White and Black

The ancient Romans used, in poetry and casual speech, to identify people as 'white' and 'black:'

  • My desire to please you, Caesar. is slight, nor do I care to know if you're black or white [sis albus an ater homo].”
  • (Catullus, Odi et Amo, 93).

So a man (homo) could be white (albus) or black (ater). What did the Romans mean in calling people 'white' or 'black?' Probably about what we mean in using the same terminology. These are simple, matter-of-fact, observational terms. It should be understood that color names, as applied to people, are relative; there is no one who is white as snow nor dark as midnight. There is a metaphorical use of these terms, which does not concern us here. Horace uses a binary phrase similar to Catullus:

"Of two bothers, why one prefers lounging, play, and perfume, to Herod's rich palm-tree groves; why the other, rich and uneasy, from the rising of the light to the eevning shade, subdues his woodland with fire and steel: our attendant genius knows,who governs the planet of our nativity, the divinity [that presides] over human nature, who dies with each individual, of various complexion, white and black. [albus et ater]" (Horace, Epistles, Book II.II to Julius Florus, Kindle location 7420, Delphi edition).

Cicero uses the phrase in his Second Philippic, a screed against Marc Antony, to mean someone not personally known to you: "And see how much he loved you, who, though he did not know whether you were white or black, passed over the son of his brother, Quintus Fufius, a most honorable Roman knight, and most attached to him, whom he had on all occasions openly declared his heir (he never even names him in his will), and he makes you his heir whom he had never seen, or at all events had never spoken to." (Cicero, Second Philippic, Chapter 41).

This catch-phrase enjoyed a long life; late in antiquity, Jerome uses what he indicates is a proverbial expression: "For myself who am your opponent, although we live in the same city, I don’t know, as the saying is, whether you are white or black." (Jerome, Against Helvidius, Chapter 18, p. 740).

To John Chrysostom also, late in the classical day, it was a matter of "black or white:" "As in the selection of wrestlers, whether they be hook-nosed or flat-nosed, black or white, is of no importance in their trial, it is only necessary to seek that they be strong and skillful; so all these bodily accidents do not injure one who is to be enrolled under the New Covenant, nor does their presence assist him." (John Chrysostom, Commentary on Galatians, Chapter 5, Verse 6, p. 87, ECF 1_13). That's everybody. Where are the 'yellow'? The Seres, the Han Chinese, were known but rarely encountered. 'Black or white' is compendious enough as a first approximation: "You will own that it is a matter of indifference whether one be tall or short, black or white; so is it whether one be rich or poor." (John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on 1 Timothy, Verse 4, p. 842, ECF 1_13).

Where the boundaries fall is a matter of convention, then as now. The U.S. Census Bureau used to count Mexican-Americans, and by analogy other Hispanics, as 'white,' believing that fidelity to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo required them to do so. Now they spend money sending people out into the Hispanic community to try to convince those same folks they are non-white. Hispanics used to check the 'white' box, in overwhelming numbers, but they are not supposed to do that anymore. It's a mystery to me why Hispanic Americans went along with this change, because it does have political consequences. If Mexican Americans are understood to be white, or 80% of them are so believed upon their own testimony, then unchecked immigration from that direction is not changing the nation's demographic profile much at all. However, if those same people are re-imagined to be 'non-white' or 'brown' or 'people of color,' even if white to all appearances, then large-scale immigration does change the current composition of the population. Hearing this, the white racists wake from their slumbers. So the very same people can be 'white' or 'non-white,' as you please, though it is difficult to see how reclassifying the same people who have been here all along can produce demographic change. It's self-evident that, if fewer and fewer people are defined as 'white,' then there will be fewer white people. If no people at all were defined as 'white,' then there would be no white people, though this would not be an extinction event, but a redefinition event.


Black Folk

According to Philostratus the art critic, prior to the Trojan War, the Greeks had so little contact with Ethiopia that they wondered if the tales about black men were just myths: ". . .Memnon coming from Ethiopia slays Antilochus who had thrown himself in front of his father, and he seems to strike terror among the Achaeans — for before Memnon's time black men were but a subject for story [μυθος οι μελανες]. . ." (Philostratus the Elder, Imagines, Book II, Chapter 7, pp. 155-157). But by the time of the Roman empire, the world had gotten so much smaller and flatter that a stroll through Rome put one in contact with a virtual United Nations of ethnicities, some of them there voluntarily. In Latin literature, people are casually identified as 'black:'

  • “Similar would be the sight of an Atlas with a small mule to match him, or a black elephant carrying a Libyan of the same hue.”
  • (Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Delphi Complete Works of Martial (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 33) (Kindle Locations 25012-25013). Epigrams, Book VI, LXXVII.)

  • "The leopard carries a spangled yoke on its spotted neck, and savage tigers give obedience to the whip; stags champ jagged golden bits; Libyan bears are cowed by the rein; a boar, as huge as the Calydonian of legend, yields to a purple halter; ugly bisons draw two-wheeled Gallic cars, and the elephant, bid lightly to dance, does not say nay to its black master.”
  • (Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Delphi Complete Works of Martial (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 33) (Kindle Locations 20409-20411). Epigrams, Book I, CIV).

  • "Here at my side, here may you, Jubatus, say whatever rises to your lips. No black [niger] driver of Libyan steed, nor runner with upgirt loins goes before; nowhere is any muleteer; the nags will be silent."
  • (Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Delphi Complete Works of Martial (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 33) (Kindle Locations 30880-30882). Epigrams, Book XII, XXIV.)

The meaning seems rather straight-forward.

The inhabitant of the first century world saw about him a multi-hued, polyglot world. What is more foreign to Palestine than Germans? Yet the Germans were there, forming part of King Herod's funeral procession:

"The body was carried upon a golden bier, embroidered with very precious stones of great variety, and it was covered over with purple, as well as the body itself; he had a diadem upon his head, and above it a crown of gold: he also had a scepter in his right hand. About the bier were his sons and his numerous relations; next to these was the soldiery, distinguished according to their several countries and denominations; and they were put into the following order: First of all went his guards, then the band of Thracians, and after them the Germans; and next the band of Galatians, every one in their habiliments of war; and behind these marched the whole army in the same manner as they used to go out to war, and as they used to be put in array by their muster-masters and centurions; these were followed by five hundred of his domestics carrying spices." (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book XVII, Chapter 8, Section 3, p. 1090).

These people, so far away from home, were not all voluntary immigrants; often they'd been snatched from their homes and carted unwillingly to their present location in chains. But a walk around the block, in that world, would bring you in contact with a rainbow of human variation. It should come as no surprise that the Romans talked about white people, and black people, both as individuals and as members of groups; and so they did.

When people groups are marked off as having white skin, this signifies whiter by comparison, as "The Gauls are tall of body, with rippling muscles, and white of skin, and their hair is blond, and not only naturally so, but they also make it their practice by artificial means to increase the distinguishing colour which nature has given it. For they are always washing their hair in lime-water, and they pull it back from the forehead to the top of the head and back to the nape of the neck, with the result that their appearance is like that of Satyrs and Pans, since the treatment of their hair makes it so heavy and coarse that it differs in no respect from the mane of horses." (Siculus, Diodorus. Complete Works of Diodorus Siculus (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 32) (Kindle Locations 6939-6943) The Library of History, Book V.)

For Gregory of Nyssa, the Scythians, the inhabitants of moder-day Russia, are the "white-skinned" people: “For after those sapient and carefully-considered expressions, that He is not like either as Father to Father, or as Son to Son, — and yet there is no necessity that father should invariably be like father or son like son: for suppose there is one father among the Ethiopians, and another among the Scythians, and each of these has a son, the Ethiopian’s son black, but the Scythian white-skinned and with hair of a golden tinge, yet none the more because each is a father does the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian’s account, nor does the Ethiopian’s body change to white on account of the Scythian, — after saying this, however, according to his own fancy, Eunomius subjoins that 'He is like as Son to Father.'” (Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book 2, Chapter 12, p. 248).

The Greeks and Romans did not strongly identify with 'other' white people, though they did not consider themselves black. In a famous case, an Athenian woman was accused of adultery: "Moreover, as the warts and birth-stains and freckles of fathers, not appearing in their own children, crop out again in the children of their sons and daughters; as a certain Greek woman, giving birth to a black child, when accused of adultery, discovered that she was descended in the fourth generation from an Aethiopian;. . ." (Plutarch, On the Delay of Divine Justice, Chapter 21). Rather, they self-identified as civilized people, and the Gauls here discussed were head-hunters: "When their enemies fall they cut off their heads and fasten them about the necks of their horses; and turning over to their attendants the arms of their opponents, all covered with blood, they carry them off as booty, singing a paean over them and striking up a song of victory, and these first-fruits of battle they fasten by nails upon their houses, just as men do, in certain kinds of hunting, with the heads of wild beasts they have mastered." (Siculus, Diodorus. Complete Works of Diodorus Siculus (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 32) (Kindle Locations 6966-6969). The Library of History, Book V.)

Skin tint did not track with level of civilization: Xenophon's Greeks encountered "white" people who were, he says, the most uncivilized: "These Mossynoecians wanted also to have intercourse openly with the women who accompanied the Greeks, for that was their own fashion. And all of them were white, the men and the women alike. They were set down by the Greeks who served through the expedition, as the most uncivilized people whose country they traversed, the furthest removed from Greek customs. For they habitually did in public the things that other people would do only in private, and when they were alone they would behave just as if they were in the company of others, talking to themselves, laughing at themselves, and dancing in whatever spot they chanced to be, as though they were giving an exhibition to others." (Xenophon. Complete Works of Xenophon (Delphi Ancient Classics) (Kindle Locations 2361-2366). Anabasis).

The Greeks, of course, divided the world into 'Greeks' and 'barbarians.' This is not a division into equal slices of the pie. It reminds me of the story about the school-boy living on an island off the coast of Maine who was asked to write a composition about Abraham Lincoln. He began with, 'Abraham Lincoln was an off-islander.'

