Recently, I reviewed the saga about the ousting of Martin Bershir over a comment he made about Sarah Palin’s behavior. Beshir’s remarks for someone to “poop” in Palin’s mouth was not, I believe, a literal suggestion, but rather a figurative one. Basically, his angst was in response to Palin’s and others in the Republican Party’s continual attempts to trivialize the acts of slavery in American history. Even now, these same individual continue to compare such a vile and inhumane treatment of people to present day political issues like the state of the economy and the use of food stamps. Beshir, merely pointed out that there is no comparison. He did so by bringing up Thomas Thistlewood’s use of a punishment he invented called: “Derby’s Dose“. After all, if one is going to make comparisons like these as if to say slavery wasn’t that bad, then why get offended when someone else brings out specifics that show the opposite?
Being an activist and history buff, I decided to read and review the book detailing the events and creator of “Derby’s Dose“. That being the case, I won’t say Thistlewood’s dirty diary is a good read, but rather a must read if one is to understand the true degradation and inconceivable ugliness of slavery (see also “The Willie Lynch Letters and The Making Of A Slave” –video below)
By volume, this dirty diary is a 14,000.00 page account of one slave-owners almost 40-years of tortuous abuse, both physical and mental, against a people. Also included are 3,852 acts of rape and sexual exploitation of 138 black female slaves.
WARNING!! The following review will be graphic, so it’s NOT for the weak of stomach, easily offended, and/or sensitive:
Around 1750, Thomas Thistlewood moved from England to Jamaica. Notably, but not uncommon, he and others like him lived in an ungoverned society of White Supremes attitudes. In their quest for supremacy, they forged the concept of violence and stereotypic fears as a means to rationalize the brutal torturing of those enslaved.
Thistlewood’s personal account of his slave relation practices is abhorrently sickening as he boast details of regularly flogging and even ‘pickling’ slaves. However, one of his favorite forms of punishment is coined “Derby’s dose“, named after the punished slave Derby it was first used. Derby’s dose is described as the enforcement of a slave to defecate (i.e., discharge feces, have a bowel movement, poop and etc.) into the mouth of a punished slave. Afterwards, the punished slaves’ mouth is wired shut for four or five hours.
Basically (and graphically), life as a slave could be summed up as to literally “Eat Shit, and Die.” Death rates were high and births low to extremes for slaves owned by the likes of Thistlewood. So much so, that over a half million slaves were imported (mostly from the African Continent) just to keep the population rates from dying out.
Ironically, the white re-population in Jamaica didn’t flourish much better; resulting in a 3/1 ratio of white men to white women. This may account for Thistlewood’s so-called “marriage” to a black slave named Phibbah. It is believed Phibbah basically “played” the slave-owner for the foul and foolish cretin his life portrays. Phibbah eventually became an accomplished landowner and person of wealth!
I recommend Thistlewood’s dirty diary as a tool of enlightenment on the history of human enslavement & practices….and most especially to anyone making flippant political comparisons about slavery in order to instigate division, or create/infuse the notion it ‘just wasn’t that bad.’
In my opinion: One mistake Martin Beshir made was seemingly in endorsing the practice of the “Derby Dose,” a thing I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Perhaps Bashir would have fared much better had he just awarded the instigating party(ies) with the title of being a “Derby Doser.”
The book can be purchased from Amazon.com: Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World
Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World