Excerpt: Native American Whalemen and the World, by Nancy Shoemaker

Native Americans were one small constituency in a diverse whaling workforce brought together by ship owners for one purpose only—to cooperate in gathering whale products from the world’s oceans. The merchant investors, who did the initial hiring, sought trustworthy, skilled officers and cheap, hardy, and obedient laborers. With profit as their objective, they were open to hiring any man who could do the job but not if the crew’s social composition threatened orderly collaboration. From the top down, federal laws and industry standards applied measures to enhance productivity by dampening the volatility such diversity produced: they privileged rank over race and regulated the number of foreigners serving on American ships. From the bottom up, seamen brought prejudices on board with them. The color of one’s skin, the land of one’s birth, and the language one spoke inflected how shipmates interacted with each other and at any time could combust in conflict. Even though race had no formal role in how the ship operated, it loitered beneath the surface to bear on who was hired to do what job and shadowed shipboard relations with unspoken assumptions. Continue Reading Excerpt: Native American Whalemen and the World, by Nancy Shoemaker

Eric Muller discusses Supreme Court ruling on profiling and detentions immediately following 9/11

From the Washington Post: The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that former attorney general John D. Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III may not be sued by a Pakistani man who was seized in the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks and who alleged harsh treatment because of his religion and ethnicity. The… Continue Reading Eric Muller discusses Supreme Court ruling on profiling and detentions immediately following 9/11