Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Robert Hartman (
20 Apr 1995 20:56:59 GMT

In article <3n3i2r$>,
Gary Strand <> wrote:

>rh> Robert Hartman
>gs> Gary Strand
>rh> This is not true for Africans in America. Their native languages were
> suppressed. Their native customs were suppressed. Their children were
> taken from them. Their identities were taken from them.
> Note the plurals above. There is no such thing as a single African culture,
> or one African custom, or a single African language. Since these Africans
> main commonality was only their continent of origin, I wouldn't expect them
> to unify round a chunk of crust. Also, Hebrew was suppressed - so Jews form-
> ed their own schools, analogously with customs.

Jews were indeed allowed to form those schools. Africans in America
weren't. Whatever commonalitites they had were also suppressed. The
African-American culture is a culture of survival in the face of a vast
conspiracy to keep them enslaved.

>rh> The experience of Africans in America is on the order of a 400-year holo-
> caust.
> Well, not quite. I reserve the term 'holocaust' for one and one thing only,
> *the* Holocaust. Cultural repression and enslavement is nothing new in hu-
> man history, nor are African blacks the only sufferers. However, Jews in
> Europe during WWII are one of a tiny number of cases of victims of broad,
> *designed* and *planned* extermination.

Right. The Africans weren't going to be exterminated, unless of
course they had the temerity to assert themeselves as human beings.
There is still a residue of that in both black and white cultures in
America. That's the entire point. That's the nature of the evil.

>rh> In the South in particular, there was a systematic, intentional, violent
> attempt to reduce blacks to robots--to helpless and hopeless slavery _for-
> ever._
> I'd say enough people had problems with the idea that it eventually resulted
> in the deadliest, most destructive war in American history. The violence of
> that war outweighed the violence against blacks, IMHO.

Well, no. Actually that war was about how to divvy up the West--after getting
rid of the Native Americans of course.

>rh> It took three generations for the Irish and Italians to assimilate, and
> most of them could pass as WASPs. Africans obviously can't.
> So, we're halfway there? I doubt that.

So do I.

>gs> Is it better to break a spine or believe someone doesn't have one?
>rh> These are some fine choices here. How about recognizing the evil in white
> racism and recognizing the evil in black-on-black fratricide as well?
> I've never said white racism *wasn't* evil. What I do believe is that white
> racism is the copout answer to the problems of blacks in America, particular-
> ly the black underclass, when it's used as the sole cause. It's a lot more
> complicated than that.

It certainly is. But the climate of racism cannot be dismissed as a factor

>rh> How about if the white people work on the issue of white racism and the
> black people work on the issue of black-on-black fratricide?
> Howzabout we work on the problem of making individuals mere appendages of
> the group, which is what racism, sexism, homophobia, &c-ism are all about?

Fine by me. Got any suggestions?

>rh> How about if the white people show some class by working on white racism
> regardless of whether black people appear to be working on black-on-black
> fratricide?
> OK, but on one condition - we white people get to decide how to handle the
> problem, OK? ... And if it doesn't include Affirmative Action?

Well, I do believe it was a mostly-white Congress that passed all those
AA laws. Also, I don't think that it makes much sense for White people
to decide unilaterally how to handle it without listening to those who
are still disadvantaged. Sure, we need to use good judgement. But
good judgement involves getting a sens of what the problem is, in both
objective and subjective terms. So no, minorities should not dictate
the terms. But their view should not be dismissed as nothing but
self-serving whining either. To do that would be to indulge in another
form of self-serving whining.

>rh> After all, the fact that some black people may mistreat each other is no
> excuse for white people to continue mistreating them, is it?
> After all, what right do blacks have to tell white people how to act, or
> solve their problems, eh?

Well, if I do something that infringes on your rights, or denies you
equal treatment under law or custom, I'd expect you might have
something to say about that. What makes it any different for them?