Archive for the ‘prejudice’ Category

Well let’s start with the big news. I am black– well part black. My opinion on reparations has changed overnight. Not only that, but now I can tell black jokes without feeling guilty.

It turns out my father’s great-great-grandfather was a former slave turned notable layman astronomer. I am currently researching this to confirm or deny it. What an interesting thing to learn about my family’s history.

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Even as a boring researcher who spends days on end in dusty old archives, every now and again something shocks you. I came across this ad not long into my research regarding runaway slaves in Eastern North Carolina. [The full size image can be found below the page break].

Runaway Slave Ad

Why is an old advertisement so shocking and interesting? The above advertisement’s five simple (although surprisingly verbose) paragraphs are short hand for a much larger and even more interesting tale. Their story includes enslavement, betrayal, yearning for freedom, fatherhood, rebellion, courage, anger, and half a dozen other compelling emotional angles that should perk the ears and tug at the heart.

Beyond that, the characters are laid out in a detailed manner (considering the space allowed for an advertisement), but in such a way that you are left desiring to know more about them.

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I needed an outlet for my historical blogging needs so I opened a new blog here at WordPress at

http://thehistorydump.wordpress.com

I didn’t want to bore all those who check my blog for weight loss advice with long discussions of slavery and slave patrols.  So if you are interested swing on by  and leave a few comments.

Here is a copy of the inaugural post on my new blog…

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Here are some excerpts from a graduate level paper I wrote a few years ago. The first part is merely restating the position of other scholars (proving I understood their work), the second part is my original work in reviewing and analyzing several North Carolina Supreme Court decisions regarding slaves, free blacks, white men, white women, and the theme that tied it all together- honor.

Here are a few excerpts. The full paper can be found in Word format file linked at the bottom of this post. Citations have been omitted from this posting and can be found in the complete paper provided below.

Why couldn’t slaves possess honor?

Four reasons explain the perception of slaves as beings without honor. First, plantation life led many whites to view blacks as hopelessly depraved and indifferent to correction. Second, laws enacted by the legislature created a wall that kept slaves from acquiring the ability to meet the requirements of the duel and honor. Third, “scientific” literature on race fed into white beliefs that blacks lacked the capacity of bearing honor, from their flat noses to their skin color. Lastly, the peculiar institution required total submission from slaves. If slaves had been granted honor it would have required the reciprocal ability to defend that honor— an ability that would have proved dangerous to the system itself.

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Well, it is a rewrite of a section of my thesis.  I tweaked it a bit (well a lot) to fit into a scholarly journal- I am thinking the North Carolina Historical Review (NCHR).  I will be posting a rough draft in the coming week or so.

So all of you who like that kind of stuff set aside some time in your schedule to give it a read.  🙂

I am presenting for your enjoyment a PowerPoint presentation on slavery I created last year for a course on teaching at the college level. Some of its contents might surprise you. Let me know what you think.

Most of all I want to know if you learned anything knew? Did it challenge anything you thought you knew? What do you think it was missing? Or anything else that might be on your mind.

Just click the below link/file.

What is Slavery

Pakistani Christians Warned to Convert, Munir Ahmad

“Christians in a Pakistani town beset by pro-Taliban militants sought government protection Wednesday, the eve of a deadline for them to convert to Islam or face violence.

About 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received letters earlier this month telling them to close their churches and convert by Thursday or be the target of “bomb explosions.”

Joel Rosenberg Blog

There are new reports this week that Iran may join a Central Asian military alliance with Russia. Syria has just moved up its schedule for a major military exercise. It was planned for the late summer and early fall. Now the Syrian war games will begin this month and run through July. This has intensified speculation among intelligence analysts that Syria could be preparing for a summer war.”

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Today I will be working on some unfinished work. I am polishing up a short article for submission to the New Bern Historical Journal about the events as Street’s Bridge in 1821. For anyone interested, a larger discussion of the events at Street’s Bridge can be found in the first chapter of my thesis.

