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View Diary: Why is the Violence Shown in 12 Years a Slave Considered Shocking or Surprising by Some Viewers? (170 comments)

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  •  Yeah, our own 200 year holocaust is ignored (8+ / 0-)

    for the most part by American culture, while the 20 years of Nazi barbarity is taught in every school.  

    It is something America has yet to face because it is in such stark contrast to our own mythology of being the "good guy" country.  (No matter what we do.)

    It's almost like the end of that myth would so fundamentally change how most Americans view themselves, that it's simply not possible to accept the facts of our national history.

    And we're not even talking about the crimes against humanity and genocide committed against the people who were here when the Europeans arrived over an even longer period.

    It would probably change this country for the better if we were ever to admit the truth, but so far, it hasn't been possible.

    •  US schools do a rotten job of teaching (9+ / 0-)

      Nazi barbarity, too. Most Americans know of Auschwitz, but relatively few have heard of Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, or Mauthausen (the last concentration camp to be liberated), among others. It has been estimated that there were about 15,000 concentration, slave labor, prisoner of war, and extermination camps altogether.

      Students learn about murdering Jews, but not so much about the equally savage treatment of the "feeble-minded", Romany ("Gypsies"), LGBs, Communists, labor leaders, certain Christian groups, Russian prisoners of war, and others. Slave labor, including forced prostitution of Jewish and other women, and "medical experiments" are sometimes mentioned, but not explained properly. Americans have little idea of what happened when Nazis took over numerous countries, from France to the Balkans, or even when they left, as in the deliberately-caused famine in the Netherlands toward the end of the war.

      We get far less information on other barbarous regimes, such as the European colonial empires, of which Haiti and Congo are probably the worst sustained instances, against stiff competition; Japan; and various Communist states. Nor do most of us get a true view of the Crusades and the European Wars of Religion such as the Thirty Years War, the Eighty Years War, and the English Civil War.

      And then we come back to the problem of understanding slavery in the US and the Confederacy, where we confront willful ignorance and outright denial all the time. At best, the people most concerned often feel that they cannot face up to the true horror of the problem, just as victims of this kind of violence most often find themselves unable to speak of it. But its consequences are still with us. They do not go away even if you pretend that they are somebody else's problems.

      Those who cry at such revelations do not bother me. It is better to feel the sorrow and suffering late than not at all. I am concerned at those who laugh. I can think of several reasons why that might happen, but I will not speculate. If anybody ever gets a chance to ask, I would be interested to hear from such people.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 02:21:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  no need to compare one holocaust to another (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, Kevskos

      as you are. I entirely agree with the rest of your post but the end of the first sentence. Comparisons between holocausts often supports a trip down the wrong path even if you yourself aren't going there. Have seen it many,  many times. On the left particularly though not on DK much.

      Obviously human nature is such that when WE are responsible we want to under spin what we did but in cases where our enemies committed atrocities it is much easier for us to point out.

      We need to own our own holocaust against the native people here, and the one against Black people ie slavery as a nation, and DO NOT and it is sickening. It seems to me that other countries have done a better job at owning their past behavior than we have.


      •  No need to "defend" one holocaust against (0+ / 0-)

        all others, unless you are making human suffering proprietary.

        I'm not "comparing," or attempting to quantify "hierarchies" of historical human suffering.  I'm doing the exact opposite.

        Human suffering and crimes against humanity should be acknowledged wherever they occur.  


        Imagining some human suffering is uniquely deserving of honoring, while the suffering of others should be ignored, is what is ethically unjustifiable, and precisely what this culture indulges in.

        •  no need to get snarky (0+ / 0-)

          in that repeating the theme way. I wasn't "defending" any one holocaust over another. That feels pretty disrespectful.

          If you read my post you'd see that the main idea is valuing all fact, it is the reason I dislike comparisons. I also think that our country has a shameful horrific history that it/we have largely ignored.

          And you did compare. As if attention to one holocaust has somehow detracted from us paying attention to the others.  

          But I don't think it has. I don't think Attention To the Nazi Holocaust has Caused us not to pay attention to the ones the US perpetrated on Native Americans and on African Americans. I  think if the Nazi holocaust had not happened or we didn't mark it much, the US would manage to still ignore its obligation to acknowledge its own holocausts and the impact on victims. It isn't a "zero sum game" where one "wins" while the others "lose".

          I think our society finds it much easier to pay attention to what Others have done, our enemies (at the time) had done, so we get to be the "good guys". As people discussed above, it is/has been much harder for us to own the holocausts that WE perpetrated ourselves and honor those victims.  Our society,and the people in it, act as if we were in denial of what we did/do to people, because then we get to say what a "great nation" we are. Since I learned about slavery in school and what we did to Native Americans, the talk of what a great country we are always has made me squirm.

          It sounds like you resent that one holocaust gets more attention than others. Sounds like you even resent those that are "getting" that holocaust attention. You accuse them, or me, or both, seemingly for "imagining some human suffering is uniquely deserving...while the suffering of others should be ignored".

          There is nothing in my post you reply to that remotely suggest that.


          That is not true of me or of the people-largely Jews-who draw attention to the Nazi holocaust that was perpetrated on the their own people and others. Our society as a whole, does downplay/ignore the suffering of those hurt in our own holocausts, pretty much

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