The latest news from retrograde Florida is that the local Department of Education changed the standards regarding the teaching of slavery in America. Included in the new standards to be taught is “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” Predictably, society divided into its camps. One group accuses the local department of education, and Republican governor Ron DeSantis by extension, of seeking to whitewash racism and slavery. The defenders of the standards argue for the truth of the statement and the intention of seeking to highlight the resiliency of those enslaved. There is certainly an argument to be made that the statement, sans context, is correct. The context, however, is incredibly important. There aren’t many (if any) of the new standard’s defenders noting that, historically, White people in the South often punished these enslaved Africans and their free descendants for using those skills for anyone’s benefit other than their White oppressors. Currently, the governor of Florida signed a bill that created a chilling effect on how teachers talk about race and the horrors of slavery in the classroom. On the heels of that come educational standards that undercut the brutality of what slavery and the Jim Crow period were in this nation’s history, and how it continues to affect us today. You can almost hear someone saying slavery was horrible, but slaves got some skills from it.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2023/function-conjunction
There are a couple of ways to take that statement. People who hate DeSantis will have the knee jerk reaction and take it as an insult; but, others see it as a compliment, as in making lemonade out of a life time of being handed lemons. The entire globe is only made up of victims and survivors. That is the history of mankind.
Did you read the article? Why do you assume that those who disagree with DeSantis ‘hate him’?
As in the sentence “I can forgive anything but slavery.”?!?!
If Christianity is about forgiveness can there be any such negation or exception?
Admittedly, this component of Jesus’ purported “70 x 7” teachings may be why some people turn to Islam and the supposedly blood-thirsty, Iron Age image of Allah who is clearly created in Mohammed’s unforgiving and war-mongering likeness.
But if one prefers Jesus’ “forgive and be forgiven” precept, one cannot claim any part of his kingdom while clinging to wrongs committed in the past.
Can a former slave owner demand forgiveness from those he once enslaved?
But if such supposedly Christian forgiveness is offered he can, and most graciously should, thankfully accept it.
(Oh, and by the way, to lump about 23,000,000 people into one group and call them and their state “retrograde” is overly facile, fallacious “thinking” on its face, as well as being counterproductive and retrograde in the extreme. Most importantly, this assertion is, by definition, judgmental and therefore unchristian.)
(Full disclosure, come October, I will have been a resident of The Sunshine State for two years.)
OK, maybe that’s too strong - how about “everything he stands for” - fine line. The point is, no matter what he says or does it will be turned into a negative.
We can’t “forgive slavery”, nor should we. We can only forgive people; and none of the slave owners are here to be forgiven. The whole thing is a moot point. Not so fine a line.
It seems to me that “70 x 7” says we can and must forgive-or at least accept-everything, Including history.
But I never met Jesus and could be wrong about that, so I’m willing to wait until he returns (any day now) and get his take on the issue.
No, no, no. Ideology is separate from those who espouse it. I don’t have to respect witchcraft but I can forgive someone who was dumb enough to accept it.
Forgiveness needs a face.
Ideology does not exist in a vacuum.
There is no such thing as an ideology without an ideologue, either dumb or intelligent, and any distinction between the two is artificial.
But history is full of both descriptions of how ideologues think and pictures of what they look like if one needs a face in order to accept, forgive and then forget about their ideology.
Most ideologues are dead and gone. What’s left is tradition. Ask anyone on the street why they do what they do, or believe what they believe especially anything to do with history.
Merriam-Webster defines ideologue as:
an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology
By this description there are countless ideologues alive and well in the world today and based on my observations, some of them regularly comment in this forum.
Yes. I agree that their ideology may be merely traditional, requiring little if any thought on their part, but the fact is that they are not even close to “mostly dead”.
Whether we can or should forgive them-particularly if they have not renounced their ideology and/or idiocy-is another question.
The homophobia and resultant cruelty of the institutional SDA church leaders is stunning. As cases in point, 1.) the failure to condemn the ‘Bishop’ of the SDA church in Uganda for supporting legislation that would imprison and/or execute identified members of the LGBTQ+ community; 2.) the hypocritical actions of the GC toward the Trans European Division’s pastor who identified as bisexual, but without any sexual relationship; and the the coup de grace… 3.) signing on to the amicus brief along with Evangelicals and Catholic Bishops to support a petitioner before the U.S. Supreme Court wanting to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community in her business.
The author wrote:
Why would a student necessarily draw that conclusion? In considering the standards as a whole, it’s almost impossible to conclude that any reasonable student would in fact draw that conclusion.
There is nothing objectively false about the standard. In fact, it’s objectively true of not only American chattel slavery but a good deal of slavery throughout history.
Should the standards teach that slaves in fact learned no skills that would benefit them? That they possessed no agency at all? If that was the case, the author of this piece would likely criticize them for that. The problem seems to be less what the standard says than the fact that it’s politically useful to criticize it.
The continued ‘whitewashing’ of history…they learned skills by being slaves. The idea being that if not for being slaves, they would have been less skilled in life? What a crock of…!!!
You are reading that idea into the text.
No where do the standards state that without being enslaved the slaves would have been less skilled. The statement in the standards that has come under so much fire is objectively accurate and speaks to the agency of the slaves.
What should the standards have said: “Slaves learned no skills”? Or “African slaves were so abjectly stupid that they were unable to take what they learned about trade work and use if for their own benefit as best they could”? Neither would have been true.
The truth is that enslaved Africans and their descendants made the best they could of a horrible situation. They learned skills and used them as much as they could. Despite the best efforts of owners and overseers they built community and families that survived slavery and Jim Crow after. The statement speaks to their resiliency, intellect, and courage.
This single statement does nothing to minimize the ills of slavery. And if one reads the entirety of what the standards have to say about slavery, it requires a willful misreading to conclude that it does.
That is true! But I do not get the sense that is real message behind the political usage!!
No, she just did not want to support a certain idea. They can come in and have web pages done for anything bot something she does not agree with. She wouldn’t do same sex wedding web sites, but will serve LGBT for any other idea. So she is not discriminating agisnt an individual, but an idea.
And the court decided correctly.
What is amazing about Jason is his utter fundamentalism on this topic. There are no grey areas, just black ones, and any deviation is sinful.
What about slavery? I can list some other benefits that those retrograde Florida folks missed:
- US culture was enriched by African culture brought by slaves.
- The melding of African and American culture has resulted in an African-American culture that is unique. Just think of music, fable, style and all the other things that blacks have contributed. Kendi speaks of it when he describes his teen years in NYC. .
- The resilience of those who have come up from slavery inspire us.
- I believe the 1619 project asserts that America was built on the backs of blacks. If so, they gave an amazing gift to the world. A place that saved the world from Fascism and Communism, and a place where everyone would love to be. Especially those in Africa, and other difficult places.
- A group of blacks that are the richest and freest in the whole world.
- And Jason himself. Without slavery, he would not be here to rebuke to us as he does in his own special way.
These things do not negate the horror of slavery. It was an evil institution. But even the worst things here on earth can bring about good things by God’s grace. The crucifixion being the epitome.
Mr. Shepherd…I am not sure what makes you a legal authority on the correctness of the SCOTUS decision in the referenced case. But you have failed to understand the premise of my post, which is, why is the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists placing our denomination squarely in the middle of this case…particularly in light of the other signatories of the amicus brief? And I suspect we both know the answer to that question…simply put, Ted Wilson’s bias against the LGBTQ+ community.