Roman women used white lead as a cosmetic, which is scary in and of itself. Lead is a powerful central nervous system toxin; can it be absorbed through the skin? If so, that would explain a lot of otherwise inexplicable things in Roman history. Martial's girl-friend, perhaps, like many in that world, far away from home, wanted to fit in with the natives of her adopted city. But, he warns her, she is only making herself ridiculous by trying to look white: "So Aegle imagines she has teeth when she has purchased bone and ivory; so she who is blacker than a falling mulberry, [quae nigrior est cadente moro] Lycoris, fancies herself when plastered with white lead." (Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Delphi Complete Works of Martial (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 33) (Kindle Location 20087). Epigrams, Book I, LXXII).

According to him, moving to a swanky district struck her as a change of complexion: "Dark [nigra] Lycoris shifted her quarters to Herculean Tibur, fancying that everything became white there." (Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Delphi Complete Works of Martial (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 33) (Kindle Locations 23091-23092). Epigrams Book IV, LXII).

Wherever the dividing line fell between 'black' and 'white,' in the Spaniard Martial's mind, Lycoris was over to the far side:"Hearing that, under Tibur’s suns, the ivory of an old tusk grows white, dusky Lycoris came to the hills of Hercules. What power high-set Tibur’s air has! In a short time she returned black [nigra]!" (Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Delphi Complete Works of Martial (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 33) (Kindle Locations 25305-25306). Epigrams, Book VII, XIII.) Presumably, if Lycoris had been of deep black hue, this would not have struck her as the type of problem which could be resolved by cosmetics. Wherever she fell on the color spectrum, Martial felt justified in calling her 'black.' And so you see, in antiquity, it was possible to call people 'black' or 'white;' people did not stare at you as if you were saying something meaningless if you said that. How the rumor got started to the contrary, I don't know.

The Augustan History relates how Pescennius Niger, a pretender to the throne, got his name, or nick-name: "His countenance was dignified and always somewhat ruddy; his neck was so black that many men say he was called Niger on this account. The rest of his body, however, was very white and he was inclined to be fat." (Augustan History, Pescennius Niger, 6.5-6, Lacus Curtius). 'Niger' means 'black.' It's difficult to know if the author means his race was difficult to discern, or if he had a localized birth-mark of some type. The Augustan History, while it is the primary historical source for some of the later emperors' lives, is generally conceded to be a work of fiction. In the New Testament there is a Simeon called 'Niger' (Acts 13:1), whether for similar reasons as Pescennius or other is not stated.


Forked Tongue

The inquirer who seeks the first use of the phrase, 'White man speaks with forked tongue,' will find the trail leading back to the seventeenth century. Phrases of this type seem to have been the common way for Native Americans to refer to their new neighbors:

  • "I would like to accept the white man’s God, and my squaws and children will also accept him.”
  • (Chief Membertu, quoted in Coffin, Charles Carleton, Sweet Land of Liberty (Kindle Locations 889-890) 17th century.)

  • 'He that is above knows what he made us for. We know nothing. We are in the dark. But white men know much. And yet white men build great houses, as if they were to live for ever. But white men cannot live for ever. In a little time, white men will be dust as well as I.'”
  • (Chicali, quoted by John Wesley in 1736, Wesley Journals, July 1, 1736).

How likely is it that the Virginia colonial legislature started the ball rolling on this popular usage? Just as the fish never notice the water, so the Europeans who settled the American continent may well have been the last to notice they were 'white,' i.e., in some sense, they were all the same thing. The people who were already here spotted it right away. No doubt they in turn were offended by the claim that they were 'red men,' i.e., in some sense, all the same thing; much less 'Indians,' which they were not even.

There is a tendency for words taken as Indian tribal names to mean simply 'people' or 'human beings,'— that would be the speakers themselves,— and their word for rival tribes to mean 'dogs,' or 'snakes,' or some other unpleasant thing. The Comanches called themselves the People: "They called themselves 'Nermernuh,' which in their Shoshone language meant, simply, 'People.' (S. C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon, p. 27). The name by which we know them was bestowed by their enemies, but it's simply factual, not demeaning: "One name in particular, given to them by the Utes, was Koh-mats, sometimes given as Komantcia, and meant 'anyone who is against me all the time.'" (S. C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon, p. 35). 'Red' men breaks up the logic of these names, probably in a similar way as did 'white' men.

Stephen Dorantes was a sixteenth century Spanish explorer of New Mexico. The Indians, confused by multiculturalism, suspected him of not being on the up and up, because he was black, but he told them the Spaniards were white: "But the Indians of the new and strange country took alarm and concluded that Stephen 'must be a spy or guide for some nations who intended to come and conquer them, becuase it seemed to them unreasonable for him to say that the people were white in the country from which he came, being black himself and being sent by them.'" (quoted from H.O. Flipper's trnslation of Castaneda de Nafera's narrative, in The Negro, W.E.B. DuBois, p. 97). Why did Stephen Dorantes call his country-men "white," if no one knew anything abouat white people until the seventeenth century colonial Virgina legislature invented the category? But what, after all, is so remarkable about calling them 'white'?

The white settlers on the Ameircan continent were Spanish, French, English, Dutch, and Portugese, so little enamored of one another that they often found themselves killing each other rather than living side by side. In the intervals when they were not hacking away with whatever weapons came to hand and burning each other's settlements, they still realized their rival claims to the land could not stand. It was a zero sum game. They likely had little sense of common identity; if there ever was a time when they might have formulated such a concept, either as 'Europeans' or as 'Christians,' the Reformation had put an end to any such dream of unity. To the Indians, who might well have had trouble telling them apart, they were just 'white.' Close enough. No European-American living in the colonies can have been unaware of the Native American usage.

Ilya Repin, Volga Boatmen

Complexion is one thing, domination is another. The Volga boat-men have white skin, but white privilege? Not so you'd notice. Compare a society with race-based slavery to one without. Certain job opportunities would open up, not otherwise available, such as overseer. So we have one entry in the plus column, for 'white privilege.' On the other side of the ledger, free white laborers and free white farmers will have to compete, on price, with slaves, who work for nothing: "The English copyholder was competing with sheep for land; the laboring free poor in Virginia were forced to compete with unpaid chattel bond-labor." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 5571-5572). Verso Books.) They will have to sell their crops for the same price as the plantation down the road. The market sets the price. A plantation owner whose unfree workers toil for the barest subsistence can sustain a low price for a long time; the family farmer cannot. This is why Abraham Lincoln's father, a dirt farmer, moved north.

As the experience of classical antiquity shows, slavery is immensely profitable, for those people who own slaves. However it also pauperizes the free working class in both town and country. Their own sources admit this:

“What had distinguished the ante-bellum South in this regard was the total absence of such guarantees from the ruling plantation-owning class to the non-owners of bond-labor, who made up three-fourths of the European-American population. Scholars are agreed. The plantation social order 'walled them up and locked them in … blocked them off from escape or any considerable economic and social advance …'" (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 3944-3947). Verso Books.).

Or, as W.E.B. DuBois put it, "'[T]he black man enslaved was an even more formiable and fatal competitor than the black man free.'" (W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction, quoted in Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1, Kindle location 5035). The convoluted theory at the base of Allen's tedious Communist agit-prop might be summarized as, 'The Irish working class did not really benefit from black slavery, but — the fools! — they thought they did, because the capitalist slave-owners hood-winked them: "The chains that bound the African-American thus also held down the living standards of the Irsih-American slum-dwellers and canal-digger as well." (Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1, Kindle location 5043). Elaborate conspiracy theories aside, that is the reality: slavery pauperized not only the slave, but the competing free worker as well.

Perhaps it is the North which benefited from slavery. After all, don't they point out that the Northern textile mills needed cotton? Yes, but is the only way to produce cotton by slave labor? Fortunately history has tried the experiment for us. Ask: did cotton production crater in the post-bellum South, as slave labor gave way to tenancy and freehold farms? Initially production did decline, but the trend soon reversed, rising to production levels in the 1920's which would have been unimaginable prior to the Civil War. Of course the acreage was greatly expanded, but productivity per acre was also up. You don't need slavery to grow cotton. Yet the myth of 'white privilege' lives on.

Black producers as well as white producers reaped the benefit of improved productivity: "It is estimated that the black men of the United States own at least 30,000 square miles of farm land. . .Alfred Smith, of Oklahoma, better known as the Cotton King, won the first prize at the World's Exposition of Paris, 1900." (History of the Black Man, 1921, Joseph Jackson, Kindle location 390). Truth to tell, the stellar improvements in productivity probably owed more to the introduction of the gasoline-powered tractor than to improvements in the system of land tenure and labor compensation. But since you don't need slavery to grow cotton, what moral debt do the Northern textile manufacturers, themselves long gone, owe to the Southern slavery system?

The U.S. is still a major world cotton producer. If the Department of Agriculture would stop paying people not to grow cotton, perhaps the cotton growers would astonish the world. A white lady named Peggy McIntosh invented the concept of white privilege. She set forth a set of indictments, including "I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the 'person in charge,' I will be facing a person of my race." An industry nurturing a sense of grievance has been built up around this concept. But let's unpack it. Suppose you hang out a shingle advertising, 'Person in charge wanted,' and an Inuit candidate applies. She is the best qualified applicant, and so you hire her; under existing U.S. law, it may be illegal to do otherwise. Do members of other, more numerous populations really have grounds for complaint? Ms. McIntosh's expectation evidently is that she will show favoritism to members of her own cohort. Perhaps she will be handing out under-the-table 'discounts' to Inuit customers. But is it clear that she will, when it is not in her employer's interests for her to do so? It is really monstrous for someone to demand, as a matter of right, that the enterprise must hire a 'person in charge' of the complainer's own ethnicity; the customer has no right to make such a demand, so inimical to the rights of the Inuit job applicant. If the 'person in charge' is rational and fair, that is all any aggrieved customer can reasonably expect. What reparations can be demanded, where there has been no legitimate harm?