Beyond that I need to begin work on a new article I hope to submit to the North Carolina Historical Review. My new article will discuss the condition of the North Carolina Militia between the war of 1812 and the Mexican-American war of 1846.

Beyond the above topics I am looking into possible papers on

  1. “Amazing Grace:” A Look into the Religious Outlook of Southern Slaves. Reading through slave narratives, the amount of faith in Christ (and their own personal redemption from slavery) is amazing considering their unique circumstances. (I’ll post an example later)
  2. North Carolina Slave Patrols on the Eve of the Civil War.  Very few have researched North Carolina’s slave patrol system.  With the exception of Sally Hadden’s work (not to mention my own thesis; and that of another grad student) the study of North Carolina’s slave patrol has been largely neglected.
  3. Wards of the State: The Orphans of War.  The story of how the children of one officer who served in the war of 1812 received significant compensation directly from the state- including financing an education at West Point (books, uniforms, etc.).

Since this is a slow day for workouts, how about some news stories from around the web.

Sharpton’s Collateral Damage

Future of Imus Charity Ranch Questioned, Deborah Baker (AP).

“Don Imus’s banishment from the public airwaves also deprives him of a critical platform to raise money for the sprawling Imus Ranch, where children with cancer and other illnesses get a taste of the cowboy life…

…Imus said he and his wife Deirdre are round-the-clock surrogate parents to the youngsters who spend a week at the property, nearly half of whom are from minority groups and 10 percent are black.”

[Someone who asked a similar question stirred up a lively debate over at “Yahoo! Answers” (See also this discussion on the same forum). For those of you unaware of Sharpton’s slash and burn (not to mention callous disregard for the truth) past see Larry Elder’s recent article. I’ll leave you to decide if Imus’s good works are of far greater worth than three words- “nappy headed hos.”

Aside: I despise this topic; however, I discuss it because the media has turned it into a major news event. I emphatically state for the record that I can’t stand Imus or his radio show.

For your perusal I have also linked to several comments on Imus’s firing.

Cowards Kick Another Piece of America’s Soul, Kinky Friedman.

“Wavy Gravy says he salutes mistakes. They’re what makes us human, he claims. And humanity beyond doubt, is what appears to be missing from this equation. If we’ve lost the ability to laugh at ourselves, to laugh at each other, to laugh together, then the PC world has succeeded in diminishing us all.”

Music Lyrics Take Spotlight During Imus Controversy, Goff and Alexander [Could also be called “The Giant Double Standard Elephant in the Room.”]

[When asked to defend a rap act where the N-word was used more than 100 times (I bet if the H word (ho) and the B word (b*tch) had been counted the tally would have been much higher) the student body president responded with the following statement- contained in the article linked above]

“Being they are a performing artist group they’re merely here to entertain us. That’s nothing serious in content, they’re here to entertain.” – Student Body President Deven Anderson.

[Imus Fired for Threatening to Reveal 9/11 Secrets?] American Radio Icon Don Imus Disgraced, Fired after Threat to Reveal 9/11 Secrets, Sorcha Faal.

“In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically ‘connected’, and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.”

[Is this kind of stuff supposed to be taken seriously?]

The Ten Commandments for Husbands, Doug Giles.

Thou shalt not hang out with horndogs. Hanging out with guys who hateth their wives, who loveth to indulge in the superfluity of naughtiness and who are out to convert the faithful to the Cult of Infidelity is muy goofy. Be not deceived: bad company will land thee in a strip club or an illicit affair which will causeth thou to meet with the chainsaw of Jehovah. Be afraid.”

[An excellent list of ten rules to live by that will keep us men out of most of the stupid and ridiculous situation we often find ourselves in. I also recommend my series (a new section is in the works) on living the deliberate life.]

