john9blue wrote: Symmetry wrote:
john9blue wrote:hey sym, do you think it's even POSSIBLE for two people that the state recognizes as master and slave to have a mutually consenting sexual relationship?
No, I think that the very nature of slavery rules out the idea of mutual consent when it comes to a master and his slave.
Except, that is ONLY true when freedom is actually a viable alternative. For women, not just black women, that has almost NEVER existed.
This changes the real claim to "all women have been raped"... and, by extension "all men who engage in sex are rapists"
There is some truth in that, but the larger picture is far more complicated.
Also, you ignore the extreme effort required for someone to step fully outside their culture. Ironically, Jefferson actually did that to a large point in keeping Sally has he did. He COULD have simply "had his way" -- given her nothing, sold off her children. He would have been fully within his legal and societal rights to have done that. Many in his time and day did. However, he, instead, treated Sally very much like a GOOD man of that day might treat a well-loved and treated wife.
Your idea that she should have just been freed is similarly based on a false idea that you want to perpetuate. Think of the recent movie "12 years a slave". Black MEN of that day had little real protection, were not really and truly free, even when they were successful. WHITE women, also had little privilage we now associate with freedom, really had little freedom. A black women would have the worst of both. As Jefferson's slave, she was protected. No other master could claim her. She could not be abused unless Jefferson agreed, and he obviously did not. (and please note that white women could be legally abused!!).
When you dismiss this as rape, you denegrate both Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. You ignore history and make pretense that doesn't exist.
Frankly, your idea of "freedom" often doesn't even really exist for women today... not in the way you seem to imply. I know plenty of women who would willingly trade positions with Sally! She had access to travel, fine clothing, knowledge and was secure in knowing that her children were well provided for.
Also, saying that this particular instance was not rape is definitely NOT the same as saying that slavery was good or that all master-slave relationships were OK. You cannot judge everything by titles and labels. You have to look at each situation for what it is, in the context of what is possible.