Responding to Michael Medved's rant against reparations Part 2 - 10.9.2007.2
Continued from Responding to Michael Medved's rant against reparations Part 1...
As for students of history and their feelings, do you feel guilt that the Romans held slaves? Do you feel guilt that Genghis Khan ruled more of the world than any other leader? Do you feel pain knowing that the Crusades and the Inquisition happened? Does the story of the 300 Spartans become less heroic because Spartans routinely left babies thought to be too weak in the woods to die? So why should a student of history feel more or less guilt in knowing the rarely spoken facts of American history?
“the current mania for exaggerating America’s culpability for the horrors of slavery bears no more connection to reality than the old, discredited tendency to deny that the U.S. bore any blame at all.”
I’m sorry, bringing up facts is an exaggeration? You say this as opposed to the constant barrage of media, in all forms, that has for centuries claimed that America never did anything wrong. Let’s take our heads out of the sand for a moment and realize a few things. The original colonies are thought of in the most romantic of forms. Similar to how the Middle Ages are seen now. Books, movies and television shows have and continue to obfuscate the truth. When you look at old Western movies, how often are Whites portraying the Indians? How many movies ever show ANY Blacks? How many address the fact that slavery existed in America at that time? Or that Indians were given diseases blankets and driven forcibly from their homes? Who do you think is exaggerating those ‘facts’?
The fact is that these things happened. America did them. To acknowledge that is not an exaggeration. It may feel extreme because the ‘family secret’ that everyone knows and no one speaks about may feel like its being shouted when someone whispers about it, but it is not. The extremity is the degree that it is hidden from the common discussion. It’s so extreme that when the current democratic presidential candidates were asked about reparations, all except one refused to even answer at all. Talk about fear.
As for the points you make:
1.SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION. – There has never been a claim I am aware of in my lifetime that has said Slavery is only an American idea. As I recall, my elementary education addressed the fact that Romans and Greeks had slaves. My later education made clear that Spain and England had indentured servants (which is not the same no matter how that is spun around). And there have been many movies that have further let the public know that slaves existed long before America; I believe you’ve seen the 10 Commandments with Mr. Charlton Heston.
To claim that other nations having slaves and to mention how many does not change our actions. The issue is not what happened in the Ottoman Empire, but in America. If you watch wrestling and then go out and have a fight you will not be absolved because someone else did a similar thing. You are still culpable for your own actions.
This entire argument is just a means of distraction from the original point that America had slaves. Those slaves were not considered human, as indentured servants were. They had no rights, as indentured servants did in several nations including America and Spain. They were considered on par with furniture, and livestock was often considered more valuable. What other countries did with and about their slaves has no bearing. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.
Continued in Part 3...