Was 'whiteness' invented in seventeenth century colonial Virginia? In the first volume of Theodore W. Allen's magnum opus, 'The Invention of the White Race,' 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. The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 7648-7649)). Why is this significant? Is this when 'whiteness' was invented? It is almost a given that it should be so, because it is the normal Marxist assumption that ideas arise out of the material base of production:

"In classic Marxist thought, base determines superstructure. In other words, traditional Marxists believed that the shape of a society's economy — the division of labor, the means of production, the distribution of capital — determined its politics, culture, art, and religion." (Iron Curtain, Anne Applebaum, p. 387).

As Mikhail Bakunin puts it, "Yes, facts are before ideas; yes, the ideal, as Proudhon said, is but a flower, whose root lies in the material conditions of existence. Yes, the whole history of humanity, intellectual and moral, political and social, is but a reflection of its economic history." (God and the State, Mikhail Bakunin, Kindle location 21). So don't be surprised that, to some people, this is self-evident, so much so that its needs no defense. It is not a discovery, it is a premise.

The world of thought is not free, under Marxism; it is determined by economic relations, which are primary. Consequently race, a concept undeniably used to calibrate an oppressive system of slavery, must itself be the product of oppression. Theodore Allen's claim, that 'whiteness' was invented by the seventeenth century colonial Virginia legislature, is pivotal to the entire field of 'white studies.' It remains the founding myth: "As discussed in chapter 2, there was no concept of race or a white race before the need to justify the enslavement of Africans." (White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo, Chapter 6, p. 9 of 42). Is it so? When was 'whiteness' invented? Let us see whether the facts at the base support the superstructure raised thereon:

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 evening 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: "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). We might say, I don't know you from Adam. 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). It is difficult to see how this saying could ever have caught on if it were true that, "The discovery of personal whiteness among the world's peoples is a very modern thing,— a nineteenth and twentieth century matter, indeed. The ancient world would have laughed at such a distinction." (W.E.B. du Bois, The Souls of White Folks, originally published in the Independent, 1910).

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. Nature displays no bright line where white shades into black, though the extremes are sufficiently distinct. 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 so doing: "After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848, Mexicans were granted U.S. citizenship, effectively conferring on them the legal status of 'free white persons.'" (Fatal Invention, Dorothy Roberts, p. 20). This treaty says nothing about the census, but does require that those residents marooned in what was formerly Mexican territory, before we latched onto it, cannot be less than first-class citizens; and arguably at some times and in some places in the U.S. non-white persons have been reduced to second-class citizens. Now the Census Bureau spends money sending people out into the Hispanic community to try to convince those same folks they are non-white. Back when Hispanics used to be white, did they enjoy 'white privilege'? If not, then some whites are not privileged. If so, then why did they trade away their white privilege, in exchange for nothing of value, certainly no cash, from the U.S. Government? White privilege, if it exists, cannot be a thing of any real value.

Hispanics used to check the 'white' box in overwhelming numbers, and many still do, but they are not supposed to do that anymore. It's a mystery why Hispanic Americans went along with this change of status, because it does have political consequences. If Mexican Americans are understood to be white, or 80% of them are so believed based upon their own testimony, then unchecked immigration from that direction is not changing the nation's demographic profile very much. 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 from this direction does change the current composition of the population. Hearing this, the white racists wake from their slumbers. During the period leading up to the Civil War, it was the Southern slave-owners who supported the efforts of adventurer William Walker to incorporate portions of  Central America and Mexico into the United States, in the hope these regions would add to the acreage under slavery. Alas for them, the Hondurans executed Walker by firing squad for treason, and the dream faded. Many of their children do not seem to want any of these people even as neighbors, much less all of them as fellow-citizens.

It is instructive to study the history of the racial categories applied by the U.S. Census in performance of its assigned task, not because they remain constant or make sense, but because doing so eliminates a lot of the nonsense you hear. When, for example, were the Irish or the Italians every categorized as 'non-white'? The twelfth of never, the same as the Poles and Swedes. The history shows that 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. They no longer classify Hispanics as 'white:' so therefore the population of the U.S. is changing? There's a sucker born every minute, I suppose. I wonder when they will wake up to the fact that the inhabitants of the Caucasus, the 'Caucasians' of scientific racism, are 'brown-skinned' by present standards? 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.  Probably they meant by this term much what people today mean by it.

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. As noted, both black and white are meaningful descriptors; this is found in Latin and Greek literature:

"Didyme has captured me with her eyes.
Alas! And I melt like wax before a flame
When I behold her beauty.
And if she's black, so what?" (Asclepiades 5.210 Greek Anthology).

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 color 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 modern-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). Different nationalities, thus, are understood to fall into the one column or the other, 'black' or 'white.'

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. Incidentally, if this party is called 'Simon the Black' for the obvious reason, then that spells the end for the Black Hebrew Israelites, who imagine that the Jews of Palestine were, all of them, black. You do not get tagged with a nick-name like that for being the same as everybody else.


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.

The creation myths of primitive peoples, such as the African Mbuti Pygmies of Congo, are not always politically correct: "Khonvoum created mankind from clay. Black people were made from black clay, white people came  from white clay, and the Pygmies themselves came from red clay." (Glance at Africa, University of Toronto, April 1, 2014). Makes sense if you stop to think about it. But who told them there were any Black people or white people? Observation, perhaps? This was not discovered once in human history.