After decades squeezed in the vice of communism, the peoples of Eastern Europe suddenly breathed free as the Berlin Wall fell. And what did they do with their new-found liberty? The world looked on, breathless with anticipation, only to watch dismayed as they began demanding the formation of micro-states centered around their own language, culture, and ethnicity. So instead of Yugoslavia, we now have Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, etc. These tiny states are often not economically viable, much less could they ever defend themselves should NATO fail, but never mind. The premise here, and it has been the premise behind many a bloody European war, is that people can only really be free when they live in a nation-state comprised of people just like them, in terms of race, religion, language, and culture. This is the premise behind Ms. McIntosh's indictment: if the 'person in charge' must really be of the same population group for the outcome to be fair, then people must be segregated,— ethnically cleansed,— into little monocultural enclaves; otherwise there can be assurance the 'person in charge' will be of your own affiliation. But is this really the way to maximize human happiness? America is founded on the opposite premise, that many can become one. May I suggest that, if Ms. McIntosh does not like it here, she can leave?


White Racism One Blood
Scientific Racism Slavery and the Bible
Adolf Hitler

Two Ethiopias

Classical literature gives the idea of two Ethiopias, or a land divided, as here:

"But now the god, remote, a heavenly guest, In AEthiopia graced the genial feast
(A race divided, whom with sloping rays The rising and descending sun surveys);
There on the world's extremest verge revered
With hecatombs and prayer in pomp preferr'd,
Distant he lay: while in the bright abodes
Of high Olympus, Jove convened the gods..." (Homer; Pope, Alexander. The Odyssey (p. 2). Kindle Edition, Book I).

What are the two Ethiopias, and why are they in some sense the same, and in some sense different? India and Ethiopia, which are similar in that the inhabitants of both lands have black skins:

  • “Ethiopia covers the western wing of the entire earth under the sun, just as India does the eastern wing. . .We have a proof of the similarity of the two countries in the spices which are found in  them, also in the fact that the lion and the elephant are captured and confined in both the one and the other. They are also the haunts of animals not found elsewhere, and of black men - a feature not found in other continents...
  • (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, 6.1).

  • “The appearance of the inhabitants, too, is not so far different in India and Ethiopia; the southern Indians resemble the Ethiopians a good deal, and are black of countenance, and their hair black also, only they are not as snub-nosed or so woolly-haired as the Ethiopians; but the northern Indians are most like the Egyptians in appearance.”
  • (Arrian ofNicomedia. Delphi Complete Works of Arrian (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 34) (Kindle Locations 4212-4213).)

Philostratus the art critic, giving a notional painting tour, warns to prevent confusion, "No, this is not the Red Sea nor are these inhabitants of India, but Ethiopians and a Greek man in Ethiopia." (Philostratus the Elder, Imagines, Book I, 29 Perseus, Loeb edition p. 115), although he is obliged to acknowledge that Andromeda doesn't look the least bit Ethiopian, as indeed she never does.

Low-caste Indians do indeed have dark skins. While perceiving the similarities, they also saw the differences:

"Of the Ethiopians above Egypt and of the Arabians the commander, I say, was Arsames; but the Ethiopians from the direction of the sunrising (for the Ethiopians were in two bodies) had been appointed to serve with the Indians, being in no way different from the other Ethiopians, but in their language and in the nature of their hair only; for the Ethiopians from the East are straight-haired, but those of Libya have hair more thick and woolly than that of any other men." (Herodotus. The history of Herodotus — Volume 2 (p. 164). Kindle Edition. Book VII, Section 70).

Thus the inhabitants of India can be called a black, or dark, nation or a black race: "But I alone fight for Dionysos with my blazing fire, one against all, until Bacchos shall destroy the black nation root and branch." [κυανέην προθέλυμνον αιστώσειε γενέθλην.] (Nonnus Nonnos of Panopolis. Delphi Complete Dionysiaca of Nonnus (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 50) (Kindle Locations 85164-85200).)

So why is it said, "Ancient Greeks did not think in terms of race (later translators would put that word in their mouths); instead, Greeks thought of place." (Painter, Nell Irvin (2011-04-18). The History of White People (Kindle Locations 180-181). W. W. Norton & Company.) Plainly they were able to formulate the thought of one race, spread out in two places. The two Ethiopias were not the same place, but they were inhabited by the same, or a similar, race of mankind. What the author quoted means by saying they "did not think in terms of race" is hard to discern; it's true that Aristotle knew we were all one species: "Of the other animals the genera are not extensive. For in them one species does not comprehend many species; but in one case, as man, the species is simple, admitting of no differentiation. . ." (Aristotle (2018-06-13). Aristotle: The Complete Works (Kindle Locations 18490-18492). Pandora's Box. History of Animals, Book I, Chapter 6) Likely most of the white folks she encounters do not think "in terms of race" as she defines it, and Aristotle is no exception to the rule.


Socrates is White

What does it mean to say, Socrates is white?:

  • “For instance, the affirmation 'Socrates is white' has its proper denial in the proposition 'Socrates is not white.'”
  • (Aristotle, On Interpretation, Chapter 7.).

The opposite of what it means to say, 'Socrates is not-white.' You had to ask? "Whiteness" belongs to Socrates:

  • "...whereas in the proposition 'Socrates is white' whiteness is plainly an attribute of Socrates."
  • (Plotinus, Enneads, Sixth Ennead, Third Tractate, 6.).

'Whiteness,' in man, is an 'accident,' meaning it's not definitional. It seems that, if these authors of a logical bent meant that Socrates was wearing a white hat, they'd have said something about a hat, or if they meant Socrates was wearing white clothing, they'd have said something about clothing. It probably just refers to skin color. It's offered as a random example; the logical texts that tell us that Socrates is white tell us no more about race relations in fourth century Athens than those which say 'Socrates is walking' offer an exercise program.

In any case logicians thought 'Socrates is white" was a meaningful sentence. So why do people say things like this:

“But did anyone think they were “white” or that their character related to their color? No, for neither the idea of race nor the idea of 'white' people had been invented, and people’s skin color did not carry useful meaning.”
(Painter, Nell Irvin (2011-04-18). The History of White People (Kindle Locations 126-128). W. W. Norton & Company.)

It meant neither more nor less then than it does today. Skin was no more a determinant of character then than now. But the bizarre notion that this category remained to be invented is neither helpful nor meaningful. The pretense that the concept was undefined leads to the assumption of the power to define it, as a 'system of oppression.' Assuming Humpty Dumpty's privilege, why not announce that because 'black' is under-defined, I shall define it to mean 'thievery,' or 'abstraction,' or 'the scent of gardenias'? How can they take it upon themselves to redefine a word, 'white,' in continuous use for millenia?

The English word 'white,' Anglo-Saxon like the German 'weiss,' has not been in use for that long, it is objected. But comparable words in ancient languages are not wholly alien in meaning. Words like the Greek λευκος, as applied to human beings, don't convey anything greatly different from 'white,' although λευκος can have the implication of 'bright, shining;' to both Greeks and ourselves, snow is 'white,' though to the Greeks and not to ourselves, sunlight is 'white.' The reader of Homer is familiar with 'white-armed Hera,' flitting about along with the other gods and goddesses. Was she Caucasian, or did she glow in the dark, like some doomed refugee from Chernobyl? Take your choice; as the philosopher Xenophanes sagely noted, the polytheists tend to make their gods look like themselves:

"There is one god, supreme among gods and men; resembling mortals neither in form nor in mind. The whole of him sees, the whole of him thinks, the whole of him hears. Without toil he rules alll things by the power of his mind. . .But mortals fancy gods are born, and wear clothes, and have voice and form like themselves. Yet if oxen and lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and fashion images, as men do, they would make the pictures and images of their gods in their own likeness; horses would make them like horses, oxen like oxen. Aethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; Thracians give theirs blue eyes and red hair." (Xenophanes, Chapter II, p. 8, Source Book in Ancient Philosophy, Charles M. Bakewell).

Socrates' whiteness was never any big deal, it's just a pattern sentence in logic. But fast forward to the time frame when the barbarians were closing in and writing the final chapter on classical civilization, and it seems like to some of them it was: "'Along with these arms you have also sent us musical instruments of ebony, and slave boys of beautiful whiteness.'" (Cassiodorus, Senator. The Letters of Cassiodorus Being A Condensed Translation Of The Variae Epistolae Of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (Kindle Locations 4769-4770). Book V, 1 (373), King Theodoric to the King of the Vandals). Like they say, “Consider the toads, says Blumenbach: 'If a toad could speak and were asked which was the loveliest creature upon god’s earth, it would say simpering, that modesty forbad it to give a real opinion on that point.'” (Painter, Nell Irvin (2011-04-18). The History of White People (Kindle Locations 1368-1369). W. W. Norton & Company.).

One positive thing about Theodore W. Allen, the man who proclaimed 'The Invention of the White Race,' amid much that is negative including his status as a card-carrying Communist, is that he, unlike many of his fellow Marxist historians, realized the Bible is anti-slavery:

"Later in that same century, Thomas Smith had made the point in his Republica Anglorum – that Christians might not hold Christians in slavery, a principle drawn from ancient Hebrew tribal law." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4924-4925). Verso Books.)

Marxism is the mother of all conspiracy theories. Out author really does believe that everything that happened in colonial Virginia happened because a roomful of planters sat down and plotted for it to happen, because, "'The ruling ideas of any society are the ideas of the ruling class.'" (Editor's Appendix M, The Invention of the White Race, Volume I, Theodore W. Allen, Kindle location 5787). Nothing is accidental or inadvertent. English responding to Irish revolt by penalizing the practice of Roman Catholicism were doing microsurgery to establish a society on a new basis of racial oppression, though it had not hitherto been known that Catholicism was a race. Likely they thought they were giving the Irish incentives to adopt Protestantism.

