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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 04:56 PM
Original message
The Role of Racism on Our Road to Tyranny
Edited on Sat Sep-30-06 05:48 PM by Time for change
Many liberal Americans, including myself and most DUers, believe that our country is well on the road to tyranny, or already there in many respects. All of my life I have felt a great need to understand the WHY behind important events in my life which is undoubtedly one reason that I have been so interested in history and psychology. One reason for this need of mine is that I believe that an understanding of causes is of great help in the search for solutions. Thus I have spent much time thinking about why our country, which once served as a beacon of freedom and democracy to much of the world, is now headed rapidly in the opposite direction. In doing this I have come up with many partial answers. It is because we elected George Bush president and Ronald Reagan before him. It is because of the role of money in politics. It is because of election fraud. It is because of our countrys corrupt news media. Unquestionably all of those factors are important, and certainly there is no single reason for the predicament in which we now find ourselves.

But it has also occurred to me that racism has played a major factor in this. In considering the role of racism on our current road to tyranny I believe that it is instructive to compare our situation to the road to tyranny taken by Nazi Germany under Hitler (which has long been an obsession of mine, perhaps partly because of my Jewish ancestry), because I believe that there are many important parallels there. The parallels with Nazi Germany can be viewed as five overlapping categories: 1) Inciting event(s); 2) Progression of racism; 3) Progressive elimination of rights of minorities; 4) Consolidation of power; 5) Catastrophe.


Inciting events

In Nazi Germany there were a number of inciting events, starting with the defeat of Germany in World War I, which led to harsh reprisals and a terrible economy by the early 1930s, including very high unemployment and inflation.

But a more direct inciting event on the road to tyranny was the Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933, less than a month after Hitler was appointed as Chancellor of Germany. The Nazis blamed the fire on the Communists, though it is now widely believed to have been planned and carried out by the Nazis themselves, as a pretext for consolidating their power. In any case, the event was unquestionably instrumental in providing the excuse for the initial efforts towards consolidation of Nazi power.


In the United States the initial event is even more clear cut. The attacks of September 11th, 2001, on the World Trade Center buildings in New York and the Pentagon provided the rationalization for the Bush administration to declare a War on Terror, which has provided the excuse for the bulk of its subsequent actions.


Progression of racism

Hitler had long harbored a great hatred of Jews, and Germany also had a long history of anti-Semitism, though prior to the ascension of Hitler it had been relatively quiescent for some time. Hitler was a very skilled orator, and shortly after coming to power his rabid anti-Semitism and oratorical skills became instrumental in stirring up and intensifying latent feelings of anti-Semitism among Germans.

The United States has also had a long history of racism, especially against dark skinned people, manifested by its aggressive wars against the Indians and its enslavement of Africans. The Civil Rights movement in the United States, beginning in the 1960s, met with a good deal of success, manifested by the passage of a great deal of important Civil Rights legislation in addition to the fact that the overt expression of racism in the U.S. became almost politically suicidal, at least outside of the South. Nevertheless, racism continued to smolder in the United States, manifested by such things as displaying of the Confederate flag, widespread imprisonment of dark skinned peoples for such things as drug use, and voter suppression. In all of these cases, however, politicians would usually feel the need to claim some non-racist reasons for their respective actions.

Such was the case when our country was attacked on September 11th, 2001, purportedly by 19 Muslims flying hijacked airplanes. Because racism was then (and is now still) considered politically incorrect, the Bush administration could not have overtly appealed to racist sentiments among Americans even if it had wanted to. In any event, there was no need for them to make overt racist appeals. Simply by repeatedly referring to terrorists, it is widely understood by the Bush administrations intended audience that they are talking about Muslims of Middle Eastern descent and dark skin. Thus, the combination of repeated references to terror and the stirring up of racist feelings is quite sufficient to strike fear into the hearts of many an American.


