Here is a second Comment of the Day on the brief post about the unforgivable “Proud Family” race-huckstering video circulated by the Disney wokesters. The company and the brand deserves to suffer for this, and it looks it will. JutGory’s take is significantly different from that of the previous COTD on this topic.
Two bits of information that haven’t appeared here before:
- “40 acres and a mule” wasn’t a broken promise as much as it was an irresponsible one. It didn’t come from Congress or the President; there was no law passed. That old softy General Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, and it directed confiscated Confederate land to be distributed to freed slaves. (No mule is mentioned.) By June, the land had been allocated to 40,000 freed slaves, but there were 4 million of them. The war was officially over by then, and the government wasn’t bound by a single general’s promise, nor could it be.
- Disney’s propaganda piece repeats the “hand up, don’t shoot!” Big Lie from the Michael Brown affair….just like Black Lives Matters.
Now here is Jut’s Comment of the Day on the recent post about Disney’s Critical Race Theory video:
It is false.
Slavery did create a certain amount of wealth in the country for sure.
But, I am sure that those who created this video do not want to examine the true nature of that wealth creation.
Slaves were treated like beasts of burden. They do not magically generate wealth. There is an inherent COST to BENEFIT analysis that must be done.
And, slaveholders did that. Whatever wealth that was built by slaves came with an economic COST. Slavery did not mean slave labor was free.
You could just as easily say (taking a cue from the video) mule labor built this country.
You also need to look at the fragility of wealth. I have read hundreds of “slave narratives” (the interviews from the WPA don’t count as much as “narratives” as those of Booker Washington, Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman) and one of the recurring themes in a lot of them interviews of ex-slaves was that Union troops plundered Southern Plantations as they moved through. They took food, property, etc. as they went through the South and freed up plantations.
It makes perfect sense that they would do that, but it also illustrates an important point: the liberation of the South involved a huge amount of destruction of the wealth that was created by slaves. The South may have economically benefited from slavery in a disproportionate manner, a good deal of that wealth was destroyed in the Civil War.
For my part, I wish the “40 acres and a mule” reparations program would have worked. That would have been a fair form of reparations at the time (because ex-slaves would have been easy to identify—much like the descendants of interred Japanese could be identified). Sadly, for many reasons, it did not. Also, sadly, many advances by black people in this country have faced reverses.
But, those setbacks don’t make me think that we should make even dumber mistakes.
11 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “‘What’s Going On Here?’ Why Does Disney Think It Is Appropriate To Produce And Circulate Abrasive, Divisive, Confrontational Interest Group Propaganda And Indoctrination Like This?””
I have never seen it mentioned, but women have at least as strong an argument for reparations as blacks do.
Just opening cans of worms right and left this week, aren’t you?
I think not. I appreciate that Jack affords opportunity to listen, dialogue, and learn. I don’t have the luxury of time to read and learn as I would like to, so I gain the benefit of learning much from Ethics Alarms, and perhaps especially from the many regular commenters, like JutGory in this article. Thanks to all of you, and keep up the good work!
You noticed! Yes, it suits my mood these days. As I think I’ve mentioned here before, one of my junior year roomies in college was a bitter, depressed, nihilist but also brilliant amd funny Vietnam vet named Andy Kincaid. Andy was usually stoned, sitting alone in a dark room playing Sun Ra and similar fare. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, and was an absolute truth-teller.
Andy’s stock reaction to disasters, screw-ups or anything that made us indignant was to smile and say, “Fuck it, right?” I think about Andy’s philosophy often these days, and you know, he was on to something.
Andy died shortly after graduation when a bus he was riding in on the way to the Amazon pitched off a mountain road. And I’m pretty sure Andy was thinking on the way down, “Fuck it, right?”
I miss him.
It is very complicated though because as a daughter of a pair of parents one of whom was in the ‘privileged’ male group, I could have benefited while living at home from the economic advantages somewhat. But, because my father had the view that the man gets the choicest pick of food and other items in the household the benefits were limited by his beliefs and actions. He felt that he was unfairly treated as a child because his sisters weren’t beaten as he and his brother were, so he felt that to even things out he had to treat the female children and the male children equally unfairly. Some of his attitudes were that as the head of household he ‘knew’ who was guilty when anything happened so would choose who to punish based on his feelings rather than any evidence. I still remember standing in line with my siblings and dear dad had decided that someone had done something wrong and that since no one confessed he would have all of us hold out our hands so he could hit them with a hammer. I chose to break the cycle with my children, but another sibling decided that dear old dad was right and treated their children similarly, and now wonders why one of the now grown children won’t even speak to them.
