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View Diary: Today I am PROUD of America (24 comments)

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  •  The cons are winning & Jefferson was not (0+ / 0-)

    A good man. Don't care what he said. His evil deeds stand for themselves. He was a rapist & he owned people.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 07:52:41 AM PDT

    •  It's Kinda Sad (2+ / 0-)
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      serendipityisabitch, bewareofme

      When I see stuff like this.  Jefferson was a complex man, if not a good man. Is any man who wields power good by your standards?  CAN they be good?  Because no leader in history has ever lead a nation without having to sacrifice some aspect of their morality.  

      If you dismiss what Jefferson tried to do, because of his personal failing then no one can ever live up to your standards.  

      You do realize we don't own people any more, right?  And you do realize that we've gone from a majority of Americans supporting Jim Crow, just 50 years ago, to it being considered morally abhorrent?  

      If it looks to you that the cons are winning then your world is very small indeed.  

      No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

      by CrazyHorse on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 08:02:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I get your point, (0+ / 0-)

        but outright disgust for Thomas Jefferson amongst African Americans is well justified despite any mitigating factors of time and history that may or may not have existed for him.

        Your response to a2nite is strikes me as too aggressive. Surely as a historian you understand that it's far easier for liberals who benefit from white privilege to take a nuanced view of Jefferson than it is for those who don't benefit from said privilege.

        •  I Understand the Digust (0+ / 0-)

          And if we were in a classroom we could have a nuanced debate about the pros and cons of the Jefferson presidency and his legacy.  

          I understand the African American dislike for Jefferson.  I'm of mixed race ancestry myself.  My mother is a descendant of plantation slaves from Waterloo, Alabama.  Her great great grandmother was raped by her master and forced to raise his child in the slave quarters.  When the war ended, she moved to New Orleans and became a prostitute.  I exist on this earth as a product of slavery - and of the willingness of a man to rape his female property.  Though my skin is white today, I own that history regardless of any "white privilege" I might be entitled to.  

          American history is more complex, as my own story illustrates, than "white Founding Father = evil."  Because despite Jefferson's faults it was he - a Southern slave owner - who tried to use the cause of the revolution as a means of abolishing slavery.  To discount that fact is to remain ignorant of the reality of history out of personal choice and bias.    

          No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

          by CrazyHorse on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 08:28:00 AM PDT

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          •  White privilege you "might" be entitled to? (0+ / 0-)

            Could you expand on that comment a little more? The phrasing is interesting, because white privilege isn't an entitlement or something that "might" happen, but instead something that exists purely at the collective will of the white male power structure you've mentioned in the diary.

            I also have nonwhite heritage, for example, but that does nothing to take me off of the receiving end of white privilege because I am white, and am seen as white.

            •  A Little Nuance (0+ / 0-)

              This is the part of the diary where we diverge from the main theme and take it down the dusty path toward bickering back and forth over a side issue.  I'm not going to do that.  But I am going to respond.  And here's why.  

              History is not a sledge hammer.  It's not "black and white" or "black vs. white."  Or "privilege vs. a lack of privilege."  You have to look at these things in context and with an eye to what they really mean within that context.  In the way our friend above dismissed Jefferson out of hand as evil, Glenn Beck dismisses MLK as a fraud because he plagiarized a portion of his dissertation and cheated on his wife.  But is that fair?  Is all he did diminished because of his few personal failings?  You have that question to answer for yourself.  And I think not.

              Likewise the way a lot of people interpret what "privilege" means today.  This unnuanced approach presumes that ALL white people are automatically more privileged than ALL minorities.  But it takes epic reality blinders to truly believe that.  

              Ted Cruz, for instance, was born to this world with far more privilege than you or I will ever enjoy.  And he has used it - his intellectual gifts are few.  

              Cornel West was born to this world with much more privilege than I.  His father had an excellent government job, his mother was a principal of a well regarded school - and now has a school named after her.  He went to an excellent high school and then attended Harvard - an elite university. Money was there to pay for it all.  He's moved from one elite academic position to the next.  

              We must acknowledge that Dr. West worked hard to get where he is - but we must also acknowledge he came from a background that valued education, his parents were upper  middle class, and he had access to success pathways most of us don't.  Including money.    

              I, on the other hand, was born in the back of a 1973 Vega and was raised in a trailer house in West Texas by two abusive illiterates whose only ambition was beating their kids and watching television. At age 18 I ran away from home and - while working three jobs - put myself through a succession of state universities, finally earning a PhD without taking out a single student loan.  I couldn't even afford to breath the air at Harvard.  As a runaway estranged from my parents, I qualified for no scholarships and no loans.  I had to work. Period.    