Progressive elimination of minority rights

The elimination of Jewish rights in Nazi Germany took place piece by piece, from the Nazi sponsored boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933 to the Nuremburg race laws of 1935, which deprived Jews of their citizenship, to the violence of Kristallnacht in 1938, where 7500 Jewish businesses were destroyed and almost a hundred Jews killed, followed shortly afterwards by gradually escalating genocide.

The important point to understand about all this is that it happened because the German people allowed it to happen. They saw themselves as fundamentally different from the Jews, rather than as sharing a common bond of humanity with them. Consequently, what happened to the Jews was not of concern to most Germans.


Superficially, the treatment of Muslims by the U.S. government today seems very different. Few mainstream American politicians would dare to adopt an openly racist stance against Muslims or other people of Middle Eastern descent. Sure, they stir up the population with words like Islamo-Fascism, which are meant to incite racist feelings. But at the same time they claim to recognize that there are also many good Muslims.

Our laws and practices, barbaric as they are, with our indefinite detention of suspected terrorists without charges, and the deplorable living conditions that we subject them to, including repeated torture, are not specifically and openly directed at Muslims or any other minority group. Rather, our laws and practices are directed solely against enemy combatants or terrorists. Not only are most Americans not very concerned about this, but a sizable minority is positively glad that their government is doing these things, since they have been led to believe that these actions serve to protect them.

So on the surface, racism has nothing to do with this we are simply fighting a war and bringing terrorists to justice. Yet for those Americans who support our government in these actions or who are unconcerned about them, racism must be playing the same role in causing them to be unconcerned as it did in causing most Germans to be unconcerned with the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany. They note that the terrorists are Muslims, and that gives them the sense that everything is ok and their government is working hard to protect them. They are either blissfully unaware of the fact that only a small minority of the so-called terrorists have even been charged with a crime, or they dont see anything wrong with that. And the same thing can be said about our torturing of these people.

Racism also explains why George Bush was able to bamboozle Americans so easily with a pack of lies to get them to see Iraqis as equivalent to the culprits who attacked our country. As he has said many times, we didnt ask THEM to come here and attack us. And as Trent Lott has said, they all look the same so how can we be expected to tell the difference between the good ones and the terrorists.

This situation is where Martin Niemollers famous poem, First They Came for the Communists, is so prescient. The sentiments expressed in that poem are supposed to serve as a warning against allowing another Holocaust to take place. On the one hand it should serve as a reminder of the common bond of humanity that we share with all the people of the world. But for those whose racist attitudes prevent them from seeing that common bond, it should at least serve to lessen their complacency by reminding them that they could very well be next in line. In other words, they need to understand that a government that repeatedly demonstrates its contempt for human rights with respect to a minority ethnic group would also likely be capable of perpetrating atrocities against other Americans as well, if doing so is thought to be necessary in order to achieve their ends. But alas, perhaps their racism prevents them from understanding that point as well.


Consolidation of power

Dictators often use a mixture of fear and racism to consolidate their powers. Indeed, the two are highly correlated, as Hitler led the German people to believe that Jews and Communists were dangerous enemies of Germany, and many Americans today believe that Muslims are dangerous enemies of their country.

Hitler assumed emergency powers in Germany the day after the Reichstag fire, and within a month Parliament passed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler dictatorial powers in Germany. In June of 1934 the Nazis conducted a violent purge of potential political opponents in the SA. And in August of that year Hitler was declared Fuhrer.

Shortly following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States the PATRIOT Act, which set the stage for warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, indefinite detention without charges of terrorist suspects, the deterioration of our First Amendment rights, and military tribunals, was passed by Congress. The recently passed Terror Detainee bill solidifies much of the PATRIOT Act and expands it to allow George Bush to define torture, to brand as enemy combatants (and therefore without Constitutional protection) anyone suspected of supporting hostilities against the United States (including peaceful protest?), and prohibits suspects from seeing the evidence that brands them as an enemy combatant. Without question a large part of the reason that Americans have allowed this bill to pass is that either they are ignorant of it or they believe that it doesnt apply to them.

But whom the bill will apply to remains to be seen. In November of 1933 the Nazis enacted an innocently titled Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allowed the homeless and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps. Anyone who believes that George Bush and Dick Cheney wont try to use their new found powers against their political opponents hasnt been paying very close attention.

