The painful absurdity of AG William Barr’s slavery remark

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“I feel that that assertion by Mr. Barr was probably the most ridiculous, tone-deaf, God-awful factor I’ve ever heard,” Clyburn, long-time Black chief from South Carolina, mentioned on Thursday. “It’s unbelievable, as chief regulation enforcement officer on this nation, to equate human bondage to knowledgeable recommendation to avoid wasting lives. Slavery was not about saving lives. It was about devaluing lives.”

Slavery was not about saving lives. It was about devaluing lives. For a whole bunch of years, enslaved Africans had been overwhelmed, tortured, raped and handled as property.

Or because the creator Isabel Wilkerson places it in her new guide, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents”: “The establishment of slavery was, for 1 / 4 of a millennium, the conversion of human beings into foreign money, into machines who existed solely for the revenue of their homeowners, to be labored so long as the homeowners desired, who had no rights over their our bodies or family members.”

On this system, African captives “could possibly be mortgaged, bred, received in a guess, given as wedding ceremony presents, bequeathed to heirs, bought away from spouses or youngsters to cowl an proprietor’s debt or to spite a rival or to settle an property,” Wilkerson writes.

Barr says calls for coronavirus lockdown are the 'greatest intrusion on civil liberties' other than slavery in US history

That Barr painted just a few months of being informed — or actually, in lots of instances, requested — to remain residence throughout a world pandemic as even remotely in the identical class because the follow of enslavement is ridiculous. (To say nothing of the truth that he ignored, amongst different issues, Jim Crow, Japanese internment throughout World Struggle II, and the slaughter of Native Individuals.)

However even throughout a summer time that is in any other case been seized by a racial reckoning, the legal professional basic’s feedback are the furthest factor from stunning.

“No, I do not assume there are two justice techniques. You already know, I feel the narrative that the police are on some, you already know, epidemic of capturing unarmed Black males is solely a false narrative and in addition the narrative that that is based mostly on race,” Barr mentioned earlier this month to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, of the police shootings of Black Individuals.

In line with The Washington Publish’s police shootings database, Black Individuals are killed by police at greater than twice the speed of their White counterparts, even if the previous make up lower than 13% of the nation’s inhabitants.

In an identical vein, in August, Lynda Williams, the president of the Nationwide Group of Black Legislation Enforcement Executives, confronted Barr throughout a closed-door gathering of nationwide regulation enforcement leaders over his denial of systemic racism.

“I challenged him respectfully to assume in a different way as a result of simply because you haven’t skilled that, it does exist,” Williams mentioned in an interview.
And as my CNN colleague Maegan Vazquez reported in June, Barr’s callous dealing with of racial injustice in 2020 — utilizing SWAT-like policing techniques to quell protests — mirrors the actions he took practically three many years in the past, following one other notorious incident of police brutality.
“It was additionally Barr, serving as then-President George H.W. Bush’s legal professional basic, who helmed the federal response throughout 1992’s Los Angeles riots, which got here after 4 officers had been acquitted of beating Rodney King,” Vazquez wrote. “That was, in actual fact, the final time the Rebellion Act was invoked — the 1807 regulation permitting for the usage of US navy on US soil.”

Individuals on the appropriate typically toss round “slavery” as a way to power a political argument. However that does not make the false equivalency any much less, nicely, false.

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