This is not about your comfort
August 10, 2019 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Dear Disgruntled White Plantation Visitors, Sit Down. "The Old South may be your American Downton Abbey but it is our American Horror Story, even under the best circumstances it represents the extraction of labor, talent and life we can never get back. When I do this work, it drains me, but I do it because I want my Ancestors to know not only are they not forgotten but I am here to testify that I am their wildest dreams manifest." Michael W. Twitty discusses his work honoring his ancestors.

Additional resources:

Civil Eats "is a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. We publish stories that shift the conversation around sustainable agriculture in an effort to build economically and socially just communities."

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty

Michael W. Twitty Previously on MetaFilter:

Culinary Historian Michael Twitty on The Souls of Southern Food
Food of the Enslaved
"This is not a comfortable conversation."
Where Shmaltz and Soul Food Meet
posted by lazuli (45 comments total) 151 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for posting this. Michael Twitty is a national treasure. The most beautiful part of the first article for me was when he described his work of historic interpretation as "an act of devotion" to his ancestors.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:10 PM on August 10 [34 favorites]


that was an incredible response he wrote. I wasn't aware of Michael Twitty and want to get his book now.
posted by biggreenplant at 8:14 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


I love Michael Twitty so much. I recommend his book to nearly everyone who stumbles onto my historical culinary interest, but it's hard to tell who will actually go and read it and who will simply smile and nod. I've tried to get my mom to read it - she loves Jewish history and food from all over the world - but she says she's in three book clubs and keeps forgetting to wedge it in. Right, Mom, sure, it has nothing to do with you having grown up in Houston and your refusal to confront your own racism, definitely not.

But luckily, everything this man does is a poem and a treasure. Shorter pieces like this can hopefully bring him into the lives of more people. I've had some good traction also with his guest appearances on Townsends (so glad you have the Food of the Enslaved link up there).
...my Ancestors, [...] resisted enslavement by maintaining links to what scholar Charles D. Joyner famously called a “culinary grammar” that contained whole narratives that reached into spirituality, health practices, linguistics, agricultural wisdom and environmental practices that constituted in the words of late historian William D. Piersen, “a resistance “too civilized to notice.”
I have tried to explain to people why this stuff is so incredibly fascinating to me and nobody gets it like Twitty does.
posted by Mizu at 8:30 PM on August 10 [26 favorites]


"I have tried to explain to people why this stuff is so incredibly fascinating to me and nobody gets it like Twitty does."

Yes! My thing is historical threadwork -- weaving, embroidery, quilting, dyes, etc. -- there's a whole story of a culture embedded in it if you take the time to look and learn! I always love reading Twitty because he chases those same sorts of stories, but through food instead of thread, and I am always learning such interesting stuff through his culinary history.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:50 PM on August 10 [12 favorites]


How much of the longing and romanticism of "the good old days" and "a simpler time" comes from people who are wishing, consciously or not, for a time when they not only had all the power but could unashamedly luxuriate in it? Lives uncomplicated by voices reminding them that their comfort came from breaking the backs of their fellow human beings.

I do so love it when folks like you ask me “What are you making me for dinner?”

That is the sort of thing that's said by someone who is simply delighted at the chance to play-act having the absolute power they always wanted.
posted by schroedinger at 8:52 PM on August 10 [33 favorites]


C. Morgan Babst's recent Oxford American article The House of Myth: On the Architecture of White Supremacy is also worth reading on this:

If you’re an American, you know this house ... Scarlett runs in white ruffles from the awkward bulk of Tara. Django rides postilion up the red road toward Evergreen. As a teenager, maybe you got off a bus with your gaggle of classmates, tried to keep it together as a hoop-skirted guide led you on the rounds: dovecote, widow’s walk, cone of sugar. Maybe, as a young man, you drank bourbon beneath Edison-lit oaks, cringed at the cotton in the bride’s bouquet. Maybe this house appears in the bottom drawer of your bathroom vanity, printed on the handfuls of soaps that you stuffed at some point in a suitcase. Or maybe you’ve avoided this house, country-driving, hunting boudin. Maybe, slowed behind a bridal limousine, you averted your gaze as the white pickets flashed, grumbled something about how no one would host a wedding at Auschwitz.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:12 PM on August 10 [49 favorites]


