Dinesh D'Souza loses the rest of his marbles

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Sep 18 15:50:05 UTC 2012

At 9/17/2012 10:16 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

>On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 3:22 AM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'm not convinced he understands the difference between "nigger" and
> > "house nigger".
>In point of fact, _house_ v. _field_ is a distinction without a
>difference, in any case,
>even among blacks - any black person at all
>can claim to be of house-slave descent and how can anyone contradict
>him? - because it doesn't matter to white people. It's just noise. Has
>anyone ever heard even a whisper of a rumor that there once were signs
>that read WHITE, COLORED (of house-servant descent), COLORED (of
>field-hand descent), or something similar?

Wilson, I think the white colonists in the 18th century did make a
distinction between black house slaves and other black slaves.

Advertisements called attention to skills or knowledge that would
make a slave suitable ("fit for") working in the house.  For example,
"A Very likely young Negro Wench ... can ... do any sort of Household
Work".  The advertisements also of course called attention to other
skills, such as (from some I can locate quickly) carpentry,
distilling, tailoring, shoemaking, knitting, carding, spinning,
making butter and cheese.  Many of these occupations too were
performed in the slave-owner's house in the 18th century.

Household "servants" of course lived in the house, and were in close
personal contact with their masters.  They would have to have habits
and education suitable to their owners, be "civilized".  They would,
I'm sure, be worth more than "field-hands", slaves "fit" only for
farm or plantation work.

>As someone once pointed out on this very listserv, if there was any
>meaningful distinction that had ever been made between or among black
>Americans on any basis, it would have changed the history of the
>United States.

I would agree that any such distinction (esp. in the 18th century)
did not make much difference in the attitudes towards blacks (as it
developed into the 19th century).


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