[Vision2020] Re: Earlier question
mghuskey at msn.com
Tue Aug 31 23:53:36 PDT 2004
It was indeed illegal to marry across "racial" lines in the antebellum South. In fact, slaves could not contract legal marriages at all. As recently as 1970--the year the U.S. Supreme Court heard Loving v. State of Virginia--interracial marriages were forbidden by law in several states. Anti-miscegenation laws were part of a vast apparatus of state-sponsored racism in the U.S., significant traces of which persist to this day.
R. L. Dabney, who is quoted frequently and with approbation by the authors of *Southern Slavery as It Was* has this to say about inter-racial marriage:
The most solemn and urgent duty now incumbent on the rulers of Virginia, is to devise measures to prevent the gradual but sure approach of this final disaster. The satanic artificers of our subjugation well knew the work which they designed to perpetrate: it is so to mingle that blood which flowed in the veins of our Washingtons, Lees, and Jacksons, and which consecrated the battle fields of the Confederacy, with this sordid, alien taint, that the bastard stream shall never again throb with independence enough to make a tyrant tremble. These men were taught by the instincts of their envy and malignity, but too infallibly, how the accursed work was to be done. They knew that political equality would prepare they way for social equality, and that, again for amalgamation. (The Negro and the Common School.)
Not exactly a harmonious or intimate vision of black-white relations, is it? And since white slave owners not infrequently raped the black women they "owned" and sold their own children, not a very truthful one, either (You might consult Mary Chestnut's diary on that point: she lived at that time, and as a white woman in a Confederate, slave-owning family, it was a particularly sore point for her.)
The question I'm really puzzled by, though, is this one: why defend slavery? What possible reason could anyone have for trying to make a case for ownership of another human being? What stake have you got, Ted, in trying to convince me--or anybody--that white slave owners were kind to the human beings they owned as personal property?
----- Original Message -----
From: Ted Ryan
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 5:26 PM
To: Sunil Ramalingam
Cc: vision2020 at moscow.com
Subject: [Vision2020] Re: Earlier question
As before, paraphrasing and taking out of context does not adequately describe the pamphlet as a whole. I don't know if race relations have ever been better. I didn't make that claim. As far as learning more from the text, ask the authors. I wouldn't have even worded it the way they did, but I do believe that the relationships between slave and master were generally good. As to your questions about the text itself, those are not for me to answer. Ask the authors. Whether it was legal to marry outside your race in those days, I don't know. However, being able to marry outside of your race does not, in and of itself, make race relations any better. And again, if it was illegal to marry outside your race than it was wrong. There is no such distinction for marriage.
----- Original Message -----
From: Sunil Ramalingam
To: coffeemonkey100 at hotmail.com
Cc: vision2020 at moscow.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 4:43 PM
Subject: Re: Earlier question
I realize that the word 'superior' was not used in that sentence in the pamphlet. You appear to be claiming that by paraphrasing, I changed the meaning of the quoted section. Please explain how my use of it changes its meaning. I don't think it does. If you think I'm wrong, please explain how. My point is this: I think the authors are claiming that race relations have never been better than they were in the antebellum South. If this is not their claim, then I would like to be corrected; if you can explain why I'm wrong, I'd appreciate it.
I'm not trying to get into a discussion about multi-racial relationships per se; I'm not attempting to compare the Northwest or the West to other parts of the U.S. My only point there is that today people of different 'races' are able to legally marry anywhere in the U.S. I very much doubt that was legal in the anti-bellum South. Am I wrong?
>From: "Ted Ryan" <coffeemonkey100 at hotmail.com>
>To: "Sunil Ramalingam" <sunilramalingam at hotmail.com>
>CC: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
>Subject: Re: Earlier question
>Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2004 13:56:09 -0700
>I was taking issue with the word superior, a word not used in the pamphlet. As far as the condition of multi-racial relationships, that is highly dependent on geography. There would be a lot of people in other parts of the country that would tell you (and have told me) that the relations are non-existent in some places. In my limited experience, the Northwest is entirely different than many other parts of the country, so our perception is not necessarily representative of the whole.
>I would like to read some material that supports your point, "But I am also saying I think they - and you - are wrong when you make the claim that race relations in the South were harmonious and mutually intimate." I lot of modern historians might agree, but what do those that lived it have to say?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Sunil Ramalingam
> To: coffeemonkey100 at hotmail.com
> Cc: vision2020 at moscow.com
> Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 12:40 PM
> Subject: Re: Earlier question
> You say I am putting words in the mouths of the authors. OK, let's look at the quote I was discussing:
> 'there has never been a multi-racial society that existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.'
> That's what they published. I then wrote:
> 'In other words, race relations in that period were superior to those of any other time and place, which I take to include our present time.'
> I don't think that I'm putting words in anyone's mouth with my paraphrase. If I'm mistaken in this, please tell me how. You say, 'They did not say that "race relations in that period were superior to those of any other time and place".'
> I disagree with you. I think that's exactly what they said. What else did they mean by the statement I quoted at the top of this post?
> Yes, I am making the assumption that they would include the US at the time of the publication of the pamphlet; if this is an incorrect assumption, can you point to anything in the pamphlet that shows I should not make this assumption? Mind you, I'm not saying we live in a multi-racial paradise today, but I am prepared to say that as a society we have improved a great deal. But I am also saying I think they - and you - are wrong when you make the claim that race relations in the South were harmonious and mutually intimate.
> >From: "Ted Ryan" <coffeemonkey100 at hotmail.com>
> >To: "Sunil Ramalingam" <sunilramalingam at hotmail.com>
> >CC: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
> >Subject: Re: Earlier question
> >Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2004 08:41:54 -0700
> >Look, you had time to ask the question in the first place, you had time to ask me why I hadn't answered and now I am guilty of stealing you away from your work and your family. You have not given any tone to the conversation that has made it pleasant. If this is so difficult for you why post in the first place? I did not accuse you of hostility due to your work load; until you told me you had work to do, how am I supposed to know?
> >I can certainly appreciate family time and encourage you to partake, but don't get upset when you ask me to answer a question that was not visible in the first place and even after finding it, was not easy to decipher. The statements out of the slavery pamphlet WERE taken out of context and given the delicate nature of the subject can be misused outside of the whole text. This has already occurred in this forum, and I fear, you are doing the same thing.
> >You have already started putting words in the mouths of the authors. They did not say that "race relations in that period were superior to those of any other time and place". Even what they did say doesn't mean that there are no race relations that are good right now. Condoning a multi-racial marriage would have been wrong then and it is wrong now. Like any marriage, if is entered into as it should, race has no bearing. I am glad that you are happily married and enjoy your children. My wife and I have good friends that are a multi-racial couple, and they exemplify the kind of relationship we should all have with those different then us.
> >Stop for a moment to read and consider what the authors of that book actually said, not what you think they said.
> >I will chase down those references and send them to you.
> >Ted Ryan
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