What would Hume and Kant say? The Holloways and the boycotting of Aruba


I am apt to suspect the negroes, and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufacturers amongst them, no arts, no sciences. In Jamaica indeed they talk of one negro as a man of learning; but ’tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.David Hume, Of National Characters

Mr. Hume challenges anyone to cite a simple example in which a negro has shown talents, and asserts that among the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries, although many of them have even been set free, still not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other praiseworthy quality, even through superior gifts earn respect in the world. So fundamental is the difference between the two races of man, and it appears to be as great in regard to mental capacities as in color.- Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime

My point? The perceived value of pigmentation and class can cause one to destroy the lives of thousands of people. This is most certainly a tragedy…but should an entire economy suffer?

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13 thoughts on “What would Hume and Kant say? The Holloways and the boycotting of Aruba

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  1. Very provocative. Is this about race and class or parents that are destroyed because their daughter is gone? I don’t know that we can say for sure. You definately level a serious accusation.

  2. Indeed. It may be a serious accusation…but I can’t help but think of the thousands of people that would be affected by a boycott. A boycott that leaves me wondering if this would have happened if ‘another kind’ of person would have gone missing. So…for the Governor of Alabama and many other Alabamians the possible destruction of the indigenous economy of Aruba is a tertiary issue. What they want is justice? How is that justice?

  3. Sure it could happen if that other kind of person’s parents called for it.

    What if she had disappeared in Germany I dare say they’d have called for there if crcumstances were the same.

    I’m with you on crying foul if race is the issue. I just don’t think it is here. I have 2 daughters, (one a stepdaughter and black, the other mine and obviously mixed). If the same thing happened with them it is in me to do something irrational but it would be based on my hurt and my pain. All I am saying it that maybe, and most likely, that is the case here.

    We both know that Aruba is going to be fine. These kinds of boycotts never work out.

  4. rich,

    I can sympathize with Mrs. Holloway. If my baby girl ended up missing somewhere I’d probably ask the State Dept. and the United Nations to find my little girl. But having been born and raised in Alabama…specifically the city of Birmingham which is where the Holloways live I can not help but inject a little suspicion in this whole deal. This may be my own personal racialized views being projected. Which is possibly the root of this post. Which gives further credence to why this discussion needs to carry forth.

  5. In teh same time that young lady was misssing in Aruba, countless other minority children were missing or killed throughout the U.S. I didn’t see their faces every night on FoxNews or CNN.

    Regarding the boycott, I had noplans on going to Aruba before this event, and nothing is changing my plans that I know of, anyway. The boycott generates a lot of publicity, but at the end of the day, there are other issues more close at hand that will be vying for people’s attention.

  6. anthony, i came across your blog throug a link on the ’emergent'(see emergentvillage.com) newsletter. i am in birmingham where natalie is from. while there are still many supporters of this boycott here in bham, there are as many or more who feel that the call to boycott aruba is going too far. as for kant and hume, though brilliant philosophers, were still unfortunately, a reflection of the historical period in which they lived. this is said not to justify their sociological position on this issue, but rather as a sad commentary on a period of extreme prejudice, from common men to intellectuals.

  7. in my haste i did not actually state my position. i agree that a boycott is too extreme. people are hesitant to criticize because the notion of criticism conjurs up images of their own children and they think thoughts like “God forbid that should happen to my family.” Having said that, however, I do believe that ms. holloway appears to be on the edge of a breakdown, and cannot really be taken seriously at this point. it may or may not be a racial issue with her, but the previous poster makes a valid point about the media bias in coverage between missing rich white girls and missing minority children.

  8. gavin,

    the challenge in raising these types of issues is that people oftentimes assume that racialization is something that is on a conscious and intentional level. when i speak of racialization i come from the school of thought that much of this is below intentionality. that’s why i find it hard to answer questions about whether or not i have laid a heavy accusation towards the holloways and the governor of alabama. accusation assumes intentionality. having a racialized consciousness is something that goes beyond individual intent. in emerging church, missional, and postmodern Christian discourse we talk alot about how individualized evangelical faith is. we talk about the individualizing and commodifying of the gospel. the same thing with racialization. racialization is something more along the lines of dealing with the principalities and powers. it is primarily about thoughts and habits that are racialized but rarely are detected. it is more systemic and unconscious than it is conscious and intentional.

    this is a difficult thing to grasp…in my experience most of the white people i talk to about this always want to go there…to the issue of intention saying, “i am sure they don’t intend to be racial…etc.” that’s part of the challenge in dealing with this issue.

    American-styled individualism overly-determines how many people deal with the racialization of our consciousness.

    Where in b’ham are you?

  9. Ant,

    Again, I’m thanking God for you. I don’t have time to blog nor the same interest as you do. However, I’m interested. You have my attention and I see the potential for a great discussion.

    You’re a bad brother Ant.
    Peace and Love, Max

  10. >>>”My point?”

    What exactly IS your point? That the Holloway family wouldn’t call for a boycott if Aruba was mostly white?

    Would you insinuate a black family of racism if they tried to boycott Iceland?

    Re “the lives of thousands of people”, the only life that matters to that aggrieved mother is that of her daughter. She couldn’t care less about race and the political correctness of it.

  11. “What exactly IS your point? That the Holloway family wouldn’t call for a boycott if Aruba was mostly white?”

    We are not just talking about the Holloway family here. The governor of Alabama called for a boycott. Do I think the governor would have called for a boycott of say Iceland? I don’t know…history says probably not.

    Would a black family calling for a boycott of Iceland be racist? I don’t know…but of course it is highly unlikely that a black girl gone missing in another country would get enough media play. You do realize that the only people (it seems) that go missing in the world are pretty young white girls. A black family wouldn’t even get the media exposure to even boycott. So…I would have to say no.–>

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