Readers of Edward Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall' know the dismissive cynicism with which some members of the English upper classes viewed the whole question of religion. And so they punished the Irish and punished them again, until they had driven them into dire poverty in their own native land. But pauperizing Ireland did not make it Protestant. Did this outcome come as a surprise to the "ruling class," or was it just exactly what they expected? Was it precisely what they had been trying to accomplisih? If the latter, how did these people come to acquire the god-like abilitly to know just exactly what is going to happen? What if the Irish had 'surprised' them by adopting Protestantism? Would the success of their policy have meant ruin and defeat? Certainly it's good to know that Edward Gibbon's cynicism about human nature is not warranted, but did he already know that?

There will always, of course, be a counter-vailing tendency; that's dialectic. Thus the Marxist historian can fearlessly predict one outcome, or its opposite. . .or some combination of the first and second. Marxism is the classic example of a theory which is non-falsifiable by events. It really does predict just exactly everything that can possibly happen. This is convenient because subsequently it can explain whatever did happen. But how to explain the success of a policy that led to the depopulation of the country? Genghis Khan managed that feat as well. The British, mesmerized by Thomas Malthus' grim prophesies, believed that feeding the poor only caused them to breed, so they let the Irish starve. The Irish never forgot and never forgave. Crafty, those capitalists; they know how to gamble big and lose everything.

When it comes to the Southern use of the Bible to defend slavery, the Marxists, in the main, lose their innate conviction that the question to ask is, cui bono?, 'who benefits?', and insist they can see nothing operative but good faith. The fact that the planters were paying the parson's salary doesn't enter into it. The fact that abolitionist agitation was generally illegal in the South, a foreign land when it comes to democracy and free speech, doesn't enter into it. The Bible is not ambiguous nor even-handed on slavery; the abolitionists took it to heart. They had already convinced the northern population to eliminate this form of oppression from their own states by the time of the Civil War. Ask the people who insist the abolitionists were a tiny, despised minority in the lead-up to the Civil War, did they at that time have slavery in Massachusetts? In Maine? The answer is no. Why not? The atheists, the NeoConfederates, and the peddlars of racial grievance will thereupon join in a garbled, nonsensical chorus about 'climate.' Or maybe 'capitalism.' We know, don't we, that slavery is incompatible with capitalism? They then set before us Theodore W. Allen's magnum opus, which explains that slavery is capitalism.

What caused this Manichaean disjunction of one country, between a virtuous North and a vicious South? The Northern states were settled in substantial number by religious dissdents, religious fanatics if you will. The Southern states, by contrast, inherited an Anglican establishment which was never intended to be anything more than nominal. As the nation moved toward civil war, Methodist and Baptist preaching was gradually equalizing the religion gap between the religious North and the still-heathen South. What did their holy book tell these people about slavery? Did they evade its lessons, or take them to heart? What saith the ancient Hebrew tribal law?:

What is Slavery? Six Years
Year of Jubilee Fugitive Slaves
Wages Concubine
Get Away with Murder Man-Stealing
Foreigners for Sale Slow Learners
Thievery and Restitution Central Narrative
Essenes Philemon
Turn the Other Cheek Form of a Servant
First Timothy Terms and Conditions
Conclusion The Other Side

The King of Dahomey was not selling people who had signed six-year contracts for indentured service, although numerous voluntary immigrants found financing for their passage through that route. Allen creates the unfortunate misimpression that Africans only fell into life-long slavery in the New World, while already here for some other, unaccountable reason.

But whatever their status or represented status at the point of sale, their status upon arrival in colonial Virginia can only have been such as was recognized by the law of that jurisdiction. At first slave-owners were outlaws. Ultimately slave codes were written; the English crown, which profited from the slave trade, was pushing slavery. Once it became possible to renounce this ungodly institution, upon independence, the New England states pushed it away. Why did not all the 'Christian' folk of the United States follow suit?

I would suggest, single-minded attention to profit, combined with indifference to the Bible. I do not know how economists of the 'rational markets' school deal with slavery. In theory the buyer pays for 30-40 years of human labor, or however much remains according to contemporary actuarial tables (many of the African slaves did not even survive the passage to the New World), discounted to present value. But in practice slaves are, and have always been, unbelievably cheap. Perhaps that is because, while in theory you have already purchased the labor, you have to go and get it yourself, whip in hand, from an unwilling non-party to the transaction: the illegitimacy of the transaction is already priced into it.

The Mosaic law only allows for a maximum six-year term of service to Israelites, and does not recommend even that: "And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:. . ." (Leviticus 25:39). However permission is given to possess foreign, not Israelite, slaves: "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids." (Leviticus 25:44). What does that distinction, between foreigners and home folk, mean to Christians? The Mosaic law is not binding on Christians as a civil code, but Christian ethics, and thus any legislative code enacted by a Christian people, must be informed by it.

Perhaps it means little in practice, because the Messiah defined 'neighbor' rather broadly for His followers, in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Perhaps the dichotomy Israelite/foreigner has lost some of its potency in the Messianic kingdom, and the higher law applies to all. Or perhaps it means 'Christians' as opposed to 'unbelievers,' as this contemporary author suggests: "Since unbelievers are by nature slaves, they could be held as lifelong slaves without this formality (Lev. 25: 44-45)." (Rushdoony, R. J. The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1 (Kindle Location 4024). Chalcedon Foundation.); "The true believer is a freeman in the Lord; thus, even in debt and in servitude, he is entitled to a liberty not granted to others, who are slaves by nature." (Rushdoony, R. J. The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1 (Kindle Locations 7102-7103). Chalcedon Foundation.) Or perhaps that is a gross misunderstanding.

Whatever it might mean, it cannot possibly mean 'white' and 'black,' because these are not even Biblical categories. However that is just exactly how it did come to be interpreted, in the slave-holding Southern states, as amplified according to racist principles. Racism was a way of sneaking slavery in through the Biblical back-door.


Races of Man

Seneca offers some thoughts on classification:

  • “This, therefore, is what genus is, – the primary, original, and (to play upon the word) 'general.' Of course there are the other genera: but they are “special” genera: “man” being, for example, a genus. For “man” comprises species: by nations, – Greek, Roman, Parthian; by colours, – white, black, yellow. The term comprises individuals also: Cato, Cicero, Lucretius. So “man” falls into the category genus, in so far as it includes many kinds; but in so far as it is subordinate to another term, it falls into the category species.”
  • (Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. Delphi Complete Works of Seneca the Younger (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 27) (Kindle Locations 11220-11224). Moral Epistles, Letter LVIII, Section 12).

Hmmmm, where have we heard that white-black-yellow business before, maybe out of the depths: "I find these races naturally divided into three, and three only — the white, the black, and the yellow." (Arthur de Gobineau, An Essay on the Inequality of the Races of Man, p. 164). One cannot be blamed for the other, though. The Spaniard Seneca, who knew what it was like to be a member of a less-favored race in the Italian-dominated empire, wanted to be a citizen of the world.



Noticing that skin tint tracks with latitude, Pliny the first century encyclopedist offers a contiuum, with Italy occupying a happy medium:

  • "There can be no doubt, that the Æthiopians are scorched by their vicinity to the sun's heat, and they are born, like persons who have been burned, with the beard and hair frizzled; while, in the opposite and frozen parts of the earth, there are nations with white skins and long light hair. The latter are savage from the inclemency of the climate, while the former are dull from its variableness. . . In the middle of the earth there is a salutary mixture of the two, a tract fruitful in all things, the habits of the body holding a mean between the two, with a proper tempering of colours; the manners of the people are gentle, the intellect clear, the genius fertile and capable of comprehending every part of nature. They have formed empires, which has never been done by the remote nations; yet these latter have never been subjected by the former, being severed from them and remaining solitary, from the effect produced on them by their savage nature."
  • (Pliny, Natural History, Book II, Chapter 80 ).

What a coincidence! The Romans find themselves smack dab in the sweet spot. Incidentlaly it is not true that Ethiopia has never been an imperialistic power; at times they have been the vassal of Egypt, at other times the reverse.

A similiar view, that Roman Italy is sitting in Goldilocks' chair, was expressed by the achitect Vitriuvius: "This is also the reason why the races that are bred in the north are of vast height, and have fair complexions, straigtht red hair, grey eyes, and a great deal of blood, owing to the abundance of moisture and the coolness of the atmosphere. On the contrary, those that are nearest to the southern half of the axis, and that lie directly under the sun's course, are of lower stature, with a swarthy complexion, hair curling, black eyes, strong legs, and but little blood on account of the force of the sun. . .Such being nature's arrangement of the universe, and all these nations being allotted temperaments which are lacking in due moderation, the truly perfect territory, situated under the middle of the heaven, and having on each side the entire extent of the world and its countries, is that which is occuped by the Roman people. In fact, the races of Italy are the most perfectly constituted in both respects -- in bodily form and in mental activity to correspond to their valor." (Vitruvius, the Ten Books of Architecture, Capter I, On Climate, Section 1-11). What a surprise!

The ancients never made up their minds whether acquired characteristics are heritable, or not; both views are represented in antiquity. Charles Darwin never made up his mind either, clinging throughout his life to a measure of Lamarckianism. This would be the idea that the hot sun makes men's skin black, as expressed by this unenlightened 'Enlightenment' author: "What has rendered the descendants of the Portuguese, after residing some centuries in Africa, so similar in color to the Negroes?. . .The climate, considered in the most extensive signification of the word so as to include the manner of life and kind of food." (von Herder, Johann. Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man (Kindle Locations 3288-3290). Random Shack.)

It seems likelier these darkening Portugese colonists intermarried with the locals, rather than got burnt by the sun.Darwinian evolution does not so much deny that the climate, and other elements of the environment, work upon the organism to bring it up to specs, but rather purports to provide a mechanism explaining how these shaping factors do it. In the case of white skin, however, I think those who subscribe to this school of thought are going to have to retreat to sexual selection, because there is no survival advantage to this modification. Challenged to explain the magnificent plumage of certain male birds according to their principles, the evolutionists came up with the concept of sexual selection. The male birds' extravagant plumage makes them more conspicuous to predators, so what is the survival advantage? There is none, but lady birds find blue birds handsome. It's odd that we and the lady birds share a common criterion of beauty; we admire the same stunning male birds. Perhaps this is the Platonic ideal of beauty intruding itself into history. On this view, the mystery is not why white people find white people attractive; rather, we have white people because somebody found them attractive. The ancients are not necessariliy any sillier on these points than the moderns.