The relationship of all this to racism can be seen by a quick look at members of Congress who voted for the bill. Racism has always been much stronger in the South than elsewhere in the United States, since it was long needed to justify the legal slavery of Africans. Senators from the eleven southern states that fought against the Union in the American Civil War, plus the two border states of Kentucky and Missouri, voted for the bill by a 25-1 margin, whereas the remaining Senators voted for it only by a 40-33 margin.


Catastrophe

Beyond their treatment of the Jews and other undesirables, Nazi intentions should have been evident to all as they built up their military, annexed Austria in March 1938, occupied the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in October of that year, and seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939. The world finally reacted when the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939. The resulting World War II was the greatest catastrophe in the history of the world to date, claiming the lives of about 30 million civilians and 25 million soldiers, not including the 6 million Jews and others who lost their lives in the German concentration camps. But as bad as it was, it would have been far worse had the Nazis prevailed in the war.

As of this time, the catastrophe perpetrated by the Bush administration pales in comparison with the consequences of World War II. Besides the ruined lives of a few hundred or thousand Muslims and the continuing destruction of the U.S. Constitution, the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of close to three thousand American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

But if the Neoconservatives in the Bush administration get their way, the damage will be far worse before theyre through. The civil war in Iraq is just getting started, Bush is intent on perpetrating a war against Iran, and the plans of the neoconservative members of PNAC are so at odds with the peace objectives of the rest of the civilized world that one should take very seriously the possibility that World War III is just around the corner and will equal or exceed the catastrophic damages caused by World War II.


Conclusions

Racism, along with similar irrational hatreds of our fellow human beings who practice different customs or religions or who are different in any number of ways, has long been one of the greatest scourges of world civilization. Some reasons for racism are fear and unfamiliarity of the unknown and an egotistical desire to feel superior to other people. Our government would serve its people much better by acting to combat the evils of racism instead of fighting against such things as birth control, gay marriage, stem cell research and the teaching of evolution in schools.

Following World War II and the Nazi Holocaust the world and many of its leaders promised that it would never let such atrocities happen again. But in order to prevent such things from happening we must learn the central lessons of history. The central lesson of the Holocaust is captured by Niemollers poem better than anything else I have seen. Its central message is that a government or group of people who repeatedly demonstrate their contempt for human rights with respect to ANY group of people is also probably capable of perpetrating atrocities against any other group of people as well, if doing so is thought by them to be necessary in order to achieve their ends. Starting a war that helps no one but themselves is nothing to them. The destruction of a country means little to them. The deaths of millions of people means little to them.

Most people still dont understand that. When their leaders tell them that it is necessary to destroy other people in order to protect them they accept that rather than see it as the terrible threat that it is. They fail to understand the central lessons of the Holocaust. And we will all be doomed to repeat the experiences of the Holocaust until we finally learn those lessons.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. This incredible post will NOT DROP.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. Thank you for resurrecting my post from oblivion Karenina
When I first checked it out I was very disappointed to see that it was already on page 2 and hadn't had a single vote or response. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, and I had a few minutes left to edit it, so I edited out the first paragraph, which was about the dream I had last night, thinking that perhaps people didn't see the connection between my dream and the rest of the post. I was then going to ask my wife to take a look at it to see if she could figure out what was wrong with it, but then we had an unexpected guest, so I never got around to it. It's perplexing that the 6-8 crowd looked at it so differently than the late evening crowd. :)
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #15
27. This is an issue
that MUST be addressed. I and "other" is the starting point of man's inhumanity to man. You've done an outstanding piece here! :hug:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. Yes, that is certainly the way that I feel about this, which is why I have
written about this subject more than any other subject on DU -- not racism per se, but the Bush administration's abuse and torture of its prisoners.

