Virginian Gov. Northam calls slaves "indentured servants"

dublinbay z6 (KS)

OK--this guy has had it, as far as I'm concerned. He's got the sensitivity of wet clay!

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"Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam responded on Monday to criticism he received for using the term “indentured servants” to describe slavery during an interview addressing the controversy surrounding his past blackface use.

[. . .]

We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619, the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe ― ” Northam began before he was swiftly interrupted by [“CBS This Morning” host Gayle] King.

“Also known as slavery,” she said.

Northam, nodding in agreement, responded, “Yes.”

Some viewers interpreted Northam’s “indentured servants” reference as a euphemism for “slaves.” Indentured servants were men and women who signed a contract that stipulated they would come to America and work for a certain number of years in exchange for passage, room, board and freedom dues. Slaves were brought here ― against their will ― and forced to work without any hope of gaining freedom. Those slaves who chose to flee their “masters” were beaten, starved or killed.

Northam, in a statement Monday, noted that a historian had told him the use of “indentured” to describe the arrival of the first Africans to Virginia was more “historically accurate.”

“The fact is, I’m still learning and committed to getting it right,” he said."


https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/gov-ralph-northam-calls-slaves-112545210.html

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I commend all the efforts some slow learners put into understanding information, but anyone this slow at learning shouldn't be running an entire state!

Kate


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Fárbauti

The people of VA deserve a leader who is going to spend his time in office doing what's right for the state of VA, not using the power of government to compensate for his own shortcomings.

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socks(10a)

I knew he was a clueless guy when he was going to demonstrate the moonwalk and mommy told him no. This is just another indication that he's out of touch with reality. Too bad their leaders are so messed up.

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purr mich 7_

He sounds socially challenged. Not sure if that makes a difference as a governor. It doesn't mean he lacks empathy or even logic.

Consider what Virginia would get it he steps down and also the other two.

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Chi

He's not wrong, though it's unfortunate it sounds like he's being dismissive of slavery.

"In 1619 the first black Africans came to Virginia. With no slave laws in place, they were initially treated as indentured servants, and given the same opportunities for freedom dues as whites. However, slave laws were soon passed – in Massachusetts in 1641 and Virginia in 1661 –and any small freedoms that might have existed for blacks were taken away."

http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/indentured-servants-in-the-us/

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GOD

over 60% of African American in Virginia support him and want him to remain in office.

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nickel_kg(6)

I don't know who wrote the article, but isn't it more respectful to refer to "enslaved people" rather than "slaves"? Glass houses and all that....

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patriciae_gw(07)

I was going to point out that historically he was correct but Chi had already done that. The attitude towards Africans was very different at first. Servants of any kind were considered to be household family members and the head of the family was responsible for their behavior, black or white. Permanent perpetuating enslavement was not yet the norm. Historical fact is historical fact. Indentured white servants in general very likely did not volunteer themselves either. It was common practice to snatch people off the streets to make up a load of servants to be. You ended up paying for your freedom through your labor whether or not you chose to take on that indebtedness on purpose. No one cared. They were anxious to get rid of poor people and the new word needed laborers.

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jerzeegirl(9b)

That's interesting Chi. I did not know that.

I think the guy is dopey, but if he's factually correct then shouldn't he be given on pass on this one? There are so many other things to crucify him for.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

OK--you win. The Guv. is not an insensitive jerk.

But I still don't particularly like him.

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jerzeegirl(9b)

Nah, he's pretty insensitive and I also think he's a jerk but it's refreshing to hear someone at least attempting to be factually correct even if he blew the message. I refuse to condemn facts even if they do not align with my beliefs. That would make me just like them.

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Lily613

I think he's rather clueless but his actions are not criminal whereas the Lieutenant governor's are if true. .

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Chi

I mean, even if he's correct it still doesn't sound good, so I think it was a misguided move. I had to look it up too so it's not common knowledge, but slavery certainly is.

His best bet would have been to immediately clarify after Gayle's comment.

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catkinZ8a

He is clueless. He thinks only certain groups are horrified by all his recent statements on different subjects. He calls himself a moral compass, SMH.

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Pidge_

I would have said what Chi said and am glad that she clarified why Northam was technically correct. I think he's an insensitive clod but I also think he's not wrong on that point.


I also remember going to Jamestown in VA in 1955 and being appalled at "Whties Only" signs on bathroomw and water fountains. I know it was a different world then but I also know that I already was aware of the terrible injustice of such attitudes.


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jerzeegirl(9b)

I actually think that perhaps Northam's unconsciously made a good point. What he said demonstrates that it wasn't slavery before Americans consciously insitutionalized it. In other words, we own it.

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elvis

In today's political climate, it apparently does not matter whether a statement is correct or not. If it's "insensitive", out you go!

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jerzeegirl(9b)

No, the only reason for "out you go" should be outright lies,. If insensitivity were a crime, your fearless leader would get 30 years to life.

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elvis

I didn't say it was crime.

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woodnymph2_gw

I was going to report on this historical point but others beat me to it. I like jerzee's point that it was not slavery before Americans made an institution of it which means we do own it. Maybe Northam does not want to step down because he sees his past insensitivities as a "teachable moment", and perhaps he wants to try for some sort of atonement. He as good as stated as much when he recently said he planned to spend the rest of him term working specifically on race relations in the Commonweath.

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Stan Areted

No, "we" don't "own" anything.

I didn't enslave anyone and anyone alive today wasn't a slave unless someone was holding them against their will, sex slave, etc.

It's the past, recall it, think about it, understand it, and prevent it from happening again, but time to stop being victims and finger pointing.

No one is enslaving blacks.

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