I enjoy domestic history, I enjoy viewing old-timey homes, but plantation homes were a reward for the subjugation and extermination of an uncountable number of human beings. There are photos of the Auschwitz commandant's children at play in their lovely house at the edge of the camp. They were kids, although if Germany had won I have no doubt they'd have grown up to monsters; but what can be said for people who imagine themselves swanning down a plantation mansion's staircase?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:20 PM on August 10 [10 favorites]


Maybe, slowed behind a bridal limousine, you averted your gaze as the white pickets flashed, grumbled something about how no one would host a wedding at Auschwitz.

Maybe Mefi once deleted your comment on an AskMe about which plantation to visit for a good ol' time suggesting that maybe they weren't great vacation destinations!
posted by praemunire at 9:53 PM on August 10 [51 favorites]


Michael Twitty does really great work.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:02 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Love this brilliant, eloquent writer. Always thrilled to see his byline.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:12 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Thanks for introducing me to Michael Twitty, this article was great. I guess I don’t understand the concept of a plantation tour that doesn’t emphasize slavery. It doesn’t make much sense to me. “Here’s a lavish estate where people lived in luxury for no apparent reason. Ignore those shacks over there and look at the lovely porch!”
posted by sfkiddo at 10:24 PM on August 10 [17 favorites]


I lived in Virginia from the age of 7 to 18 and went to a whole lot of places like this under the guise of field trips. There was, thankfully, a lot of talk of slavery and specific tours of slave quarters and explanations of living conditions. Admittedly much of it was sanitized for different age groups but as I got older we definitely got into some dark confrontational stuff. But one place I remember that stood out by not engaging with the slavery required for it to function was Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson (notorious slave owner and rapist as well as inventor and apparently important political dude, idk whatever) lived. It was beautiful, ornate, presented as an estate full of ever evolving projects and ideas. There's a special door between the kitchen and dining room that he "had installed" that revolves, allowing slaves to put dishes on the door, turn it, and present the food to the dining room without being seen at all. If that's not a fucking metaphor I don't know what is.
posted by Mizu at 10:36 PM on August 10 [57 favorites]


you cant learn everything from the crossword section of StormFront…


I chortled. He’s a terrific writer and this is a powerful article.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:40 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Maybe Mefi once deleted your comment on an AskMe about which plantation to visit for a good ol' time suggesting that maybe they weren't great vacation destinations!

I have been to Auschwitz three times and would go again if the opportunity arose. But of course I was there to witness, not to have a gay ole time.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:57 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Some tangentially-related Metafilter posts:

* Plantation Mystique: The American landscape is dotted with places that witnessed enormous tragedies, and much like Flossenbürg they have now been absorbed into the everyday landscape. Unlike Flossenbürg, though, many of these American sites clumsily negotiate their dark heritage or simply ignore it in favor of aesthetically pleasant contemporary landscapes.

* Inside America’s Auschwitz: “Often, plantation exhibits were established for those who lived through the Civil Rights era and yearned for a less complicated time,” says Ashley Rogers, director of museum operations. “And that’s an easy thing to accomplish when you have a ‘chandelier’ tour. "

* Broadly speaking, a Duck Dynasty shirt is not a good sign: An interview with the docent behind @AfAmHistFail. (The original interview link is broken; you can now find it here)
posted by magstheaxe at 5:09 AM on August 11 [15 favorites]


Since I moved to Georgia ten years ago I have often heard from white southerners- some of whom are quite progressive- that yes, their ancestors owned slaves but "they treated them very well."
posted by mareli at 5:28 AM on August 11 [17 favorites]


This essay was great. I love how it combines a very thoughtful and deep set of thinking with a basic "what the fuck white people?" attitude.

