Category Archives: History

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

Black America Show poster

Image: newyorkhistoryblog.org

I’m reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. He gives an inventory of all the ways (white) Americans have been more prone than Europeans to believe in big dreams, in get-rich-quick schemes, the supernatural, cure-alls, conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and other “alternative facts” from the beginning of white colonization up to the Trump presidency and America’s current “post-factual” society. It’s fascinating, and it confirms that I’m right when I argue with my American husband that UFO sightings are really mostly an American thing. Continue reading

Covert Centralization?

iCE arrest

Image: motherjones.com

Today’s writing prompt: Suspicious.

I recently finished reading Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Whitman. The Germans, being the methodical bureaucrats they’ve always been, had transcripts of several of the most important meetings where the tools for the Nazi state were forged, where the Nazi ideology was translated into jurisprudence.  Continue reading

Loophole

13th amendment

Image: loc.gov

Slavery was abolished in America at the end of the Civil War, with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The amendment passed Congress in January of 1865 and after much debate it finally passed the Senate in December of that year. As has been pointed out by many, it has a loophole: slavery as a punishment for crime. Continue reading

American Eugenics and the Holocaust

images

Image: labdish.cshl.edu

I came across an article yesterday on Timeline.com: “The Nazi Breeding and Infanticide Program You Probably Never Knew About”. The article describes the Nazi breeding program that involved encouraging and forcing “pure Aryan” women to get pregnant from “pure Aryan” men and taking the babies to be educated by the SS, as well as the active euthanasia of “impure” babies.

There is a reason you may never have known about this. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet : Putting Him Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?

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(Welcome to the Netherlands, where all cultures are accepted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

When I was a Kid : Showing my Age

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When I was a kid my mother was against school uniforms.

When I was a kid we emigrated to Australia in a BOAC plane that had to stop three times to refuel.

When I was a kid my parents rented a television for one night. They watched a movie that had something to do with a leaking submarine. Continue reading

Propaganda’s for Chumps

trump shooting on 5th ave.

Image: Snopes.com

“I love the poorly educated,” said Trump when he won the primary election in Nevada. He consistently lies about everything factual, but as far as his character and attitudes are concerned, he’s also consistently an open book. I’m sure he does love the poorly educated, in that he can make them believe anything, that they will let him get away with anything. “I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” That right there tells you what he thinks of his voters. They’re schmucks, useful idiots. Continue reading