So whether we are talking about an acquired characteristic, "the Ethiopians whose bodies are blackened by the sun" (Origen, First Principles, Book 4, Chapter 1, Section 22, p. 714), or a fixed genetic inheritance, the fact that there is a range of variation in human skin color was not unobserved throughout antiquity. So what does 'whiteness' mean? The paler range of the scale. It means that today, it meant the same thing then.



There is an asymmetry in this currently popular claim, that the invention of the white race occurred at a particular moment during the late seventeenth century. What about the black race? Was its "invention" simultaneous?

The claim of first publication can be disproven with a single citation. It is not necessary to go back to antiquity, a more recent example will do. The "proletarian intellectual" who got the ball rolling on these claims was himself aware of Othello. This single fictional character prevents him from claiming the black race was unknwon to anyone prior to the colonical Virginia legislature. Can we find instances of racial hostility, and generalizations about racial groups, in the time span between classical literature and colonial America? You bet. Listen to the aggrieved lover, angry that his white girl friend took so long to part from her husband:

"'You lie, you bitch,' the Negro answereed, 'and I swear to you on the honor and the great virility of black men, on our mighty superiority over all whites, that if you are late once again after to-day I will throw you aside and never lay my body above yours again. Unfaithful whore, filth, foulest of white girls, you are only late because you have been sating your lust with someone else.'" (A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Kindle location 766).

Whatever the speaker thinks a 'white girl' is, he seems to believe he can tell 'em when he sees 'em, as do the modern-day professors of this science, who explain that whiteness is a fictitious category, while oddly enough simultaneously retaining the ability to sort their audience members into one category or the other without hesitancy. When did 'racism' begin? No doubt it reaches its fullest flower in the nineteenth century, when it had the support of evolutionary 'science' undergirding it, but animosity toward the 'other' did not begin then, but long before. Consider this account of Macedonian cruelty to a captured commander:

"'Baetis himself, however, was brought before the king alive by Leonatus and Philotas. And Alexander seeing that he was corpulent and huge and most grim (for he was black in color too), was seized with loathing for his very looks as well as for his design upon his life, and ordered that a ring of bronze should be passed through his feet and that he should be dragged round a circular course, naked. . .His fat and his bulging corpulence suggested to them another creature, a huge-bodied Babylonian animal. So the multitude scoffed at him, mocking with the coarse mockery of the camp an enemy who was so repulsive of feature and so uncouth in his ways.'" (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Literary Composition, Chapter XVIII, Kindle location 18729).

Is it really possible Alexander the Great was a racist? What role did this captive's skin color play in his unhappy fate? Evidently these military men, with a passion for physical fitness, did not think much of fat people either. What a tragedy for mankind if the globe-girdling, multi-racial Persian empire fell to a white supremacist! We'll never know because this is probably an unreliable account, quoted by Dionysius as a bad example to avoid.

The reader of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights discovers that the merchancise offered on the slave market is categorized according to 'white' and 'black:' "He called together all the brokers concerned in the selling of black and white slaves and bade them search for what he required. . . ." (Tale of Sweet Friend, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Kindle location 4462). These people did not need to wait for any colonial American legislature to invent the categories of 'white' and 'black.' They were not looking for these people to meet any Boy Scout agenda, but rather to stock the harem, and there seems to have been a certain aesthetic prference in operation. Slaves of many nationalities were available in the market, some of whom would seem to have commanded a price premium: ". . .very soon they sassembled at the point which the broker had chosen, where Turkish, Greek, Circassian, Georgian and Abyssinian womren were collected for sale." (One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Tale of Sweet Friend, Kindle location 4699). Oddly enough, this aestheiic preference seems to have applied to males as well: "Now the Wazir al-Fadl ibn Kahkan had a son so handsome that people beholding him thought that the moon was rising. His skin was marvellously white, but roses blushed below the silky down of his cheeks. . ." (One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Kindle location 4490). There's no accounting for taste.

The Roman empire had brought many different tribes and peoples into one political union. This included people from North Africa; Emperor Septimius Severus, a North African, ruled the world for a time. Then it all fell to pieces. The world did not revert to tribalism though; there were strange combinations; the Vandals, a Germanic people, conquered North Africa and ruled that region for a time. Islam's imperialist expansion brought people from different races into conflict, with resultant racial animosity: "Yet there remains his uncle Marganice, that governs Carthage, Alfrere and Garamile, and Ethiope, a land accursed and vile. In his command are all the Negro tribes. . .When Roland looks on these accursed tribesmen — as black as ink from head to foot their hides are, with nothing white about them but their grinders — quoth Oliver: 'The devil take the hindmost!'" (The Song of Roland, a new translation, Dorothy L. Sayers, Kindle location 2722). This is what happens when people 'from away' invade; racial conflict and animosity was not invented in the colonial United States.

The book 'The Invention of the White Race' was written to answer this question: "'Why No Socialism in the United States?'" (Editor's Appendix M, The Invention of the White Race, Volume I, Kindle location 5626). To most people, that question is a 'gimme.' There has been no socialism in the United States because socialism has been a failure wherever it has been tried, and even before it had been tried, seemed likely to be so. Next question.

If the question as to why the great proletarian revolution never got off the ground in the United States is not a burning question in your mind, dear reader, then this book was never meant to speak to you. In the author's mind, 'white privilege' was never a winning proposition: "Third, the consequence was not only ruinous to the interests of the African-Americans, but was 'disastrous' for the propertyless 'whites' as well.'" (Editor's Appendix N, Kindle location 5857, Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1). To this author, it is self-evident that the answer to the question, 'Why did the Irish-American immigrants display so much bigotry against blacks, for instance in New York draft riots,' cannot lay with the Irish rioters, but only in the "ruling class," becauses it was laid down that the "ruling class" causes everything to happen that does happen in a capitalist society: "'The ruling ideas of any society are the ideas of the ruling class.'" (Editor's Appendix M, The Invention of the White Race, Volume I, Kindle location 5787). What our author hopes to see is for all the proletarians of the world, black and white, to join hands and march together into the radiant socialist dawn. His status as a "proletarian intellectual" means he was an amateur historian, who delivered the mail during the day. He also did a variety of other things, including coal mining. He produced his dense, scholastic Marxist-Leninist analysis of social history in his off-hours.

To judge by Allen's magnum opus, 'The Invention of the White Race,' pretty much all of human history up to the Renaissance remains a blank sheet to this author, except for the occasional purloined insights from Karl Marx or Friedrich Engels. Once this missing information has been restored, the reader can see how vain was his quest to find the birthing moment of 'whiteness,' which has pretty much always been around. To be sure, the detailed conceptions of nineteenth century 'scientific' racism have not always been around, but neither do the Virginia statutes speak of 'the Caucasian race,' nor the evolution of the most favored races, nor can such concepts be shoe-horned into the minds of contemporary speakers. Is it really unclear what the novelist Heliodorus meant, in the third century A.D., when he makes an Ethiopian character say, 'the child was white'?

  • 'Madam,' he said, 'these are tokens that I recognize, but that you who bear them are my child, not merely someone who has chanced upon them, I do not yet recognize. Apart from anything else, your skin has a radiant whiteness quite foreign to Ethiopian women.'

  • “'The child I rescued,' said Sisimithres, 'was white when I rescued her; and besides, the number of years tallies with the girl's present age; for some seventeen years in all have passed since the exposure, and she is seveneteen years old.'”
  • (Heliodorus, An Ethiopian Story, p. 568, Collected Ancient Greek Novels, B. P. Reardon).

The meaning is apparent, even if the novelist's explanation for how the King and Queen of Ethiopia happened to give birth to a white child is not convincing. So leaving the King's question, "how could we, Ethiopians both, produce, contrary to all probability, a white daughter?" (p. 569), unanswered, the lexical point remains. People knew perfectly well what it meant to say "the child. . .was white" then, just as they know now. It means the same now as it meant then.



It's a problem today that our current President, Donalf Trump, is a race-baiter. And it's terrifying to look around and see synagogue shootings and the like atrocities being committed right before our eyes, by Americans. Where did these white supremacists come from? How to make them go away, and re-establish civil peace? The internet held so much promise of bringing information, but in practice, it has brought in a revival of every bad idea humanity ever had, from flat-earthism to white racism. One's heart must be with those seeking racial reconciliation, in an atmosphere grown toxic, poisoned by pseudo-Christian teachings emanating from the alt-right.

So there definitely is a problem. But the solution cannot possibly be black racism:

"So then when we talk about white identity, then we have to talk about what whiteness is. Well, the reality is that whiteness is rooted in plunder, in theft, in slavery, in enslavement of Africans, genocide of Native Americans, we are sitting on stolen land, if you are in America, we are sitting on stolen land, everywhere in America, this is the reality of land that was stolen from Native Americans and we have to recognize and acknowledge that. It’s a power structure, that is what whiteness is, and so that the thing for white women to do is you have to divest from whiteness. . .

"Because we have to understand something - whiteness is wicked. It is wicked. It's rooted in violence, it's rooted in theft, it's rooted in plunder, it's rooted in power, in privilege (which we just saw two weeks ago with the college scandal - I have receipts here) so that the goal for our white sisters is to rediscover your ethnic heritage so I am not pulling something away from you without telling you to replace it, so the goal for you all is to recover what your ancestors deliberately discarded. . ."
(Ekemini Uwan interview with Elizabeth Woodson, Sparrow Conference, April, 2019).

