Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Tue Oct 17 16:28:45 BST 2017

> On Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 09:26:59AM +0200, Antoine Guillaud wrote:
> But that point isn't true.  Slavery has existed in many places with
> little to no racial component.  Classical slavery wasn't race based, it was
> "you got captured" based.  Concomittantly, manumission was common,
> at least among urban slaves.

Also note that a lot of slavery was debt peonage, ending up with people
in thrall to the local noble or moneylender; again, primarily local.
Slavery in the US from 1700-1865 was primarily race-based, but that's
not the only way to do things -- in the 1600s, it was not so very easy
to tell the difference in the condition between an English indentured
servant or a black slave from Africa.

> Europeans did bring back a slavery that was mostly abolished *in Europe*
> to supply labor in the Americas.  And while it might not have been race
> based in the very beginning, apart from Christians being given rights and
> black Africans not, it quickly accrued a racial character.  The Spanish
> created a bizarrely complex hierarchy of mixed-race castes.  The US
> invented the one-drop rule.  In the late 1700s, the Founding Fathers were
> largely uneasy about slavery; by the mid-1800s, it was enthusiastically
> embraced and defended by Southerners as a cornerstone of civilization, and
> specifically labeled as "Negro slavery".

Yes.  It's important to realize that the particulars of the US experience
are not always human universals.  (Then there's India and the caste systems,
or the whole Arab experience.)

> The virulent racism we're used to is largely an 1800s invention, fueled
> by "scientific racism", abuse of Darwin, the technological gap between
> Europe and the rest of the world, and the needs to defend colonialism
> and slavery.

Not liking Other People goes back a very long way, too.  The language
we dress it up in may be different in different periods and situations.

Tony Z

Et vocavit Deus, "Fiat lux!"

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