Reflection – Document Interpretation
I have become more comfortable in writing Document Interpretations, and although a lot of work goes into them, I enjoy the research that goes into them. I normally read the document first and prepare for the questions, and I look for information to include for the paper while I go through the rest of the material. These assignments have taught me to plan ahead to take full advantage of my resources and try to conserve time by doing the research from the very beginning. I think it’s important to start with a plan, by doing so, my paper gets turned in with all the best sources to contribute in backing up my analyzation, rather than coming to a source I would have loved to have quoted once the paper has been turned it which happened in the fist document interpretations I did.
This particular assignment was also when I found my group-members. I had read the announcements before, but the only place I found then that mentioned my group, was the calendar. That showed up empty so I mistakenly thought that we were not assigned groups after all. After having read yet another announcement for this week that mentioned our groups, I was finally able to find my group and follow the directions on replying to discussions. This again reminded me that I am still not good at paying attention to details, and as much as I have tried to be thorough to avoid missing important details, I still managed to do so. I will have to look for resources to aide me in becoming more attentive so that this does not continue on to future classes, especially since I want to go into computer science where a forgotten semicolon or closing bracket can break your code, and being able to spot those issues are needed to debug.
The substance of the document also gave me an opportunity to look into the thought-process of someone who is racist and sexist. I have been left confused at times when I learn of the actions of certain people who commit hateful things and use violent speech, but seeing how they twist reality to fit their best interests lets me understand them a little better. However I don’t know how to persuade them to change their ways because it is not in their best interest to change, in this case, slavery provided Southern slave-owners a labor advantage to create their wealth that they convinced themselves they earned on their own. These men elevate and overestimate their intelligence above those who they consider inferior to them, diminishing others to the mindset of children whose brains have not fully developed and are incapable to take care of themselves. This is something I want to work on, I’ve been able to persuade people to give up sexist language and acknowledge that the lives of women are not yet equal to those of men and their privilege, but finding a way to get through to people who are racist to open their minds is something that I don’t know how to accomplish yet, but at least I have gained insider information to racist brains from reading this document.
George Fitzhugh, Slavery Justified
Fitzhugh argues that (3)slaves don’t have to worry about finding employment but fails to see, or simply does not mention that slaves take away those jobs. Similarly, he also argues that (3)the rich seek out workers that will work for the lesser wage, but again failing to mention that the rich slave-owners don’t pay their slaves at all, his expense for obtaining the slaves are paid to those who sell the slaves, or they pay no compensation at all if the slave was born into the family. Fitzhugh compares what he considers a comfortable life of slaves, to those of women who have to work and are paid a lesser wage than those of the male gender because (2)she is not equal to men and the masculine work field is not her element. He blames (1)poverty, crime and low wages of failing France and the Northern States on the optimistic search for equality, and suggests that the order of things happens when “inferior” Blacks are enslaved and “divide the profits not according to each man’s input and labor but according to each man’s wants”(Fitzhugh). He believes that the only wants that Blacks have, are food, shelter, and a family and to be taken care of at all ages of their lives, and in any form of health.
This document is important in revealing the mistaken mindset of slave-owners, since the sentiments were not shared by those who were actually enslaved. It cannot be believed that slaves felt liberated by their forced labor, as evident when the Union forces marched into Slave territories during the civil war and Southerners saw “… the phenomenon of thousands and thousands of their slaves fleeing to the safety of Sherman’s army” (Chapter 15: Lecture). If slavery truly was freedom, we would have documentation of white men and women choosing to trade places with Blacks during this time period – such documents don’t exist, or perhaps they have been misplaced.