T Nation

Slavery - Not As Bad As You Think?

Ok, I think I’m going to be sick. This is actually being taught to children. My abolitionist ancestor, Charles Sumner, is probably rolling around in his grave right now. Take a look…

http://newsobserver.com/news/story/1913619p-8258411c.html

[quote]Suzannekemp1 wrote:
Ok, I think I’m going to be sick. This is actually being taught to children. My abolitionist ancestor, Charles Sumner, is probably rolling around in his grave right now. Take a look…

http://newsobserver.com/news/story/1913619p-8258411c.html
[/quote]

My point of view is, just because you disagree with something, it shouldn’t stop you from exploring both sides of the issue.

Strictly from a common sense point of view on this particular issue, think of owners of slaves as having a very substantial financial investment in them…in initial purchase and amount of productivity. Moral issues aside, if you were to think of a slave as a vital piece of farm equipment that makes you money, wouldn’t you take care of that investment? To think that the majority of slave owners just worked and beat them till they eventually died doesn’t sound very logical. If you paid $5000 for say a brand new garden tractor, would you take care of it or would you just use it and let it sit out in the rain and never check the oil, etc?

But it’s also not logical to think they had such a great life either but history has only taught us one side of the story.

Just acknowledging or teaching another viewpoint isn’t exactly condoning or agreeing with what was done. History should be based on facts and sometimes facts collide with popular opinion. If it’s a fact that slaves weren’t as widely abused as always taught it still doesn’t take away from all the other moral issues of why slavery is so bad.

I am just going to say something to fianlly settle the slavery thing: I have seen it. I am not talking about africa or the far east, I mean in Colombia, where huge fields of coccaine are harvested by slaves, held by gunpoint, captives behind barbed-wire concentration camps.

Slavery isn’t logical, or reasonable: it is the lowest form of human exploitation, and it corrodes any morale, any soul, and like a cancer it spreads and turns lethal to anyone who finds himself as a host for such ideas, or tolerance to such lines of thought.

[quote]JustTheFacts wrote:
Strictly from a common sense point of view on this particular issue, think of owners of slaves as having a very substantial financial investment in them…in initial purchase and amount of productivity. Moral issues aside, if you were to think of a slave as a vital piece of farm equipment that makes you money, wouldn’t you take care of that investment? To think that the majority of slave owners just worked and beat them till they eventually died doesn’t sound very logical. If you paid $5000 for say a brand new garden tractor, would you take care of it or would you just use it and let it sit out in the rain and never check the oil, etc?
[/quote]

I suppose that sounds logical on the surface, although you’ve overlooked something critical. What would you have to do to a person to allow you to treat them like a piece of farm equipment?

[quote]Moriarty wrote:
I suppose that sounds logical on the surface, although you’ve overlooked something critical. What would you have to do to a person to allow you to treat them like a piece of farm equipment?[/quote]

Certainly fear and some initial abuse was the biggest factor in keeping slaves in line. Enough slaves were made examples of that the majority wished to avoid the same fate.

Also too, there is a psychological conditioning or brainwash factor that kicks in after a length of time where they just accept they’re so-called life as normal. Imagine being a slave for so many years and then suddenly your free to go. Many of them didn’t want to leave because they didn’t know any other way of life. Putting myself in their place I imagine it would have been like stepping into a hostile alien world.

[quote]JustTheFacts wrote:
My point of view is, just because you disagree with something, it shouldn’t stop you from exploring both sides of the issue.
[/quote]

JTF,

I understand what you are saying, however, for those of us that are direct decendants of the institution of american slavery, it is virtually impossible for us to look at this as a learning tool. We have deep personal feelings on this topic that are very difficult to divorce from the point of using this document as a teaching device. When I talk to my white counterparts, many of them can trace their ancestry back to their homelands and beyond. I, and many like me, cannot do that because of this horrid practice that the US engaged in. We, as a people, are in many of the problems of today because we do not have this sense of self-history and with that a sense of cultural pride other than just knowing that we are from someplace in the continent of Africa.

Sorry about the rant, but I wanted to speak as someone who has an ancesteral background that includes US slavery.

While it may be appropriate to teach alternative views, K-12 is hardly the age to ask someone to make a moral judgement on slavery.

[quote]StrongrThanDeth wrote:
While it may be appropriate to teach alternative views, K-12 is hardly the age to ask someone to make a moral judgement on slavery.[/quote]

Or birth-control, or political correctness, or prayer, or any of the myriad other social issues that are being forced on the kids instead of what they should be there to learn - reading, writing, and arithmatic.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
StrongrThanDeth wrote:
While it may be appropriate to teach alternative views, K-12 is hardly the age to ask someone to make a moral judgement on slavery.

