Today’s idiosyncratic tour of racism, reactions to racism, and/or the history of racism swings through a twitter thread.
Yesterday a WW (that’s “white woman” from now on) posted her horror at learning that, at some point, George Washington killed all his slaves’ dogs. Her tweet is circled in yellow below.
Here’s one possible source for this fact — a Frontline episode on PBS.
Even though I’ve read about some of the most horrific forms of torture employed by slave owners and have had to really think about the heartless mercantile interests of slave owners trafficking in black bodies, I also recoiled at the dog-killing.
Does this mean I care more about dogs than about the enslaved?
Of course not.
I thought Washington’s dog-killing was an extreme and sadistic act meant to deprive his slaves of the comfort and companionship of their pets. The Frontline article though seems confirming of the tweeter’s assertion — that he was acting out of economic self-interest. The dogs were killing his livestock, perhaps?
Anyway, I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the comments because I knew the dumping on the WW would, in this instance, bother me. It’s NOT EITHER / OR.
And BTW, sometimes it’s evident that people DO care more about pets than the people involved. Take the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
It seemed then that there was a lot of attention paid to the stranded animals and maybe not enough attention paid to the ravages of New Orleans’ largely Black parishes. Also, that the recovery effort was so botched could have been viewed through a lens of racism and generally wasn’t.
Another EITHER / OR that I’m thinking about and will come back to post about sometime soon is: how the fact that race is a scientific fiction across the board (not just for white people, in other words) can coexist with our profound acknowledgment that race as a social construct is profoundly and persistently problematic.
Collages are 2022 creations made to visual prompts from Paris Collage Collective.