It happened again just yesterday, and I wanted to make something clear.
Yes, I have processed my anger about slavery to the point that I don’t think the people who practiced it in America had some innate moral failing. They lived in a context in which things we now see as terrible were normalized. That’s what human beings do when they think they need something.
I measure them against the average behavior of people in their context. Rather than hate them, I praise those with the moral clarity to live in their context and be abolitionists, even if it was illegal.
But please understand: in that context, if you WEREN’T an abolitionist, it is safest to assume that you were the enemy, or their enablers and collaborators.
But…someone misinterpreted that. Saw it as weakness. Because the next discussion was about the fact that there are people on the Left who see racism EVERYWHERE (according to the thread owner) in the current day.
My response was that yes, there were people who exaggerated that. Now: prove that there are more on the Left who see racism everywhere than there are folks on the Right who see it nowhere at all.
For decades, the government lied about the dangers of marijuana. Just…lied. Now, the truth that it is no more dangerous than beer (and possibly less so) is increasingly obvious. Some over-react by treating it like Mother’s Milk. Hey, its not only harmless, but its medicine! Well…if it is effective medicine, it can’t be harmless. Water can drown you. Oxygen can burn your lungs out. Don’t try to tell me that something powerful is also harmless. Hell, people can go crazy from meditation.
But if you have a pendulum artificially held to one direction, when you release it it swings in the other direction, and will overshoot the mid-point.
Unless YOU, PERSONALLY faced down racists and called people on comments direct and subtle, unless you stood up for lives crushed by the demons of injustice, UNLESS YOU WERE THE MODERN EQUIVALENT OF AN ABOLITIONIST you have no right at all to complain when people over-react. If you stood by and let them talk or act, or turned a blind eye to pleas for justice, complaining when people over-react in the other direction is just letting other people do your damned dirty work, and throwing rocks at the people trying to clean up the mess. YOU are the reason they over-react, and the people who tolerate it are your cousins and siblings. You are looking in a mirror.
Like the view?
So…I was criticized for not condemning people who over-react (according to the thread owners and their posse). And I wonder what world they live in. Let me get this right: for the sake of my own soul, I pierced the veil of ego and trained myself to see the humanity of those who did monstrous things…but you think I won’t do that to see the humanity of those who PROTEST those monstrosities?
Really? What model of humanity are you following, do you believe in, if I would extend more understanding to the perpetrators than the protestors? I can’t imagine there IS any model other than one:
You empathize with the perpetrators. You see yourself in those masters, those overseers, those Nightriders, those who sought to maintain the social advantage stolen over centuries, and have absorbed their values. With the ones weilding the whip rather than those whose flesh was torn. Oh, you’re polite enough about it. Won’t say it out loud. But you empathize with them, not with their victims.
And when I speak of the humanity of people who do inhumane things, you think I’m seeing things from your perspective. You think I’m too cowardly to publicly speak a secret belief that, “yes, it happened…but thank goodness it did, because we of African blood needed Europeans to civilize us. It isn’t politically correct to say this, but in the depths of my heart, in the dead of night, I know the truth…”
Yeah, I think that’s what you think is going on inside me. Well…you need to know the truth. There were times in my distant past when I played with such thoughts. That is true. Long ago. When I was a brainwashed baby.
But now, I believe that the ultimate question of essence versus existence cannot be resolved, because the experiments necessary to test it cannot be conducted by anyone other than a multi-generational Dr. Mengele. That people made their decisions emotionally, and then justify them intellectually. I choose to have faith in equality, and although I can provide endless facts to support that position, I don’t delude myself it is not a faith-based decision.
But boys and girls…what would happen if I I DID lose my belief in equality?
Contrary to your spavined imagination, the first assumption wouldn’t be that black people are stupid. It would be that white people are evil. So let’s not go there, shall we?
The natural, normal, average, typical thing is to believe your tribe is superior. What is fun when flags wave at a high school football game is bloody horror in a pogrom or a war or the slow holocaust of multi-generational kidnapping, rape, torture and murder. I will not fall into the traps that sullied the legacy of good men like Thomas Jefferson and made him require my forgiveness. I don’t have Jefferson’s genius. What I can do is stand on his shoulders as well as the shoulders of my ancestors, and visionaries like MLK, and see further than he could.
Don’t mistake forgiveness for agreement. Love for weakness. Don’t make that mistake. Yes, I see your soul. I also see the fear and the lies that you use to keep yourself from understanding what happened here, or the advantages your ancestors wrung for themselves from the bodies and spirits of my ancestors. You can step away from the sins of the past, condemn them without damning the souls of those who made those mistakes.
Or you can defend them, and live in an illusion. It is hard to awaken. But you are asleep, dreaming that you are awake. And we can no longer allow sleepers to drive the bus.
The past is gone. Only defending it, or ignoring its impact, or pretending its cold dead fingers still reach into our current world keeps it alive. And if you are committed to protecting death…that is ultimately on your soul, and I cannot protect you.
I’m too busy protecting the victims.
Yes, I’m a lover. But that’s not all I am, and you would be best advised to remember that.