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Critics are so quick to point out the supposedly racist words used in the Book of Mormon.  But no one points out something that is glaringly egalitarian about it.

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Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery; nor even have I suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you

 -- Mosiah 2:13

 

But Ammon said unto him: It is against the law of our brethren, which was established by my father, that there should be any slaves among them; therefore let us go down and rely upon the mercies of our brethren.

 -- Alma 27:9

People tend to simply gloss over it because of presentism, just as they tend to claim racism based on presentism.  It is pretty interesting whether you look at it from being authored by Joseph Smith or if you look at it as an ancient document.

In the 1820s slavery was still a big thing.  The northern states had just outlawed it about 10 years before Joseph's birth.  But the southern states were chugging along with the institution.

As an ancient document, people certainly could have pointed to provisions in the Law of Moses regarding slavery as a justification to continue the practice.  But both King Benjamin and King Mosiah outlawed it.

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Yep.  And folks are quick to jump on language Joseph and Brigham and others used during the time, and some of the ideas they proposed.  Folks don't get that slavery was a hot topic since the founding of our nation, and everyone and their dog had an opinion on what to do about it.  The young nation would have to change, and there were many ideas about what to do with slaves.  Keep them?  Free them?  Send them to reservations?  Send them back to Africa?  Educate them?  

Joseph was suggesting the Americans should end slavery, transport the slaves back to from where they (or their ancestors) were stolen and sold, set them up with some money and supplies, and an apology.  (I'm not sure if the word 'reparations' had been invented yet, but the notion was there.)  America went with another solution - civil war and half a million dead to free the slaves, then 150 years of racial tension and strife and struggle still happening today.

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We talked a lot about Joseph Smith last Sunday.  It was noted that Joseph Smith was in the middle of a Presidential campaign when he was martyred.  It was noted that Joseph Smith ran as an abolitionist on that campaign.

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As I understand it, “Abolitionist” was kind of a term of art in the antebellum period that applied specifically to the policy of compelling (by force if necessary) slaveowners in their home states to immediately emancipate their slaves with no thought of compensation.  That seems natural to us now; but under this definition, Joseph Smith (by advancing a sort of buy-back program) wasn't really an “abolitionist” as Americans of the period would have understood the term.  Many, many early Americans disagreed with slavery and wanted to end it, but preferred using other means and thus wouldn’t have fit the 1830 (or even 1855) description of “abolitionist”.

This may seem like gnat-straining, but it’s important to keep in mind when you see early Church literature and sermons that often virulently condemn “abolitionism”.  In general, early Saints had no problem with the idea of living in a slave-free society; they just weren’t willing to use violence to attain that goal.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

As I understand it, “Abolitionist” was kind of a term of art in the antebellum period that applied specifically to the policy of compelling (by force if necessary) slaveowners in their home states to immediately emancipate their slaves with no thought of compensation.  That seems natural to us now; but under this definition, Joseph Smith (by advancing a sort of buy-back program) wasn't really an “abolitionist” as Americans of the period would have understood the term.  Many, many early Americans disagreed with slavery and wanted to end it, but preferred using other means and thus wouldn’t have fit the 1830 (or even 1855) description of “abolitionist”.

This may seem like gnat-straining, but it’s important to keep in mind when you see early Church literature and sermons that often virulently condemn “abolitionism”.  In general, early Saints had no problem with the idea of living in a slave-free society; they just weren’t willing to use violence to attain that goal.

"Abolitionists" were not monolithic.

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

As I understand it, “Abolitionist” was kind of a term of art in the antebellum period that applied specifically to the policy of compelling (by force if necessary) slaveowners in their home states to immediately emancipate their slaves with no thought of compensation.  