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, because 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 translation 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 about white people until the seventeenth century colonial Virginia legislature invented the category? But what, after all, is so remarkable about calling them 'white'?

The white settlers on the American continent were Spanish, French, English, Dutch, and Portuguese, 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. As shown on this page, it is common observation, dating back to antiquity, that some folks are paler than others. There is no harm in this usage, and certainly no novelty attaches to it.

For many years, Elijah Muhammad, prophet of the god Wallace D. Fard, and his acolyte Malcolm X, preached the word to African-Americans that white Americans are the children of slave-owners. Are they? What percentage might have any such heritage? While the concept of corporate responsibility is not unknown to the Bible, it is an unanswerable challenge to find a case where the line of responsibility was delineated by inspecting skin pigmentation. White people in America are not a tribe, lineage or clan; they do not share common descent or family background. They are legitimately part of a nation, not defined by blood or soil, as also are people of color. But contrary to Justice Roger Taney and his modern followers, this nation was not founded on the principle of defense of slavery.

Malcolm X is someone who migrated in to the center of national debate from the lunatic fringe, and he took some pretty odd ideas along with him. Malcolm, perhaps going beyond his mentor, the self-proclaimed prophet Elijah Muahmmad, not only predicted, but recommended human effort in initiating, apocalyptic catastrophe for the white man:

"And I for one as a Muslim believe that the white man is intelligent enough, if he were made to realize how Black people really feel and how fed up we are without that old compromising sweet talk, stop sweet talking him. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what kind of hell you've been catching and let him know that if he's not ready to clean his house up, if he's not ready to clean his house up, he shouldn't have a house. It should catch on fire and burn down." (Malcolm X, May 20, 1962 Los Angeles).

Where was the mistake initially made, which saddled the field of racial reconciliation with ideas of inherent and inescapable white guilt? It all goes back to an evil god-scientist named Yacub:

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. The percentage of those in poverty is higher amongst African-Americans than whites, but given the greater number of whites, white people in poverty in the United States outnumber black. What a heartless insult directed at these people, to claim they are recipients of 'privilege' which just, for unaccountable reasons, hasn't kicked in yet! 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 formidable 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 Irish-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
Age of Reason Interracial Marriage
Scientific Racism Slavery and the Bible
The Confederacy 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? One might at first glance hazard the conjecture, the east and west coasts of Africa. But one of the two 'Ethiopia's greets the rising sun, the other the setting sun. In other words, one 'Ethiopia' is at the far eastern verge of the then-known world, stretching all the way to the other extreme at the west. So the two 'Ethiopia's' are India and Ethiopia proper, black Africa, 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 of Nicomedia. Delphi Complete Works of Arrian, Indica, 6.9,  (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; does she ever? Strabo mentions the two Ethiopias: "Although they are separated in two, we must understand as Ethiopians all those who stretch along the coast from sunrise to sunset." (Strabo, Geography 1.2.28, quoted p. 191, Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World, Kennedy, Roy, and Goldman). The "coast" is the coast of the circumscribing ocean; Africa was understood, correctly, to be bound by the Ocean. Pliny also counts two: "The most dependable tradition speaks of two Ethiopias beyond the African deserts. Above all, the tradition reported by Homer speaks of an eastern and western division of Ethiopians." (Pliny, Natural History 5.43-46, quoted p. 194, Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World, Kennedy, Roy and Goldman). There is the germ of an idea here, that people who are not politically of the same nation nor geographically adjacent might nonetheless be of the same race.

Not all the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent are black, as many of these same authors mention. But low-caste Hindus do indeed have dark skin. The resemblance is striking enough to induce an observer to question whether there might be a common family tree. 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.) 'Genos' is a Greek word, carrying the sense of a group sharing descent from a common ancestor; sometimes 'race' is the only viable English translation. Although modern biologists scoff at the idea that people groups originate from one distant progenitor, that idea is clearly expressed in the Bible:

"These are the tribes [φυλαι] of the sons of Noe, according to their generations [γενεσεις], according to their nations: of them were the islands of the Gentiles scattered over the earth after the flood." (Genesis 10:32, Brenton Septuagint).

Plainly the authors cited above 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. They did not, in the end, think that Athenians were indistinguishable from Scythians nor from Ethiopians. Physical characteristics were not the only differentiating features, but they were not overlooked.

It is true, as Nell Irvin Painter points out, that place was an important factor in the ancient conception of race. The ancients theorized that place: the environment, the climate,— played a formative role in originating human differences:

"Do not unlike places produce unlike men? It would be an easy matter to sketch rapidly in passing the differences in mind and body which distinguish the Indians from the Persians and the Ethiopians from the Syrians — differences so striking and so pronounced as to be incredible."
(Cicero, Marcus Tullius. On Divination, Book 2, Chapter 96. Delphi Complete Works of Cicero (Kindle Locations 69195-69207).)

