Fw: `capitalist' character values

From: Olga Bourlin (fauxever@sprynet.com)
Date: Sun Jul 29 2001 - 00:06:34 MDT

Olga wrote:
> > > I also call racist the tendency
> > > of white people not to want to
> > > take any responsibility for the
> > > egregious crimes against blacks
> > > in the USA.

Lee Corbin wrote:
> > ... That's really "guilt by association".

Mike Lorrey added:
> At the time the ancestors of black people were being imprisoned,
> forcibly transported and slaving away here in the US, my ancestors were
> being exterminated, imprisoned, and forcibly transported here as well by
> the same people: the British. Don't ask me or mine to pay for their
> crimes, I may ask you to pay for theirs against us as well....


The problem you have not had to contend with is "visible difference." You
were able to assimilate (granted, I am assuming that you are "white"?). I'm
an immigrant myself (blonde hair, blue eyes = no questions asked!). I was
able to assimilate into American society immediately. Unless I tell people
I immigrated here, they have no idea. Both you and I enjoy privileges
unknown to many people of "visible-other" races.

"Visible difference" is what makes this phenomenon happen occasionally: An
"average (white) American-type" may come up an Asian person (who may have
been born here, and whose parents and grandparents may have been born here
as well) and ask, "Do you speak English?" I have a multicultural family,
and Asian members of my family have experienced this .... as have most Asian
people, from what I've heard. The incidents may not be exactly the same,
but in that vein.

Blacks have not only had to contend with this problem of "visible
difference" (in the context of the example above, of people attributing
certain characteristics to blacks based on their race), they've also had to
contend with being chattel. While I'm certain your people have suffered
some (as many immigrant groups have), you're not saying that the experiences
blacks have had can compare - in toto - with your ancestors' .... or are
you? And if you/your ancestors - were magically put backwards to the time
of legal segregation in the South (this was relatively recent - within the
lifetime of some of the "Boomers" on this list), you would not have had the
problem of trying to find food, lodging, or bathroom facilities while
traveling through the South. You would not have had to explain to your
children why they were not permitted to swim in the pool with the white
kids. You would not have been in danger of getting lynched if your eyes
happened to stray at a white woman - or even if they never strayed. All
these indignities were reserved for blacks alone, and (I am repeating
myself, I know) this was going on within the lifetime of many black people
alive today. As an aside, it is interesting to note that the less the
"visible difference" in blacks, the easier it has been for them to succeed.

I won't go over what I've written to Lee about why I think we owe something
especially to blacks. Their circumstances were - and are - above and beyond
anything other immigrant (I'm using the term loosely here) groups have had
to live through. We are fat-cat sitting on the backs of millions of unknown
slaves who endured harships and sorrows beyond description. The heinousness
of the crime, the length of time (hundreds of years), and how all the past
misdeeds have affected and are still affecting many blacks today - there's
nothing to compare to it. Native Americans are another sad tale, and yet
the black remains unparalled.

You also wrote:
> Even worse, that's guilt by similarity.

You're not guilty of anything, Mike.

This quote may be relevant to our discussion here: (from the
Russell-­Einstein Manifesto): "We appeal, as human beings, to human beings:
Remember your humanity and forget the rest."

On the other hand, maybe that quote means nothing to you. I understand and
appreciate that we all have difference prerogatives.

Thank you for your thoughts,
And this:

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