At this point some audience members began walking out, no doubt wondering how they could be expected to repent of whiteness any more than they can repent of breathing, or of bipedalism. Like they used to say, "For a man is not found fault with for being tall or short in his stature, or white or black, or because his eyes are large or small, or for any bodily defect whatsoever; but he is found fault with if he steal, or lie, or practice deceit, or poison another, or be abusive, or do any other such-like things." (Bardesan, Laws of Divers Countries, p. 1447). When, by the way, do the black Africans propose to give that continent back to the Hottentots and other Khoisan? The people who waved to the Carthaginian navigators as they sailed down the African coast were not her ancestors, but the people her ancestors displaced.

One of the fundamental principles of Biblical ethics is that God is no respecter of persons, and neither should we be: "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors." (James 2:9). The rules are the same for everybody: "One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you." (Numbers 15:16). Even those outside the realm of Biblical revelation have a sense that this is so; Kant's categorical imperative is the directive that you should act in such a way as can be taken as a maxim by others. When people find themselves saying things about white people that would horrify even themselves if they heard the same sentiments expressed about black people, they should realize something is wrong.

The claim, not original to this speaker but common in this field, is that 'whiteness' was invented by the Virginia legislature during colonial times. They literally do mean that no one was ever referred to as 'white' prior to that time:

“When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.”
(Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Location 115-116). Verso Books.)

That claim was originally made on the back cover of the first volume of Allen's magnum opus. The claim is not that the people, later known as white, weren't there, but that the concept or word category 'white' was not used to describe them, this usage never having occurred to anyone up to that point. As we've seen, the claim is absurd. Both 'white' and 'black' are used in a neutral, observational, non-perjorative sense, thoughout antiquity. We need not await the colonial Virginia state legislature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to make the discovery that there are white people. 'Black' and 'white,' correlative terms, are common-place descriptions of what different individuals and tribes look like, which do no harm to anyone. Aristotle is just trying to understand, that's all:

  • Thus in black men, such as the Aethiopians and the like, the teeth and bones are white...
  • (Aristotle, History of Animals, 3.9.)

So when the Christian theologian Hippolytus, summarizing the views of those who believe in the pagan system of astrology, talks about those born under Taurus as being white men, he is talking about an observable complexion, not a system of oppression: "Those, however, who are born in Taurus will be of the following description: round head, thick hair, broad orehead, square eyes, and large black eyebrows; in a white man, thin veins, sanguine, long eyelids, coarse huge ears, round mouths, thick nose, round nostrils, thick lips, strong in the upper parts, formed straight from the legs." (Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 16, pp. 64-65). Hippolytus found this risible, because, taken literally, it would mean no Ethiopian could be born during certain months of the year: "These statements, however, and others similar to them, are rather deserving of laughter than serious consideration. For, according to them, it is possible for no Aethiopian to be born in Virgo; otherwise he would allow that such a one is white, with long straight hair and the rest." (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, Book IV, Chapter 6, p. 53).

There is a valid insight at the bottom of all this, namely that the scientific racism which developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was something new in the world. It was not a carry-over from the classical period, nor can any such mentality be found in the Bible. The idea the scientific racists formulated, of a 'white race' superior to all the rest of humanity, because more highly evolved, never entered their minds. But this kernel of truth has been so hyped, exaggerated, and over-inflated, that proficients in this field are by this point making patently false claims. 'Whiteness' was not invented by the colonial Virginia legislature: human beings, individually or in groups, have been tagged as 'black' and 'white' from the start. Unfortunately self-criticism is not expected in this scholarly discipline, safe spaces are preferred.


The Proletarian Revolution

Has it been proven, by our "proletarian intellectual," that the 'white race' was invented in seventeenth century Virginia? How was it proven? First, we must define what the 'white race' is, thus acquiring the means whereby we might determine whether it exists at a given moment or not:

“Two fair conclusions would seem to follow: First, 'the white race' – supra-class unity of European-Americans in opposition to African-Americans – did not and could not have then existed. Second, the invention of the white race at the beginning of the eighteenth century can in no part be ascribed to demands by European-American laboring people for privileges vis-à-vis African-Americans.”
(Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4138-4141). Verso Books.)

The "white race" means "supra-class unity of European-Americans in opposition to African-Americans." You didn't know that's what it meant, did you? I'll bet not one person in a thousand would spontaneously offer such a definition. And what does that mean? First, those of you who need to polish up your Marxist-Leninist vocabulary, grown rusty since the Berlin Wall came down, should recall that Marxism is premised on class warfare: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." (Marx, Karl. Communist Manifesto, I. The Capital (Vol. 1-3): Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit (Kindle Locations 43062-43063). Madison & Adams Press.)

Our current stage of history is marked by the contest between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Who comprise the proletariat? Free laborers, who bring only their strong arms and willingness to work to the market-place. Marx's category by defintion excludes serfs and slaves:

"In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed; a class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market."
(Marx, Karl. Communist Manifesto, I. The Capital (Vol. 1-3): Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit (Kindle Locations 43163-43166). Madison & Adams Press.)

At the time of Marx's trail-blazing writings, both the proletariat and their nemesis, the bourgeoisie, were understood to be essentially new classes brought to birth by the large-scale factory manufacturing created by the industrial revolution. But reading our author, we discover that a new thing has indeed come into the world: the "unfree proletariat:" "The peculiarity of the “peculiar institution” derived, rather, from the control aspect; yet not merely in its reliance upon the support of the free non-owners of bond-labor, as buffer and enforcer against the unfree proletariat; for that again was a general characteristic of plantation societies in America." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 450-453). Verso Books.)

Free or unfree, take your pick: "The capitalistic form, on the contrary, pre-supposes from first to last, the free wage-labourer, who sells his labour-power to capital." (Marx, Karl. Das Kapital, Volume I, Part 4. The Capital (Vol. 1-3): Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit (Kindle Locations 5084-5085). Madison & Adams Press.)

Do all possibilities remain open to humanity that ever once were open? The premise of Marxist historiography, as indeed of the Hegelianism that lay behind it, is that the answer is 'no.' Is slavery possible? Certainly, at one time it was a nearly-universal human institution. So let's revive it! The Marxist sputters, 'You can't do that!' No more than the shards of a glass vase shattered on the floor can reconstitute themselves, can a former state of class struggle be brought back, like a retro fashion. Except they did revive slavery, in the seventeenth century. It had never even gone out of fashion, in Africa and the Middle East.

A significant minority of the slaves brought to America were Muslims. If there was any single group of the population who would have had difficulty formulating a principled opposition to the institution in and of itself, it was these folk, because the founder of their religion was a slave-owner. Consequently, it was not until the 1960's that slavery was outlawed in Saudi Arabia, and then only nominally. Once here, though, they developed class consciousness and shouldered their way into solidarity with the industrial workforce, the proletariat, of factory capitalism, at that time practically non-existent in the South. Or so our author says.

The "white race" came into existence, according to our author, in order to disguise the otherwise inescapable identity of class interest between the free white laborers of the United States,— plus tenant and yeoman farmers, plus indentured servants,— and the black chattel slaves, held in life-time, hereditary bondage in the American South prior to the Civil War. In what does this identity consist? The economic function of these three classes could not be more different, nor could they stand in more varied relation to the means of production. If there is, after all, no point in doing class-based analysis of society, why not just abandon the Communist project? It will not be missed.

Our author has greatly simplified the field, leaving only two classes, Oppressor and Oppressed. People are sorted in one group or the other, depending on whether he sympathizes with their plight. We might name his school of thought, Sentimental Communism. Out of Communist class analysis, he has made something timeless. . .what it was never intended to be. Things have to be compacted down, complexity simplified, because our author hopes to see class solidarity between two groups, slaves and free laborers, that even Karl Marx realized were, historically, in no way class-mates.

Thus the proletariat is redefined to mean free labor (which is what the proletariat originally meant) plus bond-servants of all terms and conditions, plus tenant farmers (maybe), plus family farmers (maybe), residing in the state of Virginia,— although actually the whole world if you are a Trotskyite. It's Us versus Them. The proletariat is locked in an eternal death struggle with the "Plantation Bourgeoisie:" yes, the "Plantation Bourgeoisie,"— not a phrase you encounter every day, but presumably meaning plantation owners.

To find an Old World equivalent, look for Lord of the Manor, because in his original definition, the capitalist is not a man who owns slaves. Under Allen's manipulation, the category expands, he is sure with Marx and Engels' blessing: “The capitalist exploiters of bond-labor seemed to sense their dilemma before Marx and Engels made it manifest: 'The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production and thereby the relations of production …'” (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 9865-9866). Verso Books.)

It is remarkable that the English, who had been in the forefront of the European peoples in casting off feudalism, regressed so dramatically in the New World, to the point of reviving slavery, a dead letter in their native land. And these grandees did it with such gusto and conviction as to revive the idea of harem rights. So much for economic determinism of history. The "plantation bourgeoisie" sold to a world market, just as did the big slave estates of Roman imperial Italy in antiquity. This might seem a situation which defeats Marxist class analysis, which perceives, in European history, a natural and indeed inevitable progression from slavery to feudalism to free markets. . .and onward to the inevitable triumph of communism. But maybe this conception of a time arrow pointing in only one direction is just wrong. Maybe what enabled the Europeans to rid themselves of forms of oppression like slavery and feudalism was Christianity, not history, which lacks the creative force Hegal assigns to it.

Feudalism, the concentration of ownership of land, the major productive resource in an agriculural society, in a few hands, had never been permitted under Biblical law, which forbids joining field to field: "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" (Isaiah 5:8). Since it did not come from the Bible, which criminalizes it, where did feudalism come from? The old tribal cultures of the heathen nations of Europe were already characterized by this mode of thought: "The greater part, when they are pressed either by debt, or the large amount of their tributes, or the oppression of the more powerful, give themselves up in vassalage to the nobles, who possess over them the same rights without exception as masters over their slaves." (Julius Caesar, Gallic Wars, Book VI, Chapter XIII.) The large slave estates which had, like a growing cancerous tumor, forced the old peasant proprietors out of Italy, may have been developing in that direction; feudalism is slavery, lightly reformed. Plus warlordism commonly crops up in low security environements, like Europe after the collapse of the Western Empire. However it happened, it happened. Whichever barbarian chieftain had most recently conquered the land with its helpless peasants held hostage, divvied the acreage into gigantic estates and gave them as gifts to his principal henchmen. The people living on that acreage came with it, like sheds or other out-buildings.

