Ani DiFranco, a plantation and outrage

Does this Holiday Inn promote their historical tour which talks about how the Indians were spoken to and encouraged to move down the road?

Thanks for the quote, though I guess I don’t exactly agree with the interpretation of the quote. I read it as more along the lines of “Randolph had slaves” = bad. “Randolph took care of his slaves”. Bad because they were slaves, however he didn’t mistreat them otherwise, even though his motivation was business instead of getting rid of slavery. So, still bad but better than other methods that were used. “Randolph offered compensation and rewards for productivity”. Once again, bad because of slavery. However instead of using violence, Randolph tried other methods that were less evil than beatings, etc.

I certainly don’t see a ‘those black folks just loved slavery’-style justification’ in that quote. Is it a whitewash of the past? Somewhat. They aren’t hiding that slaves built the place, they are just trying to paint Randolph as a less evil slave owner. Is it true? No idea.

And, ftr monstro, a plantation is one of the last things I think about when I think of slavery in the U.S. There are a whole lot of things the word brings to mind but plantation is low on that list. That is probably because I am from the southwest and we don’t have plantations, or the historical implications, that goes along with them.

I still think the reaction is overblown.

An additional point. This place is apparently owned by the Paul Rasmay Group, which according to the criticism, funds anti-gay groups. A quick google search doesn’t really turn anything up. Assuming this is true (I never heard of this guy before this), how deep does one have to research to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently buying something from a person/group with the wrong beliefs?


I think using the phrase “willing workforce” in relation to slaves is just… insane. “Docile,” even “obedient.” “Non-rebellious.” They are not “willing” in the standard sense of that word, and they are not a modern “workforce” in the sense of that word, either. I wouldn’t even use “willing workforce” to refer to illegal immigrants who are kept working in shitty, dangerous conditions for shitty illegal work rates and kept in check by references to “La Migra.”

Data point: I’m born and raised in the Midwest, but “plantation” leaps to mind very quickly when I think of slavery. Slave labor is how the plantation model was able to survive for so long.

I was specifically talking about the town of Auschwitz, the village/town/city that exists today, where civilians have homes and businesses.

The name is all that remains of the taint…but the name has huge moral freight attached.

In rather the same way, the name “Adolf” has been unfairly tainted, or the abstract symbol of the swastika. Evil seems to be infectious, in ways that aren’t always reasonable.

I’m curious what those those “whole lot of things” are. I know that for me, slavery makes me think of plantations and everything that’s stereotypically attached to plantations like the Big House, the slave quarters, Mammy, overseers, Chicken George and Kizzy, and Massa fucking everyone in sight.

I mean, slavery might not have lasted as long as it had if it hadn’t been for cotton and sugar plantations. So even though I know intellectually that there were plenty of enslaved people who did not work on plantations, it’s really hard for me to think of one and not see the other.

I can’t think of any American movie about slavery that doesn’t take place on a plantation. I have read many books about slavery, and maybe only a couple were set outside of the plantation.

I used to work at Six Flags Over Georgia, in a restaurant called The Plantation House, which was located in the Confederate Section of the park. We served fried chicken and biscuits. Almost all the employees were black. But the manager was white. I wasn’t the only one who thought this was all kinds of fucked up.

So I’m just really curious what your thinking is.

How many slaves in the antebellum U.S. didn’t work in agriculture or places where the primary industry was agriculture? Were there a lot of slave-worked mines?
Anyway, the reaction is stupid and just someone’s opportunity to play more-outraged-than-thou.

Well, yes, of course. I’m not saying that the actual concrete at Auschwitz is evil, I’m saying that the complex had no purpose other than an evil purpose. People built a structure, a whole complex, that could not be used for any purpose other than evil. That is not true of a farm. Or a plantation.

