A little bit of a disturbing story by Margaret Biser on Vox about her experiences as a tour guide on a former slave-owning plantation. Even visitors to a plantation famous for how slaves built it and operated it don’t want to hear about how slavery was not nice. They want the stories about how good the slaves had it. About how the owners of the plantation were the good slave-owners. About how the slaves loved their owners. Ultimately, it’s a whitewashing of our nation’s history — in every sense of the word “whitewashing.” One tourist’s reaction:
“Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America.” [Biser] started to protest, but he interrupted [her]. “You didn’t know. You’re young. But America is the greatest country in the world, and these people out there, they’d do anything to make America less great.”
Is it any wonder we have difficulty to this day talking about the real, structural racism in American society? We still can’t being ourselves to rip off that Band-Aid.
On the other hand, a criminal like Cliven Bundy gets a news cycle for saying:
And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.
So you’d think that would make him anathema, even to the crypto-racist dog-whistlers of the Republican Presidential Clown Car, wouldn’t you? Well, you know what I always say about “you’d think”: any statement that begins “you’d think” ends in disappointment. Rand Paul met privately with Bundy for 45 minutes last week, presumably to counsel him on how to dog-whistle more subtly.