Re: Amerind an offensive term (was: Early Amerind assimilation

Stephen Barnard (
Tue, 27 Aug 1996 22:16:50 -0800

Matt Silberstein wrote:
> In sci.archaeology wrote:
> [snip]
> >>
> >>The American government owes significant moral, legal, and economic
> >>debt to the Native peoples. As a reasonable successful taxpayer I am
> >>fully prepared to pay that debt. I, as an individual, do not owe a
> >>moral debt to them. I do owe a moral debt to the righteous people who
> >>help people survive the holocaust. By extension I owe a debt to people
> >>who have help the Native peoples. Does than make sense?
> >Not a lick. It does sound self centered and absorbed, narrow
> >minded, hippocritical, divisive, monofocused (I just made that word
> >up) and down right ugly. If I understand you correctly I and
> >everyone else should go to our respective communities and support
> >only our individual struggles. The money we pay in taxes absolves
> >us of any additional actions of support or concern for others. Oh!
> >and we do not refer to each other by skin color because that may
> >offend and spot our character. Dum, dada, dum, da, dum, da, dum
> >can't buy that!
> My goodness! Let me try again. I have been misinterpreted and I did
> not say what you thought I said. Please try to work with me on this,
> because we are miscommunicating and that is causing difficulties. I
> owe a debt to people who, at the risk of their lives, tried to help
> others. I owe a debt because of their moral actions, not because they
> help my group. But you have to understand how that kind of debt is
> paid. I do not give them money, or help their family, I have to act
> morally to others. My concern for, and support for Native Americans
> (among other groups) is because others showed concern for me and mine.
> The money I pay in taxes supports a different kind of debt. That was
> in response to the point that the American Government has broken
> treaties. They have and should pay back what they have taken.
> Personally I do not think I owe a specific moral debt to Native
> Americans. That is, I am not responsible for the damage. While your
> ancestors were being massacred in here, mine were having very similar
> treatment "there".

[and so on]

This makes perfect sense to me. It's exactly the way I feel. The
notion that one bears guilt for the acts of one's ancestors (or, in
Matt's case, people who weren't his ancestors at all, but who were
merely of approximately the same race) is absurd. We all as individuals
have more than enough guilt for our personal actions or inactions, and
we don't have to take on some extra guilt for something over which we
had no control.

Steve Barnard