Thank you very much for the compliments :hug:
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
2. kick
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. Another excellent piece TFC + now we see the attack on their right to vote


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 06:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. Thank you mod mom -- Yes, they're back to the poll tax again
Edited on Sun Oct-01-06 06:27 AM by Time for change
Fortunately the courts are striking those laws down, but will it be in time for the 2006 elections?
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
4. Hey! Everyone knows it's not about race, it's about class!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. I think it's about both
I agree that classism is a very big problem in our country today. I even wrote a long post about that not very long ago:
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Time%20for%20...

But racism is also a big problem, and the so-called "war on terror" is certainly fueled largely by a fear of Muslims, irregardless of class, whether that be based mostly on racism or religious intolerance.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. Sigh.
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
5. K&R although still reading.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
6. Well done.
It's the same old crap coming back again and again -- of course, you put it much more cogently!

kick and rec
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Maven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
7. Excellent, and I would add another point:
Edited on Sat Sep-30-06 07:42 PM by Harvey Korman
Racism also (at least partially) explains the lack of outrage among Americans at our torturing "terror suspects."

Torture is abhorrent whether practiced against the innocent or the guilty; however, the right is perfectly happy to torture Arabs who have been proven guilty of no crime at all, because to them, all Arabs are "guilty" by association, by ethnicity. All of them "deserve" it. Inflicting grievous physical injury on someone we merely suspect has information to provide is OK to save American lives, because to these people American (read: white, Christian) lives are worth more.

This also explains why the same people gloss over 130,000+ dead Iraqis as a triviality. I mean, they weren't real people. Who cares?
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. "lack of outrage among Americans"
EXACTAMUNDO.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
19. Yes, I agree with all of that
I think it's deplorable that one rarely hears any mention of the number of dead Iraqis by our corporate news media. We hear "stay the course", etc., etc., but rarely any in depth and honest discussion of what is the purpose of "staying the course".
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mogster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. Good post!
K&R! :kick:
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
9. Great post
Saving to share with others.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
11. It's in the fabric of our everday lives
In Bukavu, a 29-year-old human rights campaigner called Bertrand Bisimwa summarised his countrys situation with cruel concision. Since the nineteenth century, when the world looks at Congo it sees a pile of riches with some black people inconveniently sitting on top of them. They eradicate the Congolese people so they can possess the mines and resources. They destroy us because we are an inconvenience. As he speaks, I picture the raped women with bullets burying through their intestines and try to weigh them against the piles of blood-soaked electronic goods sitting beneath American Christmas trees with their little chunks of Congolese metal whirring inside. Bertrand smiles and says, Tell me who are the savages? Us, or you?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #11
22. Very good point
That sounds a lot like what we did to the Native American inhabitants of our lands in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
12. You took the nail and hit it ~ BAM on the Head!!!!!
The bottom line is that this is the last stand for those countries that have ruled the world for many many years.

Bush knows that and all those that look like Bush know that ~ they are NOT going to give up being in control of the world to people who do not look like, talk like and worship like they do.

So, they know all the buzz words to use ~ "terrorists," "immigrants" that have the nerve to wave the flag of their original country(unless it's St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.)"Muslims " ~ a catch all word for "African Americans," "Africans" and everyone else with "a tint to their skin."

BUSH and BLAIR know they must "stay the course" and use DIEBOLD,the BUSH LIKE Supreme Court(oops I forgot Clarence but he doesn't count he only sits there to fool us) and anything else that will keep them in power.

Why do they hate and fear the United Nations and Annan? Check paragraph 3.

Mission Accomplished! :puke:
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. What did Chavez say?
Something about seeing BROWN SKIN and labeling people as EXTREMISTS? ;-)
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
24. Why do they hate and fear the UN?
I believe that the UN represents a great deal that is diametrically opposed to their plans.

The UN, imperfect as it may be, has the purpose of establishing a cooperative world order, while paying a good deal of attention to human rights, with the understanding that no world order that fails to pay attention to human rights can long succeed. It represents the liberal dream of a world with much reduced war and violence, and is very much a reaction against the great wars and genocides of the 20th Century.

