[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

Austin, Andrew austina at uwgb.edu
Thu Nov 2 23:31:44 MST 2006


From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu on behalf of Rakesh Bhandari
Sent: Thu 11/2/2006 4:59 PM
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: [Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

"Let's, then, leave aside the silly proclamations of a dialectical historical approach (another term you have not defined) and
references to the Grundrisse which has very little to do with this discussion."

AA:  You aren't using Marx's method in analyzing racism?  Let me rephrase that question (because I know you're not).  You don't consider yourself to be using Marx's method in analyzing racism?  Dialectical and historical methods are not useful in your eyes?

"How have you proven the existence of racism during this period rather than religious and ethnocentric prejudice...?"
AA:  I proved that Englishmen thought of blacks as essentially different from whites during this period.  If you say that you read my essay and claim that I didn't prove this, or if you are familiar with the literature and argue that this is not the case, then you are only interested in appearing to be right and not concerned with actually seeking truth.  The record doesn't make sense unless essentialist racial categories are in operation.

"So called miscegenation become illegal; slavery becomes hereditary; children are enslaved; one legal right after another is stripped until we arrive at the horrors of the extra legal violence of public torture lynchings ; the peculium is taken away. Even all this is not justified ex ante by an an already developed ideology of racism."
AA: Why didn't they enslave white people?
"And where have you proven that had racist doctrine not already been developed in the premodern period...?"
AA:  I claim that racism emerged with the emergence of capitalism within the European world-system.  If I used the term "premodern" I apologize.  I'm a Marxist, not a modernization theorist.

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