Or birth-control, or political correctness, or prayer, or any of the myriad other social issues that are being forced on the kids instead of what they should be there to learn - reading, writing, and arithmatic.

[/quote]

Agreed.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
Or birth-control, or political correctness, or prayer, or any of the myriad other social issues that are being forced on the kids instead of what they should be there to learn - reading, writing, and arithmatic.

[/quote]

See there - I was learning about the ERA and I should have learning spelling - arithmetic.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
StrongrThanDeth wrote:
While it may be appropriate to teach alternative views, K-12 is hardly the age to ask someone to make a moral judgement on slavery.

Or birth-control, or political correctness, or prayer, or any of the myriad other social issues that are being forced on the kids instead of what they should be there to learn - reading, writing, and arithmatic.

[/quote]

Rainjack,

That point of view is problematic.

It seems to me that it is not possible to teach basic K-12 subjects without teaching ideology. When you teach children algebraic mathematics, you predispose to accept the project of modern natural science, which carries with itself a whole slew of ideological implications. When you teach children history - any history at all - you inculcate in them a respect for history and a contempt for abstract thought. The ideological implications of teaching young children modern natural science are still, as we speak, being beaten like a dead horse in another thread, so I trust I don’t need to mention them…

When we say that we can teach kids anything without simultaneously delivering teachings on ‘social issues’, we’re kidding ourselves.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:
rainjack wrote:
Rainjack,

That point of view is problematic.

It seems to me that it is not possible to teach basic K-12 subjects without teaching ideology. When you teach children algebraic mathematics, you predispose to accept the project of modern natural science, which carries with itself a whole slew of ideological implications. When you teach children history - any history at all - you inculcate in them a respect for history and a contempt for abstract thought. The ideological implications of teaching young children modern natural science are still, as we speak, being beaten like a dead horse in another thread, so I trust I don’t need to mention them…

When we say that we can teach kids anything without simultaneously delivering teachings on ‘social issues’, we’re kidding ourselves.[/quote]

It’s only problematic if you think that abstract thought is somehow superior to simple, straightforward, teaching.

I think it is impossible to identify the former, unless one is rooted in the latter.

Guitar players have to learn to play the simple chords before embarking very far up the neck. Oh they can, but they rarely have a clue as to what they are doing.

Most every concert pianist, started with finding middle ‘C’ and doing scales and arpeggios before learning their first concerto.

To say that education in the basics, is only a tertiary function of a child’s learning process, is a very dangerous road to be traveling.

Don’t believe me? Look at our public education system. Our science and math scores lags far far behind those of other countries. One can blame it on class size, lack of teaching days, or even parental problems. But I’d dare say that most of the problems in public education today are a direct result of teachers not teaching, and instead getting caught up in social issues.

[quote]rainjack wrote:

To say that education in the basics, is only a tertiary function of a child’s learning process, is a very dangerous road to be traveling.
… I’d dare say that most of the problems in public education today are a direct result of teachers not teaching, and instead getting caught up in social issues.
[/quote]

I must have expressed myself poorly. I am not advocating a more ideologically-focused K-12 school system. I’m just insisting that there’s no such thing as an education that doesn’t have ideological implications.

I agree with you - it is my opinion that kids shouldn’t be TAUGHT ideology explicitly, much less asked to make choices about questions they aren’t yet equipped to answer. However, it seems to me that those who determine the curricula of our schools SHOULD be aware that all of their choices regarding curricula DO have ideological consequences.

[quote]ALDurr wrote:

JTF,

I understand what you are saying, however, for those of us that are direct decendants of the institution of american slavery, it is virtually impossible for us to look at this as a learning tool. We have deep personal feelings on this topic that are very difficult to divorce from the point of using this document as a teaching device. When I talk to my white counterparts, many of them can trace their ancestry back to their homelands and beyond. I, and many like me, cannot do that because of this horrid practice that the US engaged in. We, as a people, are in many of the problems of today because we do not have this sense of self-history and with that a sense of cultural pride other than just knowing that we are from someplace in the continent of Africa.
[/quote]

Thank you for that post. The things you were saying had never occurred to me before. It made me think of all the times I hear people talk about their ancestral background, and I realized how much pride people have and how much they make their country of origin part of their identity - even if they have never physically been there.