All of this threatens the rulers of our country, whose idea of an ideal world is one where the United States in general, and they in particular get to call all the shots, and accumulate the great bulk of the wealth and power.
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chill_wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
14. Wow! As ever, excellent commentary TFC.
Edited on Sat Sep-30-06 10:14 PM by chill_wind
And this is an interesting observation, that doesn't surprise, but points that are seldom pointed out (outside of places like here at DU)- in the larger public debate.

"The relationship of all this to racism can be seen by a quick look at members of Congress who voted for the bill. Racism has always been much stronger in the South than elsewhere in the United States, since it was long needed to justify the legal slavery of Africans. Senators from the eleven southern states that fought against the Union in the American Civil War, plus the two border states of Kentucky and Missouri, voted for the bill by a 25-1 margin, whereas the remaining Senators voted for it only by a 40-33 margin. "
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #14
28. Thank you chill wind
Yes, it's striking how the South sticks together on these issues. When the Republican Party was the anti-slavery Party (in the very distant past) the South was solidly Democratic. It all changed around very quickly with the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s, led by a couple of Democratic presidents.
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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 02:53 AM
Response to Original message
17. "racism must be causing them to be unconcerned...as it did in German(y)"
Remember Willie Horton? He was the OBL of 1988.

A framework for thinking about this issue is the tradeoff between two kinds of mistakes a "justice" or "security" system can make, with two kinds of people.

Police, prosecutor, and judicial practices tend to strike a balance between letting guilty people go free and punishing innocent people. Since guilt or innocence cannot usually be established without both DNA evidence and a clear video of a crime, a justice system is bound to make mistakes at each operational stage, from arrest, to the decision to prosecute, to a jury's verdict, and finally to sentencing and parole decisions.

Can anyone argue seriously that the US "justice" system makes the same tradeoffs between letting guilty people go free and punishing innocents among people of color as it does among white Christians?

Eight-to-one racial disparities in male incarceration rates, documented racial disparities in highway patrol "profiling", documented racial disparities in decisions to strip-search travelers, documented racial disparities in executions according to the race of homicide victims, and other fundamental injustices with a numerical trail show you are on to something. Just google "racial profiling" to see there is a deeply-ingrained racial double-standard in American "justice".. We have ostensible "equal rights" under criminal law and criminal procedures, but clearly some are more equal than others.

The "tough on terror" theme of today is the direct descendant of the "tough on crime in the streets" "Southern strategy" of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I.
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. Katrina = Unconcerned

Excellent point!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. I agree that's a big problem
One of the biggest manifestations is our country's drug laws, that result in the highest incarceration rate in the world, and very disproportionatley tilted towards African-Americans. In fact, I believe that one important purpose of the drug laws is to disenfranchise them.
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
21. The truth that people dare not speak...
Thanks for this.
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Maven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
23. Kick.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
29. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group"

Peggy McIntosh

Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/Unpacking...
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. I partially see your point, but I don't think that this has to be a zero
sum system.

For example, going to the subject of my OP, I don't believe that I as a white person, nor 99% + of white persons in our country benefit in the slghtest degree from living in a country that imprisons Muslims indefinitely without charges, treats them like animals, and abuses and tortures them. To the contrary, I think that the great majority of us are worse off because of that.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #30
37. Depends
if you're talking in the deeper sense I would agree, see the amazing book about slavery by Wendell Berry titled "The Hidden Wound" for a further treatment. But in a more immediate, material and socio-economic sense quite a fair Percentage of whites benefit from the physical and psycological lessening of the "other." Now here's an interesting thought which is difficult to untangle and that is that if even those who benefit to a slight degree from racism were to see the manipulation for what it is they would benfeit so much more in all ways.

Ive searched in vain to find a suitable quote to summarily explain my fascination with this book, The Hidden Wound, and Wendell Berry. Try to describe a fractal, or explain a fractal, and you might run into the same kind of problem I have always had in trying to describe the complexities of racism.