My boy @Midwest LDS has his MA in history and knows a ton about that time period. Is it true @Midwest LDS

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12 hours ago, MormonGator said:

My boy @Midwest LDS has his MA in history and knows a ton about that time period. Is it true @Midwest LDS

That was the popular view of abolitionists in the South. There were definitely individuals and groups that 100% agreed with that viewpoint, but like any group of people, abolitionists varied in their opinions. There were also those who believed in compensated emancipation, and in sending the former slaves back to Africa, or just freeing the slaves but not extending their rights beyond that. Some religious abolitionists wanted to make former slaves full citizens upon the ending of slavery, but this view was pretty uncommon before and during the early part of the Civil War. Actually it was hundreds of thousands of blacks being willing to pick up the rifle and help fight against the South that brought the majority over to believing they deserved the rights of citizens. Of course a whole bunch of stuff went wrong right afterwards during Reconstruction, but that's another discussion.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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25 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

That was the popular view of abolitionists in the South. There were definitely individuals and groups that 100% agreed with that viewpoint, but like any group of people, abolitionists varied in their opinions. There were also those who believed in compensated emancipation, and in sending the former slaves back to Africa, or just freeing the slaves but not extending their rights beyond that. Some religious abolitionists wanted to make former slaves full citizens upon the ending of slavery, but this view was pretty uncommon before and during the early part of the Civil War. Actually it was hundreds of thousands of blacks being willing to pick up the rifle and help fight against the South that brought the majority over to believing they deserved the rights of citizens. Of course a whole bunch of stuff went wrong right afterwards during Reconstruction, but that's another discussion.

Thanks bud!

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2 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

It seems fair to point out that "abolitionist" and "racist" are not mutually exclusive terms.

Of course not.  After all, most abolitionists were white.  And we all know that if youi're white, you're automatically a racist.  I'm so glad I'm of a superior race so I can't be considered racist.

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

Of course not.  After all, most abolitionists were white.  And we all know that if youi're white, you're automatically a racist.  I'm so glad I'm of a superior race so I can't be considered racist.

It seems to me that this level of snark is uncalled for.  Consider:

  • You opened a thread titled "BoM is Abolitionist"
  • You started your post with "Critics are so quick to point out the supposedly racist words used in the Book of Mormon"
  • After quoting portions of the Book of Mormon that speak against slavery, you say "People tend to simply gloss over it because of presentism, just as they tend to claim racism based on presentism."

You imply the thesis that the Book of Mormon isn't racist because it is abolitionist.  For that thesis to hold under scrutiny, racism and abolitionism have to be mutually exclusive.

I have no objection to the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon is abolitionist. But that alone won't dispel concerns about racism.  Perhaps I've interpreted an implication you didn't intend to make.  If so, I would be obliged if you would clarify.

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1 hour ago, MarginOfError said:

It seems to me that this level of snark is uncalled for.  Consider:

  • You opened a thread titled "BoM is Abolitionist"
  • You started your post with "Critics are so quick to point out the supposedly racist words used in the Book of Mormon"
  • After quoting portions of the Book of Mormon that speak against slavery, you say "People tend to simply gloss over it because of presentism, just as they tend to claim racism based on presentism."

You imply the thesis that the Book of Mormon isn't racist because it is abolitionist.  For that thesis to hold under scrutiny, racism and abolitionism have to be mutually exclusive.

I have no objection to the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon is abolitionist. But that alone won't dispel concerns about racism.  Perhaps I've interpreted an implication you didn't intend to make.  If so, I would be obliged if you would clarify.

If you can calm the moral indignation for one moment, I actually agree with you.  In fact, everything you have said in this thread and in the other thread -- I agree with.

My snark was not aimed at you, per se.  It was aimed at people who tend to have sincere conviction of that which I said sarcastically.  If you fall into that category (and I don't think you do) then so be it.

I used your post as a jump off point because it has connections towards that direction.  If that implied that I believed you were that type of person, I apologize.

As far as how my comments apply to those who actually think that way... that level of snark was precisely called for.

Edited by Carborendum

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14 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

If you can calm the moral indignation for one moment, I actually agree with you.  In fact, everything you have said in this thread and in the other thread -- I agree with.

My snark was not aimed at you, per se.  It was aimed at people who tend to have sincere conviction of that which I said sarcastically.  If you fall into that category (and I don't think you do) then so be it.

I used your post as a jump off point because it tended towards that direction.  If that implied that I believed you were that type of person, I apologize.

