Again I write to express my dismay at an article (“HIStory Got It Wrong,” Sept. 2-15, 2009, Vol. 36, No. 17) in which Caroline Li, the writer, quotes her teacher as asking “Why would a white man create something that made work easier for his slaves?” (in reference to the invention of the cotton gin).
This is both racist and simplistic (“perhaps the man thought his slaves could process even more cotton”). The teacher (and Li, by extension) is making a generalization based on skin color: No white person could possibly be motivated by anything but greed and callousness. It’s like asking, “What Asian would do anything that didn’t fatten his wallet?”
In the post-racial Obama era, this kind of barely concealed racism—hate speech—is exactly what progressive newspapers and educators should be fighting against!