It should be noted that Darwinian evolution, a popular modern theory, does not deny that environment shapes organisms, rather it purports to provide a mechanism whereby it might do so, over time. The ancients did not necessarily think this sculpting influence of climate took place over one generation. This focus on locale is not offered as a substitute for race, but is rather part of the package. It is a fixed idea with the anti-racists, that because the Greeks and Romans were not modern, scientific racists, that therefore skin color can have meant nothing to them: "There are several other ethno-racial terms or categories that I could discuss to demonstrate that the concept of ethno-racial otherness was present in the biblical world and that this concept had NOTHING to do with skin color." (Jarvis J. Williams, Lectures on the Gospel and Race). The ancient world was not a racial paradise where no one noticed skin color and everyone lived in harmony. The Greeks and Romans were entirely capable of carrying out genocide. The Cimbri were a population group who originated in Denmark, probably. Their farmlands were inundated by a storm surge, and so they set in motion, sweeping through Europe like a plague of locusts. This was a security challenge Rome did not ask for, but was the only viable solution to kill them all, every man, woman and child? But so they did. They were not so very enlightened on the matter of race. They did not define it solely on the basis of skin color, but then neither did the scientific racists of the nineteenth century.

It's true that Aristotle knew we are 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: The Complete Works (Kindle Locations 18490-18492). Pandora's Box. History of Animals, Book I, Chapter 6). Likely most of the white folks Nell Irvin Painter encounters do not think "in terms of race" as she defines it, and Aristotle is no exception to the rule. Some of these modern writers seem to believe that if the ancients did not accept the modern division of humanity into Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negroid, and they did not,— they had never even heard of it,— then they had no concept of race. But this concept they certainly did have, in the sense of common descent, and the Greeks did not place themselves in the same lineage with the Ethiopians. As in the Bible, the different people groups were traced back to their originating ancestors, though in pagan thought, unlike in the Bible, these ancestors might include half-human critters that we might be reluctant to list in our genealogies. After all, if you have reason to think you're descended from a being that is half man, half snake, it might be prudent just to keep the matter quiet. The Greek travellers, in their descriptions of the various people groups they encountered, would include a full inventory of all distinctive physical features, as well as language and locale, not to mention tall tales if any known. This catalog did not omit skin color; and as a matter of fact, the Greeks thought they were white folk: "In the Arabic translation of Polemon's work we encounter what is understandably missing in the anonymous Latin treatise, namely the old claim that the Greeks, being in the middle, are perfect, 'in so far,' that is, 'as they are of pure Hellenic or Ionian descent. They are men sufficiently tall, broad-shouldered, straight, firm, their skin is white, they are fair. . ." (quoted in Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, p. 158).


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.

Though Socrates was snub-nosed and resembled Silenus, the people who say these things do not care any more about their content than do those philosophy students who say, 'The book is sitting on the table.' So why do they say it? Could it be imagined they agreed with Noel Ignatiev, who said, "The goal of abolishing the white race is on its face so desirable that some may find it hard to believe that it could incur any opposition other than from committed white supremacists." (Abolish the White Race, September-October 2002, Harvard Magazine, excerpt from When Race Becomes Real, Noel Ignatiev). No, because only insane haters would agree with that. And besides, once the 'white race' goes, who is expected to pay the reparations? Though 'race' is missing from the logicians' pattern sentence, 'white' is not; it is present and accounted for and appears in a meaning indistinguishable from its present usage. People are, and have been, 'white' from ancient times down to the present.

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 millennia?

According to the antiracists, white folk cannot exist without a matrix of oppression to give them birth: "However, a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy." (Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility, Chapter 12, p. 25 of 38). What does this even mean, vis-a-vis 'Socrates is white'? The Athenians knew the Ethiopians as travelers, indeed even as slaves, but stood in no such relation to African blacks as oppressor to the oppressed. Yet Socrates existed, and he was white. Plainly the category can exist, without any implication of exploitation.

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 all 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 accomplish? If the latter, how did these people come to acquire the god-like ability 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 dissidents, 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 colors, – 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).

Paris, from Pompei

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.

His three-fold schema reminds the reader of Carl Linnaeus, who added a fourth category unknown to Seneca, for the native Americans. For an idea that, we are told, is a social construct at its heart, you really don't hear much nowadays about the category 'white' as originally constructed. Instead we hear, "The primitive church was multi-ethnic at its core. There weren't no white people in it!" (James White, Dividing Line, 59:22-59:36, 6/16/2020). Really, Greeks and Italians aren't white? To German ethnographer Johann Friedrich Blumenbach we owe the truly gigantic category, 'Caucasian:' "Caucasian variety. . .To this first variety belong the inhabitants of Europe (except the Lapps and the remaining descendants of the Finns) and those of Eastern Asia, as far as the river Obi, the Caspian Sea and the Ganges; and lastly, those of Northern Africa." (Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, On the Natural Variety of Mankind, Third Edition, Section IV, p. 265, The Anthropological Treatise of Blumenbach and Hunter). (Oughtn't that to be 'Western Asia,' but it's not a typo.)

Of the people in the early church, how many were Caucasians as defined by Blumenbach? All of 'em, almost. It is strange but true, given the controversies over race in the contemporary world, that most people nowadays are employing a completely different racial map from that commonly followed when 'white' and 'black' were categories in the law. Blumenbach's system looks to geographical locale of origin, and so he gives no direct instruction on how to classify intermixtures; basically there are three main classes, Caucasian, black, and Asian. Nowadays we have white people (a tiny cohort, consisting perhaps of Anglo-Saxons plus Scandinavians, to which perhaps Irish and Italians might later be added, though not organically part of the class), brown-skinned people, an enormous category into which most of the people formerly classed as 'Caucasian' are now stuffed, and black, closely annexed to the new 'brown' category. These people then look back and try to understand the racial history of America, and it's sad that there should be any such history to be understood, but unfortunately their category 'white' is a small fraction of the old operative category, 'Caucasian.' Why didn't those people 'know' that Jesus was 'brown-skinned'? After all, doesn't everyone know that people from the Mediterranean, people from the Levant, are 'brown-skinned'? But He was Caucasian, by definition, as were His country-men. You could look it up. The people of that day adopted the system in the belief it was the most up-to-date German scientific anthropology available. If the moderns sincerely believe their new category system is closer to nature than the old, then wouldn't that imply that race is a natural category, not a social invention? How can one interrogate nature, to ascertain whether one artificial social construct is better than another? Nature wouldn't know.

