancel culturing" (i.e. criticizing) white people now?
      It's practically the first step to genocide. LOL.

      Delete
  8. The “judging the past with our standards”
    lament is quit the rage these days.
    It’s not completely without merit.
    It’s also obvious someone like Bob
    wants to use it to excuse American
    slavery and that he would like to
    throw those good, decent children
    out the window.
    When the Country was founded
    many people were ready to dump slavery.
    Much of tbe world had and half
    our Country did.
    Some refused to look at the
    situation, just like Bob refuses to
    look at the onslaught of fascism in
    the US today, and prefers to
    demonize those who don’t
    refuse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of you people here are really nuts. When has Somerby been excusing slavery? Jesus, give it a rest, people.

      Delete
    2. 10:09: Somerby wants his readers to know that slavery was a widespread practice, not just in the US, which is where he lives. What do you think he is trying to imply?

      Delete
    3. If the “you can’t judge” school of history
      isn’t intended to excuse, it’s hard to
      see what it is for. Bob is far more repelled by “Northern Condescension”
      than he had ever been about
      human slavery, which he sees
      as just a product of the time.
      It’s consistent with his “what me
      worry?” Approach to any
      contemporary racism.

      Delete
    4. Somerby’s implying that slavery is not an invention of white people.

      Delete
    5. 11:51: So? The relevant discussion here is slavery as it was practiced in the US, not elsewhere. Part of that discussion is also the specific legacy of slavery here in the US.

      Also, you have merely restated Somerby’s words. “Slavery wasn’t invented by white people.” What is that supposed to imply?

      Delete
    6. Somerby excused slavery when he said that no one alive today participated in it. He ignores the legacy of slavery in our society while he implies that no one be concerned about it any more because no one today is a slave (except prisoners in some states and those who are being human trafficked). His argument that no one should be confronted by an accurate history of slavery because it upsets some people is another way of excusing slavery -- by saying let's all just move on and pretend it never happened. In service to this, he has argued that people shouldn't care that confederate statues are being worshipped in the South and it is time to stop worrying about segregated schools, and affirmative action is unnecessary and is reverse discrimination (against Chinese students), and so on.

      It is hard to imagine how Somerby would sound any different if he actually were an admitted bigot, such as Fuentes.

      Delete
    7. You mean like the slavery the Democratic party brought to Libya in the last decade?

      Delete
    8. 7:53,
      We need to provide those Libyans with thoughts, prayers, and a HUGE tax break for corporations and the rich, pronto!

      Delete
    9. The slaves sold on the streets of Libya thanks to Obama don't have any income to tax.

      Delete
  9. “they should talk about such questions with their parents or their grandparents or their guardians.”

    It’s ok to have students talk to their parents about difficult or controversial issues. The cop out is to farm out the job of teaching to parents and guardians, which is what Somerby seems to be advocating, both here and in previous posts.

    Parents and guardians may not know the history, or they may have a false notion of the history. It is up to the teacher to teach the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who has a false notion of slavery? It’s not like the schools teach it as a good thing. Yet, that’s almost the premise now — that it’s only now that we can see it’s ills. And that’s just so bogus a view of the pedagogy of the last hundred years.

      Delete
    2. 12:03: How do “the schools” teach it? Do you know? Do all parents know everything about history? Do some of them have false or mistaken ideas? My point, which you missed, is that Somerby here and elsewhere has advocated that teachers shouldn’t teach anything the parents don’t want their children to know.

      Delete
    3. 12:03 is oblivious to his own "let's sweep this under the rug" attitude, and no amount of facts will persuade this moron off their safe space of "what me worry".

      Most of us understand what Somerby is doing is horribly racist and immoral. Let's not waste time/effort on those lost to their own unresolved trauma.

      Delete
    4. Better trolling please.

      Delete
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