According to Marx and Engels, feudalism had to depart for capitalism to arise. This makes sense, because saving labor cannot mean saving money if the labor pool is fixed and unalterable. But evidently history's arrow runs in opposite directions, forward and backward, just fine, by our author's lights. By 'capitalist,' Allen means to point to no economic function in particular, no new class, only more or less what the contemporary Tea Party means by 'elite.' In Allen's portrayal of the world, these overlords sit in council like gods. They never mistake their own interest, which marks them off as a different race of beings from ourselves, never mind white vs. black.

Manumission, granting freedom to individual slaves, was always part of the 'social control' mechanism of the ancient world. They liberated slaves that citizens might abound: "It is neither pleasing to Heaven nor creditable that our race should cease and the name of Romans meet extinguishment in us, and the city be given up to foreigners, — Greek or even barbarians. We liberate slaves chiefly for the purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible; we give our allies a share in the government that our numbers may increase:. . ." (Caesar Augustus, quoted in Dio, Cassius. Complete Works of Cassius Dio (Delphi Classics) (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 36) (Kindle Locations 15394-15396). Roman History, Book 56, Chapter 7). The Roman empire abounded in freedmen; the inexhaustible hope of freedom, even if never actually acquired, acted as a steam pressure release valve, giving the slave reason to go on. A slave who had lost that hope could petition for redress: "There is a law even for slaves who have given up all hope of freedom, that they may demand a sale, and thus exchange their present master for one more mild." (Plutarch, Superstition, 4.1).

This invaluable 'social control' function of manumission was all but abandoned by the cruel, and myopic, Southern slave-masters. In some cases they made manumission illegal, purportedly out of concern that some freed slaves entered into perennial unemployment. Was this short-sighted? Not in his mind; it was a vital step in the creation of the 'white race.' These masters of the universe can make no mistake. Exactly what happened, whatever it was, is what was planned, intended, and engineered down to the last detail. This is the conspiracy mind-set. Once the avenue to freedom was blocked off for African-Americans (although about a tenth of African-Americans were in fact free on the eve of the Civil War), then the fundamental Rights of Man, always described as such in contemporary literature, could be re-gifted back to the white folk, who already possessed them, as 'white privilege,' and they would presumably be none the wiser, never noticing the ripped wrapping and askew bow. The fools! Presumably our author shares the normal Communist contempt for 'bourgeois liberties' in any case.

Thus far the masters of the universe, the "ruling class." But is even our proletariat complete and well-defined? What about small-scale family farmers? New England developed on this basis. They were not absent altogether in Virginia. Sometimes they're in, sometimes they're out. We discover that the "laboring classes" include: "...non-slaveholders, self-employed smallholders, tenants, and laborers." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 6392-6393). Marx himself was ambivalent: ". . .the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. . .The lower middle classes, the small manufacturers, the shopkeepers, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class...they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history." Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei,” London, 1848, pp. 9, 11." (Marx, Karl. Das Kapital, Volume 1, Footnote 1094. The Capital (Vol. 1-3): Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit (Kindle Locations 17814-17817). Madison & Adams Press.) If not on opposite sides of the class divide, workers and peasants at any rate were not on the same side, they were different; here again Marx and Engels differentiate between workers and farmers: "It might be said that not only capital, but also laborers, in the shape of emigrants, are annually exported from England. In the text, however, there is no question of the peculium of the emigrants, who are in great part not laborers. The sons of farmers make up a great part of them." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Das Kapital, Volume I, Footnote 885). Note, farmers are not laborers. Not that capitalism cannot come to the countryside; but when it does, the cast of characters there to greet it cannot be serfs, slaves, peasant proprietors, nor even tenants; they've wandered in from a different theatrical production. When gigantic agribusiness establishes factory farms in your neck of the woods, dear reader, the sign of their presence will not be a sudden a proliferation of serfs.

Marx and Engels' lack of precision on this point, of who exactly comprise the proletariat, devolves even further at the hands of our author. An advertised historical dialectic process spurring economic change becomes a static, eternal state, in which terms like 'capitalist' and 'proletariat' cease to refer to discrete economic functions, rather, the good guys are always the proletariat, the bad guys the capitalists, and 'capitalist' simply means 'bad guy,' 'proletariat' 'good guy.' Slaves thus have to belong to the proletariat,— 'Can't you see they are victims! How dare you say they are not good guys!' I didn't say they are not good guys, I said they are not free laborers, which is what, some of the time, Marx and Engels define the proletariat to be. Surely they are not any new class. If since their day self-advertised Marxists have discovered Marx and Engels were wrong, then glory be, that's a sign of progress. However this self-taught, eccentric author doesn't seem to realize he's not doing it right. He is, however, continuing a trend which began before his time and led to a tragic denoument.

Generally under Communism the farmer's class status is suspect; recall that the Russian 'kulaks,' family farmers, were class enemies of the deepest dye, because peasant proprietors, it turns out, resist communist expropriation to the death. When the focus falls on their "reactionary" nature, we must eject them from the proletarian class. Our smaller remnant proletariat however remains an assortment of jacks-of-all-trades: free but landless rural laborers, plus indentured servants, plus chattel slaves, plus share-croppers.

A moment's thought should show there is not necessarily any community of economic interest amongst these diverse groups: a tenant farmer, as perhaps an occasional employer of free labor, would prefer prevailing wages to be low, which no rural wage-earner would prefer. Besides, an entire industry peddling racial grievance exists in the present day, asserting that these poor whites were being offered, not an illusion, but something tangible and valuable, 'white privilege,' worth so much in actual cash terms that descendants of these recipients ought to pay reparations for their ill-gotten gains! Who is right, Allen or the racialists who promote his findings in the present day? They can't both be right.

This literary project is not the first time the peasantry has been welcomed aboard the glorious proletarian revolution. Both Russia and China, at the time those countries embraced socialism, were peasant societies not far removed from feudalism. The industrial work-force were, in theory, to be the storm-troopers leading the world to the revolutionary barricades, but, where they even existed, they refused the task, having other goals in mind. Places where capitalism scarcely existed, like semi-feudal China, proved fertile ground for revolution; the starving, deprived masses were happy to join shoulders to overthrow the existing system. Mao Zedong revised Communist thought to make of them a revolutionary class, never mind that it was a prior revolution, the Peasant's Revolt Martin Luther tried to stave off.

But a fatal flaw lay hid in this revision, leading to the very high body counts that always accompanied successful Marxist take-overs. Like all farming folk, the Russian and Chinese tenant rural dwellers wanted land. Having gotten it, they lost interest in making the revolution. The government was disappointed, having expected them willingly to fork over their land to the newly formed state farms and collectives. Unhappy to discover the farmers were not so revolutionary after all, and maybe even had never really been proletarians, they killed them in large numbers:

Are tenant farmers even part of the proletariat? Our author feels no need for consistency; some of the time "peasants" are outside the proletarian class: "The ranks of the rebels were composed about half of peasants and half of proletarians – rural wage-laborers, and journeymen and apprentices of London and other towns." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 6671-6672). Verso Books.);— meaning by 'peasants' presumably tenants still in semi-feudal relations with the landlord. So maybe they're out, maybe they're in. Whatever. Is it not apparent that, if you have to be a 'wage-laborer' to qualify as a proletarian, then slaves are not proletarians?

So are slaves part of the proletariat, or not? Never mind that our own author describes the bourgeoisie as the class who makes you free:

"The historical mission of the bourgeoisie was to replace the two-way bondage of feudalism with the two-way freedom of the capitalist relation of production. The capitalist was free to fire the workers, and the workers were free to quit the job. The political corollary was that the bourgeoisie was the only propertied class ever to find advantage in proclaiming freedom as a human right."
(Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 2602-2605). Verso Books.)

'Bourgeoisie,' like 'proletariat,' means whatever you need it to mean at the moment: slave-owner, maybe, as in 'Plantation Bourgeoisie,' or what it was originally defined to mean: a capitalist exploiting free labor. Capitalism is conceived by Marx to be inherently and inevitably exploitive. Whatever. The revolution is the thing; keep your eyes on the prize, not on distracting nit-picking about whose revolution we are talking about.

Back to the class struggle, even if the contestants are uncertain. Only one party can emerge victorious. To the barricades, Proletarians! The proletariat is supposed to demonstrate class solidarity, "I have argued inferentially that “the white race,” and thus a system of racial oppression, did not exist and could not have existed in the seventeenth-century tobacco colonies. In Chapter 8 that conclusion was based on evidence of class solidarity of laboring-class European-Americans with African-Americans, and the consequent absence of an all-class coalition of European-Americans directed against African-Americans." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4513-4516). Verso Books.)

What is class solidarity? Loyalty to their own cause, imagined to be a unitary one, against their common class enemy, the bourgeoisie. It is difficult to imagine what "class solidarity" might mean between such wildly different classes, as slaves and free laborers. There is no more selfish, self-interested loyalty, than class solidarity as understood in classical Marxism; but when the 'class' consists of wildly disparate elements, it is perhaps more a project of empathic altruism. This sentiment is what fuels the beating revolutionary hearts of modern radicals, who do not generally belong to the classes with whom they are expected to enter into solidarity.

