U.S. News


The Economist Article Alleges Slavery Wasn't All Bad

A writer for the Economist criticizes a book for being too harsh on slave owners.
Posted at 8:05 PM, Sep 05, 2014

The Economist has been getting an earful after it published a book review claiming a book unfairly portrayed slave owners. Yeah, you heard me right. 

The article published Thursday is a review on Edward Baptist's book, "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism."

This is the line that has people particularly fired up: "Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy."

The Economist didn't waste any time in getting out 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."

But the Internet had already grabbed hold of the review, and the hashtag "#economistbookreviews" started circulating with tweets like this one. "Had Ms Stowe properly described the abode as 'Uncle Tom's Mansion,' so much civil disruption might have been avoided."

The Economist finds themselves in a very similar situation as The American Spectator when it published a review that criticized the Academy Award-winning film "12 Years A Slave" for only showing cruel slave owners.

And the Los Angeles Times compares this incident to when Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson alleged African Americans in the South were happy before the civil rights movement because he never heard anyone complain.

The Economist review was unsigned, like many other articles on the site, so it will likely never be widely known who wrote the piece. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images.