Perhaps some people think that Blumenbach, intending to divide humanity into three large classes (plus two subsidiary ones), should have made one of them to consist in his own small tribe, plus a few allies. But one third that's a lot smaller than the other thirds might have struck some people as parochialism, special pleading even. Blumenbach's system was very influential in the development of U.S. law, which is not his fault. The Supreme Court of the United States, in Dow. v. United States, took the 'let's ask Blumenbach' approach when it determined that George Dow, a Syrian immigrant, was a 'white' person under the law because he fit the classification of 'Caucasian,' which, remember, is 'European+Near Eastern+North African.' But there is a counter-current in American history, where people discover what 'white' means by inquiring of family members who belong to the Ku Klux Klan. This time, the answer comes back, perhaps, 'European,' or 'Nordic,' or 'Anglo-Saxon,' or 'people who look like me and my mama, couldn't tell you about my daddy, never met him.' It is a big mistake to attempt to put these two different answers into an evolutionary timeline, because one does not naturally collapse into the other. Realizing that, at the time, the law gave a substantial benefit to 'free, white' persons, who wished to become naturalized citizens, it is far from obvious why the more expansive and inclusive category system should be tagged as 'racist.' If you follow Blumenbach's system, then twice as many people in the world are entitled to become naturalized U.S. citizens as if you go by the Ku Klux Klan system. Obviously, the law never should have reserved any legal rights to white people as opposed to others, but if it does so, it is far from obvious why also adopting a very restrictive definition of 'white' is the enlightened way to go. If you follow the Twitter jibber-jabber of someone like Beth Moore, you discover that the majority of the people whom Blumenbach classed as 'Caucasians,' including the very inhabitants of the Caucasus themselves, are in fact non-white, 'brown-skinned' to be exact. This is how we end up with Jews, whose region of origin is the Near East, as non-white. While I do not understand why the German anthropologists thought the facial angles they measured were so very significant, it does appear they thought they were on to something. They were making a good faith effort to discern the underlying natural structure behind nature's variety. Why demonize them for trying to understand nature?

Classification is not inherently an evil enterprise, it's what biologists do. The inquiry into the degrees of relation of the various branches of the human family is a very old one, which traces back to the effort to trace descent to the sons of Noah. This is not an inherently evil inquiry. Since Germany did not at the time have any New World colonies, the German anthropologists were neither planters themselves, nor even knew any, so the Marxist explanation that they drew the lines where they did in order to maximize their economic returns is left hanging in mid-air. If Blumenbach were a colonialist motivated by racism, it might be possible to agree with these people, that "In less academic terms: race is the product of racism; racism is not the product of race." (Fatal Invention, Dorothy Roberts, p. 25). But he wasn't, nor was he an apologist for slavery. So what do you do with that? Pretend otherwise? In the rarefied academic atmosphere of 'White Studies,' that's the preferred option. But then you're not doing history, you're a tourist traversing the land of make-believe.



Noticing that skin tint tracks with latitude, Pliny the first century encyclopedist offers a continuum, 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 colors; 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. Incidentally 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 similar view, that Roman Italy is sitting in Goldilocks' chair, was expressed by the architect Vitruvius: "This is also the reason why the races that are bred in the north are of vast height, and have fair complexions, straight 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 occupied 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, Chapter I, On Climate, Section 1-11). What a surprise!

There is nothing inherently problematic about words which identify dipoles playing out on a continuum. Nobody complains about the categories 'hot' and 'cold' nor demands that they be banished from human language, because these categories cannot be given an exact definition in terms of degrees Kelvin above absolute zero.Water which is too hot for a bath might be just right for tea; 'hot' and 'cold' cannot be assigned precise, discrete ranges, but are not meaningless as a result. Certainly at the extremes they are different; an Antactic gale is not a tropical summer, and the empirical fact that the traveller encounters no discontinuity in travelling from one extreme to the other does not present any real difficulty. In a similar vein, the idea that racial categories are meaningless because qualities differ along a continuum rather than in unique packets is not as meaningful a complaint as people think it is. It does not make the task of classification meaningless or impossible.

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 Portuguese colonists intermarried with the locals, rather than got burnt by the sun. But what is the time frame in view? 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, some who subscribe to this school of thought retreat to sexual selection, finding not much 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. On the other hand, white skin does seem to be of benefit to those in northern latitudes in synthesizing vitamin D. The ancients are not necessarily 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.

Some readers might find the complexion of our "proletarian intellectual" a surprise. They should not; 'white studies' is a plantation run by white women in the leadership position, with the expectation that any African-Americans following behind will get into line and follow obediently in single file. These ladies talk about their feelings and invent cutsie-poo put-downs, like 'White Fragility,' to insult, without answering, their critics. What these people find alien and scary about free societies is the way concepts like individualism and meritocracy liberate people to make of their lives what they will.  No, no, they scold; these people are to remain perpetual dependents, looking upward to these kindly white ladies for whatever benefits,— affirmative action, poverty programs, etc.,— they care to let fall from their ivory hands:

"Naming white supremacy changes the conversation in two key ways: It makes the system visible and shifts the locus of change onto white people, where it belongs. It also points us in the direction of the lifelong work that is uniquely ours, challenging our complicity with and investment in racism. This does not mean that people of color do not play a part but that the full weight of responsibility rests with those who control the institutions." (Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility, Chapter 2, p. 79 of 98).

