[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review
bhandari at berkeley.edu
Fri Nov 3 16:14:26 MST 2006
"The second issue was the question of the origins of racism. I find
that history interesting and it is an area of research for me.
However, I am dropping out of that discussion, as well, because there
is little willingness to consider what the historical record actually
The historical record seems to tell us that what you call essential
differences in the treatment of European and African labor were
hardly that in the early years of Chesapeake (if they were already
essential, then what do you call what followed centuries later--super
essential differences!) and that to the extent that differences did
exist they were result of rather common ethnocentrism and religious
prejudice rather than widespread belief in God's curse of a black Ham
or a racialized Great Chain of Being, much less the naturalistic
ideological belief in Africans as an inferior breed or stock as you
put it. The last ideology only gains ground in the twilight years of
heritable racial servitude.
You are advancing the ideas of David Brion Davis and Winthrop Jordan.
They are controversial, don't you know.
Another point of view is expressed by George Frederickson, Audrey
Smedley, Barbara Fields, Edmund Morgan (whose classic book I haven't
read in fifteen years),St.Clair Drake, John Lie (whose recent Modern
Peoplehood from Harvard is relevant there, though not yet out in
paperback), the Handlins, Theodore Allen and many others who have
examined the historical record more closely than either you or I have.
Are all these people unwilling to study history; are they all dishonest?
We know that you are a free thinker, a thinker who frees himself of
reasoned response to serious criticism.
And from where I stand, I think you have hurled many more insults and
been much nastier in debate than I have been. But I have that foreign
name so perhaps you can count on my coming across as the impolite
one. Drowning man, dishonesty, truth avoidance--I can't remember all
the things you have said. But for some reason you imagine yourself
some kind of innocent. Pathetic.
ps I'd be happy to send your reply to the list if you have in fact
been kicked off. You shouldn't have been.
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