Benevolence
August 30, 2017 5:18 PM   Subscribe

 
I bet you I would.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2017 [51 favorites]


Most Americans just don't learn about slavery, at all, beyond the fact that it existed. The relationship between chattel slavery and the racist ideas, many of which were considered "scientific," that surrounded it, propped it up, and continue to this day isn't even on the radar.

So yeah, of course I would believe these questions, and many, many more ignorant ones. When American education, writ large, doesn't lay the foundation of slavery, that these human beings were not considered even to be people, but property, had fewer rights than modern house pets, were abused and broken and tortured because even the "good slaveowners" thought it was for their own good, then yeah, the vast, vast majority of Americans of all colors are going to have more misconceptions than actual knowledge about slavery.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:42 PM on August 30, 2017 [21 favorites]


The @AfAmHistFail account holder interview, previously in 2015.
posted by channaher at 5:44 PM on August 30, 2017 [7 favorites]


One favorite: a 60-ish guy in a black tank top who, annoyed both at having to wait for a tour and at the fact that the next tour focused on slaves, came back at me with, "Yeah, well, Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, so I guess what goes around comes around!"

Oh, sir, you'd best hope and pray not.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:46 PM on August 30, 2017 [72 favorites]


(I should add that what I know about American slavery could fit on a tri-fold pamphlet with room for pictures, none of which I learned in school. This is not okay.)
posted by uncleozzy at 5:48 PM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


That's an excellent piece (by Margaret Biser). A bit I liked:
The tough thing is that racism comes more from the gut than from the mind: You can prove slavery was bad six ways from Sunday, but people can still choose to believe otherwise if they want. Addressing racism isn't just about correcting erroneous beliefs — it's about making people see the humanity in others. We need better education that demonstrates the complexity and dignity of all people; continued efforts from community organizations and faith communities to give justice its due; and better media portraying people of color as people, not caricatures or symbols. Art, public school, faith, entertainment — these are voices that address the subconscious, voices we absorb silently without even noticing. None of these is a complete solution, of course — they are all oblique routes to building compassion.
Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2017 [44 favorites]


Yeah, well, Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, so I guess what goes around comes around!

Uh, in addition to the 10,000 things wrong with that statement, West Africans aren't remotely Egyptian, and I guarantee you that guy wasn't a Jew.

...and I give you pretty good odds he doesn't much care for "New York Values, either."
posted by leotrotsky at 5:50 PM on August 30, 2017 [28 favorites]


Not new, but one of my all time favorite You Tube series is Ask a Slave!
posted by jfwlucy at 5:59 PM on August 30, 2017 [11 favorites]


The best part is that many of the same assholes, if you require them to pay ten bucks in annual taxes to support social programs that they don't believe in, feel VERY ACUTELY THAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM and that this terrible injustice must be redressed.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:05 PM on August 30, 2017 [22 favorites]


My sister and I are lily white and both happened to have married brown people, me 17 years ago, her 14 years ago. I was talking to her on the phone a few days ago about our horrible Trump supporting parents and How Could They and her comment was "They just don't get it, they'll never get. Hell I don't think I really started getting it until a few months ago." And that's exactly how I feel. I'm a product of liberal education and of course we all know everyone is equal and yeah there's a few hicks out there but they're dying off and basically we can be complacent because for the most part we've solved racism.

So, the fact that my parents took a giant shit on all their grandkids in the polling booth last November was a huge wake up call. And I appreciate people airing stuff like this article out because it shows us well intentioned honkees who didn't feel that we had a lot of skin in the game, just how far we have to go and just how pervasive white supremacy is when you just scratch the surface.

A couple years ago, yes I would have been moderately shocked by these questions about slavery. Now, I'm just angry. And I need to stay angry. And confront with anger.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:16 PM on August 30, 2017 [60 favorites]


And yes I'm fully aware that it's awful that it took a personal injury by close family members for me to get woke. May we all get personally injured in this thing until it stops.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:27 PM on August 30, 2017 [16 favorites]


Folks would ask me if members of the enslaved household staff felt "fortunate" that they "got to" sleep in the house


When I first found out about my slaveholding ancestors, I did a little research on slavery in Colonial New York. One article I read made a point of stressing that most farmers only held one or two slaves and that they usually lived with the family. I got the idea that I was supposed to think that that somehow made it better, but I couldn't stop thinking how awful it would be to have to spend 24/7 with your “master.” Bad enough that you're not allowed to leave, but you can't even have the small comfort of going to your own cabin for the night.

