Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Post-Racial America

Wall Street was founded on slavery. African slaves built the physical wall that gives Wall Street its name, forming the northern boundary of the Dutch colony designed to ward off resisting natives who wanted their land back. To formalize the colossal trade in human beings, in 1711, New York officials established a slave market on Wall Street.

Many prominent American banks including JP Morgan and Wachovia Corp made fortunes from slavery and accepted slaves as “collateral”. JP Morgan recently admitted that it “accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took possession of approximately 1,250 enslaved individuals”.

The story that American schoolbooks tell of slavery is regional, rather than national, it portrays slavery as a brutal aberration to the American rule of democracy and freedom. Slavery is recounted as an unfortunate detour from the nation’s march to modernity, and certainly not the engine that drove American economic prosperity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A lot of serious thought and writing on American race relations is coming to the fore these days, including this lucid piece by Harvard scholar Garikai Chengu.

And this, selected by CP's Jeffrey St. Clair as one of the best books of '15.


TS

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