Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Some People Need to Get Out More

Michelle Malkin has a link on her site to Robert Jensen's Un-Thanksgiving article on AlterNet.

I read it.

And then I read the comments, including this one: "Genocide and slavery are the economic “ Plymouth Rock” of the U.S economy. Throw in the indentured servitude of some Europeans and you have the essence of what the U.S. is all about. This crap about great white men who did great white deeds to build a great white world sickens and enrages me. I had to unlearn all this stuff to come to some understanding of why it seemed that such a small number of untalented parasites had so much and the rest of us had squat. I blamed myself and my family. False history does great, emotional, economic and spiritual damage to us all. The U.S is the greatest terrorist nation on the planet. It’s the most racist country in the world and with the possible exception of the years when the Nazis controlled Germany, it is probably the most racist nation or empire in recorded history. The genocide of Native peoples on this continent was a dispicable act done by despicable people. The enslavement of Africans fascism, most foul." (Emphasis mine.)

I am not a world traveler. However, I have been privileged to work with many people from many different countries, primarily Asian and European. There is nothing like daily contact and conversations at parties where alcohol is served to learn a few things about how people think. Especially about other races and cultures.

I was amazed.

Many people, educated solely in the U.S., seem to think that the U.S. was the last country to allow slavery and that it ended in 1865.

Wrong. During WWII, Koreans were forcibly brought to Japan to work dangerous jobs. The women were forced to become "comfort women"--i.e., prostitutes. Mauritania still has slavery. Thailand is known for its "sex slaves" and the clientele is not only white American businessmen. Black African tribes kill other Black African tribes. Before white Europeans set foot in North America, Native tribes fought other Native tribes, killing the men and enslaving the women.

Cruelty has no borders, no boundaries cultural or geographic. In fact, intraspecies cruelty may not be limited to Homo sapiens, as there seems to be evidence of infantcide and murder in chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives.

Does this excuse our behavior or the behavior of the United States?

No. The U.S. has written its values out for the world and for all generations to see. We have set the bar for ourselves pretty high. We should be held accountable when we fail to live up to our values. We should be able to look at ourselves critically, see where we've strayed, and try to correct our actions. And we have. Slowly, painfully, publicly for everyone to see.

But calling the U.S. the worst in all recorded history? That's not just overkill--that's ignorance.