Wednesday, September 3, 2014

'Splaining Things to Ohio Guy

Continuing commentary on the X-roads comment thread about Dunsford's blog post...

Ohio Guy sez, "That there were kind slave owners who interacted with slaves as he describes is well documented. What Jerry does is to buy into the Lost Cause lie that this was the warp and woof of American slavery."

No, he doesn't "buy into" that and he doesn't promote it, either. At least, not in the blog post I saw.

The "warp and woof" can mean two things (aside from the literal meaning of the lengthwise or longitudinal threads and the perpendicular transverse threads being woven into fabric on a  loom). It can mean either the foundation, or the totality.

In any case, I could find nothing in Jerry's post claiming that the good relations he described was the totality of slavery, or even the foundation of it. He said he has read many stories about the positive relations beween slaves and their owners. Ohio Guy himself seems to confirm that, saying it's "well documented."

Dunford also mentioned movies that "show the whips and chains," and says that was the exception, not the rule. So he acknowledged the negatives, and certainly claimed nowhere that the positives were the totality, or even the basis ... only that they occurred.

I have never run across this "lost cause" claim Ohio Guy mentions, so maybe HE is the one lying... or let's be generous and say he's mistaken.

Ohio Guy goes on to say, "It was not. In fact, it has been noted by at least one historian that in some ways American slavery was the worst form of slavery that ever existed."

So? It's one historian's opinion -- which I happen to think is complete hooey. Why I think so will become apparent later in this post.

Ohio Guy: This is because in most other societies that practiced slavery there were laws that protected slaves. There were limits placed on what a master could do to punish a slave, and what he could expect of the slave in terms of work and production.  This was not true in the USA. The infamous words of Judge Taney in the Dred Scott case sum it up well: “[The Negro] had no rights which the white man was bound to respect . . .” This means that whippings, beatings, chains, separating families, selling “uppity” slaves “down the river,” etc., were all accepted practices in the antebellum South.

Izzat right?
Contrary to what is commonly believed, slaves did have some legal rights, such as support in age or sickness, a right to limited religious instruction, and the right to bring suit and give evidence in special cases. Custom gave numerous rights also, such as private property, marriage, free time, contractual ability and, to females, domestic or lighter plantation labor, which, however the master was not bound to respect. Barbarities such as mutilation, branding, chaining and murder were regulated or prohibited by law, but instances of cruelty were common before the 19th century."
The above is from a set of encyclopedias that my husband and I purchased early in our marriage, copyrighted 1972 - 1975. That means they are pre-political correctness. Political correctness (especially when coupled with hatred of antebellum white Southerners) demands that slavery be totally defined as "whippings, beatings, chains, separating families, selling “uppity” slaves “down the river" and slave owners totally defined as "whippers, beaters, chainers, family separators and slave sellers."

Ohio Guy concludes, "That, I submit, is the essence of American slavery not the romanticized version that Confederate apologists would like us to believe."

I submit that neither one is the essence of American slavery. Warm familial relationships and physical brutality were the opposite extremes -- the essence lay somewhere in between. I think it weighed more heavily to the negative, but then so did life for a great many free people.

I want to go back to something Ohio Guy said and further address it: " most other societies that practiced slavery there were laws that protected slaves. There were limits placed on what a master could do to punish a slave, and what he could expect of the slave in terms of work and production."

Kinda like the laws in ancient Rome that "protected," oh, say, a slave that was a gladiator, sent into the arena to fight to the death? "As a gladiator, a man gained immediate status even though the gladiatorial oath forced him to act as a slave to his master and "to endure branding, chains, flogging, or death by the sword" (Petronius Satyricon, 117.5).  Familiar sounding list, isn't it? Sounds a lot like the way Ohio Guy described American slavery.

Another "society that practiced slavery" was Islam, and if Ohio Guy thinks that was one of the societies that protected slaves, I would urge him to compare Islamic involvement in African slavery to European (and American) involvement in African slavery.
“…the worst, most inhumane and most diabolical institution of the black African slave trade was initiated, refined, perpetrated and implemented by the Mohammedan Arabs and later aided and abetted by the black converts to Mohammedan Islam.” -- John Alembillah Azumah, Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa

While the European involvement in the Trans Atlantic slave trade to the Americas lasted for just over three centuries, the Arab involvement in the slave trade has lasted fourteen centuries, and in some parts of the Muslim world is still continuing to this day.