I may have failed reading comprehension but does he mention where he's worked doing these recreations? He mentions several states in the article. The captions for one of the photos references The Whitney Plantation, the ground-breaking monument in Louisiana "with an exclusive focus on the lives of enslaved people". MeFi User #1 visited there last year. It's been on my list of places to go along with the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.
posted by Nelson at 7:28 AM on August 11 [8 favorites]


Coincidentally, I caught him this morning on an NPR station broadcast of Milk Street Radio
posted by mikelieman at 7:54 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


We went to Monticello earlier this year. They are much better now about acknowledging the ugly truths behind the place (which doesn’t mean there’s not room for more improvement). I thought Montpelier (James Madison’s plantation) did a much better job of both 1) explaining how it wasn’t just the South that exploited enslaved people, it was the whole national economy and 2) drawing clear lines to how the institution of slavery continues to affect our society and daily lives.
posted by nickmark at 8:16 AM on August 11 [17 favorites]


Michael Twitty is definitely a national treasure. And once again, people are terrible.
posted by photoslob at 8:19 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


The Whitney Plantation, the ground-breaking monument in Louisiana "with an exclusive focus on the lives of enslaved people". MeFi User #1 visited there last year.

After reading that powerful blog post, this is kind of infuriating - from a New Yorker feature about the Whitney Plantation:

Whitney Plantation is not a place designed to make people feel guilt, or to make people feel shame. It is a site of memory, a place that that exists to further the necessary dialogue about race in America

At once with a concern about how this makes white people feel. God forbid that anyone should be made to feel bad! "What about the Irish?", you can practically hear them ask.
posted by thelonius at 8:20 AM on August 11 [15 favorites]


Link to Montpelier's page on the enslaved community - it doesn't pull quite so many punches as other historic sites. A step in the right direction. Entirely thanks to the efforts of descendants of slaves.
posted by captain afab at 9:15 AM on August 11


Since I moved to Georgia ten years ago I have often heard from white southerners- some of whom are quite progressive- that yes, their ancestors owned slaves but "they treated them very well."

Saaaame experience.

Like the bar for mistreatment is set somewhere above "enslaving a fellow human being"

Ok Lauren
posted by captain afab at 9:24 AM on August 11 [10 favorites]


At once with a concern about how this makes white people feel. God forbid that anyone should be made to feel bad! "What about the Irish?", you can practically hear them ask.

Every conversation I’ve ever had with my father-in-law ends with this fucking question. I always ask him to site factual sources and he gets all hand wavy. I always push back asking him if knows the differences between indentured servitude versus slavery. The conversation ends there. He holds up the founding fathers like they’re gods and won’t acknowledge the place slavery holds in the founding of America. He’s college educated and a Bernie supporter that I’m almost positive voted for Trump. There’s an entire generation of people in this country that will never be convinced that slavery and white supremacy continues to be a dark cloud hanging over all of our heads.
posted by photoslob at 9:45 AM on August 11 [25 favorites]


Excellent article.

Along with the rest of it, I liked his point that for a lot of the racist White Southerners visiting the plantations, the story of enslaved Africans is the story of their ancestors, too, if only they would open themselves to it. I'm a White American with Southern ancestry that stretches back at least a couple hundred years, and when I had a DNA test done a few years ago it revealed genetic markers consistent with sub-Saharan African ancestry, equivalent to one ancestor with 100% sub-Saharan ancestry about 8 generations back. This person would have lived sometime in the 18th century. I will probably never know the story of that part of my heritage, but it almost certainly passes through people who lived the lives, and ate the food, that Twitty interprets in his work.

Certainly one or more of my N'th-great ancestors were kidnapped and sold into slavery, either in what would become the continental US or in the Caribbean. Very probably, one of my N'th-great grandfathers was a White man who raped my enslaved Black N'th-great grandmother. Her child, my ancestor, grew up in slavery. For the genetics to make sense, this ancestor must have reproduced with someone of European ancestry; perhaps she was a woman whose life was subject to the same violence as her mother's. How many generations of this branch of my family tree lived and died like this, enslaved by their fully-White half-siblings and cousins? Two? Three? Did they live with the terror that Twitty describes, knowing they could be murdered simply for making a mistake with dinner?

