Quote of the Day: Slavery

 

“Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color. One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”

“In any country, regardless of what its laws say, wherever people act upon the idea that the disadvantage of one man is the good of another, there slavery exists. Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.”

Booker T. WashingtonAn Address on Abraham Lincoln before the Republican Club of New York City (12 February 1909)

It is an interesting concept, hatred enslaves the hater. Hatred and scapegoating lay the foundation of slavery. And Booker T. Washington knew well the evil of slavery, far better than the modern race activist, who views hatred of white men as a virtue and gleefully imagines their enemies cast out from society into the outer darkness. The typical racial activists shackle themselves to a cause that brings only spiritual slavery while calling for reparations for slavery.

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There are 19 comments.

  1. Mike Rapkoch Member

    Great quote! And your follow-up thoughts are spot on.

    • #1
    • August 17, 2019, at 12:39 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Songwriter Member

    A great quote. Racial hatred requires a zero-sum sort of thinking: If I wish to rise up, I must hold this man down. When in truth, the opposite is so.

    • #2
    • August 17, 2019, at 6:20 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Vectorman Thatcher

    Booker T. Washington had more common sense than W. E. B. Du Bois.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many dates open on the August Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #3
    • August 17, 2019, at 10:54 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    But is his last statement wholly true? “Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.”

    Is it really true that we ought not be happy if the weakest among us is not happy? Does not that make us all slaves?

    • #4
    • August 18, 2019, at 6:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Love the quote, Omega! And you are so right. When we become trapped in our own hatred, we become narcissistic, unhappy and even belligerent. There is no room for joy and selflessness. Thanks.

    • #5
    • August 18, 2019, at 6:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Skyler Coolidge

    Booker T Washington was a good man, but this desperate attempt to say enslavers are the real slaves, or also slaves, is nonsense of the first order.

    • #6
    • August 18, 2019, at 7:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. philo Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    But is his last statement wholly true? “Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.”

    Is it really true that we ought not be happy if the weakest among us is not happy? Does not that make us all slaves?

    My reading of that is not that the weakest among us must be happy but that that “the whole people” must feel that the happiness of the weakest is essential. Also, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the failure to meet that condition means all of us are slaves, just that the lack of slavery does not exist (relating back to his previous point).

    • #7
    • August 18, 2019, at 7:31 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. philo Member

    Skyler (View Comment): …to say enslavers are the real slaves, or also slaves, …

    I believe you are putting words in his mouth that were not intended. He was not alone among the experienced intellectuals on such matters in expressing these types of thoughts. I suspect their input is not nonsense of any order. I’m searching through my Frederick Douglass notes now…

    • #8
    • August 18, 2019, at 7:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. philo Member

    philo (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment): …to say enslavers are the real slaves, or also slaves, …

    I believe you are putting words in his mouth that were not intended. He was not alone among the experienced intellectuals on such matters in expressing these types of thoughts. I suspect their input is not nonsense of any order. I’m searching through my Frederick Douglass notes now…

    From The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Chapter 5: A Slaveholder’s Character:

    A man’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, was the victim of the slave system. Under the whole heavens there could be no relation more unfavorable to the development of honorable character that that sustained by the slaveholder to the slave. – Page 25

    [emphasis added]

    Being a victim of the slave system does not imply being the real slave or also a slave, it just means “being down in the same ditch” and hampered by the tendency toward less-than-honorable character development that being there generally compels.

    • #9
    • August 18, 2019, at 7:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Skyler Coolidge

    philo (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment): …to say enslavers are the real slaves, or also slaves, …

    I believe you are putting words in his mouth that were not intended. He was not alone among the experienced intellectuals on such matters in expressing these types of thoughts. I suspect their input is not nonsense of any order. I’m searching through my Frederick Douglass notes now…

    From The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Chapter 5: A Slaveholder’s Character:

    A man’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, was the victim of the slave system. Under the whole heavens there could be no relation more unfavorable to the development of honorable character that that sustained by the slaveholder to the slave. – Page 25

    [emphasis added]

    Being a victim of the slave system does not imply being the real slave or also a slave, it just means “being down in the same ditch” and hampered by the tendency toward less-than-honorable character development that being there generally compels.

