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Deepwater
Banned
(09-13-2017, 09:08 PM)

Originally Posted by entremet

They just want an explanatory plaque, not a full removal.

which is less than what I would of asked for.

As long as white people get to unilaterally decide what racial justice looks like in this country we're not going to get anywhere in terms of progress. And white people aren't going to budge over their founders
LegendofJoe
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by entremet

They just want an explanatory plaque, not a full removal.

That's reasonable. Maybe say something like this 'President Thomas Jefferson was a life-long slave owner who knew it was wrong, but nevertheless did little to help the cause of abolition.'
Last edited by LegendofJoe; 09-13-2017 at 09:12 PM.
Slayven
gimme some o dat God-crafted alabaster greatness
(09-13-2017, 09:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by Deepwater

which is less than what I would of asked for.

As long as white people get to unilaterally decide what racial justice looks like in this country we're not going to get anywhere in terms of progress. And white people aren't going to budge over their founders

Pretty much, they won't allow justice to rattles the white identity. They will toss you some scraps, maybe, but that is about it
AmayaPapaya
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by besada

The number of people literally praising Jefferson for being a hypocrite is sort of amazing. That he said one thing and did another doesn't make him better than the other founding fathers, some of which were ACTUAL abolitionists and didn't keep and/or rape slaves.


Except for the half of the founding fathers that didn't own slaves, or the ones that did but then turned abolitionist and freed them, like Ben Franklin. This ridiculous idea that everyone at the time thought slavery was fine is just a poor reading of history. I literally posted that quote upthread to slow down this incredibly facile view of how our founding fathers viewed slavery. Saying that no one thought slaves should be free spits in the faces of the many abolitionists that fought slavery from the beginning so we can assuage our guilt at lionizing slavers and rapists.

Thisx1000. People were far more progressive than we give them credit for. The arguments against slavery even then, were very well thought out, and had great intentions. Even beyond the founding fathers, just ~50 years later, Thaddius Stevens was the man, before, during, and after the civil war. Most underrated figure in american history, who was so right, he is only now starting to be viewed positively.
Deepwater
Banned
(09-13-2017, 09:20 PM)

Originally Posted by AmayaPapaya

Thisx1000. People were far more progressive than we give them credit for. The arguments against slavery even then, were very well thought out, and had great intentions. Even beyond the founding fathers, just ~50 years later, Thaddius Stevens was the man, before, during, and after the civil war. Most underrated figure in american history, who was so right, he is only now starting to be viewed positively.

I think Ta-Nehisi Coates spoke on this briefly in his recent essay. White people like to perceive racism, past and present, as this amorphous, abstract force that sort of just happens. Only extremities like the KKK are direct components of racism, everyone else just sort of falls in line with "the times". It's kind of like that joke "racism is racism only up until the point that it's perceived, at which point it becomes a coincidence".

The fact that white america's identity is inextricably tied to the founding fathers is a personal problem. Them niggas aint do shit for me, and it's silly to presume the plurality of the country should feel anything for them either.
JABEE
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:23 PM)
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Originally Posted by besada

The number of people literally praising Jefferson for being a hypocrite is sort of amazing. That he said one thing and did another doesn't make him better than the other founding fathers, some of which were ACTUAL abolitionists and didn't keep and/or rape slaves.


Except for the half of the founding fathers that didn't own slaves, or the ones that did but then turned abolitionist and freed them, like Ben Franklin. This ridiculous idea that everyone at the time thought slavery was fine is just a poor reading of history. I literally posted that quote upthread to slow down this incredibly facile view of how our founding fathers viewed slavery. Saying that no one thought slaves should be free spits in the faces of the many abolitionists that fought slavery from the beginning so we can assuage our guilt at lionizing slavers and rapists.

And I'm sure Jefferson saw that slavery would tear the country apart because he read other enlightened thinkers of the time. Slaves were property to them and part of their overall worth and something to be inherited. People like Washington waited until both he and his wife died to free his slaves, unwilling to give up their lifestyle as if to wait until death to donate their estate. The divide also was apparent based on how much of the landowners in a regions had their worth tied up in these "assets."

Jefferson knew it was bad, but was unwilling to do the right thing. It's a mark on his character and legacy. It's something that should be taught in schools, because of the context it provides to the rest of American history including the Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil Rights.

Great, enlightened men doing what is obviously morally wrong to a seasoned thinker of their time.
Last edited by JABEE; 09-13-2017 at 09:27 PM.
dabig2
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:28 PM)
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Originally Posted by besada

The number of people literally praising Jefferson for being a hypocrite is sort of amazing. That he said one thing and did another doesn't make him better than the other founding fathers, some of which were ACTUAL abolitionists and didn't keep and/or rape slaves.


Except for the half of the founding fathers that didn't own slaves, or the ones that did but then turned abolitionist and freed them, like Ben Franklin. This ridiculous idea that everyone at the time thought slavery was fine is just a poor reading of history. I literally posted that quote upthread to slow down this incredibly facile view of how our founding fathers viewed slavery. Saying that no one thought slaves should be free spits in the faces of the many abolitionists that fought slavery from the beginning so we can assuage our guilt at lionizing slavers and rapists.

