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History thread: Discuss the past

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Re: History thread: Discuss the past


Post by OldAle1 » June 23rd, 2020, 12:48 pm

Yes, the major problem is that remnants - more than remnants, really - of the old attitudes about race are still prominent in our (American) society. The Civil Rights movement was still going on when I was born; my whole life I've been reading about, and sometimes seeing (not often as I'm white and have never lived in the South) the consequences of our centuries of repression and racial inequality. So it's still current for people; and the other thing is that those monuments to Confederates don't themselves date to the Civil War, they are products of the last century - there are plenty of living people who saw some of them get erected; the Stone Mountain carving of three Confederate generals - the largest such carving in the world - wasn't completed until 1972. So it's all still pretty fresh, and matters are certainly not helped by the fact that we have the most overtly racist President right now since at least Wilson a century ago - and that he follows, and is trying to systematically and deliberately destroy the legacy of, our first black President. All of this makes for a bomb that's going to continue to go off through Election Day I think, and probably later. And in my opinion that's a necessary thing.

Two major differences with the Greek and Roman monuments: first, they date from such a remote past that few people know much about it, or can identify with much of it, and second, slavery in those days wasn't race-based. Anybody could be enslaved if their country/city was beaten in a war, or if their family sold them for repayment of debts, or if they committed certain crimes, etc. Of course those were still horribly unequal societies based on imperialism and conquest, but they weren't unequal in the same way that modern western societies are.

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Post by Onderhond » June 23rd, 2020, 12:56 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
June 23rd, 2020, 12:48 pm
Of course those were still horribly unequal societies based on imperialism and conquest, but they weren't unequal in the same way that modern western societies are.
Inequality that isn't race-based is still inequality. Race is just one of many, many ways to discriminate. I understand race holds somewhat of a special position because of relatively recent history, but I don't think any slave ever said "Well, this sucks, but at least they didn't pick me for my skin color or my eyelids".

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Post by Prat » June 23rd, 2020, 1:04 pm

Of course, this example wasn't to excuse actual problems ; the point of this example was to show that it's not simply about our morality against the morality of ancient time. It's a current problem with the society and those statues or monuments are not simply a testimony of the past, they are strongly related to actual issues.

And thanks for the details, I'm not really aware of US history so it's always nice to learn a little about it. :D

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