The Economist is under fire after it published a review of Edward Baptist’s book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Makinng of American Capitalism,” on Thursday, claiming the book unfairly portrayed slave owners. Wow, I don’t think the slaves were lazing around on plantations like they were on vacation at a Sandals resort in the Caribbean. Give me a break….unfair portrayal of slave owners?
The line that irked many: “Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites are villains. This is not history; it’s advocacy.” Um, the last time I checked, the word “slave” doesn’t mean privileged.
The Economist issued an apology Friday morning.:”There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil.”
The outrage against The Economist sparked the hashtag “#economistbookreviews.” One person tweeted: “Had Ms Stowe properly described the abode as ‘Uncle Tom’s Mansion,’ so much civil disruption might have been avoided.”
Too bad we don’t know the name of the genius who wrote the article, since like many articles in The Economist, it was unsigned.
Here are some of the tweets slamming The Economist:
Schindler's List fails to fully appreciate the Nazi point of view. #economistbookreviews
— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) September 6, 2014
Nowhere in Dostoevsky's portrayal of Siberia do we find an evenhanded appraisal of the benefits of forced labor #economistbookreviews
— Elif Batuman (@BananaKarenina) September 6, 2014
— princss6 (@princss6) September 6, 2014
This account of the My Lai massacre is advocacy. The villagers are all victims, the US GIs who shot them all villains. #economistbookreviews
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) September 5, 2014