Affirmative Action for Colonial White People

The Atlantic blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses how slave society and white supremacy were pioneered in Virginia. 

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Colonial Virginia (Thinkstock)

In his blog for the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses how slave society, and systemic white supremacy, were pioneered in Virginia.

For my piece on tragedy and the Civil War (or rather lack thereof) I'm going back over Edmund S. Morgan's classic American Slavery, American Freedom. The book basically demonstrates how the slave society, and systemic white supremacy, was pioneered in Virginia.

Much of this pioneering work involved using the law to sever ties between white servants and black slaves who, in the early to mid 1600s, intermixed and intermaried. The new laws elevated the status of white servants, while lowering the status of black slaves. 

Unfortunately, the theft of black wealth for the betterment of whites became a persistent feature of the long war against black people, and indeed of American history, at large. The means varied from gun-point to government policy. Often it involved some mixture of the two. But the effect was the same and is, in our present time, obvious. One might be almost tempted to call it tragic.

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' entire blog entry at the Atlantic.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM