Re: All Better Now


Reminded me, tangentially, of this book, which I was supposed to read some time ago but never did.

Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:04 PM
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So, given the subject matter, I wondered if "Blackmon" (the author's name is Douglas Blackmon) was some sort of joke or nom de guerre from the sixties, given the subject matter. It turns out it's the former. But it looks like an interesting book.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:07 PM
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The comments on Yglesias' post are surprising good as well.

Seeing the reference in comments to Sundown Laws reminded me, tangentially, of this bit of history from my neck of the woods.

I realize that's prior to the civil rights movement, and so doesn't challenge the conventional narrative in the way that MY is talking about but, think about this,

In 1950 the State Department denied Robeson a passport and issued a "stop notice" at all ports, effectively confining him to the United States. When Robeson and his lawyers met with officials at the State Department on August 23, 1950 and asked why it was "detrimental to the interests of the United States Government" for him to travel abroad, they were told that "his frequent criticism of the treatment of blacks in the United States should not be aired in foreign countries"--it was a "family affair."[29] When Robeson inquired about being re-issued a passport, the State Department declined, citing Robeson's refusal to sign a statement guaranteeing not to give any speeches while outside the U.S.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:58 PM
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But isn't there something annoying about Yglesias's use of the clause "the shocking story that Blackmon has to tell here is virtually unknown" to mean "I, Matthew Yglesias, have never heard about this"?

Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:23 PM
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Actually, the best line in that post is,

the history of backsliding and abandonment is going to color the black community's perception

As for the ignorance bit, it seems like a fair inference, given that he's an educated, fairly well-read guy and hadn't heard the history, and maybe that claim is also argued for in the book.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:28 PM
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I would have put it a bit differently than Yglesias, but I think his basic point stands. We've all learned about race relations in the period between the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement, but we've often failed to recognize what exactly that meant. It's a series of images: lynchings, signs, Jim Crow, mob riots, but we don't often consider the attitudes that went along with it or what attitudes follow from it.

The past is a different country and the sins of the fathers fall unto the third and fourth generation, etc. I think we tend to think of the attitudes of old racism to be the same as contemporary racists.

How much different would my life be today, for example, if my grandfather hadn't been able to get a loan to purchase a house in the town where my dad, and then I grew up, or my other grandfather hadn't been able to get the funds to buy his first truck that meant he could run his own business?

Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:50 PM
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This comment section at Yggles is good today, and it appears this book is about something very specific.

Not well informed on the era, but do know a little.
I can't give accurate dates and numbers, but the history of blacks in the US Navy and general merchant shipping was shocking and heartbreaking to me. Whalers in the 1840s were high percentage free black, Navy in the 1880s perhaps even majority black, and then by I took that as a particular of a general trend.

It wasn't just restoration and Jim Crow, and racists attitudes in the North weren't that strong in say 1875. It was a deliberate process of aggressive racist hegemony.

I should Sundown Towns having grown up in one, and I am not saying there was no racism in the South, and I do realize White Southerners did a lot of migrating after the Civil War. But my picture of 1875-1925 is one of Southerners in self-protection using any means to make racism widespread and universal, partly in order to make National Resistance to Jim Crow etc impossible.

And I hate Republicans starting with Rutherford Hayes.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:49 PM
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7:I am not saying there was no racism in the South bah s/b "was no racism in the North"

To make it more complicated, my study of fascism does note a rise in racialism in Europe as a twisted response to Darwin. And increased mobility of workers. And other complications.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:53 PM
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I am certainly no expert, but my experience is that people tend to have a very monotonic view of racial history. I recall The Color Purple getting slammed in a review for suspect politics depicting what the reviewer was sure was a laughable degree of property and business in early 20th century Georgia. In fact, per this site, black landownership peaked in 1910.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 7-08 12:40 PM
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my study of fascism does note a rise in racialism in Europe
i'm reading this week The Reprieve, it's great
that heat, that pre-war tension and all those characters, soo real, i'm like tranferred to pre-war France
so if to think that fascism was a form of racism in Europe
when you all discuss racism so often i often thought, really it's too much
now i think racism in America was not worse than it would have been elsewhere, if for example it existed in Germany, at least there were no concentration camps in America, though of course jim crow and lynchings were awful as it was by themselves
and b/c it was relatively mild it lasted also the longest maybe, not officially, but culturally

Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06- 7-08 1:30 PM
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