Got that? The "locus of change" belongs in white hands; "people of color" are to play a supporting role, no more. Were you so presumptuous as to think otherwise? It is the white man's burden to bear "the full weight of responsibility" to apportion benefits to dependent populations. Freedom empowers people; to Ms. DiAngelo and those who think like her, the power must be drawn back to where it properly belongs. One of the mysteries of contemporary life is the way race relations have been visibly deteriorating, at a time of general prosperity. And no doubt people like our current president have not helped. But certainly these white saviors must bear much of the responsibility. Teaching young people of color that the first words out of their mouths in the conversation across the races ought to be, 'you are evil' and 'I hate you,' has not helped. They neglected to mention that those would also be the last words of the conversation. In a controlled environment, they can make the white students respond, 'you're right, I'm evil;' they need a passing grade after all. But once out of the grasp of their tyranny, our white saviors cannot prevent the response from being a Bronx cheer.

Here is the proletarian intellectual himself, our fearless leader in redefining Marxist terminology, to mean whatever it needs to mean to meet the current phase of the struggle:


Theodore W. Allen


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 unknown to anyone prior to the colonial 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 answered, '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 merchandise 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 preference 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 assembled at the point which the broker had chosen, where Turkish, Greek, Circassian, Georgian and Abyssinian women were collected for sale." (One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Tale of Sweet Friend, Kindle location 4699). Oddly enough, this aesthetic 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.

Incidentally, the Islamic interest in skin color starts early on. The Koran itself describes the houris, the reward of the faithful, as 'pearls.' In what respect like pearls? Translucent, beautiful? Well, that, too. Some commentators think, with respect to skin color: "A houri is a most beautiful young woman with a transparent body. The marrow of her bones is visible like the interior lines of pearls and rubies. She looks like red wine in a white glass. She is of white color, and free from the routine physical disabilities of an ordinary woman such as menstruation, menopause, urinal and offal discharge, child bearing and the related pollution." (Al-Tirmidhi, Jami' at-Tirmidhi (34), cited off internet.) Since Al-Tirmidhi wrote long before the Virginia colonial legislature invented white people, then how did he know there were such beings in the world?

The celebrated 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," because 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. Fomenting the revolution occupied so much of his time he was unable to acquire a formal education. 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 seventeen 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, Donald 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.

Though offensive, it is good when people like Ekemini Uwon, Bishop Talbert Swan and Jemar Tisby bring clarity to the discussion. If you wait for the 'mainstream' African-Americans to put distance between the most virulent haters and themselves, you will wait forever; these people are the mainstream. The offense lasts for a moment, the clarity settles in thereafter. I must admit that I began this investigation with vague, but ignorant, sympathy for the 'woke' church. How after all could anyone be against racial reconciliation? But then I began to delve into the matter and discovered the Augean Stables of 'white studies.' There really is a problem here. For one thing, 'white people' as 'socially constructed' by eighteenth century German anthropology are not even who they think they are.

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-pejorative sense, throughout 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. Sometimes people tell the truth without meaning to, it just escapes them: Robin DiAngelo, the author of 'White Fragility,' tells the story of a child who blurted out that there was a black man: ". . .imagine that a white mother and her white child are in the grocery store. The child sees a black man and shouts out, 'Mommy, that man's skin is black!'" (Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility, Chapter 2, p. 94 of 98). If the child were more 'woke,' he might start talking about 'black bodies.' But he has the idea down. And who doesn't? Of course there is no reason to suppose the child thinks in terms of 19th century scientific racism. But then there is no reason to think the members of the Virginia House of Burgesses thought in those terms either; who's to say they weren't young earth creationists? 'White' and 'black' are simple, obvious, self-explanatory terms, whose meaning stares you in the face. Neither one of them ever 'began' at one point in time or another. Neither one was invented to be instrumental in any system of exploitation or social control.

'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:

  • “Furthermore, there are parts of other kinds, neither identical with, nor altogether diverse from, the parts above enumerated: such as nails, hooves, claws, and horns; and also, by the way, beaks, such as birds are furnished with—all in the several animals that are furnished therewithal. All these parts are flexible and fissile; but bone is neither flexible nor fissile, but frangible. And the colors of horns and nails and claw and hoof follow the color of the skin and the hair. For according as the skin of an animal is black, or white, or of medium hue, so are the horns, the claws, or the hooves, as the case may be, of hue to match. And it is the same with nails. The teeth, however, follow after the bones. Thus in black men, such as the Aethiopians and the like, the teeth and bones are white, but the nails are black, like the whole of the skin.
  • (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 forehead, 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.