              From there I worked my way up to the highest level of civil service appointment in my state, while publishing academic papers and teaching at the local univesity.  I also worked on a number of campaigns and finally landed a job here in Washington when Obama came in.  In the meantime I started my own business using not a grant or loan, but my personal credit cards to bankroll it.  It has succeeded and I paid off my debt.  I had no friends to underwrite me.    

              In this case, my "privilege" is really situational.  Maybe somewhere along the line somebody gave me a job because I was a bit whiter than someone else - though that doesn't seem to be the case in my current position.  Being white certainly didn't help me as a kid growing up in that trailer house.  Nor did it help me while I was mopping floors at the pizza place or shelving books at the library.  Or delivering newspapers.  

              Nor have I ever chosen to define myself by my whiteness or tried to enshrine it as absolutist.  Indeed, I'm the first person to want an end to white supremacy - as the ACTUAL meaning of my diary implies.  

              To dismiss anything I have done as the result of "privilege" is no better than dismissing that which the President has achieved or which Dr. West has achieved as the result of "affirmative action."  It's the same overly simplified unnuanced approach that makes enemies out of allies out of a need to inspire guilt in people for who they are NOT what they've done for themselves.  And I can't agree with that.  I look at a person and judge them based on the content of their heart and their deeds, not because of what their ancestors did or didn't do.  The sins of the fathers DO NOT belong to the sons - so long as we refuse to own them.  And that's the point of my diary.  

              No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

              by CrazyHorse on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:36:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  See, it appears to me that (0+ / 0-)

                you fundamentally misunderstand the very nature of white privilege based on everything you've written, but it doesn't really matter I suppose. You're not in total denial about it like most people on this site, which I appreciate, and see no reason to belabor the issue. I hope you at least can understand that acknowledging white privilege in no way discounts your personal struggles or achievements in the face of adversity, much in the same way your personal adversity doesn't discount the automatic struggles that racism causes even for privileged back men and women like Dr. West. In my view, if one feels at all defensive about white privilege, one simply doesn't get it.

                I appreciate your response and this diary, but don't appreciate your response to a2nite. That's my nuanced view of the situation.

                •  I Suppose (0+ / 0-)

                  We must simply agree to disagree. I think words have meaning.  If you're going to dismiss Jefferson as "evil" out of hand then that's no better than dismissing ANYONE out of hand, if that dismissal is not based on fact.

                  I acknowledge the existence of racism.  But, again, words have meaning.  Racism as practiced by actual white supremacists - those in the Tea Party who would happily see blacks in the back of the bus and Hispanics as a quasi-slave labor force - is a far cry from the accidental or quasi-instituional racism you seem to be alluding to.  When we have ridden ourselves of the former, we can attack the latter with full force.  Until then I will not make enemies of well-intentioned allies just to prove a point in a debate.  

                  I don't feel defensive about white privilege.  I feel defensive about the way in which you are choosing to define it.  Basically you've tossed down the privilege card because I called out a2nite's glib post for being the unhelpful, ignorant, and historically inaccurate thing that it is.  And I believe that - we don't erase racism by perpetuating lies about history.  No matter how good natured our intentions might be.  Again, that is NO DIFFERENT than dismissing MLK's work because of his personal failings.  

                  That's what I'm sensitive about - making the truth of history a martyr to modern politics.    

                  I admit I don't fully understand what you mean by white privilege.  Of course I acknowledge institutional racism.  Again, the point of my diary.  But you seem to mean something I have to acknowledge but which cannot be defined and which I have no power over.  

                  No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

                  by CrazyHorse on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 10:42:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  For what it's worth (0+ / 0-)

      The Sally Hanson allegations started during the campaign of 1800, which makes current political campaigns look like a pee wee baseball game.

      "That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff ' Amy Pohler

      by Annie B on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:11:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's True. (0+ / 0-)

        The controvery over Sally Hemings actually dates to 1790.  At the end of the day, we still don't know if they're true.  As a historian, we have to look at it like that.  The Eston Hemings DNA study says - maybe.  

        It's called "history: warts and all."  If we judge our ancestors by our modern standards the perfect will alway be the enemy of the good.  

        Of course none of this erases the ironclad fact that if we'd followed Jefferson's lead in 1776 there never would have been a continuation of slavery in the first place.  

        No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

        by CrazyHorse on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:55:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry for calling her Sally Hanson (1+ / 0-)
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          That's a line of nail products and I'm a girl and I had a brain fart.

          "That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff ' Amy Pohler

          by Annie B on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 10:06:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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