I said before that Wendell Berrys The Hidden Wound was about slavery, but Ive come to see that was a kind of mistake. If this book was truly just about slavery itd be similar to that kind of textbook on cancer that is put categorically in its correct place on some obscure shelf for only so-called experts to refer to. And I think Berrys The Hidden Wound is much more helpful and handy than that.

But I can't hope to accurately summarize or condense, so here are a few quotes, to hopefully convince you to at least try out any essay by him:

. . . we send a bulldozer or a bomber to do our dirty work as casually, and by the same short-order morality, as once (in the South) we would send a nigger, or (in the North) an Irishman, or (in the West now) a Mexican.


A true and appropriate answer to our race problem, as to many others, would be a restoration of our communitiesbut, The root is in our inordinate desire to be superiornot to some inferior or subject people, though this desire leads to the subjection of peoplebut to our condition. We wish to rise above the sweat and bother of taking care of anythingof ourselves, of each other, or of our country.

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/imageDB.cgi?isbn=0865473...

In this beautifully written book-length essay, Berry explores the hidden wound of racism and its pernicious effects on white people in America. Rigorous, honest, and deeply felt, The Hidden Wound is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the problem of race in this country.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. It sounds interesting
I'll take a look at it. Thank you.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
32. Great post. The same racism was here, and inspired Hitler.
Racism in terms of eugenics was not always ethnic. Most of the people sterilized in the United States before and after Hitler came to power were White women. Many in the U.S. thought things were going swimmingly for Hitler and they envied him. In the U.S., the pesky Bill of Rights too often got in the way. But Hitler condemned Gypsies, gays, the disabled, liberals, criminals and anyone else who didn't or couldn't conform to the party line.

Indeed, if not for Hitler, we would have had concentration camps long ago. But for some reason, Hitler delayed that. Oh, because it was so heinous and atrocious.

If only he had gone slower like we were doing, and are doing now.

Thanks for the excellent post. Rec.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Thank you -- I have never thought of it like that before
That's a very scary thought - that without the portion of the lesson we learned from Hitler we would be further along towards repeating what he did.

I know that there is a lot of sentiment here on DU, as well as elsewhere, that says that we shouldn't be making analogies to Hitler and the Nazis. But I could never buy that. It has long seemed like a very important lesson to me, a lesson that we must learn, and that we have not learned well enough, and so it bears repeating.

If you are correct about this, making these kinds of analogies may be even more important than I have thought.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. If we don't compare...
By the time we do so, it will be too late. I agree with you 100% and when something goes too far and leans to closely toward totalitarianism, fascism, a dictatorship and anything so against the Constitution, it is time to speak up. Calling someone a Nazi is overdone, but that might be because it is so bad we don't want anything to approach it.

If you haven't read it yet, the book War Against the Weak" will enrage you, and convince you we came VERY close to our own form of Nazism. If the movement died, it is reborn.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Amerikkka's form of Naziism
has ALREADY been installed. It's OVER unless the CITIZENS (having now been reduced to consumers) rise up and take concrete steps to THROW DA BUMS OUT. For historical perspective read Henry Wallace.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-02-06 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #34
40. I haven't read or heard of it, but it sounds intriguing - Thank you
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kineneb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #32
39. Don't forget
all the Nazis imported to the US after WWII, to help in the "fight against communism". They seem to have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Reference: Martin A. Lee's The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremeists, 1997, paperback 2000. Martin A. Lee is a co-founder of FAIR.

I highly recommend this book, as so few seem to be aware of its content.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-02-06 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #39
41. Good point
That's something we should think about.

Why was the United States so eager to embrace the Nazis in their fight against Communism so soon after the Nazis had succeeded in perpetrating the greatest catastrophe in the history of the world?

I believe that it was mostly class/ideologically motivated, moreso than because of Stalin's totalitarian government or because of a real threat that the Communists posed to us. The aristocracy has always considered Communism much more threatening than any other political ideology, because it questions their position at the top of the hierarchy. That's why some even embraced the Nazis before or during WW II.
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-01-06 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
36. Kick so others might read, thank you. n/t
Edited on Sun Oct-01-06 07:46 PM by slipslidingaway
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