And no amount of not being actively abused can mitigate the stress of knowing that another person can start actively abusing you anytime the mood strikes them, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:35 PM on August 30, 2017 [35 favorites]




Someone more clever than I would come up with a bitingly clever skit incorporating the hashtag notallslaveholders
posted by bunderful at 7:18 PM on August 30, 2017


Fred Clarke at The Slacktivist has many times brought up the association of white evangelical Christianity with slavery -- going as far as to say the whole basis of white evangelicalism as we know it grew as a defense of the institution. He speaks as someone who still considers himself something of an evangelical (though perhaps a recovering one) who is highly critical of evangelicalism.

Evangelicalism is a strong force in white American culture. You don't have to believe in it to be influenced by it, and I think it has helped shape the way white Americans view slavery (consider that the "most" evangelical of religious groups, the Baptists, might be seen as "Southern" in culture -- about half of American Baptist belong to congregations associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which is far more diverse these days than in past).

It can be argued that evangelicalism, as a movement, is inherently racist, in addition to its well-known homophobia and transphobia. I'm sure the influence they have held over the last 200 years or so has greatly influenced why these people are so clueless, if not outright hostile, about the realities of slavery in America and why the descendants of slaves still have such a hard time in America.
posted by lhauser at 7:18 PM on August 30, 2017 [28 favorites]


I'm a white Canadian from a working class rural area originally. I find that people say these same things about Residential School survivors and, in general, indigenous people. They start saying that this stuff has been going on since (pick an ancient era) and that "it wasn't me - it was a long time ago - you can't hold me responsible". You still hear them, claiming that some people liked their residential schools, as though this neutralizes all other experiences. And they will claim that some indigenous groups had slaves, so it's totally fine that white colonizers took over unceded land and obliterated peoples. It seems like the same rhetoric, same positioning points. I wonder if this is the same in other places or if white Canadians just repurpose the slavery defence rhetoric for their own uses. I suspect it's more that many political stances focus on getting working class peoples to look at oppressed people and worry that they are a threat to their bare subsistence vs looking at the oppressors.
posted by shockpoppet at 7:20 PM on August 30, 2017 [15 favorites]


You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.

Is that so? Try me.

I was often asked if the slaves there got paid, or (less often) whether they had signed up to work there.

Oh geez. You win this round, headline writer.
posted by jcreigh at 7:51 PM on August 30, 2017 [45 favorites]


The @AfAmHistFail account holder interview, previously in 2015

Oh thank you! I was driving myself crazy with the certainty this had been posted on the blue and I had already read it, but then looking at the date of the article and thinking we were in Berenstain Bears land.
posted by corb at 7:52 PM on August 30, 2017 [21 favorites]


It can be argued that evangelicalism, as a movement, is inherently racist, in addition to its well-known homophobia and transphobia.

Speaking of Slacktivist, he's pointed out more than a few times that you start to see a heck of a lot of private Christian schools -- mostly associated with evangelical denominations -- popping up right around the time that Brown v. Board and busing was starting to successfully de-integrate the public schools...
posted by tobascodagama at 8:08 PM on August 30, 2017 [13 favorites]


Excellent article. No surprise that so many Americans can't or won't acknowledge how horrific and unjustifiable slavery was (and is.) I mean, this is a society where a woman today cannot mention the regular, unwanted cat-calling she gets walking down the street without a 1000 men screaming back at her that IT'S NOT THAT BAD! #NOTALLMEN

I think the author nailed it when she notes -- justifications of slavery seemed primarily like an attempt by white Americans to avoid feelings of guilt for the past. After all, for many people, beliefs about one's origins reflect one's beliefs about oneself. We don't want our ancestors to have done bad things because we don't want to think of ourselves as being bad people. These slavery apologists were less invested in defending slavery per se than in defending slaveowners, and they weren't defending slaveowners so much as themselves.
posted by pjsky at 8:11 PM on August 30, 2017 [22 favorites]


I have lost count of the number of times I have had encounters (discussions? clashes? moments of pure WHAT) with "Lost Cause" types who earnestly try impress upon me their concern for the horror of how we diminish the humanity of slaveholders and their loss (of honor, of property), of how the context then was so complex and we can't judge them by contemporary standards, of how important it is for all of us to remember and acknowledge the innate humanity of these brave and honorable men who believed in what they were fighting for.

