“He Had Twelve Slaves, I Don’t Feel Bad For Him”
That was CNN Anderson Cooper’s response to learning that his ancestor, Burel Boykin, had been killed by a rebellious slave, which you will be able to see in the new season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates.
It’s impossible for me to know how I would respond to learning such news, but I do find it interesting that the sympathy/empathy is directed solely toward the slave community. On the one hand it’s a breadth of fresh air as opposed to seeing someone rush to the defense of their ancestor as if it reflected poorly on the descendant as well. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder how this killing effected the rest of his family, which, by the way are also Anderson’s ancestors. Perhaps he comments on this in the full episode.