Black supremacy has an evil twin, called white supremacy:


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 definition 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.)
"The economic structure of capitalist society has grown out of the economic structure of feudal society. The dissolution of the latter set free the elements of the former. The immediate producer, the laborer, could only dispose of his own person after he had ceased to be attached to the soil and ceased to be the slave, serf, or bondsman of another. To become a free seller of labor power, who carries his commodity wherever he finds a market, he must further have escaped from the regime of the guilds. . .Hence, the historical movement which changes the producers into wage-workers, appears, on the one hand, as their emancipation from serfdom and from the fetters of the guilds, and this side alone exists for our bourgeois historians."
(Marx, Karl. The Capital (Vol. 1-3): Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit, Das Kapital, Volume 1, Part 8 (Kindle Locations 11535-11547). 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 Hegel assigns to it.

Feudalism, the concentration of ownership of land, the major productive resource in an agricultural 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 environments, 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. Going back to Hegel, who gave birth to this illegitimate offspring, that is not the idea. 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. Marxism is the grand-daddy of all conspiracy theories; but does the world really work that way? Do a handful of men sit around a table and apportion resources to various groups? After Bolshevism was victorious in Russia, they inverted the system, as they saw it; the people sitting around the table represented the proletariat, not the capitalist class. And they drafted Five Year Plans. And then they drafted another one about two years into the first, because things hadn't turned out the way they expected. This is why the formerly socialist world is littered with highways to nowhere, bridges with no access roads, and glittering factories in the middle of the farm fields which never produced anything. Ask the question, How will the future be different from the past, and it is manifestly unanswerable. The Silicon Valley computer industry did not grow from a seedling to a giant because the big Wall Street money men were funneling capital its way; they weren't. It was largely self-financed; people in the field saw the potential, while outsiders did not understand what they were making. The 'elite' sitting around the table do not make the world, they never did. This whole tin-foil-hat wearing conspiracy theory is a fantasy from the starting gate. And yet people who will tell you they are not Marxists will tell you that it did work that way, back in Virginia in the seventeenth century. If it worked that way then, then why does it not now? If they think it still does, do they understand some people think it's the market which brings resources and people into alignment, and you defy it at your peril?

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). This is a little weird, because if Marx and Engels wanted to draw attention to anything, it is to the fact that, under capitalism, the working class does not own the means of production: "On the other hand it [usury] undermines and ruins small peasants' and small burghers' production, in short all forms, in which the producer still appears as the owner of his conditions of production. Under the developed capitalist mode of production, the laborer is not the owner of his means of employment, of the field which he cultivates, of the raw materials which he works up, etc." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Capital, Volume 3, Part 5, Kindle location 37207, Complete Works). The 'peasant proprietor' might be dirt poor; that is not the issue. Amidst all their errors, Marx and Engels wanted to remind people of what history does in fact show, that there is nothing natural or inevitable about the existence of a 'working class' which owns no land. Look back at Italy under the Roman Republic, or Israel under the Mosaic law: the people owned the land they farmed. There is nothing natural nor historically inevitable about English feudalism, nor about the subsequent enclosures and evictions of the peasantry from the land.

But Communist agitators, faced with the practical problem of making the revolution, could  be ambivalent. The Revolution is wherever you find it, and in its early stages, in China as in Russia, the peasantry participate in bringing down the old regime. But it will ultimately be discovered that they are "reactionary," as Marx himself realized: "Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. . .The lower middle classes, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay, more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history." (Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto, Part I. Bourgeois and Proletarians, London, 1848: Complete Works, Including The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, & Wages, Price and Profit (Kindle Locations 43220). Madison & Adams Press.) The peasants who join in making the revolution generally want one thing, land, and once they expropriate the landlord's holdings, they are done with the Revolution. Tragically, the Revolution is not done with them.

Some of the rural work-force, however, are part of the proletariat. Just not slaves, not serfs, not peasant proprietors, not tenants. While there is such a thing as capitalist agriculture, by definition it employs free agricultural labor, it does not bargain or trade with the farmer, much less own him. It is only once the land has been torn out of the farmer's hand that he becomes available for capitalist exploitation: ". . .so capitalist agriculture demands the expropriation of the rural laborers from the land and their subordination to a capitalist, who carries on agriculture for the sake of profit." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Capital, Volume 3, Part Six, Kindle location 37509). As the condition for the birth of capitalist agriculture, feudalism must die, slavery must expire, the family farmer must go extinct, or be made to become so. As it turns out, if the capitalists did not steal the land, the socialists surely would. Since after all it was a stated principle of the Communists to eliminate private ownership of land, they could not go very far hand in hand with the family farmers, before their ways diverged: "As soon as the means of production have ceased to be converted into capital (which includes also the abolition of private property in land), credit as such has no longer any meaning." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Capital, Volume 3, Part 5, Kindle location 37396, Complete Works).

Note well: "The premises for a capitalist production in agriculture are these: The actual tillers of the soil are wage-laborers, employed by a capitalist, the capitalist farmer, who carries on agriculture merely as a special field of exploitation for his capital. . ." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Capital, Volume 3, Part Six, Kindle location 37557). If not facing each other 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. If your response to this logic-chopping is 'what's in a name,' then you are just not cut out for Marxist class analysis. And neither is our author. He has jumbled together what must remain separate and generally made hash out of it all.

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.' Marx and Engels laugh at economists who treat the form of landed property ". . .as though it were not a historical but an eternal category." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Capital, Volume Three, Part Six, Kindle location 37509). But this is the best our author can do. 'Oppressor/oppressed' is left as the most finely grained analysis attainable. 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 how Marx and Engels define the proletariat. 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 denouement.

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.

