RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Sat Jul 28 2001 - 22:30:18 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:

>I've never
> committed any crime against black
> people ...

Olga Bourline wrote:

> If you live in the U.S.A., you are profiting from some
>the prosperity which is still tricking down to us from slave labor

Almost all U.S. residents profit from the general prosperity, even people
who eat from dumpsters. Dumpsters are not nearly so rich in edible and
useful stuff in poorer countries.

>Because of your white skin (I am assuming this) you are
>"automatically" privileged in many ways.

This is true, but it's also true that some blacks in the U.S. are much
better of than some whites, and not necessarily through their own efforts.
There are blacks who were loved by their parents, wore nice clothes and went
to good schools, and there are whites who were beaten by their parents,
dressed in rags and quit school after the third grade.

> maybe you can feel some compassion for a
>situation that was created - not by you or me, granted - but that exists,
>nevertheless, and is sad beyond words

>... a sadness for many blacks which is still cruelly real


>and we can afford to say "thank you," and "we're sorry
>for what was done to you," and acknowledge the contributions made by

True; but perhaps there's some other way to do it than affirmative action,
which penalizes individual whites and often fails to help those blacks who
need help the most. When you turn down a young woman whose dream was to go
to medical school because she's a white, so that you can admit a black with
fewer qualifications, you're making that one young white person pay a
greatly disproportionate price. For all we know, maybe the white woman was
the daughter of poor parents; maybe she worked nights to pay her way through
college. And maybe the black woman who gets into medical school instead had
rich parents and went to the best private schools their money could get her
into. The blacks I've known who benefited the most from affirmative action
were from middle class backgrounds. In some cases, rich whites were the
ultimate beneficiaries, such as when whites set up businesses with black
"owners" so the businesses would be have special status for getting
government contracts and so forth. I know this from personal observation.
And if I observed this sort of thing happening as often as I did, I'm sure
it must have been extremely common.

 It would be fine if the collective "we" could make reparations for every
injustice ever suffered under unjust laws. But I think it could never be
good if we make lone individuals pay the price to assuage the guilt for the
rest of us.


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