Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Gary Strand (
25 Apr 1995 16:42:35 GMT

ls> Lane Singer
gs> Gary Strand

gs> West Africans belonged to some sort of large social group (empire, king-
dom, whatever) and those in charge didn't mind having a good many of their
number taken away? That's odd, unless those in power wanted those taken to
be taken, and helped and/or profited in the kidnapping.

ls> There had been a dominant kingdom there in the first millenium AD. By the
time of the slave trade, it had fallen, and there were numerous factions
at odds with one another. Picture theFormerYugoslavia.

Interesting. Perhaps there wouldn't have been so many slaves taken to the
New World if the West Africans had presented a united front. Anyway, this
just strengthens my view that slavery wasn't a sin on the part of *just*
whites, American whites specifically. Some of the members of these factions
certainly must have seen the benefit in having some of their opponents ta-
ken away as slaves...

gs> Yes, many immigrants were not kidnapped and brought to the US against
their will. Most were made unwelcome where they were, so they left. What
"choice" is there between staying and being persecuted for your language,
religion, culture, &c, or taking a chance and leaving to come to the US?
Don't forget that some of the Pilgrims left because of religious persecu-

ls> By voluntary, I meant voluntary assimilation, once they got here.

Most children and grandchildren of immigrants have successfully assimilated.

ls> Imagine that you were kidnapped by people with a completely alien cul-
ture, who then enslaved you and brutalized you. After you attained free-
dom from that, you were in no-man's land: your own beloved world was gone,
and the one you now found yourself in was not only hostile and harsh and
discriminatory, but expected you to adopt, 100%, every cultural nuance of
those who had imprisoned you so unjustly.

How many blacks of 1865 (or thereabouts) were "1st-generation" slaves to the
US? How many were American-born, and how many had American-born ancestors
stretching back generations? I don't particularly miss the culture of my
ancestors; since I didn't learn it (or, it wasn't given to me) I guess I
don't know what I'm missing. Besides, if West Africa was fractured at the
time of the slave trade, would it really have benefitted former slaves (or
their descendents) to have re-adopted such a culture? Going back to your
analogy, would it be a Good Thing for descendants of Croatian/Serbian/Mus-
lim immigrants to the US to act like those in theFormerYugoslavia?

I'm of the view that just because some predecessor of mine came from culture
X doesn't automatically mean that culture X is superior to the one I have.

Gary Strand WWW: PO Box 3000 Boulder CO 80307-3000 (303) 497-1336
Opinions stated here are mine alone and are not those of NCAR, UCAR, or the NSF