Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Can white America overcome its slaveholder mentality?



     It can be difficult to forgive those who wrong you. But it’s much harder to forgive those you’ve wronged.
     That, in a nutshell, is the challenge facing America today regarding race. That explains why, having lost the Civil War, the slaveholder mentality is still not only popular but, recent protests notwithstanding, ascendant: many white people still can’t find it in their hearts to forgive black Americans.
     The notion that white people are superior and besieged by the presence of lesser, darker races is on the upswing, having stupefied the United States sufficiently in 2016 that it elected an unfit fraud as president. Now...
     “Excuse me?” you might be thinking about now. Did you say “forgive?” Whites need to forgive blacks?
     Certainly. Flip open the dictionary:
     for·give /fərˈɡiv/ verb. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
     The “stop feeling angry or resentful” part doesn’t need explanation. Anger and resentment are the defining elements of white supremacy. The slavers professed to be burdened by their charges, saddled with their care and discipline.
     Trumpism is only that attitude’s latest manifestation. Setting down their whips to clutch at themselves and complain about being the true victims.
     OK ... you may be thinking ... point taken. But what about that second half? “...for an offense, flaw, or mistake.” What have black people done?

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7 comments:

  1. You ask if the young people who are fueling these protests understand the entrenched hatred they're up against. One thing for certain; they're getting a crash course in it now. And maybe the fact that many don't care is exactly what it takes to keep this pressure on long enough to facilitate change. They are heroes. Cliched denegrations of Generation Z and the Millennials seem pretty silly now.

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    1. Entrenched is the word. We are taught what victors usually teach, that we are a fair country with equal opportunity. We were taught that Native Americans got in the way. We were taught that slavery was just a short part of our history. In other words we were fed a bunch of bull. If we were taught that maybe we did a bunch of bad stuff, along with a bunch of good, maybe racism wouldn’t be so entrenched. Maybe our children and grandchildren will learn that not everyone had an equal chance and now everyone is paying for it.

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  2. Just before Germany surrendered in World War II, Heinrich Himmler secretly met with a representative of the World Jewish Congress. The WJC guy was trying to save any Jews in Germany who were still alive; Himmler was trying to save his neck. But their conversation was not fruitful, mostly because Himmler bridled at the prospect of "Jews emerging from the camps as our conquerors."

    I think that's pretty much the mentality that a lot of people in the South, and elsewhere, have toward African-Americans. By emerging from slavery and taking their place as equals (at least nominally) in the eyes of the law, black people were seen and resented as "conquerors" of whites.

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  3. Police brutality is now a formality /
    They’re kicking our butts and we’re paying their salary.

    -The Geto Boys

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  4. T'will never happen, unfortunately. Hasn't happened yet. Decency struggles. Empathy loses. I know--glass half empty human here. Or perhaps, fact facer.

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  5. That we hate those whom we've harmed rather than those who have harmed us is a psychological puzzler. How could this be? It's contrary to all common sense notions of how the world works, but it is easily confirmed by those of us willing to explore our own feelings for what they are and not for what we wish them to be. The victim in these cases has committed an unforgivable sin by the very virtue of being hated, vilified and despised. And just like Jefferson's argument for equality, the sin is self-evident and not subject to doubt, investigation or proof. Efforts along those lines simply foment anger, which of course is also the fault of the oppressed. A very sad situation.

    john

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