What, by the way, was the complexion of the Hebrews? This point has been controverted. Jeremiah asks, rhetorically, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23). It would be equally true if Jeremiah had asked, can the Persian change his skin? Can the Assyrian change his skin? Can the Scythian change his skin? White folks can't change their skin any more than black folks can. But he specifically asked the question, concerning black folks. Can it be he saw them as being out of the ordinary? Like Pliny says, "Who, for instance, could ever believe in the existence of the Aethiopians, who had not first seen them? Indeed what is there that does not appear marvellous, when it comes to our knowledge for the first time?" (Pliny, Natural History, Book VII, Chapter 1). Perhaps it was the very fact that black skin was perceived as atypical, that made the Ethiopians available for this illustration, and not other people groups:

Petronius Ezra
U.S. Census Herodians
Paul the Egyptian White and Ruddy
Proof-Texts Mistaken Identity
Black Madonnas The Samaritans

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 location 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," because 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? Or was it merely a settler land-grab from the Indians? How many times in history have slaves been recruited for military service, with 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 forgiveness 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. One very interesting case of these slave rebellions which aren't is Sir Francis Drake's piratical free-booting expedition against Spanish America in the late sixteenth century. He promised the African slaves held by the Spaniards freedom if they cast their lot with him. The expedition however sputtered out, owing to disease plus the unhappy discovery that inhabitants of the Spanish new world did not all have gold and silver bars stacked in their parlor, as the looters had assumed when they set sail in 1585. Drake had to bow to his rebellious crew's desire to go home:

"The English took the galley slaves with them when they left Hispaniola, as well as '[m]any negroes belonging to private persons.' All of these joined Drake 'of their own free will.'. .The pattern followed in Cartagena [Colombia]. The English also liberated about five hundred slaves: about three hundred Indians, mostly women, and two hundred 'negroes, Turks, and Moors.'. . .Hundreds of slaves had been liberated and had joined the English. . .The ships sailed out of Cartagena's harbor in mid-April. To catch the trade winds home, they had to retrace their route through the West Indies — which was just as well, because they carried with them hundreds of liberated slaves whom they intended to settle in Roanoke as free subjects of the English crown. They passed by Cuba, threatening but not attacking that well-prepared colony. They sacked Saint Augustine in Florida. . .Finally in June, as they skirted the coast farther north, hundreds of miles beyond the last outpost of European civilization, they spotted smoke from a signal fire: Roanoke. Drake found that the remnant of Raleigh's colony was eager to abandon the settlement. . .What of the freed slaves? The hundreds of Africans and Native Americans liberated from slavery by Sir Francis Drake? They were in the twenty-some-odd English ships when Drake left the West Indies and sailed through the Florida Straits. Their numbers increased when the English occupied Spanish Florida. Drake had made promises to them, and there is no reason to think he failed to deliver. In any case, he did not carry them to England. He must have put them ashore somewhere between Santa Helena in South Carolina and Roanoke in North Carolina. Remarkably, they vanish from the historical record, and that record is actually pretty extensive. Once Drake sat down with Lane to plot out evacuation of Roanoke, no one mentions them again. . .No matter what they chose to do, the first people England permanently settled in North America included these escaped slaves, the maroons of Roanoke." (Marooned, by Joseph Kelly, pp. 209-218).

The beginning of African settlement in British America was not 1619 when slaves were first marketed in Virginia. The first African settlers in British America were free men willing to fight for their freedom. African-Americans inherit from their fore-fathers a heritage of liberty, not slavery. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that Sir Francis Drake lived up to his promises he made them, no more than the Tories did in the American Revolution, nor the Confederacy in the Civil War. That's the thing about these 'slave rebellions.' The leadership are not slaves, the slaves are the cannon fodder enticed to enlist by the promise of freedom, which may or may not be kept. Maybe freedom, and the wet clothes they were wearing, were all these brave souls got from their alliance with the British.

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 kindly 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. Erase this error,— and it is an error, indefensible and inexcusable,— and we are rid of this whole noxious field of 'white studies,' and, restored of our birth right, can breathe again the free air of individualistic liberal democracy. Why must 1691 be quietly dropped? Because it just ain't so, a thousand times over: "Published in 1688, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave, was the first English novel to repeatedly use terms like 'White Men,' 'White People,' and 'Negro.'" (Stamped for the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi, Chapter 5, p. 3 of 10). It's not astonishing that a mail carrier and self-taught historian would get it wrong, although the fact that he is off by millennia might make a few heads swivel; what is astonishing is that people keep repeating the date, just as if he had got it right!

'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 knowledgeable 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.

This timeless, ahistorical version of Communism did not first appear in our mailman-historian's muddled brain. This is the mind-mush that powered the Black Power movement:

"The Black Panther Party is a revolutionary Nationalist group and we see a major contradiction between capitalism in this country and our interests. We realize that this country became very rich upon slavery and that slavery is capitalism in the extreme. We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism. We must destroy both racism and capitalism." (Huey P. Newton, quoted in From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, Kindle location 969).

