Saturday, November 29, 2003

Virginian Luxuries

I enjoy living in the Commonwealth of Virginia, for the most part. The people here are by-and-large friendly, the climate is temperate, the economy fairly stable. It's a decent place to make a home & raise a family. Sure, it's not perfect (I was once evicted from an apartment because my sons played with black children), but all-in-all...

I haven't given much thought about the past in Virginia until now. Of particular note, I haven't given much thought to the issue of slavery. While one of my favorite books about Christmas -- A Different Kind of Christmas by Alex Haley -- is about slavery, I didn't have a picture in my mind. It was all pastoral scenes and fields of cotton. I was recently led to this picture that put things in perspective. I wonder if long-standing, white, Virginian families understand the non-economic reasons -- the emotional reasons -- for maintaining slavery. After seeing this painting, I'm not sure I even buy into the economic reasons anymore. At least from this perspective, it looks like slavery played into the basest of human desires.

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