Re: Fw: `capitalist' character values

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sun Jul 29 2001 - 10:52:04 MDT

Olga Bourlin wrote:
> 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....
> Mike,
> 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.

So what? This is the norm in EVERY society around the world, and the US
is certainly not the most bigoted society. Look at Japan, China, and
many parts of europe. There are also plenty of characteristics that are
invisible that their posessors get a free pass on. Stupidity, for
example, is generally accepted. You have to prove by your words and
deeds you are an idiot before people will treat you like one (except, of
course, for the truly brilliant, who may or may not treat others
generally as idiots as a default).

> "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.

So you think that people trying to be polite despite their lack of
exposure to 'visible-others' in their lives is racist? EXCUSE ME? I
think you need to get it through your skull that only a fraction of the
US has lived in communities where more than a tiny percentage of the
population is not white, and those they do are either the elite
performers of their ethnic groups or else they are fresh apples, right
off the boat, and don't speak much english.

The city I live in is one such. In my high school of 700 students, there
were never more than 1-3 blacks attending at any one time, and a similar
level of asians and hispanics, all of whom were generally highly
assimilated and what big city minorities would call 'Uncle Toms'. The
most diversity was the 3-6 foreign exchange students each year, where
generally only the european students arrived with adequate english

The other source of exposure to diversity is the tourist trade, where
people come from around the world in the fall on 'leaf peeping' tours of
the fall foliage, of revolutionary war and colonial heritage sites, etc.
Of the foreign tourists, generally the asians are the least skilled in
english, and generally perpetuate the stereotype of the inscrutible
camera toting asian tourist group. In our city, there is a small
southeast asian community of post-Vietnam refugees from Cambodia,
Vietnam, Laos, etc who are very insular, don't pick up english very
well, and stick together economically and socially.

This is the community I grew up in. What bigotry there is is generally
of a manner expressed by people who have little or no personal exposure,
and relies on the bad stereotypes generated by the major media news
coverage of big city crime, which is generally committed by minorities.
When I left here for college I wasn't too concerned because I was going
to an engineering school, and there was a similar level of minorities in
my freshman class, but when I entered the Air Force, there was the
possibility of going to technical school in Buloxi, Mississippi, which I
had read was largely populated by blacks. Seeing as how my personal
opinion was based largely on the media portrayal of city crime being
primarily a black phenomenon, I was a bit concerned before I went to
basic training, but once I was in, I met and got to know a large number
of blacks and hispanics. This daily personal exposure and cohabitation
in barracks was a fast education in ethnic diversity.

Since then, I still run into bigots, who dismiss my military experiences
as "they're the 'good' blacks, the bad ones don't volunteer for service
where they'll have to really work", but these sorts are few and far
between, and are generally people who have no military experience to
judge by, or have lived only in big city slums where nobody trusts

> 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?

I am. I am half scottish, and our family was driven off its land, killed
and raped and imprisoned by the British after Culloden, to the point
that today, anyone with the last name Lorrey in the entire world is less
than 7 generations away from me, all of whom are descended from one
family forcibly transported to Nova Scotia in the early 19th century.
The Lorrey name is dead in Edinborough and in our ancestral Gordon
lands. The history of our oppression is more similar to the treatment of
the native north americans than africans, generally, if you discount the
decades of labor as serfs of British lords prior to transportation. I
suggest you study up on the other crimes of the British before you grant
exclusive rights to blacks alone. Serfdom is little different from

> 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.

Again, so what? Slavery was not exclusive to the US, and seems to be a
standard cultural characteristic of many african cultures. There's a
major article in the paper today where they are still trying to stamp it
out in Mauritania. If slavery is so normal for africans, then why are we
to be blamed for exercising a standard characteristic of their home

Furthermore, can you name any other country that went to war, and where
hundreds of thousands willingly died to free slaves they had no relation
or cultural connection to?

> You also wrote:
> > Even worse, that's guilt by similarity.
> You're not guilty of anything, Mike.

Thanks. I knew that already.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:58 MDT