I don't know much about my White great-grandfather's background. He shows up in the records as a young man in about 1900, impoverished, working the rivers in northern Virginia. (He would eventually drown in these rivers while his children were still young, leaving no oral history of his heritage to pass down to me.) Like most poorer folk, records about him are sketchy, and I don't exactly know where he came from. But I can't help but wonder if it's his line that would connect me back to the lives of the enslaved people whose genetic markers now make up a fraction of a percent of my own. Was his poverty the legacy of a generation or two of "passing"? Did he know that his own great-grandparent was Black, or did one of my ancestors decide to keep this part of their heritage secret from their children, sacrificing their history so as to survive within the system of White supremacy?

In all likelihood, I'll never learn the answers to any of these questions. History records very little about the lives of individual enslaved people aside from economic transactions. My Whiteness is predicated on the erasure of their Blackness from all memory, and America has worked hard to ensure the security of the Whiteness of me and the millions of White Americans with African ancestry like me. But I want to know the stories of the people who suffered and fought and sometimes won against that system of White supremacy. They are literally part of my DNA, and an even greater part of the DNA of America. I'm grateful to scholars, historians, and interpreters like Twitty who've refused to allow the mythology of the Southern plantations to erase the truth of the people who lived and died working in them.

Whether they have literal genetic descent from enslaved people on plantations or not, when the racist White Southerners that Twitty is responding to deny or minimize the history of slavery on plantations, they are denying a part of themselves. Until these people, and all Americans, acknowledge the roles that enslaved, slave-holding, and free people all played in making them who they are today, we will never be able to fully heal from the sin of slavery.
posted by biogeo at 9:48 AM on August 11 [44 favorites]


As soon as I saw that whiny snippet from the woman wanting a glamorized and romanticised plantation tour I knew Michael Twitty could give an epic smackdown and he really, really did. It's disgusting that in 2019 there are people wanting a soft-focus happy picture of an atrocity that still scars this country.
posted by AtalantaPendragonne at 11:19 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


C. Morgan Babst's recent Oxford American article The House of Myth: On the Architecture of White Supremacy is also worth reading on this:

I went to high school with Morgan. She's the best. /brag
posted by brundlefly at 12:09 PM on August 11


Another tangentially-related Metafilter post:

Ask a slave. Go on. : Ask A Slave is a comedy web series hosted by the plucky Lizzie Mae, housemaid to George and Martha Washington. Ask A Slave is based on the actress' time working as a living history character at the popular historic site, George Washington's Mount Vernon. Real Questions. Real Comedy.

At the time of the Metafilter post above, in September 2013, two videos had been released on YouTube. There is now a Ask A Slave website where you can find the complete first season (6 episodes) and second season (6 episodes and a Christmas special).

Here is what actress & creator Azie Mira Dungey has to say about her project:
"A few years ago, after I graduated New York University, I returned to my home town in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area (or the DMV as it is affectionately termed) to start my life as an actor. The DMV is home to some of the greatest regional theatres in the country. Of course, it is also home to some of the most important sites in American history, which, quite naturally, much of the culture and community is focused on.

In the few years I lived in the DMV, I must have played every black woman of note that ever lived. From Harriet Tubman to Diane Nash to Claudette Colvin to Caroline Branham-- Martha Washington’s enslaved Lady’s maid. I liked to call myself the time-traveling black girl.

Studying American history and the lives of these women, while virtually living in their heads and experiences each day, made me feel like I was in some sort of twisted time warp. This was also the time of Barack Obama’s first term in White House and his subsequent run for a second term.

I ask you to remember the racial tension that was all around. We had people saying that the President would be planting watermelons on the White House lawn. Emails were forwarded proclaiming that this was the beginning of a race war and the end of the country as we know it. People bought guns. (A lot of guns.) A scientist reported the evolutionary explanation as to why black women were the least attractive of all the races. The Oprah Show ended. It was mass chaos.

And in the midst of all this, I was playing a slave. Everyday, I was literally playing a slave. I mean, I was getting paid well for it, don’t get me wrong, and we all need a day job. But all the same, I was having all these experiences, and emotions. Talking to 100s of people a day about what it was like to be black in 18th Century America. And then returning to the 21st Century and reflecting on what had and had not changed.

