It was another wild and wacky trip through revisionist Right Wing history with Glenn Beck today as Glenn decided to spend the day defending slavery. On the radio he claimed that race relations aka slavery was fine until it became politicized before the Civil War, and he followed this up with a claim on his TV show that there were no racial relations issues in colonial America.
Here is Beck explaining why some free African Americans went back to Africa and founded Liberia:
Beck gave his own fantasy explanation of why Liberia was founded, “We talk a little bit about Liberia tonight. Here’s a group of African Americans that left because they wanted to go back to Africa, because they wanted to go back to Africa, not everybody wanted to go back to Africa. Some of them left and went back to Africa and started a country. What did they call it? Liberia. What is the capital of Liberia? Monrovia, that’s amazing. Now how could you possibly do that if you hated this country, if it was such an oppressive country?” (Beck’s point is that slavery was not a bad thing. African Americans weren’t oppressed and they loved America).
Beck also claimed that race relations were good until the Civil War:
Beck said, “The things that have happened in this country where it really starts to wrong was the lead up to the Civil War, and it became politicized and it was all about slavery, before then we were moving on the right track. You’ll learn things tonight that you never ever learned before and ask yourself why?”
Beck then claimed on his television show that blacks and whites didn’t hate each other in the 1790s:
In contrast to Glenn Beck’s rosy picture of slavery and race relations during the colonial period, comes this account of the legal rights of African Americans around the colonial era from Archiving Early America, “The Negro slaves had by 1790 reached their full definition as dehumanized marketable commodities. A lawsuit in that year, in Virginia, apparently was brought for satisfaction in the transfer of a group of “11 negroes belonging to Benjamin Pynes … i (sic ) saw them when down the country, and offered him 330 pounds for the whole. “This sounds more like a trade in dry goods or agricultural products than in human lives, and there is no reason to believe that the participants in this transaction saw it as anything but a simple and straight-forward, absolutely amoral business deal.”
Here is more of what it was like in 1800, from Archiving Early America, “By 1800, anyone living in the southern United States with a high concentration of epidermic melanin was assumed a slave, unless by more or less difficult documentation that person could prove conclusively otherwise. The continuing uncertainty of the common law demanded the exposure of such proof. But even though slaves suffered horribly, it was the logical noose on the Anglo-American law’s neck that tightened the hardest. Eventually, a subconscious recognition of the unworkable nature of “dual status” prompted extreme paranoid defensiveness in some southern Anglo-Americans. This disease would not be relieved soon, and then, only by the coincidence of gory cultural self-mutilation inflicted by civil war, some of whose helotist seeds were planted ages before northern Europeans ever reaped such noisome fruits on North American shores.”
The problem with Glenn Beck’s revisionist history is that he does not take into account that African Americans were still slaves. Beck is making the basic argument that the slave system worked and that African Americans were happy in chains. It was okay with them and everyone got along just fine. Of course, this argument is silly and or offensive to anyone who is African American or knows the basics of our national history, but Glenn Beck is out to rewrite history from a far right perspective.
His whole take on colonial era race relations is extremely racist, but it is also illogical. Beck contended that the discussion about slavery, not race relations, were the problem, but wasn’t slavery the racial relationship in the nation at that time? Beck defended slavery and claimed that it was fine until it was politicized in the lead up to the Civil War. Glenn Beck was arguing that slavery wasn’t bad until the politicians got involved. In short, Glenn Beck was defending the slave system and racism, and he wonders why much of America thinks that he is a racist.
Photo Credit: lynnrockets