Jefferson Nickel obverse

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When we learn that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child with a slave, we may think,  What a hypocrite!  The downfall of the righteous!  Just like all the other narcissistic deceitful no-good politicians!  Some Founding Father!

But what if Jefferson was actually self-aware enough to realize full well what he was doing, the apparent hypocrisy of it, and also the un-hide-ability of it.  Did he really think this would never come to the light of day?  What if he was aware that it could, and yet felt such a strong need for whatever that relationship was, that he was willing to do what he did?  What if, in fact, a relationship is what it was?   What if his respect for people of African descent was such that he could be in real relationship with the woman?  (Was he so desperate for sex that that’s all it was about?)  What if, in this way, his rhetoric of freedom and dignity for all is entirely consistent with his having a relationship with the slave woman?  What if Jefferson experienced an intimate humanness with her?

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