Oh, please. I’m not trying to whitewash the plantation any more than you’re trying to whitewash Auschwitz. That’s a ridiculous accusation completely unsupported by anything I wrote. Read my post. I said:

There’s a backdrop to this of which you may not be aware, that over the last few years there’ve been several big scandals involving non-white feminist/queer bloggers and the white, middle class professional feminist blogosphere. The incredible shitshow that was Hugo Schwyzer was the most notable, but there’ve been other incidents that amount to “clueless secure white feminists do something that’s fairly obviously racist or massively insensitive in other terms”. Amanda Marcotte’s book full of not-ironic-enough illustrations of black savages kidnapping white women, for instance. And there’s a longer history, too, of the women’s movement being criticized as a movement of housewives who want careers while ignoring intersecting issues like poverty, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. There’s also something of which I was just became aware recently, that there’s apparently a really absurdly militant branch of radical feminism that’s making rhetorical war on transgender people.

Against that background, hosting a women’s retreat on a plantation is both of a piece with other mis-steps by women of di Franco’s stature, and the kind of rookie mistake that one might expect someone of di Franco’s stature to avoid.

Slavery brings to mind chains, whipping, beating, etc. It is more assocaited with treatment than with a place. I understand the plantation model, however on an emotional level it is the mistreatment of humans, not where it took place.

I guess, for me at least, the place is trivial. It is the actions that hit home.


Just as a bit of trivia, the town is called by its Polish name these days, Oświęcim. My father went to the equivalent of high school there. It’s a reasonably populated town (around 40K).

Huckleberry Finn maybe?


I’m concerned that it was to be called "Righteous Retreat. I mean, that’s really submissive and beta. Much better to have called it “Righteous Advance”.

9.9 from the Canadian judge.

And these chains, whippings, beatings aren’t taking place on a plantation? The whole reason the South fought for slavery was for the cheap labor in harvesting its cotton etc. They weren’t going to start a civil war to keep their butlers. The plantations were really the only reason the Civil War was worth it. If you’re not associating American slavery with plantations, you may need to study US history a bit more.

I get the original outrage over the choice. I can see both sides, but at the very least, the decision was tone deaf. Slavery may seem like it was a long time ago, but we’re really still dealing with the ramifications of it. The scars run really deep (for good reason). But once she’s backed down and apologized, let it go.

And, I have to say, as wonderful and beautiful as these plantations might be for weddings etc, I’m not sure it’s not offensive to be using them for these purposes. Too soon? Even after 150 years…maybe.

Wait? You accept the trigger-word “Righteous”? A word rooted in Judeo-Christian Monotheistic Moralism? A word which exalts the “Right”-handed and oppresses those whose left sides are dominant? A word which extols “Conservatism” over those who have suffered for the Progress of humanity?


I’d assume by “willing workforce” in this context no-one with an ounce of sense would be shooting for more than “did not need to be kept constantly at gunpoint or under the whip’s lash” rather than “was delighted they had made the trip from Africa and would not go home even if given a first-class ticket”.

Of course the point about illegal immigrants is well made - and, by extension, the lot of a great many other people who weren’t even illegal immigrants and did not need to be legally enslaved to keep them at back-breaking underpaid work that killed most who did it years before their time.

You could have a plantation that has been preserved and set as a historic education site, where one can study and think and reflect about the events and their meaning, and hold a writers’ retreat there where, maybe, you could have conversations about the struggle of Women of Color and about objectification of the “other”.

That’s not what this site is, though, and shilling the glamour of “genteel” life in the Great House at the plantation is an element of commercialized “Southern Heritage” that many find uncomfortable. DiFranco’s management people should have not even had it in the short list if they were paying attention to what’s her public projection.

That said, the siting gaffe is a big fat target-of-opportunity by those who have some point about the Feminism as MiddleClassEducatedWhiteCisWoman-ism phenomenon to make. They’re not going to let go of it.

And that’s what would be the address of Trinopus’ hypothetical inheritance. Which in turn would be off the historic site.

Le sigh.

Monstro asked me what comes to mind when I think about slavery in the U.S. I explained what comes to mind and that “I understand the plantation model, however on an emotional level it is the mistreatment of humans” so before you start questioning my knowledge of history you might try reading for comprehension.

The word plantation doesn’t have the emotional impact that the word slavery does for me. I hear plantation and think ‘Big Ass Farm’. Obviously, YMMV.


So my question is:should any right thinking person use this hotel? I mean while I see why this particular person would get boatloads of criticism but is it not valid for everyone? If a white straight male has his birthday party there is he shitting on the memories of former slaves? Should all plantations be burned to the ground or turned into slavery memorials?