Discussion: The Economist Review Laments Book Portrays All Black Slaves As 'Victims'

Discussion for article #227269

What year is this? A slave that wasn’t physically or sexually abused was still owned and was only lucky to not be AS victimized as others that were owned by worse.

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Yeah! Where are the stories of all the blacks who became rich and successful while being slaves? Why doesn’t the author of Black Cotton mention them?

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The reviewer needs to tour some plantations in Louisiana. There are tons of them. Even the rosiest picture painted by the most sympathetic docent will disabuse him of the notion that the owners had much concern for the well-being of slaves.

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Puritanism as force for economic growth? How many Puritans does he think were here? They were not much of a population and their Purity didn’t last very long. Their prosperity is certainly not on par with other more acquisitive types.

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The comments on the review so far are pretty entertaining and universally negative. I smell an editor’s note or some other form of wea culpa coming soon.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the comments to the article myself.

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Most likely, coming from someone who considers it slavery to be forced to buy good health insurance, and who thinks they’re a victim if they don’t get to tell everyone exactly what they think.

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Authorless? Gee I wonder where Dinesh D’Souza is.

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I’ll have to look through my history books again, but wasn’t the North actually leading the economic expansion during the pre-Civil War period through the canals and railroads, with the development of pre-industrial production capacity and urban economies?

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Won’t be long until this is picked up on Fox News.

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Slavery is not victimization! And some white slave owners were really nice guys! Why, they didn’t beat their slaves any more than they’d beat a rented mule! Even less, possibly!

All this talk about slavery being the major engine of American economic growth gives too much credit to black people, too.

It’s entirely too one-sided to say that slaves were important to the American economy and were treated as harshly as they were in “12 Years a Slave.”

Or something. Excuse me, I have to go vomit continuously now until I get these words out of my brain…

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This is not history; it is advocacy.

Who is he advocating for? Slavery ended, but I understand that the reviewer is worried that the author did not cover the benefits slaves got by being brought to America.

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My favorite comment so far on the Economist website to this review:

“Elie Weisel has not written an objective history of the Holocaust. Almost all the Jews in his book are victims, almost all the Nazis villains.”

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“Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery,” the review reads. “Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.”
That actually works for me as history.

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Absolutely. It was Northern manufacturing that led the economic expansion; Britain jumped in to help the South because it needed the cotton for its textile industry, but had long since, as a nation and Empire, made slavery illegal.

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The North wouldn’t have gotten to that point without slavery in the South in anywhere near the time. You underestimate the economic value of slaves in pre-war America, and how much the North depended on them.

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We can always count on the white Anglo-Saxon capitalist to school us about the “other side” of slavery.

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If you ask me, he needs to work on one, involuntarily, in the hot sun, from sunup to sundown, while the plantation owner is raping his daughter.

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Well, it seems that the Economist has descended into full Wall Street Journalesque asshattery. Not only do they sound like unempathic douchbags, but it’s from a strawman premise.

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