A comparison of the Islamic slave trade to the American slave trade reveals some interesting contrasts.  While two out of every three slaves shipped across the Atlantic were men, the proportions were reversed in the Islamic slave trade.  Two women for every man were enslaved by the Muslims.

While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Trans Sahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%.While almost all the slaves shipped across the Atlantic were for agricultural work, most of the slaves destined for the Muslim Middle East were for sexual exploitation as concubines, in harems, and for military service.

While many children were born to slaves in the Americas, and millions of their descendants are citizens in Brazil and the USA to this day, very few descendants of the slaves that ended up in the Middle East survive.

While most slaves who went to the Americas could marry and have families, most of the male slaves destined for the Middle East were castrated, and most of the children born to the women were killed at birth.

It is estimated that possibly as many as 11 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic (95% of which went to South and Central America, mainly to Portuguese, Spanish and French possessions.  Only 5% of the slaves went to the United States).

At least 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East.  Since at least 80% of those captured by Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave markets, it is believed that the death toll from 1400 years of Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been over 112 million.  When added to the number of those sold in the slave markets, the total number of African victims of the Trans Saharan and East African slave trade could be significantly higher than 140 million people.
 Look at that -- 140 million victims of Arab/Muslim slavery, 112 of them deaths.
While Christian Reformers spearheaded the anti-slavery abolitionist movements in Europe and North America, and Great Britain mobilised her Navy, throughout most of the 19th Century, to intercept slave ships and set the captives free, there was no opposition whatsoever to slavery within the Muslim world.

Even after Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807 and Europe abolished the slave trade in 1815, Muslim slave traders enslaved a further 2 million Africans.  This, despite vigorous British Naval activity and military intervention to limit the Islamic slave trade. 
By some calculations, the number of victims of the 14 centuries of Islamic slave trade could exceed 180 million.

Nearly 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in America, and 130 years after all slaves within the British Empire were set free by parliamentary decree, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, in 1962, and Mauritania in 1980, begrudgingly removed legalised slavery from their statute books.  And this only after international pressure was brought to bear.  Today numerous international organisations document that slavery still continues in some Muslim countries.
This and much more about the Arab/Muslim slave trade can be found here:
I would urge Ohio Guy to watch this video about this Arab/Muslim "other society" that practiced slavery and tell me what kind of brainless dope could know about this and then claim American slavery was the worst form of slavery that ever existed?


  1. Noooooooooo, Ms. Connie, despite of the evidence otherwise, because American slavery was carried out predominately by Southerners, it must be the most extreme, cruel, worst form of slavery that EVER existed. That the birth rate of those wickedly abused slaves was equal that of their well fed, housed, clothed masters is just a red herring

  2. These people aren't really concerned with slavery, past, present, or future. It's merely an instrumentality of their anti-Southernism. If Blacks had never existed in America, their still would have been a war. The North would have just found another excuse. We'd probably be arguing
    whisky and cigars, good or bad, rather than Slavery. Simple fact is, the North has always been a separate nation with its own national interests. It has always been hostile to the South. Far more Northerners served in the WSI than in any other American war, before or since. Contrast Northern reaction to Fort Sumpter with their reaction to the sack and burning of Washington by the British in the war of 1812.

  3. Don't forget about Egyptian slavery. Slaves in the U.S. might have had to work for an hour every day, but slaves in Egypt were forced to move huge stones to build the Pyramids. Not just the young bucks, but old men, and children too. That sounds worst than working in a field for an hour, to me.

    Also, as you mentioned, Middle Eastern slaves were mostly used for sex, while slave laws in the U.S. prohibited such practices under Christianity. If a slave hand was caught raping a slave in the U.S., he would have a trial and be put into prison.

  4. and of course Lincoln had no problem creating a slave state, West Virginia, or allowing loyal slaveowners to keep their slaves.


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