So, I wanted a way to present all of the most interesting, and somewhat infuriating encounters that I had, the feelings that they brought up, and the questions that they left unanswered. I do not think that Ask A Slave is a perfect way to do so, but I think that it is a fun, and a hopefully somewhat enriching start."
posted by Secret Sparrow at 12:38 PM on August 11 [33 favorites]


History records very little about the lives of individual enslaved people aside from economic transactions.

Some writer, I think it was George Orwell, had a bit about how completely terrifying it is that, out of the millions of slaves in the ancient world, we know the names of maybe 5 (I can only recall 3, one of whom may be fictional).
posted by thelonius at 12:59 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


Ignore those shacks over there and look at the lovely porch!”

I have this to say: I've seen the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Angkor Wat, Mayan pyramids, and a few other big infamous historical edifices in my time. They are stunningly beautiful.

There is also no question that they were built by slaves, because impracticality at that scale takes coercion.

Grandeur of a certain scale is barbarism, but it's also a powerful reminder of what humans can aspire to if we work together. No remembrance of slaves and their sacrifices is complete without documenting and, with a proper degree of sobriety about it, celebrating what they enabled.

You can't have one without the other, but... That's just it. You can't have one without the other. To deny the beauty of what they created is a discredit to their labor. That's what I took away from the monuments I've seen. We may not know their names, but we do know what the slaves throughout history built.
posted by saysthis at 2:26 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


Last year I took my kids to see a historic home in NY. As our (white) tour guide took us through the place, he referred to the slaves who lived and worked in that house EXCLUSIVELY as "people." He never once said the word "slave." He did say "people who were enslaved by the white occupants of this house" whenever he needed to refer to them. And the owners of the mansion were referred to as "the white occupants" of it.

Now, I consider myself to be moderately race-conscious - I read about race and race issues and racial history in USA, think about it, write about it, talk about it with my kids, etc. But every time he said these words, I felt a jolt. The people-ness of those whom I had formerly labeled "slaves" was more and more real to me each time he said it. I had never even considered black people's claim to the homes they lived and worked in (and were imprisoned and enslaved in) -- but I sure did every time he said "white occupants" instead of "masters" or "owners."

Never has the importance of names and labels been so clear to me.
posted by MiraK at 3:18 PM on August 11 [41 favorites]


We may not know their names, but we do know what the slaves throughout history built.

The blood in the mortar suggests they'd rather have built nothing, and lived.
posted by Jilder at 3:44 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


"You can't have one without the other.."

I disagree.

There are many awesome of examples of incredible technical achievements where the "underlings" we're not enslaved.

EFIT: maybe not as giant and pointless as the pyramids, but Hoover Dam? The Mississippi levee systems? Huge things that required a lot of human labor.
posted by Windopaene at 5:16 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


There is also no question that they were built by slaves, because impracticality at that scale takes coercion.

In the interest of not minimizing the nature of Atlantic slave trade chattel slavery, there is a question, though, right? At a quick check the word "slave" doesn't seem to appear in the Wikipedia entries for the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, or Angkor Wat.

Things like your children and your children's children being condemned to be slaves forever, for example, isn't the same thing as, say, a peasant serving corvee labor under lethally harsh conditions but then going back to their own household at the end of a season where their family lives if they survive. Just to make up a possible alternative off the top of my head.

Not that the latter isn't a really bad thing too but we shouldn't handwave the distinctions away, or speak as though there was always something equivalent to slavery in the United States in all eras and civilizations.
posted by XMLicious at 5:22 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


But every time he said these words, I felt a jolt. The people-ness of those whom I had formerly labeled "slaves" was more and more real to me each time he said it.

It was Bishop's The Half Has Never Been Told that really made a splash by referring to "enslaved people," "(en)slavers," and (plantations as) "slave labor camps." It's not a universal panacea but judging by the number of reviewers it upset, it was a good idea.
posted by praemunire at 7:52 PM on August 11 [15 favorites]


Do you mean Edward E Baptist's?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:40 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


The Mississippi levee systems?

