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View Diary: Indians 101: Before Wounded Knee (19 comments)

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  •  that would be one of the stated reasons (4+ / 0-)
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    Aji, Ojibwa, Larsstephens, BlueJessamine

    my question goes back to the beginning. I don't understand why one person would think this about another person.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 01:22:04 PM PDT

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    •  It's more basic than that, hon. (4+ / 0-)

      It's because we were always seen as not persons.  When you regard another being as not fully human, it permits your psyche to rationalize inflicting all sorts of horrors.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 03:18:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, i agree with your comment (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aji, Ojibwa, Larsstephens, BlueJessamine

        but i am wondering why. i don't understand what is in the mind and heart of a person who thinks that other people are not humans. I was wondering the first time this was ever stated, why did that person say this?

        Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 03:26:16 PM PDT

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        •  Probably the first time one group of humans . . . (4+ / 0-)

          split off from the first. :-)

          I dunno.  But if you read, for example, a lot of 19th- and early 20th-Century literature, both American and English, you'll find a lot of drive-by justifications for treating anyone "not white" as less than human.  Along with a great many paeans to the evolutionary/spiritual apex that white skin represented (to them, I mean, obviously).  In fact, the constant focus on keeping skin white and idolizing paleness says a lot, to me, about their real levels of insecurity - but it's also, I think, a good indication of how determined they were to provide excuses for dehumanizing non-whites.  

          [And my point in all this is that it was written in a drive-by fashion:  not at all germane to the plot, usually, but for us reading it now, a clear window into the dominant psyche of the time.  I imagine it was ever thus, depending upon which group in any given area had managed to claim king of the hill status at any given time.]

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 03:34:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's a matter of what came first (0+ / 0-)

          You think that a person, who thinks about the other persons of not being a human, does so out of the blue at the first moment and you don't undestand from where these feelings come from.

          I think that a person, who acts as if another person is not a human being, but rather a "savage or cannibal or primitive non human",  knows quite well that this claim is not true. Those persons have done wrong  first (killed, brutalized, exploited) those people for reasons of greed, exploitation and profit and they know they did something wrong.

          In order to "get their moral value system" not all messed up,  they then (as a second step) have to invent the idea that those other people are non-humans, are wild, primitive, ferocious etc. as to make their own sin less wrong and morally justifiable and right. They also have to stick to these ideas for good and consequently develop an ideology out of it. And to make it all more believable they tend to call upon some higher godly power and teachings to justify their deeds. If your God teaches you it's alright to kill or enslave the savages, it can only be right, right?

          Another way to make their atrocities morally right is to states some rational, "scientific" reason that explains why those they wronged were inferior human beings that didn't deserve any other treatment to begin with. At the height of bigotry they indeed "meant only the best" for those non-humans and did everything out of the bottom of their good hearts.  

          It's like the egg and chicken. What came first. The sinning comes first, the justification (the other being non humans, so it isn't really that bad) comes later (but really almost immediately following the sin). Sorry that I can't express in more sophisticated words. I don't have them. But roughly you get my point, or not?

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