James Baldwin's open letter to Angela Davis contains the following sentence (emphasis added):

The will of the people, in America, has always been at the mercy of an ignorance not merely phenomenal, but sacred, and sacredly cultivated: the better to be used by a carnivorous economy which democratically slaughters and victimizes whites and blacks alike.

I've found two candidate definitions that might fit with the above usage of democratically.

1) Of a democracy (of a government by the people).

2) Relating to, appealing to, or available to the broad masses of the people.

I suspect Baldwin has in mind the first meaning; but, if so, I'm not sure how to make clear sense of that.

  • 2
    One meaning of "democratic'" in my desk dictionary (MWC10) is "favoring social equality, not snobbish". Something that "victimizes whites and blacks alike" could, sarcastically, be called "democratic" in that sense.
    – user14111
    Aug 14, 2020 at 8:35
  • Yes, I think you're right. I saw that definition as well, but didn't give it enough thought. Thanks.
    – Pound Hash
    Aug 14, 2020 at 13:59
  • @user14111 Want to make that an answer? It seems to resolve this question nicely.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 14, 2020 at 16:53
  • @Randal'Thor No thanks. I just gave my opinion, based on common sense and my understanding of the English language. I couldn't begin to write an answer based on authorititive sources to prove what the writer meant, to the standards of this site.
    – user14111
    Aug 14, 2020 at 19:51
  • @user14111 And based on a citation to a dictionary, which is sometimes enough to resolve a question :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 14, 2020 at 20:12


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