Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Befuddled by history?

Kevin Drum, a progressive blogger at the left magazine Mother Jones, is "befuddled by history" -- or maybe just by historians.  He's been informed of a new book that sets out to correct the belief that white women in slave regimes were "reluctant actors:"
The scholarship of the 1970s and ’80s, in particular, did much to minimize their involvement, depicting them as masters in name only and even, grotesquely, as natural allies to enslaved people — both suffered beneath the boot of Southern patriarchy, the argument goes.
Huh? is more or less his reaction. He's reasonably well informed about American history and racial issues, and "until five minutes ago, before I read this book review, it never would have occurred to me that white women were anything less than full partners with men in the white supremacy of the antebellum South."  Did he really miss something, he wants to know. 

His larger point, I take it, is that we historians are all too often trumpeting our work as a bold new corrective to widely-held misconceptions, when really we are simply differing from some obscure, and perhaps never widely accepted, argument or suggestion known only to a few other specialists in the field.

Yeah, maybe we do a bit.
Follow @CmedMoore