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As the events transpired not too far down the road from where I attended graduate school, I find it hard to remain silent. The headline today, “All Charges Dropped in Duke Case” is an indication that some justice has finally occurred in this horrible display of prosecutorial power abused.

This case has dredged up a lot of emotion since it first hit the news. Many found it hard to ignore. Sadly, it wasn’t because of any good evidence that would indicate that the accuser’s claims were truthful. Instead, the media ate up this story since it was a perfect story- a story of privilege vs. poverty, white vs. black, men vs. woman, powerful vs. powerless, etc.

A real problem has been exposed by this case. It is reported that the Duke players’ families have incurred a debt close to 3 million dollars for their respective sons’ legal defense fund. What of the boys who can’t afford the best lawyers? How many prosecutors like Nifong have steamrolled over innocent young men because they lacked the material resources to defend themselves?

In all their paroxysms over the guilt of these evil, rich, privileged white boys, the media forgot one very important thing. If they had been the opposite, if the accused were poor black kids, could they have received a fair trial? Most likely not. Why?

First, the media wouldn’t have even taken notice. The story wouldn’t have garnered much attention, since it didn’t fit the ideal narrative present in the Duke case. The media took notice because this case fell within a narrative framework that fits well in the weltanschauung of modern liberals. It is revealing that few in leadership positions at Duke and in the media were willing to consider the innocence of these young men when the accusation first surfaced.

Second, their attorneys would have been overworked and underpaid public defenders- juggling too many cases and without the necessary resources to confront a rogue prosecutor.

Third, the North Carolina system has almost no checks against this kind of prosecutor run amok, and without press coverage there would be little chance of getting anyone in power to act.

Foxnews has come out with an article on the accuser– Crystal Mangum. It indicates that she had a very troubled past. It is worth reading, as the article is highly informative and helped to explain some questions I had about why anyone would present these kind of false accusations.

What Lesson have we Learned?

Lesson One: God’s laws regarding sexual purity, moderation in alcohol, etc. are given for a reason. Had these young men not celebrated by hiring a stripper and consuming alcohol (excessively) this whole drama never would have occurred. While they are not responsible for her false charges, they are responsible for their own actions.

Lesson Two: People who describe themselves as “Victims’ Rights Advocates” have a severe hatred for the truth. They seem to be interested in one thing- proving the guilt of any accused individual. I am sure that even now many VRA’s will be condemning the A.G.’s actions and bemoaning how this case turned out.

For the life of me I can’t believe that there are people out there who believe (and I saw these words in print in reference to this case several months ago), “Women don’t lie about rape.” This kind of thing is really ridiculous, especially if you apply the Feminist perspective to the above statement. If women are mostly powerless, and they seek avenues to gain power, rape accusations present the perfect opportunity to be empowered. The female accuser in a rape case gets near unconditional support, no condemnation or criticism from those interviewing and counseling her, and a near blank check for future support and care. Of course as the case moves on the accuser might be rightly or wrongly maligned by the defense- but does this kind of thing really enter the mind of someone seeking immediate love and acceptance (or revenge)?

Lesson Three: Being restricted by a world view that paints all blacks as helpless victims, whites as privileged oppressors, and sets guilt or innocence based on the former categories is severely limited and biased. Our judgments in these matters can’t be based on broad categories that find support only in our own prejudices, but in facts and a reasoned approach to those facts. Whether it be local newspaper editorial section or the Group of 88, most were quick to convict these men before they were even charged, and punish them before they had even the slightest inkling of the facts. Worse yet, many have remained steadfast in their wrongful claim about these young men to this day.

I hope now these young men can begin putting their lives back together. I am glad they are lucky enough to have that chance. I pray for those who lack the same resources and who now sit inside a jail cell, righteously suffering a wrongful conviction. I also pray for the accuser, that her wounds (those wounds that led to this horrid accusation) might be healed, that she might be restored.

May God turn this to good for everyone involved, even Mike Nifong (after he receives his just punishment from his peers- the North Carolina Bar).