It's hard to know where to place me.  I rather abhor the sarcastic and/or ironic declaration of "we all know that if you're white, you're automatically a racist" because the only people I've ever heard make such a statement are white people, and it's always done in a way that mocks anti-racist efforts. 

In reality, I know very few overtly racist white people. However, the majority of white people that I know would be what I've sometimes called unintentionally racist or non-maliciously racist.  I include myself in that category.  Kendi's current work uses the terms racist, assimilationist, and anti-racist to get at the same idea.  An assimilationist may not overtly hate people of other races, but isn't actively engaged in overcoming racism either. And yes, I would classify most whites into that assimilationist category. 

I guess what I don't like about the whole "we all know that if you're white, you're automatically a racist" mockery is that it, to me, is trying to stake out a position of "I'm not contributing the problem," without acknowledging that you aren't exactly contributing to the solution, either.

So no, I don't believe you're a racist because you're white (I don't even know if you are white). At the same times, the thematic consistency of your comments on this forum would lead me to classify you as an assimilationist.  

Like I said, I fall into that group as well, though I've been trying to move toward anti-racist. I'd welcome your company on that journey.

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45 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

"Racism got us into this mess. Anti-racism is the only thing that will get us out of it."

Quote

 

Link isn't opening for me.

Quote

 

"Functionally, yes. If you’re white (or part of any dominant group tbh), you’ll be more helpful by assuming you are and trying to learn about and fight off these instinctive urges and biases, than by expending time and energy explaining why this can’t be true."

"First off, I'll say for something like this you should really defer to non-white people to give a good answer. To give a white person take on it, it's kind of the default state considering we're all brought up with institutions that favor us and white privilege, and the vast, vast majority of us do nothing about it, so at the very least we help perpetuate racism which isn't much better"

Since this that link is to a discussion thread, it's hard to pull quotes, but there is a lot of discussion aimed at teasing out systemic/institutional racism and privilege versus overt racism.

Quote

 

"Racism is what happens when you back one group's racial bias with legal authority and institutional control. ... When you back one group's collective bias with that kind of power, it is transformed into a far-reaching system. It becomes the default. It's automatic. It's not dependent on your agreement or belief or approval. It's circulating 24/7, 365.

Racism is the foundation of the society we are in. And to simply carry on with absolutely no active interruption of that system is to be complicit with it. And in that way, we can say that nice, white people who really aren't doing anything other than being nice people are racist. We are complicit with that system. There is no neutral place."

 

All four of these links drive toward the same concept I described from Kendi of the assimilationist and the anti-racist. This seems to be a case where being stuck on the words prevents one from understanding the message*

 

* Which, in fairness, is a flaw in the message.  This is one of the reasons I admire Kendi's work as much as I do; it attempts to change the language in a way that makes it easier to understand the message. I really recommend reading some of his work. In particular, both of these books are in the mainstream right now and quite thought provoking.

https://www.amazon.com/Stamped-Beginning-Definitive-History-National/dp/1568585985/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=ibram+kendi&qid=1593799033&sr=8-2

https://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Antiracist-Ibram-Kendi-ebook/dp/B07D2364N5/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ibram+kendi&qid=1593799033&sr=8-1

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@MarginOfError, I’m pretty sure @Carborendum is Korean by ethnicity.  Hence his tongue-in-cheek comment about being of a superior race. ;) 

As to the topic at hand:  I have no problem acknowledging that when you have a relatively homogenous society, people who don’t match the majority’s norms are going to have difficulty fitting into that society.

I do have problems with race-baiters who pretend that that’s exclusively a “white” or “western” tendency, or who suggest that the solution is a wholesale disavowal of intra-cultural majority norms for no other reason than that they make minorities uncomfortable.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 minute ago, Just_A_Guy said:

@MarginOfError, I’m pretty sure @Carborendum is Korean by ethnicity.  Hence his tongue-in-cheek comment about being of a superior race. ;)  

I thought this was a veiled reference to being Romulan.  I was way off

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1 hour ago, MarginOfError said:

I rather abhor the sarcastic and/or ironic declaration of "we all know that if you're white, you're automatically a racist" because the only people I've ever heard make such a statement are white people, and it's always done in a way that mocks anti-racist efforts. 

