Re: [sixties-l] Critique of Bruce Franklin

Date: 10/24/00

  • Next message: John Andrew: "Re: [sixties-l] Critique of Bruce Franklin"

    In a message dated 00-10-24 18:07:01 EDT, Bill Mandel writes:
    <I most certainly did not write that raping a white woman is a 
    <political, insurrectionary act. 
     And most certainly nobody on this list attributed such a statement
     to you.
    <I wrote that reserving the death penalty for that 
    <crime exclusively for Blacks during the 300-year 
    <history of Virginia was a politically repressive act, 
    <as every African-American knew. Moreover, in light of 
    <the high religiosity of the Black population, the fact 
    <that the bodies of rapists were given to medical 
    <schools for dissection in Virginia while those of 
    <persons executed for any other crime were given to 
    <their families for burial was another form of 
    <discriminatory repression.
     This exchange began with William Mandel having objected
     to the statement, "repression is truly color-blind,"  which he 
     attributed to me.  In my critique of Bruce  Franklin, I actually
     wrote, "Repression of dissent is truly color-blind."  By virtue 
     of having listed various indictments of antiwar activists, it was 
     obvious that I had in mind state-sponsored repression of political
     Since Mandel is not willing to argue that rape is a political act,
     I don't see how he can sustain  the position that his evidence 
     about discriminatory sentencing practices against black rapists 
     in Virginia in any way is relevant to my statement about the color-
     blindness of political repression.  If rape is not  a political act, 
     then obviously it is not an act of  political dissent.
     Without a doubt, the kind of discrimination in sentencing he 
     reports was racist and abominable, but it does not  amount to 
     state-sponsored repression of political dissent, and does not 
     provide evidence that white radicals identified as "reds,"
     "subversives," etc. by the ruling elites have enjoyed a special 
     exemption from reprisals on the basis of our white skins.  Such 
     a notion, I  think, trivializes and does disservice to the memories 
     of Sacco and Vanzetti, the Rosenbergs, scores of white antiwar 
     activists indicted in the major conspiracy trials of the 60s, and 
     many others.
    <I am not aware that other former slave states differed 
    <from these practices.
     Really, Bill, the above statement is kind of gimmicky, isn't it? 
     What it really means is that you don't know what the record
     of the other former slave states is on this matter, but want
     to plant in our minds the idea that maybe they were as bad
     as Virginia.
     ~ Michael Wright
        Norman, Oklahoma

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : 10/25/00 EDT