I can count on the finger of one finger the number of these same people who have acknowledged that a good portion of the "property" they are talking about are people.
posted by rtha at 9:47 PM on August 30, 2017 [18 favorites]


Oh thank you! I was driving myself crazy with the certainty this had been posted on the blue and I had already read it, but then looking at the date of the article and thinking we were in Berenstain Bears land.
But you are in Berenstain Bears land.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:52 PM on August 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Slacktivist, he's pointed out more than a few times that you start to see a heck of a lot of private Christian schools -- mostly associated with evangelical denominations -- popping up right around the time that Brown v. Board and busing was starting to successfully de-integrate the public schools...

Investigating those was one of Hillary's first gigs.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:29 AM on August 31, 2017 [18 favorites]


"it wasn't me - it was a long time ago - you can't hold me responsible"

Same lines here in Australia re: genocide of Aboriginal peoples. There's a very predictable train of not-quite-thought for people trying to avoid any consequences of this stuff.
posted by harriet vane at 4:32 AM on August 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


This kinda makes me want another civil war.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:38 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it was as simple as watching a guest's body language go from warm to cold at the mention of slavery in the midst of the historic home tour.

Hardly surprising; they thought the tour bus was for Tinkerbell's Castle, but discovered they were on a tour of Auschwitz.
posted by acb at 4:55 AM on August 31, 2017 [25 favorites]


'Egyptians enslaved the Israelites'

One of the 10,000 things wrong with this statement being that there is no evidence that there were any Israelites enslaved in Eqypt.

An interesting piece about the depth of ignorance, both willful and otherwise, regarding slavery in the US. I wonder if foreign visitors ever asked any stupid questions, or if it was only those who grew up in the US?
posted by asok at 5:20 AM on August 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


When I was 21 I worked with someone who was 19 and when the topic of slavery came up, he said, "I know it must have been really bad, but, you have to admit: it had to be better than what they had going on in Africa. Otherwise why would they go to America?"

I thought no one could possibly have been more dumbfounded than I felt at that moment. I was wrong. Because when I told him the slaves didn't "go to America," but that other people captured them in Africa, put them on boats, held them in chains, and then brought them to America where they were sold to the slave owners, he said, "No way. I would have heard if that's what happened."

This conversation happened in 1990 in Toronto, Canada.
posted by dobbs at 5:31 AM on August 31, 2017 [27 favorites]


Brenda Parker: Portraying an Enslaved Woman

She does her character in the first part of the video, but flips into the reasons why in the later part. I went into this wondering why anyone would do this, but came away thinking that what she does is, in fact, a huge public service. I'm so glad there are people in this world like Brenda Parker.
posted by bonehead at 6:28 AM on August 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


I grew up in Texas with a grandmother who would regularly, earnestly tell me how much better off the slaves were with their masters. With many detailed theories and different justifications. She was a hateful racist woman in many ways but this part of her racism was so sincere it was hard to understand how to respond to it.

I think white Americans tell themselves these lies because they just can't believe how awful our history is. We don't want to believe our forefathers owned and abused people, treated them like livestock. We want to believe Robert E. Lee was a noble and good man, that Jefferson truly loved Sally Hemmings and treated her nicely, that the early American economy was not built literally on the backs of slaves. We have never come to terms with this deep streak of evil in our history.
posted by Nelson at 6:39 AM on August 31, 2017 [20 favorites]


How do other countries in the Americas do with education around the history of slaves and slavery and the American slave trade? Is it any better?
posted by mosst at 8:50 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Interesting question but not sure why you limited it to Americas?

One of my favorite comments ever was made on FB by a young UKIP lad who said something like, "Why are all these foreigners coming over here and building mosques and things, then? How would they feel if we went over there and just poured in and started building churches in their countries?!"
posted by jfwlucy at 8:56 AM on August 31, 2017 [33 favorites]


How do other countries in the Americas do with education around the history of slaves and slavery and the American slave trade? Is it any better?

I'm in Canada. Don't know what it is like now but I don't recall anything much about slavery in elementary or high-school, 70s to late 80s. I learned that the US had slaves and that it had something to do with the Civil War at some point. I'm not even sure what I got from school and what I got from other cultural avenues. What I do know is that I did pick up the more romanticized narrative of The Southern US from some place as a kid. And here's where I admit that at some point in early tween times I had a confederate flag on my wall. (cringy ugh) Though it was a short time as a vaguely recall my parents telling me to take it down. I don't remember if they said why, I expect they did and all I remember is being mad. I expect it came from the Dukes of Hazard and Song of the South. I really was utterly clueless and really had no idea whatsoever what it represents. I also didn't understand until I was older why my parents didn't let me watch the show. I thought it had something to do with the short shorts. Somehow I did manage to see it and know about so I dunno. It was out there when I was a tween.

Last year my brother in law called and said he was going through the garage and found a box of my stuff. In it was a model of the General Lee. He asked what I wanted to do with it. It was a collectors item and I could have sold it. Told him to throw the damn thing out and enjoy doing it.

Looking back there just seemed to be a disconnect between racism and slavery which I knew was horrible and wrong as can be and the symbols and narratives about it that surrounded me growing up. I hope Canadian education is better now. It wasn't until I took specific US history courses in University that I learned about it in detail.
posted by Jalliah at 9:18 AM on August 31, 2017


Folks would ask me if members of the enslaved household staff felt "fortunate" that they "got to" sleep in the house.

Ironically, Malcolm X once famously took the position that they did:

There were two kinds of Negroes. There was that old house Negro and the field Negro

And the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negroes got too much out of line, he held them back in check. He put 'em back on the plantation. The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived better than the field Negro. He ate better, he dressed better, and he lived in a better house. He lived right up next to his master - in the attic or the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and wore his same clothes. And he could talk just like his master - good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself. That's why he didn't want his master hurt. If the master got sick, he'd say, "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" When the master's house caught afire, he'd try and put the fire out. He didn't want his master's house burned. He never wanted his master's property threatened. And he was more defensive of it than the master was

posted by layceepee at 9:43 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am eternally gratefully to my 4th and 5th grade teacher (in Southern Indiana, which not infrequently really wants to think of itself as part of the South), for showing us Roots in class. She did her damnedest to get her class of white kids to get it.
posted by DebetEsse at 9:57 AM on August 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


How do other countries in the Americas do with education around the history of slaves and slavery and the American slave trade? Is it any better?

I grew up in central Indiana and got a very comprehensive education re: slavery in every level of school, from elementary to high school, and in a very connected way. In elementary school it was much more muted but by middle school history classes, we were taught how slaves were brought over (against their will, in bondage, with massive loss of life on the way), how they were treated once they arrived (horribly), and where they were sold and what they did. In high school, we had more in-depth American history and learned even more atrocities, and we even discussed the slave trade and the economics of slave-owning states in economics and government classes.

So, not every American school fails its students in this regard. Which is why I used to be shocked at questions like the docent received. I used to think that every American knew the things I knew.
posted by cooker girl at 10:26 AM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm also Canadian and can vouch that I learned virtually nothing about slavery in school. The brief exceptions were a little about the Loyalists and one day's mention of communities like Buxton. However, Scholastic Canada was fortunately still selling Julius Lester's To Be a Slave some twenty years after its publication, and I read it at an early enough age to be profoundly (and appropriately) shaken by it. For those not familiar with it, To Be a Slave is a 1968 children's non-fiction book that includes both short essays and primary source accounts of American slavery, as well as haunting artwork.

The introduction still sticks with me:

To be a slave. To be owned by another person, as a car, house, or table is owned. To live as a piece of property that could be sold - a child sold from its mother, a wife from her husband. To be considered not human, but a "thing" that plowed the fields, cut the wood, cooked the food, nursed another's child; a "thing" whose sole function was determined by the one who owned you.

To be a slave. To know, despite the suffering and deprivation, that you were human, more human than he who said you were not human. To know joy, laughter, sorrow, and tears and yet be considered only the equal of a table.

To be a slave was to be a human being under conditions in which that humanity was denied. They were not slaves. They were people. Their condition was slavery.

They who were held as slaves looked upon themselves and the servitude in which they found themselves with the eyes and minds of human beings, conscious of everything that happened to them, conscious of all that went on around them. Yet slaves are often pictured as little more than dumb, brute animals, whose sole attributes were found in working, singing, and dancing. They were like children and slavery was actually a benefit to them - this was the view of those who were not slaves. Those who were slaves tell a different story.


I still managed to internalize my share of ignorant ideas, but this book was an important inoculation against some of what I'd encounter (or fail to encounter) in school, the media, and my community.
posted by haruspicina at 10:27 AM on August 31, 2017 [18 favorites]


How do other countries in the Americas do with education around the history of slaves and slavery and the American slave trade? Is it any better?

It's definitely addressed with less baggage. As history in general is more matter of fact there. For starters there is more of it. Plus the museum's tend to be run by professionals, and when I visited Monticello I got the impression it was run by more of a non-profit, friends-of kind of deal. The slavery aspect made me uncomfortable at Monticello but not so much because of the way the docents handled it as, I dunno, just the blatant nature I guess of having a little shed village of human slaves on your back lawn. I was the only white person on my tour, now that I think about it, but the only other person who knew as little as I did going in was a French lady. The US-ians all knew what to expect. I wouldn't have a lot of interest in going on other similar tours, tbh. And I like tours.

Otoh, Liverpool in the UK has an International Slavery Museum which is very well done and which I would revisit or recommend. It really highlights the actual people involved up to the contemporary time. I went to the Liverpool Museum with a colleague who's great-whatever-grandfather was an escaped American-bound African slave who took refuge in a church in Liverpool and married a local woman so that was pretty interesting as she had the family stories to add.
posted by fshgrl at 10:44 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's certainly an amount of dancing around why, say, Bristol, was an important town. "Trade" refered to without getting too deeply into specifics, or just "sugar".
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


Artw - I did a tour of Bristol harbour over the summer and the guide was pretty clear about the role of the slave trade in creating wealth for the town, and the recent BBC series about the history of confectionary went into a lot of detail about the link between sugar and slavery.

I find the problem in Britain is that because we abolished our slave trade so early we then ignore the role we had in creating and sustaining it in the first place. I want to visit the slavery museum in Liverpool as recommended by fshgirl - I know it will upset me but it is important for me to acknowledge my nation's past in the slave trade.
posted by YoungStencil at 11:34 AM on August 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


Hardly surprising; they thought the tour bus was for Tinkerbell's Castle, but discovered they were on a tour of Auschwitz.

I thought about this myself when listening to Azie Dungey's piece; like, I dunno that I couldn't do more than embarrassed shuffling myself. Other than "I'm so sorry" I'm not sure what sort of interaction I could have. Visisting those places without re-enactors makes the ideas too abstract, another empty building like the granary or the stable.

Its difficult and important. Without facing the ugly facts it paints a bucolic image that wasn't true.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:37 AM on August 31, 2017


I grew up near several important Underground Railroad sites in Central/Western New York, so we probably learned more about southern slavery and the Civil War than most schoolkids in the US.

However, we were told absolutely nothing about the history of slavery in New York before it was abolished in 1827. What I've learned about that has been from my own research after discovering my own slaveholding ancestors on Long Island. I was impressed when the slavery memorial went up in New York City because there's just so much ignorance and denial about our own past. I was also impressed to see slavery addressed in the TV series Turn, which is set in New York during the Revolution.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:49 AM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Youngstemcil - sounds like the situation is improved a little then.
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on August 31, 2017


Folks would ask me if members of the enslaved household staff felt "fortunate" that they "got to" sleep in the house

[...]

And no amount of not being actively abused can mitigate the stress of knowing that another person can start actively abusing you anytime the mood strikes them, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.


My mind went to Tituba, one of the first women involved in the Salem witch trials, and a slave who lived in the main house. Her position as the outsider within in part enabled the furor to really catch, because of both the cultural conflict between Tituba's family and that of the Puritans, and because she was a 'marginal' figure easily subject to such abuses.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


This is great, thanks.

For an antidote to any of the "Irish were slaves too" bullshit, check out this Irish historian who does Sisyphean work on Twitter countering the idiocy.
posted by knapah at 3:49 PM on August 31, 2017 [7 favorites]


I was going to comment about how bad it must have been for the slaves in America, but then I remembered that things haven't really been all that different in other countries as well.
In England it was the rich landowners and the gentry with their "servants", workers etc.

