Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Comments on Various Things
April 10, 2005
Lust Across the Color Line and the Rise of the Black Elite
By BRENT STAPLES
The 1998 DNA study that linked Thomas Jefferson to the final child of his lover Sally Hemings has settled one argument and fired up another. Most historians who had argued that Jefferson was too pure of heart to bed a slave have re-evaluated 200 years of evidence and
embraced the emerging consensus: that Jefferson had a long relationship with Hemings and probably fathered most, if not all of her children. ...
Historians who are now searching for ways to understand the Jefferson-Hemings relationship have several models from which to choose. Some masters developed caring, de facto marriages with enslaved women and tried to leave their children money and property in their wills. Other masters were serial rapists or plantation potentates who made harems in their slave quarters and were profoundly indifferent to their offspring.
For the time being, however, the last word on this issue should go to Madison Hemings, who flatly and dispassionately describes the relationship as a bargain, in which his mother consented to share Jefferson's bed in exchange for the emancipation of her children.
The idea that Thomas Jefferson was pure in heart at all is the product of hagiographers, not historians. This assertion would have offended Jefferson himself as much as it offends me. I don't believe that historians are only "now searching for ways to understand the Jefferson-Hemings relationship..." There are historians who have read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs and other slave narratives which can give a truer picture of how the
allotment of power in such relationships dictated coldness and made the existence of any kind of love impossible. The institution of slavery itself opened the door to frigid passions like the relationship between Hemings and Jefferson. The offspring may be or become virtuous, but their begetting can only be characterized as the evil opportunity sought and taken.
ANOTHER ARTICLE WORTH READING,which treats of the Iraq war, the sanctions pre-existing, and their impact on children.
THE THOUGHTS OF A NEOCON SHYSTER
"Quite frankly I am surprised the nominee wants the job that he's been nominated for given the many negative things he had to say about the U.N., international institutions and international law," Biden added [...]
To this let me add that tools of dubious or occasional usefulness are often misplaced and even displaced at times. Hagiography masquerading as history and John Bolton are such tools.