Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little reading this shit:
Seriously, it is vomit inducing. It takes a very special kind of stupid to defend slavery as “not that bad” and to call an anti-slavery movie “abolitionist porn”. According to John “White Privilege Knows No Bounds” Derbyshire, movie like this totes cover up the fact that slavery wasn’t THAT bad. Sure, there were a few bad apples in the fellow-human-owning bunch, but for the most part them darkies was happy under the kindly rule of their Masters.
I am not making this up.
His “proof” that slavery wasn’t THAT bad is that there were black overseers and that there were lots of nice things freed slaves said about their masters. Here is one of his delightful examples:
“Mars George fed an’ clo’esed well an’ was kin’ to his slaves, but once in a while one would git onruly an’ have to be punished. De worse I ever seen one whupped was a slave man dat had slipped off an’ hid out in de woods to git out of wuk. Dey chased him wid blood hounds, an’ when dey did fin’ him dey tied him to a tree, stroppin’ him ’round an’ ’round. Dey sho’ did gib him a lashin’.”
According to John Derbyshire this “illustrates” his point. You know, because Mars George was “kin’” to his slaves except for the one dude the bloodhounds chased down and that the white guys beat severely. But who among us would call lashing just one man “wrong”, amirite? See? White masters were mostly peachy!
John Derbyshire also rationalizes that slavery didn’t suck all the balls because people born into slavery got used to it. Yep. He actually wrote: “People are born, raised, educated, and find themselves in a certain kind of society to which those around them are all accustomed. American slave society was a way of life; a settled way that most people took for granted, as most people will anywhere.”
He then compares slavery to communist China. Because a repressive regime is exactly the same thing as people being owned like chattel and restricts their freedoms in exactly the same way. In fact, China is a handy example of how people adjust to having their loved one sold to another plantation!
“Families broken up? One of my Chinese colleagues lived alone because his wife was “assigned” to a distant province. He only saw her once a year. The guy drank a lot. Yet while there was much grumbling, and some scattered seething rebelliousness, most Chinese got along with the system. A lot of people were very happy with it. You didn’t have to think much, or take much responsibility. And that suits many of us just fine.”
Golly, I never knew separation from a spouse and the oppression of a brutal government was something that suited many of us just fine! I am sure I would “adjust” if Sweet Babou was taken from me. If someone ripped my daughters out of my arms and raped them because they were pretty, I am sure I would think it was nothing too heinous, what with a lot of people being happy to be slaves. Happy because they didn’t have to think or take much responsibility. You know dem black folks love having whites around to make dem hard decisions!
Of course John Derbyshire thinks that, “Personally, I’d be a terrible slave—too ornery. I know people, though—and I’m talking about white people—who I quietly suspect would be happy in slavery.” How nice that he is too independent but he can tell who would be happy to bear the yolk of being owned like a damn dog!
Wait! There is MORE. John Derbyshire also cites the example of a master who appreciated his slave’s unpaid labors at the threat of physical punishment as an example of this benign institution:
“A slaveholding Confederate soldier who had to send his body servant home insisted upon his early return. “He is a great darky—worth his weight in gold even in these hard times,” he glowed, explaining. “He can tell you what things I principally need & more fully than I can write—he knows more about it anyway than I do, knows more about what I have and what I need—he attends to it all.”
How nice that he likes the fact his slave does a great job! I’m sure the threat of being sold or whipped — not to mention the vulnerability of all those he loved – influenced the man’s devotion in any way!
And where, exactly, is John Derbyshire getting his facts? Why, from none other than A Time on the Cross – a “nuanced” book about how slavery wasn’t so bad written by two old white men in the early 1970s when racism was completely over in America! Except that it turns out that that this little book, a gem I am sure, has some problems:
“In 1975, the historian Herbert Gutman criticized the authors’ reliance on evidence from a single, unrepresentative plantation. He also noted the authors were extremely careless in their maths, and often used the wrong measurement to estimate the harshness of slavery (for example, estimating the number of slaves whipped rather than how often each slave was whipped). In Slavery and the Numbers Game (1975), Gutman argued that Fogel and Engerman also routinely ignored better, readily available data. He criticized Fogel and Engerman on a host of other issues as well, including the lack of evidence for systematic and regular rewards, and a failure to consider the effect public whipping would have on other slaves. He argued that Fogel and Engerman had mistakenly assumed that slaves had assimilated the Protestant work ethic. If they had such an ethic, then the system of punishments and rewards outlined in Time on the Cross would support Fogel and Engerman’s thesis. Gutman conclusively showed that most slaves had not adopted this ethic at all, and that slavery’s carrot-and-stick approach to work was not part of the slave worldview. Gutman and others’ critiques were so thorough that in 1975 Thomas Haskell wrote that Time on the Cross appeared to be “severely flawed and possibly not even worth further attention by serious scholars.”
Wow. Evidence from a SINGLE plantation does not a 100 years of slavery make? Who knew??
But John Derbyshire defends them because “Fogel and Engerman really meant well. It has done them no good, of course: their fascinating book is down there with The Bell Curve in liberal esteem. Human kind cannot bear very much reality.” By the way, The Bell Curve is the book that says black people have genetically inferior IQs, which is bullshit.
His final argument is that liberals are the real racists because Northern abolitionists didn’t want black people living up north. I am not sure what the fokk that has to do with the idea of slavery being less horrid than “abolition porn” would suggest. It looks like just another rehash of the colorblind ideology (old racism in new clothes), and I don’t have room to scoff at that here in the manner it deserves to be scoffed at.
In sum, I find John Derbyshire’s self-aggrandizing, uninformed, anti-historical, apologist piece of written masturbation to be one of the most repellent and ignorant things I have ever read.
John Derbyshire is a complete asshat.