As Marx and Engels realized, slavery is not capitalism in the extreme, it is not capitalism at all. Nevertheless this mind-mush seems to have caught on; nowadays it is a thing. The New York Times recently published an anti-capitalist screed, the 1619 Project, which rails against the evil capitalists who owned slaves. It's always the same thing: "Given the choice between modernity and barbarism, prosperity and poverty, lawfulness and cruelty, democracy and totalitarianism, America chose all of the above." (New York Times, 1619 Project, 'In Order to Understand the Brutality of American Capitalism, You Have to Start on the Plantation.' by Matthew Desmond, August 14, 2019). They received, for their troubles, correction from the Socialist Workers' Party,— the Trotskyites,— because, you know what, Dear Reader? There ain't no evil capitalists who own slaves! The Trotskyites agree with these folks that capitalists are evil, but not because they own slaves. Slave-owners own slaves; slave-owners are not capitalists, and slaves are not the proletariat. The Trotskyites have been garnering quotations from mainstream historians: "Both were posted on the World Socialist Web Site, which is published  by the International Committee of the Fourth International, a Trotskyite socialist organization." (Article, These Historians Challenge New York Times' Dubious 1619 Project, by Jarrett Stepman, December 18, 2019, The Daily Signal). Marxism has its good points and its bad points. As a 'scientific' theory of the economy, it is hobbled by very poor predictive value and catastrophically bad prescriptive value. Those societies which have taken it as a guide to running their economies have seen ruin and disaster. But it always did have fairly high explanatory power: it made sense. This new thing is not capitalism and it's not communism, and it makes no sense in the world. Its professors use a pseudo-Marxist vocabulary, with no inkling of what those terms actually mean. The Trotskyites are right to complain, about copyright infringement if nothing else. The New York Times has revealed that we fought the Revolutionary War in order to hold onto slavery. This is odd, given that states like Vermont,— still a republic,— Pennsylvania and Massachusetts got rid of slavery immediately after the Revolution. Why did they sacrifice their brave young men on the altar of war if they disagreed with the premise of that war? Whatever the New York Times' answer, don't expect it to make sense. While it is rare that I agree with the Trotskyites, this is one point where they are right on the money: this is faux Marxism.

How suitable is the vocabulary of anti-racism when it is adapted to hate speech? As it turns out, it fits like it was almost designed for the purpose, no fine-tuning required. See, for example, 'Bishop' Talbert Swan, who explains that "white evangelicalism is nothing but white supremacy masked as Christianity" (retrieved from Twitter, 1/25/20):

What can anyone hope to achieve by spreading race hatred of this type? Why do they do it? According to Malcolm X, they do it to make you hate yourself: "For many years, Africa was dominated by Europeans who 'projected [it] in a negative light: jungle savages, cannibals, nothing civilized,' so blacks began to hate it. . .we ended up hating ourselves, without even realizing it. Because you can't hate the roots of the tree, and not hate the tree. You can't hate your origin and not end up hating yourself.'" (Malcolm X, quoted p. 252, Martin & Malcolm & America, James H. Cone). As John Wesley explains in his 'Thoughts on Slavery,' the west African coast, the region where the slaves were taken who were brought to America, was civilized by all normal standards. 'Civilization' is a pagan concept, an ideology of conquest propounded by Roman imperial apologists like Cicero.

What benefit did Rome bring to the Northern barbarians by bringing them to heel? Why, civilization: written law codes, courts of justice, market-places, etc. This was to answer the question, why don't you just leave those poor people alone, they are not bothering you. Truth to tell, the more accurate way of stating this is, 'they are not bothering you — now.' The Gauls had sacked Rome in 390 B.C. The northern barbarians were not peaceful folk who stayed at home in their little villages; they roiled and roared like the waves of a troubled sea, overwhelming now this, and now that, peaceful adjoining territory. The Romans hoped that by 'civilizing' these people, they could cement them into place. As things were, not only were the barbarians not civilized, they would not allow anyone else to be, swarming like waves of locusts over any land that attained prosperity, pillaging and looting.

So by tagging the Africans as uncivilized, which was only a partial truth, applicable more to the interior than to the Atlantic coast of Africa, the white supremacists of the day made African-Americans embarrassed by their heritage. In a similar vein, hoping to facilitate the transfer of honorably earned income, the race-baiters of today try to tag white Americans as the 'children of slave-owners.' This is actually true of a small percentage of them. Thus the opprobrium rightly attached to a small number of people, gets slathered onto a much larger group. Bigger group, deeper pockets; reparations are rumored. This requires submerging the idea of personal moral accountability; in the 'woke' system, responsibility is assigned according to pigmentation. So that is why they do it. Not meaning to be cynical, it's hard to avoid noticing the same dynamic in play: why did Willie Sutton rob banks? If they can convince white people that they are evil, intrinsically and inherently, merely because they are white, then their hand is already in their pocket. White folks should not be such chumps as to fall for it. Just as prior generations should have made a balanced and fair presentation of African history, showing the good along with the bad, so should we with American history. While there were white slave-owners, there were also heroic young men who fell at Antietam. You can't attach the blame for evil-doing to those who were innocent of it, and indeed suffered greatly to overcome it, indifferently right alongside the guilty. It is immoral to lump the innocent together with the guilty.

What is the problem with 'wokeness'? It is lethal to patriotism. Patriots should be clear-eyed in perceiving the faults of their beloved country, both historic and present, or else how will they heal its wounds? But this steady drumbeat that America is nothing but evil: racist, genocidal and imperialistic,— American cannot survive this. Nor is it true, nor is it just. Justice credits the good as well as the bad, but to anti-white racists like Jemar Tisby, white people can only do good by mistake, because they were really aiming at something else. The appropriate response is to invite the complainers to find some Third World garden spot they like better, whose policies meet with their approval, and go there. Our country should take pride that Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts outlawed slavery, at a time when no Third World country had any such concept. Of course there was a certain amount of recalcitrance: