The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Systemic Sexism

I am not just angry. No, “angry” does not begin to describe my outrage. For 400 years, my people have been oppressed and living in fear. And this injustice has been virtually ignored while we continue to suffer torment and mistreatment. 

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Slavery and the Black Family

I note on FB an attempt to show that the use of uncle and auntie to refer to black men and women is a residue of slavery and an indication of the damage done to the family. This in a nutshell is the problem, of social media in particular and the internet in general: Generally well-intentioned people who feel they have a right to their opinion on subjects about which they know little or nothing. In many societies, kinship and friendship terms overlap, hence the problem with some of the references to the brethren of Jesus.   Even in Ancient...

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Whining the Time Away

I see the usual whiners going on about how Africans suffered more than the Irish. If any of them was capable of rational discourse, I would say:   Slavery under different names and different forms and to different degrees is a constant of human history. All effective civilizations have instrumentalized the labor of the poor, whether they are called slaves, serfs, peons, share-croppers, helots, or auto workers. When a Northern Senator declared in the late 1850s that northern states had eliminated slavery, James Henry Hammond famously replied. “Yes, sir, the name but not the thing.” Marxist historians like Fogel and...

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Wednesday’s Child: Bolshie Dames

A recent communication from the music department of an American university has come my way, and it reads as follows:  “The Music Department is aware of our discipline’s association with privilege and elitism.  Any casual music fan can rattle off the names of a few canonical classical composers, all of whom are white males.  Concerts assume the trappings of luxury as fundamental to the experience, audience members feel pressured to conform to secret rules about how to dress or when to applaud.  In recent decades, scholars, performers, and institutions have expended considerable energy in undermining these foundational presumptions with some...