    Slave holders were not in any way victims. They profited and prospered from the arrangement while inflicting misery on others. It is sophomoric to claim that having power over others is victimhood. Seeking power over others is essentially a human drive. 

    That it makes Mr. Washington feel better to claim his tormentors were in a bad way, it was never true. 

    • #10
    • August 18, 2019, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. philo Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment): …to say enslavers are the real slaves, or also slaves, …

    I believe you are putting words in his mouth that were not intended. He was not alone among the experienced intellectuals on such matters in expressing these types of thoughts. I suspect their input is not nonsense of any order. I’m searching through my Frederick Douglass notes now…

    From The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Chapter 5: A Slaveholder’s Character:

    A man’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, was the victim of the slave system. Under the whole heavens there could be no relation more unfavorable to the development of honorable character that that sustained by the slaveholder to the slave. – Page 25

    [emphasis added]

    Being a victim of the slave system does not imply being the real slave or also a slave, it just means “being down in the same ditch” and hampered by the tendency toward less-than-honorable character development that being there generally compels.

    Slave holders were not in any way victims. They profited and prospered from the arrangement while inflicting misery on others. It is sophomoric to claim that having power over others is victimhood. Seeking power over others is essentially a human drive.

    That it makes Mr. Washington feel better to claim his tormentors were in a bad way, it was never true.

    Well, I tried. If you are going to insist on misunderstanding or just completely disregarding the meaning and context of what both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington have to say on the subject then there is nothing else I can do.

    • #11
    • August 18, 2019, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Skyler Coolidge

    philo (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment): …to say enslavers are the real slaves, or also slaves, …

    I believe you are putting words in his mouth that were not intended. He was not alone among the experienced intellectuals on such matters in expressing these types of thoughts. I suspect their input is not nonsense of any order. I’m searching through my Frederick Douglass notes now…

    From The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Chapter 5: A Slaveholder’s Character:

    A man’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, was the victim of the slave system. Under the whole heavens there could be no relation more unfavorable to the development of honorable character that that sustained by the slaveholder to the slave. – Page 25

    [emphasis added]

    Being a victim of the slave system does not imply being the real slave or also a slave, it just means “being down in the same ditch” and hampered by the tendency toward less-than-honorable character development that being there generally compels.

    Slave holders were not in any way victims. They profited and prospered from the arrangement while inflicting misery on others. It is sophomoric to claim that having power over others is victimhood. Seeking power over others is essentially a human drive.

    That it makes Mr. Washington feel better to claim his tormentors were in a bad way, it was never true.

    Well, I tried. If you are going to insist on misunderstanding or just completely disregarding the meaning and context of what both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington have to say on the subject then there is nothing else I can do.

    I misunderstand nothing. I don’t accept his statement as wise or healthy. I wonder that anyone could ever pity such people, except to try to pretend that they didn’t win a battle of oppression. 

    • #12
    • August 18, 2019, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I have been uncertain about whether to respond to this one, for a couple of days. I do not like the quote. I do not want to impugn Mr. Washington’s motives, but his expression may be the source of the pathology of the modern left.

    “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”

    I do not think that this is true. I think that slavery is quite dreadful, irrespective of any underlying racism. If it were Catholics enslaving Protestants, or Turks enslaving Greeks, or vice versa, I do not think that this would make the situation any better.

    This does appear to be indicative of a strange theory that I’ve seen: that there was something particularly pernicious about American slavery because of its racial component. Previously, the earliest source in which I had seen this argument was the Moynihan Report from 1965. Mr. Washington’s quote pushes this back over 50 years.

    I find America to be almost uniquely good, because it inherited the dreadful institution of slavery and abolished it. Many on the Left seem to view America as uniquely bad, because it did not abolish slavery quickly enough, and because they seem to think that there was something especially bad about American slavery compared to other forms.

    • #13
    • August 19, 2019, at 6:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Skyler Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    that there was something particularly pernicious about American slavery because of its racial component.

    The racial component made American slavery more pernicious because an escaped slave could be easily identified and could not mix in the general population very well. The cost of slavery usually included the cost of keeping the slaves bound to the master. Without a means of escaping, black slaves were much cheaper to keep. This is why emancipation was discouraged or illegal in most places, and it’s why many states drafted non-slave holders to serve as a roving posse to round up escapees.

