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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 10:42 PM

Why are people twisting themselves into knots defending Northam's indentured servant remark

I don't care whether he was technically accurate about some Africans being indentured servants. What did indentured servants have to do with what he was talking about or why he's in such hot water?

When he smeared on blackface and posed grinning next to the guy in the KKK outfit, he wasn't harkening back to a time when white people mocked, demeaned, terrorized, and murdered former indentured servants.

The entire racist Jim Crow culture that Northam voluntarily made himself complicit in was was created and perpetuated in order to stigmatize and subjugate former slaves and their descendants - to impose on them a permanent "badge of inferiority" intended to maintain their inferior status and thereby justify the institution of slavery.

Therefore, bringing up indentured servitude in a discussion about racism and his own racist behavior was a deflection ... but one that, given the fervent defenses some people are eagerly offering, seems to have been effective.

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Reply Why are people twisting themselves into knots defending Northam's indentured servant remark (Original post)
Empowerer Feb 2019 OP
LisaM Feb 2019 #1
Igel Feb 2019 #8
LisaM Feb 2019 #10
no_hypocrisy Feb 2019 #2
sweetloukillbot Feb 2019 #3
EffieBlack Feb 2019 #4
maxrandb Feb 2019 #5
jodymarie aimee Feb 2019 #6
maxrandb Feb 2019 #7
EffieBlack Feb 2019 #9

Response to Empowerer (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 10:52 PM

1. Why did he say that? It was very peculiar.

I don't really think of Virginia as the deep South, but I'm rethinking that (and I should know better because I've read a couple of books in the last couple of years that clearly said otherwise).

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Response to LisaM (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:45 PM

8. Because he said "400" years.

That means 1619.

There was no "deep south" then. There was just a claim to territory to counterbalance Spanish and French claims.

It pays to remember that slaveries vary in time and space. What we think of as "the" slavery from the antebellum South was but one of many, with different traits and legal niceties. In the very 1700s, white Americans were also taken slaves, but not by other white Americans. There were slaver raids through the Middle Ages from the Chersonesus up through County Cork. Benghazi was noted for its slave trade. Benin City was still largely had a slave-trade economy in the late 1800s.

The slave system in North America was different from the system in Brazil was different from the system in Haiti and from the system in Mexico, and they all changed over time.

Serfdom in, say, Russia also varied over time and space. From how the owner was paid, in time or in kind or in cash; whether the serfs could be sold apart from the land or were land-bound; whether they were free to move as long as they stayed on state land. When you read of a serf in 1700 and 1800 and 1850, they're different. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't.

The "indentured servant" bit is especially telling, however, because indentured servitude continued for scores of years after 1619. At least some of my ancestors were probably brought over as indentured servants. Some people sold themselves for debt; some sold their offspring for debt or money; and some were indentured as a consequence of debt that they owed, not entering into the indenture voluntarily. That it was little different from chattel slavery doesn't mean it wasn't different.

Many of the Africans that landed in 1619 (apparently courtesy of the Dutch) as "indentured servants" won their freedom under the terms of their assumed indenture. That's a difference, and wouldn't have been very likely a hundred years later, and even harder to pull off a hundred years after that.

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Response to Igel (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 02:00 PM

10. No, I get the "indentured servants" thing, and I know about the different slave systems.

I just think it's an odd thing for someone to say now.

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Response to Empowerer (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:01 PM

2. Back in the 1600's when slavery started, the slave-hostages from Africa could have

been initially referred to as "indentured servants" when in fact they were never intended to be freed.

At the same time, all throughout the colonies, there were "indentured servants" from Great Britain (white, Anglo Saxon). When they worked a certain number of years, they were allowed to leave their "employer" and live independent lives. They were essentially slaves as they had no rights and were regarded as property and the price for their freedom was usually exorbitant. It was a like a debtors' prison without bars.

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Response to Empowerer (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:09 PM

3. The worst in me wonders if it was a dogwhistle to the "White Slavery" crowd

But I really just think the guy is an idiot.

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Response to Empowerer (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:20 PM

4. This is so true n/t

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Response to Empowerer (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:23 PM

5. No one is twisting themselves into pretzels

Maybe we just read the NY Times expose where they actually went and talked to the people he grew up with and went to school with and played football, basketball and crabbed on the Eastern Shore with.

Maybe we read about his work as a doctor in communities that needed a doctor. Maybe we've dug a little more into his 40 years of dedicated service and promotion of legislative policies and have weighed that against some stupid, insensitive and hurtful thing he may, or may not have done when he was 25.

He's a genuine and decent man. Maybe those of us... some of the over 1.5 million that voted for him and the direction we want Virginia to go, know a little bit more than some kneejerk folks on an internet website.

Maybe we're not ready to throw all we've worked for in Virginia out in the trash over the unhinged rush to judgment exhibited here.

Maybe folks who are going to see evil and racism in every word uttered, and are just itching for that gotcha moment like a snake sizing up a church mouse with a broken foot, aren't the people who should presume to tell Virginians what they should be outraged over.

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Response to maxrandb (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:30 PM

6. I totally agree with you

 

and Rev Barber and Pelosi..who said let the state figure this out....

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:39 PM

7. I never thought President Obama was an anti-white

racist who hated America when Faux News and Hannity played Reverend Wright on a loop for 8 years.

I'm damned sure not going to call Northam a racist and demand he resign because the media says I should.

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Response to maxrandb (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 12:10 AM

9. You're proving the OP's point

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