For people of mixed heritage it is also complicated by the feeling of being shoved out of most of the groups one could belong to. Considered too white to be African American or Native American and considered too non-white to be white can be a hard place to be. Strangely enough, the one group I do not belong to (Hispanic) frequently mistakes me to belong to them and starts talking to me in Spanish.
Oh Kathy, I’m so sorry you had to go through that! I hope you came through the ordeal as grounded and healthy as you sound. I was incredibly fortunate in the parents lottery, and I don’t think I appreciated just how lucky for a long, long time. You just reminded me again.
The South may have economically benefited from slavery in a disproportionate manner, a good deal of that wealth was destroyed in the Civil War.
Indeed. From the fate of the Southern currency and investment to the rape and pillage of the plantations, the Southern economy, along with most of the wealth the slaves helped to create was destroyed by the war and its aftermath.
Great comment, Jut.
I find the whole idea of reparations to anyone not directly affected by some harm societal norm an abomination. Where would it stop?
Jut’s essay hit many of the most important issues associated with slavery reparations. If I could extend his comment on cost/benefit analysis of owning a slave we should compare the economic condition of equivalent free white agricultural/industrial workers. Where whites worked as free sharecroppers, just as peasants did in Europe, they earned no more than a subsistence income. For those working in extraction and manufacturing industries free whites became indentured to company owners who provided workers housing, food and sundries through company stores. At the end of the day little if nothing was available for saving. Those not economically handcuffed to their employer were able to escape during westward expansion. There is very little difference from an economic perspective, between chattel slavery and free unskilled labor.
A history of the industrial expansion in the US reveals that freemen were treated as shabbily as chattel as any southern slave. For example, slaves were not permitted to work in boiler rooms of steam vessels because of failure rate of boilers. In many cases, the Irish were employed because it cost the owners nothing if the boiler exploded or if the worker lost an appendage in the exposed machinery. The Irish and German migration of mid 1800’s gave the northern industrialists a steady supply of consumable labor without having to buy them up front.
The only privilege accruing to the unskilled European migrants was that they were free to migrate at will but such movements were fraught with risk of death.
We are seeing a shift from being able to take a risk to that of the relative safety, albeit without freedom, of what is assumed to be a beneficent government who is becoming the plantation owner of the 21st century.
Great COTD. I read somewhere that the Confederate States of America was the only nation the United States ever defeated in war and did not help rebuild. In fact, Northern opportunists repopulated the devastated and depopulated South and exploited its resources and cheap labor. By restricting former Confederates’ rights to hold office, carpetbaggers and their scalawag enablers gained political power. They acquired much property through tax seizures by Reconstruction-era officials from war-impoverished families. A credible case can be made that poverty was used as a Northern weapon against the South for long after the war -and in fact continues to some extent today.
Thank you, Jack.
It is often difficult to express such ideas.
There is an inherent evil to slavery. It demeaned the slaves and it demeaned the slaveholders. The maxim that absolute powers corrupts absolutely gets illustrated in the depravity of the slaveholders.
But, the problem is that reality is often a lot more complicated than the two-dimensional views that make life easy to understand.
The relationships between slaves and slaveholders were often as complex as any other relationships you can find. Some slaveholders genuinely cared about their slaves as people. And, many slaves genuinely cared about their masters.
Should we really be surprised by that? Should we really be surprised that people living together would care about each other?
But, of course, reality was not that simple either. For some, slaves were an expendable resource that could be destroyed for any reason, even to set an example to others. The sadistic cruelty of the human heart often found an easy outlet for expression in the institution of slavery.
I firmly believe that most people who claim to want a frank discussion about race do not really want to have that discussion. It would require a discussion of the gradations of evil and the complicated relationship between slave and slaveholder.
I appreciate that this forum allows such frank discussions. That is the sort of discussion people claim they want to have. In reality, they likely do not want to acknowledge how complicated real people actually are.
It’s also worth mentioning that there was a fair amount of the sort of gaming the system that goes on in today’s version of capitalism: socialise the costs and privatise the profits. In their case, the slave owners did their best to throw the costs of slave patrols etc. onto the general tax base of their states (and of other states, as regards fugitive slave laws). To use the jargon, this makes a market imperfection by externalising costs.
I doubt if the latter had many descendants. Or do vampires count?