1 hour ago, Carborendum said:
1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

https://forge.medium.com/what-it-means-to-accept-that-youre-racist-fbeef3839e47

"White people need to accept that they’re racist. All White people."

1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

https://www.resetera.com/threads/are-all-white-people-racist.184470/page-25

"ll white people who grew up in the US have implicit bias' towards other races. it's unavoidable."

1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/09/873375416/there-is-no-neutral-nice-white-people-can-still-be-complicit-in-a-racist-society

Racism is what happens when you back one group's racial bias with legal authority and institutional control. ... When you back one group's collective bias with that kind of power, it is transformed into a far-reaching system. It becomes the default. It's automatic. It's not dependent on your agreement or belief or approval. It's circulating 24/7, 365.

Racism is the foundation of the society we are in. And to simply carry on with absolutely no active interruption of that system is to be complicit with it. And in that way, we can say that nice, white people who really aren't doing anything other than being nice people are racist. We are complicit with that system. There is no neutral place."

The very words you quoted.  You can't escape being racist if you're white.

I don't agree with any of these sentiments.  And with the exception of the NPR author, all these words were from black people.

As I bolded above, this was in response to your claim that only white people say that "all white people are racists."

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49 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

I thought this was a veiled reference to being Romulan.  I was way off

What makes you think I'm NOT Romulan?

963649060_troishiar.png.268bf3f561fd5fcfc488077ddb077029.png

 

On second thought... If Marina couldn't make that look good, then I don't want to be compared to that.

Edited by Carborendum

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2 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

The very words you quoted.  You can't escape being racist if you're white.

I don't agree with any of these sentiments.  And with the exception of the NPR author, all these words were from black people.

As I bolded above, this was in response to your claim that only white people say that "all white people are racists."

Well played.

Although I think you're still caught on words, not on message. I've tried to demonstrate that those people that are saying it seriously have more nuance to it than those people saying it sarcastically.  Clearly, I've failed to articulate that.

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5 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

Well played.

Although I think you're still caught on words, not on message. I've tried to demonstrate that those people that are saying it seriously have more nuance to it than those people saying it sarcastically.  Clearly, I've failed to articulate that.

Well, you've made a good effort.  But that misses the point.  I'm well aware that there are nuances.  But when you cut it down to the most fundamental assumptions of the entire, complex, nuanced arguments, you cannot deny that if "all white people are racist" is a false statement, then the argument (as currently framed) falls apart.

Try making the same arguments without that assumption and you'll get a LOT more traction.  A lot of points these very links made were perfectly valid.  But when you use "all white people are racist" as the premise to generate all these, then that just makes me want to ignore the good points of the message that may or may not be valid.

Edited by Carborendum

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11 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

You only THINK it was tongue-in-cheek. :)

Remember Remo Williams...

The Korean is the most perfect creature ever to sanctify the earth with the imprint of his foot.

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5 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

Well played.

Although I think you're still caught on words, not on message. I've tried to demonstrate that those people that are saying it seriously have more nuance to it than those people saying it sarcastically.  Clearly, I've failed to articulate that.

No, what you've been trying to get across is clear. Now it's you who is missing the point. The statement, however "nuanced", is absurd on its face. It would never be accepted if said about any other race or group. That's the point of those who say it "sarcastically". They are demonstrating the idiocy of the statement by taking the low-down, treacherous route of repeating it..

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Just now, Vort said:

The Korean is the most perfect creature ever to sanctify the earth with the imprint of his foot.

You have no idea the level of my arrogance.  I may have told this story before..

When working in Afghanistan, they didn't have much in the way of "niceties" in the office.  They said that we won't have any nameplates.  But we need to be able to identify you when visitors or new people come around.  So print up your name and position and tape it to your desk.

I didn't know what "position" I held.  The told me to just put whatever I wanted.  (teh hee hee).

 

(CARBORENDUM)

...ENGINEERING GOD

EMPEROR OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE.

 

One very nice fundamental Christian lady (bless her heart) told me that I shouldn't have capitalized "GOD".  She failed to realize that the entire sign was ALL CAPS.

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