An Addendum to “Let’s Get Some Things Clear”

A little over six months ago I wrote a post about Whitman and his exposure to slavery and how it affected his writing. I ran across some new information about Whitman that I thought was pertinent to that discussion:

The nigger, like the Injun, will be eliminated: it is the law of races, history, what-not: always so far inexorable—always to be. Someone proves that a superior grade of rats comes and then all the minor rats are cleared out.

The problem in this is not so much that Whitman thinks races as we know them will disappear (although his language is harsh), but that he places value judgments on the races. The idea that some races are minor is scary.

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