Friday, December 2, 2016

Greed, Violence and Control

The following are excerpts from "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow on the maltreatment of slaves:
"On days when renegade slaves were executed at Christiansvaern, the white men formed a ring around the fort to prevent other slaves from interfering. Any slave who attacked a white person faced certain death by hanging or decapitation...after first being prodded with red-hot pokers and castrated. Punishments were designed to be hellish so as to terrorize the rest of the captive population into submission. If a slave lifted a hand in resistance, it would promptly be chopped off. Any runaway who returned within a three-month period would have one foot lopped off. If he ran away a second time, the other foot was amputated. Recidivists might also have their necks fitted with grisly iron collars of sharp, inward-pointing spikes that made it impossible to crawl away through the dense underbrush without slashing their own throats in the effort (p.33)."
  • It takes moral courage, bravery, self-worth and tenacity to stand up for your freedom and rights.
  • Here's what I think about your hellish punishments meant to terrorize: no fear, no effect, no submission. 
"The eight thousand captive blacks easily dwarfed in number the one thousand whites, 'a disproportion,' remarked one visitor, 'which necessarily converts all such white men as are not exempted by age and decrepitude into a well-regulated militia' (p. 19)."
  • When the oppressor is outnumbered, overpowered, his behaviors are immoral, and he is desperate for control, his only cowardly power is state-sanctioned violence.
"The mortality rate of slaves hacking away at sugarcane under a pitiless tropical sun was simply staggering: three out of five died within five years of arrival, and slave owners needed to replenish their fields constantly with fresh victims. One Nevis planter, Edward Huggins, set a sinister record when he administered 365 lashes to a male slave and 292 to a female. Evidently unfazed by this sadism, a local jury acquitted him of all wrongdoing (p. 19)."
  • The wealth of our white ancestors and their progeny rests on the tortured lives of our black ancestors.
  • This is another reason to avoid the white-devil that is sugar.
"...Another British visitor said that 'if a white man kills a black, he cannot be tried for his life for the murder...If a negro strikes a white man, he is punished with the loss of his hand and, if he should draw blood, with death' (p. 19)."
  • This a good example of why the redundant phrase, "Black Lives Matter," needs to be emphasized - because laws and practices have historically enforced just the opposite. It's being said because it needs to be said.

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