Ooh, try again. The levee systems were begun during slavery, big push during Jim Crow, and even today the USA uses forced prison labor to sandbag . Not 100% the labor of enslaved people, but this Isn t the example you were looking for.
posted by eustatic at 5:10 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Not to derail, but if anyone pushes the whole "the Irish were slave too" argument I'd recommend a quick read through this Rubber Bandits twitter thread as they consistently point out that no, Irish people were not enslaved. And I'd highly recommend reading some of Liam Hogan's work on debunking that myth.
posted by Fence at 5:26 AM on August 12 [13 favorites]


Never has the importance of names and labels been so clear to me.

This gets to me when I hear the word "antebellum." I think about whether replacing that term with "pre-emancipation" would provide better context than the Scarlett O'Hara, "lost cause," good ole days romanticism many white people feel when they hear "antebellum."
posted by the christopher hundreds at 6:04 AM on August 12 [10 favorites]


>>>Not to derail, but if anyone pushes the whole "the Irish were slave too" argument I'd recommend a quick read through this Rubber Bandits twitter thread as they consistently point out that no, Irish people were not enslaved. And I'd highly recommend reading some of Liam Hogan's work on debunking that myth.

Hogan on the blue (all good stuff):
Previously 2018: Interview w/Hogan.
Previously 2017: Hogan's brief review of Ireland's anti-slavery history + slave ownership among those of Irish descent.
Previously 2016: The Southern Poverty Law Center on the evolution of the "Irish slavery" myth as a racist meme + Hogan's five-part series debunking the myth.
Previously 2015: A short article excerpted from Hogan's essay "The myth of 'Irish slaves' in the colonies."

Also on the blue: Irish comedian Maeve Higgins writes on Irishness, immigration, and race. (Plus interview -- including transcript -- with Higgins.)
posted by virago at 8:22 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Is this a good place for me to recommend the excellent mystery novel The Cutting Season by Attica Locke, which tells the story of a modern-day black woman employed at a historical plantation in Louisiana uncovering atrocities both historical and contemporary? A great read on the tensions of the tourist plantation.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:21 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


I feel like maybe the most powerful part of the whole piece is the anecdote about the German tourist.
The German said, “The Holocaust was a terrible thing and never should have happened. We were children when Germany was coming out of the ashes. But it is a shame upon our nation.”
White people who get upset about how they're being "blamed" for slavery need to inspect that. You can carry historical shame gracefully and blamelessly. It does not reflect poorly on you to accept it, it reflects well on you to acknowledge it. You are born blameless, but you can only remain so by recognizing the wrongs that came before you and working, where you can, to fix them.
posted by 256 at 10:47 AM on August 12 [25 favorites]


What's staying in my heart and gut is this:
My personal favorite was when I spilled some of the contents of a heavy pot of water as the light was dying and you all laughed and one of you said…and I could hear you… "This boy doesn’t know what he’s doing."

"Boy."

I was exhausted. I had been cooking over an open hearth for 7 hours. One enslaved cook in Martinique was thrown alive into an oven for burning a cake. How do we know? His mistress calmly showed his charred remains to her guest after the meal. Spilling or burning food could have meant my ass.
The absolute trauma Twitty has inherited and is processing in the moment, the racism of "boy," the oblivious cruelty of the white people treating Twitty like entertainment rather than an opportunity for connecting with and working toward correcting that trauma. It's absolutely chilling, in large part because it's so casual and yet so deeply re-enacting the very scene that Twitty is interpreting.
posted by lazuli at 11:00 AM on August 12 [12 favorites]


Thanks for this post. Pull quote for me:
In South Carolina there was that time four of you walked in grinning and salivating as you often do, and were all ready to be regaled of the good old days until a German tourist scratched your record. He said, “How do you feel as a Black American, dressing like your Ancestors and cooking and working this way?”

You started to frown.

I said, “Slavery was colloquial and discretionary, one story doesn’t tell all. But its important to remember that our Ancestors survived this. Survived slavery.”

He pushed me further. You gestured towards the door.

“How do people feel about slavery?”

My retort was fast. “How do you feel about the Shoah? How do you feel about the Holocaust?”
The German said, “The Holocaust was a terrible thing and never should have happened. We were children when Germany was coming out of the ashes. But it is a shame upon our nation.”

As the four of you turned to leave, I got in a good one: “That’s a phrase you will almost never hear some white Southerners say. “Slavery was a terrible thing and never should have happened.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:54 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]




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