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Was It Something I Said?

The good news is that I was referenced in another news-and-opinion site. The bad news is that I was said to "indulge in sanctimonious historical revisionism."

That’s because I cited Benjamin Franklin verbatim, and within the original context. Citing historical facts is not the hallmark of revisionism. The short post at issue made the point that some things being said about immigrants today were being said long ago, even by a revered national figure. I was afraid that some readers would miss that.

Paul Campos is a law professor at the University of Colorado. I know law professors. I’m a lawyer myself. And I don’t disagree with the substance of Mr. Campos’ column, except for that high-fallutin’ adverse description of my post.

However, I’d like to point to his further note: "After all, Franklin was merely expressing the conventional wisdom of his time and place."

I suppose that he has the data to support that, but I’m pretty sure that the Indians and Africans of the Thirteen Colonies did not agree with him. Also, given the opinion quoted, I’m sure that neither did the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, Swedes and Germans of that time and place. And we can add to that the black and tawny people in the rest of the world, as described by Franklin, excepting Anglo-Saxons.

It sounds like Mr. Campos meant to say "the conventional wisdom of Anglo-Saxon colonialists, especially the slave-owners, of his time and place." Not that Franklin was a slave-owner, but he did hang out with folks who were.

Every time I get to feeling good about the progress we see in race and national relations, I run into someone like a professor who hasn’t quite made the adjustment to new thinking.

I hope that didn’t sound sanctimonious.

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