Certainly these people from different worlds, encountering one another in the Virginia countryside, should have looked upon one another with human sympathy; but class consciousness of the Marxist variety is intended to stifle human sympathy, not excite it. Still our author uses the familiar Marxist terminology, even if it has devolved down to Marxist word salad. Are slave-plantations "capitalist enterprises"? He thinks so: "The plantations, being capitalist enterprises, were subject to the normal crises of overproduction." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 2616-2617).) Or is capitalism a new thing in the world, the very system which arose only when free labor came on the market, as some people think?: "The whole system of capitalist production is based on the fact that the workman sells his labour-power as a commodity." (Marx, Karl. Das Kapital, Volume 1, Part 4. The Capital (Vol. 1-3): Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit (Kindle Locations 6548-6549).) Can it matter? It's just words. Anyone who hopes to find precision, or consistency, with this manner of social analysis, just doesn't get it. The ambiguity and imprecision first take root at the start, with Marx and Engels, but reach the vanishing point of absurdity with our author, for whom anyone at all can be part of the proletariat, if he happens to feel sympathy for their plight.

The lack of precision comes from a desperate opportunism which is willing to make revolution, alongside whomever is willing. If the workers aren't interested, can others be found to man the barricades? From the time of Catiline onward, bored gilded youth have been a combustible revolutionary tinder, and the under-employed intellectual class of the third world formed the Revolutionary Vanguard which left many of these countries mired in poverty and under-development. And so onward with the glorious proletarian revolution, even if it is a little bit fuzzy by whom conducted, and against whom. Our author seeks an explanation of "the low level of proletarian class-consciousness;" (Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2, Kindle locatoin 11168); might it help toward the achieving of this noble goal, were it a bit more clear who is supposed to be 'in' and who is supposed to be 'out'? Did the free laborers and slaves of colonial Virginia achieve class solidarity, that revolutionary pearl of great price, in the seventeenth century, or eighteenth, or whenever (do not expect chronological precision from our author)? They did, we know they did! Solidarity Forever!

How do we know they did? Because they fornicated. (I'm not making this up.) Fornication was an offense that came to the attention of the authorities in those days, at least in some few cases. This misbehavior waxes and wanes as a crime taken notice of by the state, because it falls into a category of wrong-doing, victimless crimes, which are notorious for selective prosecution. But one instance in which the offense was reliably prosecuted was if the female partner, in bondage, became pregnant, because this condition affected her ability to serve the master. And as we delve into these cases, some of them, it turns out, involve inter-racial couples. What better way to demonstrate class solidarity, than to fornicate?: “Among the 54 identified male bond-laborer partners in the 'fornication' cases examined, 22 were African-Americans involved with European-American women. . . In any case, it appears to have been in keeping with the readiness of European-American and African-American bond-laborers to make common cause in the other respects described in this chapter.” (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4098-4103). Verso Books.)

There you have it: no "white race," becuase they showed class solidarity by fornicating. Any questions? But wait. By our author's definition, they will have to cease fornicating to allow the "white race" to come into existence. Did they ever cease fornicating, and if so, when? I am reminded of a 'Blaxploitation' flick that came out in the 1970's called 'Mandingo,' which represented boxer Ken Norton's acting debut. May I point out that the existence of that film, which received the most negative reviews of practically any movie ever produced, demonstrates that the "white race" still does not exist, by our "proletarian intellectual"'s logic?

Fornication being one infallible proof, here is another: "Grantham’s testament has a significance that is beyond exaggeration: in Virginia, 128 years before William Lloyd Garrison was born, laboring-class African-Americans and European-Americans fought side by side for the abolition of slavery. In so doing they provided the supreme proof that the white race did not then exist." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 5424-5426). Verso Books.) In a confusing, multi-stage uprising not primarily concerned with any such thing as the abolition of slavery, called Bacon's Rebellion, blacks and whites fought side by side. Therefore the white race did not exist. So did they during the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI, WW2, etc. By stipulation, whites and blacks will have to cease fighting in the same wars for the "white race" to come into existence. Will it ever? At this rate, the white race is just never going to get off the ground.

He himself blandly reports blacks and whites fighting together, in the Yamassee War, without it meaning one blessed thing: “South Carolina Governor Charles Craven reported to the English government that he had enlisted about two hundred Afro-American men, 'who with a party of white men and Indians are marching toward the enemy,' the Yamassees.” (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 8278-8279). Verso Books.) Blacks and whites fought side by side in the Yamassee War. Does this prove there was no 'white race' in existence at the time? Oops. Why, in the one case, does military cooperation mean there is no 'white race' then in existence, when in the other case, it means nothing at all?

Incidentally, the Bacon of 'Bacon's Rebellion' owned bond-servants: "Of 25 condemned rebels whose estates were inventoried, 14 were listed as owners of bond-laborers. The largest individual holding was that of Bacon’s own 11 bond-laborers – 1 Irishman, 2 African-American men, 1 African-American woman and her one-year-old “mulatto” daughter, and 5 Indians, ranging in age from four to sixteen years of age." (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 10457-10459). Verso Books.) That might seem anomalous for an abolitionist, if there were any reason to believe he was one. Apparently though both sides in this conflict recruited soldiers out of bondage with the promise of individual freedom.

Does this make Bacon's Rebellion a struggle for "abolition," as alleged? How many times in history have slaves been recruited for military service, witih the promise of freedom dangled before them, and can these varied conflicts reasonably be described as a struggle for abolition? Long before the Confederacy, the Roman Republic preferred to have its fighting done by free men. Generally, so it was; however, in times of emergency, like after the disaster at Cannae, the rules could be bent. Recruiting slaves is a desperation move; you know the Roman Civil War was winding down toward the end game, when Pompey (the younger) began recruiting slaves: "During the contest, some legions, composed partly of deserters, partly of slaves made free by Pompey, came and surrendered themselves to Caesar." (On the Hispanic War, Chapter 34, attributed to Julius Caesar). This happenstance doesn't make the Civil War between Pompey Magnus and Julius Caesar into a 'slave rebellion.' Which side was for 'abolition'? Neither.

When, centuries before, the beleaguered plebeians, clamoring for forgiveneness of debts, seceded to Rome's Sacred Mount, the arch-oligarch Appius Claudius suggested that Rome could very well do without the plebs by arming the slaves: "So far indeed as the seceders among the citizens are concerned, we shall have an adequate force to cope with them if we see fit to choose out the most vigorous of our slaves and give them their freedom. For it is better to grant them their freedom than to be deprived of our supremacy by the others." (Appius Claudius, quoted in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, Book VI, 63.2, Kindle location 8185). He in not known to have been an abolitionist. The logic of recruiting slaves is that war cannot be waged without boots on the ground, and if you have burned through what's available, unwounded and is not on strike, they remain. The only promise of freedom is to those individuals who answer the call, if they survive to claim the promise. It is a desperate, last chance gamble; as a rule the Romans would not allow slaves to bear arms even for hunting or personal protection, for fear of slave rebellions. An army of slaves is a scary prospect to their former masters. But if the alternative is doom and defeat, they will go there, or at least talk about it.

In its death throes, the Confederacy overcame prior resistance from its military and political leadership and resolved to recruit black soldiers, offering them freedom from bondage in return for military service. This would prove, maybe, that the Confederacy was dedicated to the abolition of slavery? When you run out of cannon fodder, you take whatever you can get, and promise whatever you have to to get them.

In the first volume of Allen's magnum opus, he makes a claim of first publication: “The first use in a Virginia statute of the term 'white' to designate European-Americans as a social category occurred in 1691. . .” (Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 7648-7649)). This claim is rational, comprehensible, and, nowadays, oft-repeated, and if it could be proved to be meaningful, would be striking. Is it actually the case that the first use of this term in the Virginia statues was the first use of it in any context, as implied? Were human beings really first called 'whites' in a Virginia statute of 1691? This is the claim, and why it's important, according to the editor:

"Readers of the first edition of The Invention of the White Race were startled by Allen’s bold assertion on the back cover: “When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.” That statement, based on twenty-plus years of research in Virginia’s colonial records, reflected the fact that Allen found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691. As he later explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’"
(Allen, Theodore W. (2014-06-03). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1 (Kindle Location 117-122). Verso Books.)

Except they were white, according to the common usage in the Americas, not to mention, as we have seen, throughout human history. So is it true that English people were first made white in 1691? Of course not. Allen himself was evidently made aware of this, quoting Quaker George Fox as addressing his audience in the Barbados, "you that are called white" in 1671. (Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2, Kindle location 10689). I can well believe, incidentally, that people in London might need to hear the phrase explained. Even as late as the civil rights movement of the 1960's, some people north of the Mason-Dixon Line responded to televised excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches by wondering, 'What is this guy talking about? Who are 'white people'?' A self-conscious multi-racial society perceives a need for terms of this sort, not all people at all times.

Theodore William Allen completed Volume 1 in the belief that the colony of Virginia, in its statutes of 1691, was the first to publish the term 'white' as a description of a population category. And people repeat this claim, to this day. So how did George Fox learn a term which hadn't been invented yet? In the interim before the publication of Volume 2, some kindliy soul evidently came up to him and said, 'You know, long before there was a Jamestown, the Spaniards were in the New World. You need to ease out of your tunnel vision and look at the Caribbean.' So by the time we get to Volume 2, '1691' has been quietly dropped, and instead of a futile argument of first publication, easily disproved, we find a convoluted class warfare argument, which assumes that repressive legislation against African Americans is tantamount to the 'invention of the white race.' Why anyone not embarrassed by the error should accept the equivalence is a mystery.

'Cooperation, therefore no "white race,"' is a non sequitur. The phrase "white race" does not here mean anything that might be suggested by the terms "white race," rather it means that which prevents the development of class solidarity, between people who do not as a matter of fact have very much of a common class interest. When I think of 'whiteness,' I think of something maybe like a porcelain doll, not a phase in the class struggle. As we've seen, our author's understanding of class struggle is at best Marxoid or pseudo-Marxist; it employs a Marxist vocabulary but not in a meaningful way. People should be careful about repeating this author's discoveries as if they were uncontroversial facts about the world discernible through plain common sense. Can we please just go back to being white, like Socrates is white? That's what people mean when they use terms like 'black' and 'white,' not phases in class consciousness.