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I appreciate that you're trying to research this, but the quote is troubling:
Whites were slaves for life, long before Blacks ever were.
This slavery was even hereditary
Free Black property owners strutted the streets
Before British slavers traveled to Africa's western coast to buy Black slaves from African chieftains
This is all language of denial, one-upping, and minimising. While much in the quote may be factual (and I'm certainly not vouching for all of it), the tone is racist. When I looked at the source, it is not a Toronto news source, but a blogger in Toronto who seems to be obsessed with immigration and minorities.
This was my concern with the topic and what I was warning MfM about -- it has and is used commonly among hate groups.
Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
Waxing philosophical, the black death and the renaiscance saw the end of feudalism in western Europe, but the emergance of nonvoluntary economic relationship not bound by social norms (for better or worse serfs had certain protections provided by law, slaves do not) in Europe as the continent began to explore and colonize did occur.
Returning to my daily line about social embeddedness, the English possessions were unique in the extent to which responsibilities where one sided. While the Spanish practiced slavery it seems to me that it existed in a regulating social context far greater than the English. I could be wrong. Slaves had no station in public life, but did have social protection from the worst sorts of abuses. In the English possessions, where the economic incentives were the greatest (on the sugar plantations in the Caribbean) conditions for slaves were the most horrific.
While slaves in the current US where allowed (with notable exceptions) to have families, and have a family life, instilling control by cooption rather than coercion. In the Carribbean it was common to treat slaves as little more than livestock with breeding being conducted as such. No small wonder then that slave rebellions were more common in the Carribean than North America.....
I appear to have started something.
St. Patrick is on my mind, and I'm going to take my leave, before I become incoherent.
Let me say this. This history needs to be rescued from those who would use it to justify racism. By ignoring it's existence, when it did happen, it only lends credence to those who use it for nefarious purposes.
And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
Another of Hoffman's subjects of study is indentured servitude and slavery in America; he contends that a widespread history of white slavery has been overlooked by most historians. In his book They Were White and They Were Slaves, Hoffman attempts to demonstrate a social structure situating poor whites as holding the lowest post in colonial and post-colonial America
All our ancestors were the "lucky" ones -- history is pretty bloody.
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