Just to add on to this:
Smithsonian Magazine: The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson

[...]

“One cannot question the genuineness of Jefferson’s liberal dreams,” writes historian David Brion Davis. “He was one of the first statesmen in any part of the world to advocate concrete measures for restricting and eradicating Negro slavery.”

But in the 1790s, Davis continues, “the most remarkable thing about Jefferson’s stand on slavery is his immense silence.” And later, Davis finds, Jefferson’s emancipation efforts “virtually ceased.”

Somewhere in a short span of years during the 1780s and into the early 1790s, a transformation came over Jefferson.

The very existence of slavery in the era of the American Revolution presents a paradox, and we have largely been content to leave it at that, since a paradox can offer a comforting state of moral suspended animation. Jefferson animates the paradox. And by looking closely at Monticello, we can see the process by which he rationalized an abomination to the point where an absolute moral reversal was reached and he made slavery fit into America’s national enterprise.

We can be forgiven if we interrogate Jefferson posthumously about slavery. It is not judging him by today’s standards to do so. Many people of his own time, taking Jefferson at his word and seeing him as the embodiment of the country’s highest ideals, appealed to him. When he evaded and rationalized, his admirers were frustrated and mystified; it felt like praying to a stone. The Virginia abolitionist Moncure Conway, noting Jefferson’s enduring reputation as a would-be emancipator, remarked scornfully, “Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do.”


[...]

“Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do.” - poignant words and true to such a damn degree. Moving on, and do note that this article is over 8000 words long and very exhaustive that I'm doing a couple highlights. If ya'll have time, give the entire thing a readover. It's quite interesting.

[...]
The critical turning point in Jefferson’s thinking may well have come in 1792. As Jefferson was counting up the agricultural profits and losses of his plantation in a letter to President Washington that year, it occurred to him that there was a phenomenon he had perceived at Monticello but never actually measured. He proceeded to calculate it in a barely legible, scribbled note in the middle of a page, enclosed in brackets. What Jefferson set out clearly for the first time was that he was making a 4 percent profit every year on the birth of black children. The enslaved were yielding him a bonanza, a perpetual human dividend at compound interest. Jefferson wrote, “I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers.” His plantation was producing inexhaustible human assets. The percentage was predictable.

In another communication from the early 1790s, Jefferson takes the 4 percent formula further and quite bluntly advances the notion that slavery presented an investment strategy for the future. He writes that an acquaintance who had suffered financial reverses “should have been invested in negroes.” He advises that if the friend’s family had any cash left, “every farthing of it [should be] laid out in land and negroes, which besides a present support bring a silent profit of from 5. to 10. per cent in this country by the increase in their value.”

The irony is that Jefferson sent his 4 percent formula to George Washington, who freed his slaves, precisely because slavery had made human beings into money, like “Cattle in the market,” and this disgusted him. Yet Jefferson was right, prescient, about the investment value of slaves. A startling statistic emerged in the 1970s, when economists taking a hardheaded look at slavery found that on the eve of the Civil War, enslaved black people, in the aggregate, formed the second most valuable capital asset in the United States. David Brion Davis sums up their findings: “In 1860, the value of Southern slaves was about three times the amount invested in manufacturing or railroads nationwide.” The only asset more valuable than the black people was the land itself. The formula Jefferson had stumbled upon became the engine not only of Monticello but of the entire slaveholding South and the Northern industries, shippers, banks, insurers and investors who weighed risk against returns and bet on slavery. The words Jefferson used—“their increase”—became magic words.

Jefferson’s 4 percent theorem threatens the comforting notion that he had no real awareness of what he was doing, that he was “stuck” with or “trapped” in slavery, an obsolete, unprofitable, burdensome legacy. The date of Jefferson’s calculation aligns with the waning of his emancipationist fervor. Jefferson began to back away from antislavery just around the time he computed the silent profit of the “peculiar institution.”

And this world was crueler than we have been led to believe. A letter has recently come to light describing how Monticello’s young black boys, “the small ones,” age 10, 11 or 12, were whipped to get them to work in Jefferson’s nail factory, whose profits paid the mansion’s grocery bills. This passage about children being lashed had been suppressed—deliberately deleted from the published record in the 1953 edition of Jefferson’s Farm Book, containing 500 pages of plantation papers. That edition of the Farm Book still serves as a standard reference for research into the way Monticello worked.

[...]

Here, we have Jefferson being a pioneer of economizing this "peculiar" institution he supposedly hated. Earlier in the thread there was someone who acknowledged that Jefferson later in his life lost some of his abolition leaning. That, my friend, is an understatement. Moving on to the end:

[...]
In the 1790s, as Jefferson was mortgaging his slaves to build Monticello, George Washington was trying to scrape together financing for an emancipation at Mount Vernon, which he finally ordered in his will. He proved that emancipation was not only possible, but practical, and he overturned all the Jeffersonian rationalizations. Jefferson insisted that a multiracial society with free black people was impossible, but Washington did not think so. Never did Washington suggest that blacks were inferior or that they should be exiled.

It is curious that we accept Jefferson as the moral standard of the founders’ era, not Washington. Perhaps it is because the Father of his Country left a somewhat troubling legacy: His emancipation of his slaves stands as not a tribute but a rebuke to his era, and to the prevaricators and profiteers of the future, and declares that if you claim to have principles, you must live by them.

After Jefferson’s death in 1826, the families of Jefferson’s most devoted servants were split apart. Onto the auction block went Caroline Hughes, the 9-year-old daughter of Jefferson’s gardener Wormley Hughes. One family was divided up among eight different buyers, another family among seven buyers.

Joseph Fossett, a Monticello blacksmith, was among the handful of slaves freed in Jefferson’s will, but Jefferson left Fossett’s family enslaved. In the six months between Jefferson’s death and the auction of his property, Fossett tried to strike bargains with families in Charlottesville to purchase his wife and six of his seven children. His oldest child (born, ironically, in the White House itself) had already been given to Jefferson’s grandson. Fossett found sympathetic buyers for his wife, his son Peter and two other children, but he watched the auction of three young daughters to different buyers. One of them, 17-year-old Patsy, immediately escaped from her new master, a University of Virginia official.

Joseph Fossett spent ten years at his anvil and forge earning the money to buy back his wife and children. By the late 1830s he had cash in hand to reclaim Peter, then about 21, but the owner reneged on the deal. Compelled to leave Peter in slavery and having lost three daughters, Joseph and Edith Fossett departed Charlottesville for Ohio around 1840. Years later, speaking as a free man in Ohio in 1898, Peter, who was 83, would recount that he had never forgotten the moment when he was “put up on the auction block and sold like a horse.”


[...]

So basically, Tommy J's entire history is whitewashed and, if anything, what these protestors want is the bare minimum we should be striving for.
TheYanger
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:29 PM)
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To me the actual downside is mostly that it makes Trump sound right to his supporters with his "HUR DUR BOTH SIDES THEY WANNA TEAR DOWN WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON NEXT" stance.

I think it's fair to say that unlike someone like Lee, Jefferson was at least someone who was important to the country in positive ways, even if there were huge huge negatives as well, so it's certainly more complicated than someone who was literally at war to enslave people.

It's simply not as cut and dry from either angle, and that makes Jefferson a trickier subject, because it would require some introspection and discussion from everywhere, which feeds into the 'both sides' narrative that surrounded other recent events in such a bullshit way.

I hope wha tI'm saying here isn't lost or coming accross wrongly, I think it's important to temper our reverence for our history with a healthy dose of facts about these people, and even if that's what the protesters want, it's going to be fuel for the people who won't read anything beyond "THEY TOOK OUR STATUES"
Massive Duck, C.M.
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:32 PM)
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Originally Posted by Deepwater

I think Ta-Nehisi Coates spoke on this briefly in his recent essay. White people like to perceive racism, past and present, as this amorphous, abstract force that sort of just happens. Only extremities like the KKK are direct components of racism, everyone else just sort of falls in line with "the times". It's kind of like that joke "racism is racism only up until the point that it's perceived, at which point it becomes a coincidence".

The fact that white america's identity is inextricably tied to the founding fathers is a personal problem. Them niggas aint do shit for me, and it's silly to presume the plurality of the country should feel anything for them either.

Yup

If you're black, the sanctity of the founding slaveowners really isn't on your playlist
dcdobson
Member
(09-13-2017, 09:33 PM)
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Originally Posted by EMT0

It's also the breeding ground of Breitbart. I know someone who was directly recruited to write for them that went to school there. And other prominent alt-righters hail from there too.

My point is that it's a curious decision to go to the school if you're that opposed to the figure most closely associated with it. I say this as an alum of color, for context.
zashga
Member
(09-13-2017, 10:14 PM)
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Jefferson was not a saintly figure, and he deserves more complicated treatment than the customary hero worship. I don't have any problems with his accomplishments being contextualized and contrasted with his failures as a human being.
Africanus
Member
(09-13-2017, 11:18 PM)
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It's funny how people will go in circles to contextualize his actions when there's maybe one contemporary account from a stockholmed black voice that was justifying slavery.

Surprisingly, people knew it was wrong!
It just reminds me how much of history is viewed from a white lense.
MsKrisp
Member
(09-14-2017, 05:03 AM)
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Originally Posted by dabig2

Just to add on to this:
Smithsonian Magazine: The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson


“Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do.” - poignant words and true to such a damn degree. Moving on, and do note that this article is over 8000 words long and very exhaustive that I'm doing a couple highlights. If ya'll have time, give the entire thing a readover. It's quite interesting.




Here, we have Jefferson being a pioneer of economizing this "peculiar" institution he supposedly hated. Earlier in the thread there was someone who acknowledged that Jefferson later in his life lost some of his abolition leaning. That, my friend, is an understatement. Moving on to the end:


So basically, Tommy J's entire history is whitewashed and, if anything, what these protestors want is the bare minimum we should be striving for.

This is really interesting, thank you
mjp2417
Member
(09-14-2017, 05:09 AM)
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Those seem like entirely reasonable demands, at least as described in the article

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