July 6, 2009

Re: Plantation Fight

Justin Katz

Marc points to the crux of the "Providence Plantations" matter when he writes:

Until now, I think the reaction by most people when hearing about "Plantations" was the rhetorical "Huh." The irony is that Metts et al have set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy thanks to this bit of "consciousness raising" about a heretofore unrealized problem.

Creating that self-fulfilling prophecy is precisely the goal so as to generate an opening for the role of racially sensitive savior. The academic term for what they're doing is to "reify": treating the now-abstract concept of American slavery (as proven by the apparent irrelevancy of the lack of a substantive connection between "Providence Plantations" and the abhorrent labor practice) as if it were a material issue in the modern day. When they've conquered "plantations'" three syllables, they'll find other words or statistical findings for the same purpose.

The object is to ensure that racial strife never truly ends, in the U.S.A., because it would bring the livelihoods of an industry of despicable people with it.

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The amazing part is that the Senate actually approved to put this to ballot by a landslide.

I could care less if they did it to appease Almeida. It's a sick twisted motion that will allow any groups with bent noses to mount an thinly veiled attack on our state.

I sure hope the "Huh?" crowd turns off their Entertainment Tonight and start calling their Reps. and Sens. and ask "What the hell are you people doing fiddling while Rome burns?!"

Posted by: Roland at July 6, 2009 2:24 PM

Rhode Island had slaves counted in the census until around 1840. They worked on the plantations in Narragansett and South Country (County) and in Middletown and Newport. However, the name Rhode Island (Aquidneck) is more closely associated with slavery. Newport was the center of slave trade for the colonies. After slavery was superficially abolished in Rhode Island, the ships continued their trade.

It seems illogical to me to associate the word Plantations with Plantations in the south, since the same practices went on here. On the other hand, using the same implied logic, the name Rhode Island, as the functional center of colonial slave trade appears to have a much stronger historical connection.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at July 6, 2009 3:09 PM

This is just great! The state's population is shrinking, the economy is in free fall and tax revenues will leave a short fall. What should we do? How about entertaining the populace with the "Plantations" question? With enough media time, it will have "stature".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at July 6, 2009 7:22 PM

Justin you really have some nerve pontificating about "despicable" people pursuing this (and other) causes. Are you referring to Senator Metts specifically? I wonder if you've met the man or know anything about him? How the hell are you able to judge his motives? Of course, you will likely cop out and claim that you surely didn't mean to imply that Senator Metts is one of these "despicable" people. Of course, you were not refering to the one person you named in the post. Of course.

Posted by: Pragmatist at July 7, 2009 12:06 AM

I don't know whether Metts would be on the list, or on that of enablers. The determinant is whether he intends to profit, in some way, from the persistence of America's deepest division.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 7, 2009 5:54 AM

Pragmatist, it looks like you're reading what you want to read. I don't see anywhere that Justin called someone despicable for a "cause". What I read is he called people despicable for profiting from creating their own racial strife. People like Al Sharpton. These people claim to want to end racial issues, yet they help to create, exploit and profit from them. I'd agree that is despicable. But if you don't, that's your prerogative.

Posted by: Patrick at July 7, 2009 8:25 AM

Justin, as predicted, you copped out on the question. You mention one name in your post, then generally reference "despicable" people, implying without ever saying it expressly that that one person you named fits the general category. You lead your readers just up to the edge of a conclusion, but preserve deniability for your more outlandish statements. It's a cowardly trope you use often.

Posted by: Pragmatist at July 7, 2009 9:40 AM

You would think as a pragmatist, you would be furious that while the state is in economic disaster and everday citizens cannot make ends meet in this state that the General Assembly wastes time with such ludacris things! This name change is disgraceful, no matter what political ideology may be. This is a complete waste of time. Clearly this is a misguided attempt by the democrats to pick up votes looking like they are out for minorities. Ask any person of color in this state what is more important, equal opprotunity in the workplace/ ending of profiling or the name of the state! Im sure you will find out the truth of the matter. The "pragmatic" thing for the state to do would be to focus on the crumbling economic conditions of this state in a genuine manner and attempt to reverse the real inequality/injustices in our state

Posted by: steadman at July 7, 2009 11:57 AM

"It's a cowardly trope you use often."

Not all that dissimilar to anonymous commenting.

Posted by: Patrick at July 7, 2009 1:50 PM


Baloney. Metts put himself forward as a spokesman for a cause from which I made a general statement. His name appears only incidentally in the quotation that I took from Marc. It could have been "Person A" without affecting my argument.

Not only that, but the people whom I specifically called "despicable" are those who populate and depend upon racial strife as if it were their industry. I don't know Metts well enough to know whether he's among them, but as I said, he's at least an enabler, and there's no cop-out involved.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 7, 2009 3:18 PM

"the people whom I specifically called "despicable" are those who populate and depend upon racial strife as if it were their industry"

A propos of nothing, shall we start a pool on when either Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton surfaces to push for this referendum?

Posted by: Monique at July 7, 2009 11:17 PM

[The half-dozen or so people who've been banned from commenting received the sentence as a result of threats or unacceptable disrespect of AR contributors other than myself. This is your only warning, Phil. — Justin]

Posted by: Phil at July 8, 2009 7:16 AM
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