The culture hasn't changed much over the years; there is still a huge divide between the attitiudes of the rich and the poor, it is just not called slavery anymore and the whip has been replaced with social standing and political power.
posted by Burn_IT at 4:07 PM on August 31, 2017


Burn_IT… it's really not the same. If you think that merely being poor (as difficult and awful as that can be in our society) is the same as being a slave, you probably should reflect on things a bit more. It's hard to wrap your head around what it would be like to be property. Economic inequality and chattel slavery are really very different. It's not just a matter of degree, either. They are fundamentally quite different situations, and while they are both pernicious, one is definitely much more evil than the other.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:03 PM on August 31, 2017 [14 favorites]


In England it was the rich landowners and the gentry with their "servants", workers etc.

There is an enormous difference between English social roles and American slavery. Particularly later English society with gentry and servants, but even in medieval English with villeinage the peasants had significant legal rights and autonomy compared to American slaves.

The culture hasn't changed much over the years; there is still a huge divide between the attitiudes of the rich and the poor, it is just not called slavery anymore and the whip has been replaced with social standing and political power.

That is completely wrong. I see from your profile you're in the UK so can understand how you wouldn't know much about the American system of chattel slavery. But please don't try to draw a comparison like that.
posted by Nelson at 5:15 PM on August 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


"Fred Clarke at The Slacktivist has many times brought up the association of white evangelical Christianity with slavery -- going as far as to say the whole basis of white evangelicalism as we know it grew as a defense of the institution. "

He's right, and any pastor who isn't learning that at seminary is going to a shitty-ass seminary.

One of the frustrations I and many of my seminary-graduate friends, whether in ministry or not, have been having in the last few years is that, we all went to a southern Protestant seminary, which means we spent a LOT of time on race. A LOT of time on race. Not only does a Christian community include people from all over the world and all different backgrounds (so these are important conversations just in a general way), but when you're in the American South, at a Protestant seminary, you are specifically dealing with the heritage of churches that were complicit in slavery, churches that advocated abolition and churches that failed to, churches that served the enslaved and churches that refused them, church practices that come from slaves, and church practices that come from slave owners. A lot of church money that comes from families who made their fortunes as slave owners. And then, of course, in living memory, the pastors who were our senior leaders and professors either marched with, or didn't march with, King. Southern Protestantism is both the birthplace and the home of the Civil Rights movement, and also its fiercest opponent. It's utterly unavoidable and everyone must confront it, over and over again.

So, our frustration, has been seeing so many people in church leadership saying, "But don't all lives matter?" and similar bullshit. If you don't know why it's "Black Lives Matter," someone needs to retroactively fail you in History of American Protestantism and revoke your M.Div., asshole. And they face oppressed people are crying out for help and they're like, "Maybe they shouldn't focus so much on race ..." and you just want to slap them. (In the most Christlike way possible, I guess. I don't know. I'm starting to lose my hold on Christian charity with these people.)

It's astonishing how they'll so readily admit that we're all sinners (in the hands of an angry God! /Edwards), we all lust in our hearts, we're all prideful, we all covet, blah blah blah, but you say, "We're all a little bit racist" and they're like "NO NOT THAT ONE, I DON'T HAVE THAT SIN, THAT ONE SIN IS DEFINITELY NOT ME, I HAVE ALL THE OTHER ONES BUT NOT THAT ONE." ("My ancestors didn't even live in the US then, what does it have to do with me?" Uh, asshole, you're a white Protestant minister in the American South at a church that was endowed by a slaveholder and that endowment pays your salary? I don't care if you arrived last week, you're fucking complicit, so how about you shut the fuck up and get on with the repenting?)

(Hmmm, apparently that worm's been gnawing my guts a bit, I didn't know I had quite so many words about my burning rage.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:54 PM on August 31, 2017 [33 favorites]


Metafilter: how about you shut the fuck up and get on with the repenting?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 PM on August 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


It's interesting how beholden they are to the idea that the subject of morality is always and only the individual actor, the atomic moral chooser, who, although befogged to some extent by the complexities of his time and inevitably tramelled by ordinary human weakness, was, of course, a Good Person.
posted by thelonius at 1:45 AM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


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