    So, I’ll go with the especially pernicious evaluation.

    • #14
    • August 19, 2019, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Henry Castaigne Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…

    I have been uncertain about whether to respond to this one, for a couple of days. I do not like the quote. I do not want to impugn Mr. Washington’s motives, but his expression may be the source of the pathology of the modern left.

    “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”

    I do not think that this is true. I think that slavery is quite dreadful, irrespective of any underlying racism. If it were Catholics enslaving Protestants, or Turks enslaving Greeks, or vice versa, I do not think that this would make the situation any better.

    This does appear to be indicative of a strange theory that I’ve seen: that there was something particularly pernicious about American slavery because of its racial component. Previously, the earliest source in which I had seen this argument was the Moynihan Report from 1965. Mr. Washington’s quote pushes this back over 50 years.

    I find America to be almost uniquely good, because it inherited the dreadful institution of slavery and abolished it. Many on the Left seem to view America as uniquely bad, because it did not abolish slavery quickly enough, and because they seem to think that there was something especially bad about American slavery compared to other forms.

    A hardcore atheist friend of mine started his atheism because he was mad that his church wasn’t respectful of women. I then read the Gospel of Luke and I went back to him and said, your rebellion against your religion is as much an echo of Jesus as your former church was. Complaining that Christians weren’t acting Christian enough is about the most Christian thing to do ever. 

    America’s self-flagellation is an echo of its decent (classically) liberal impulses. I would say it’s a perverse echo but it still emerges from the desire for individual rights and freedom. 

    • #15
    • August 19, 2019, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Henry Castaigne Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I misunderstand nothing. I don’t accept his statement as wise or healthy. I wonder that anyone could ever pity such people, except to try to pretend that they didn’t win a battle of oppression. 

    I think St. Francis would disagree with you. 

    O Divine Master,
    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive.
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
    Amen.

    St. Francis of Assisi

    Booker T. Washington was a devout Christian if I recall. He also said, 

    “I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” 
    ― Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

    Hatred and bigotry do indeed degrade one’s soul. It is not indecent to have compassion for a rich and privileged alcoholic who is miserable in his alcoholism while having more compassion for an oppressed poor man. The oppression of slavery and systemic racism is of course worse than the prison built in a bigot’s soul but both are lamentable. 

    • #16
    • August 19, 2019, at 10:12 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    that there was something particularly pernicious about American slavery because of its racial component.

    The racial component made American slavery more pernicious because an escaped slave could be easily identified and could not mix in the general population very well. The cost of slavery usually included the cost of keeping the slaves bound to the master. Without a means of escaping, black slaves were much cheaper to keep. This is why emancipation was discouraged or illegal in most places, and it’s why many states drafted non-slave holders to serve as a roving posse to round up escapees.

    So, I’ll go with the especially pernicious evaluation.

    I don’t think that ease of identification makes American slavery morally pernicious, over and above other slavery. It did make slavery easier to enforce, regrettably.

    • #17
    • August 19, 2019, at 4:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Henry Castaigne Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Booker T. Washington had more common sense than W. E. B. Du Bois.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many dates open on the August Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    W.E.B. Du Boise was fascinated by Nazi ideology. No seriously he was. He was actually wrote that the because the Germans were unified ethnically they had an advantage over other peoples. 

    • #18
    • August 20, 2019, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Vectorman Thatcher

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    W.E.B. Du Boise was fascinated by Nazi ideology. No seriously he was. He was actually wrote that the because the Germans were unified ethnically they had an advantage over other peoples.

    True:

    Du Bois took a trip around the world in 1936, which included visits to Nazi Germany, China and Japan… He admired how the Nazis had improved the German economy…

    As I grow older, I realize Communism and National Socialism are two sides of the same coin. During the early 1970’s at college, there was a major emphasis of a “W.E.B Du Bois Club,” which was probably an offshoot of the Communist Party USA. Du Bois officially joined the Communist Party in October 1961 at the age of 93. He also met with Mao in 1959:

     

    • #19
    • August 20, 2019, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 3 likes