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In 1938, Germany experienced a collective horror that's shaped and shaken the very core of modern history. The so-called Kristallnacht - the Night of Broken Glass - was an in-your-face realization of violence against Jews that had been engineered in the preceding decade. The atrocities of the Holocaust have been documented a thousand times before, and with that in mind, I feel no need to provide a full history in this space. No brief history would be complete, though, without a recollection of the human toll of terror. People pulled out of their homes at night. Men, women, and children brutally murdered. An entire class of people forced to live in constant fear.

Reading these things doesn't shock you. And why would it? Those particular crimes against humanity have been condemned and studied universally.

What's more shocking, though, is when you read for the first time some of the terror inflicted on one race of Americans by another. And that's because we've whitewashed our history. Unwilling to own our own crimes, we've refused to take the German approach - an honorable and honest attempt to distance our institutions from the disastrous racial history that will always be among this country's lowest of legacies.

The development of Germany in the post-Holocaust era is an interesting historical case study. In the years just after the conclusion of World War II, there was some effort to forgive and move on - a movement in which tired Germans just wanted a new identity. As time has passed, Germany has shown much more of a willingness to deal with the realities of the things perpetrated by some of its leaders. The enormity of Germany's legacy has led the country, its leaders, and many of its citizens to trend toward wholesale blame acceptance. It's a country quick to recognize and shout down antisemitism.

As Heather Horn of The Atlantic wrote:

This is an extremely sensitive topic for many Germans. Despite the immediate post-war effort to forgive and forget as quickly as possible, in the past few decades Germany has been extremely anxious to take full responsibility for the Holocaust. That means not just shutting down anti-Semitism wherever it pops up, but being very, very careful about criticizing other parties in any way that might seem to minimize German crimes.
Germany has at once nestled close to the memory of its admitted wrongdoing and distanced itself from policies that carry the unmistakable stench of inhumanity from its past. Take the German position on the death penalty, which the country abolished in 1949. A leader in the international effort to do away with death, Germany acknowledged an inseverable link between its past use of death and its future credibility in dolling out government-sanctioned death.

To this, Andrew Hammel wrote:

It's common knowledge in Germany that the inclusion of Article 102 of the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which abolishes the death penalty, was motivated by disgust at the excessive use of the death penalty in Germany by the National Socialist regime. During the twelve years of Nazi dictatorship, over 30,000 death sentences were handed down -- in addition to the mass extermination directed at 'undesirable' populations.
Imagine a world where Germany still used the death penalty, and then imagine a year in which the German Jewish population received a disproportionate number of death sentences. That scenario would shock the conscience, and the Germans rightly recognized that fact. A country aware of the brutalities burned into the history of its soul, the German people require that their government makes decisions that prevent such atrocities in the future.

Here in America, we do the exact opposite. In thought, we use selective dissonance to conveniently create our own version of reality. As a result, our policies find themselves dangerously close to those policies that allowed our worst moments to take place. In short, our inability to accept and acknowledge the failures of the past leave America vulnerable to inhumanity in the future.

I only learned one week ago about the murder of Emmett Till, the young black boy from Chicago who was tortured and killed in Mississippi for the crime of flirting with a white woman. Despite a degree in history that included multiple courses in civil rights, and despite a record of writing extensively on modern-day civil rights developments, I spent almost 27 years on this planet with no knowledge of a history so atrocious that it could easily hold a seat at a 1940s German table.

Like many of the Jews in places like Poland and Romania, Emmett Till was dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. He was kidnapped under the cover of a Mississippi moon, driven many miles, and executed. His killers performed torture on his body, and they disposed of it in a watery grave. Think of the terror he must have felt. Though reports indicate that Emmett Till retained his confidence and spirit through it all, he must have been quaking on the inside. Grown men, acting under the implied authority granted by a legal system with no consequences for such crimes, removed him from his family and stole his life. And what they did was never condemned by the legal apparatus in that small Mississippi town.

Unfortunately Emmett Till's story is not particularly unique. It is estimated that thousands of black men and women were lynched in the United States during the time between emancipation and the provision of basic civil rights. An attempted anti-lynching law was stopped cold by racist southern politicians in the early 1920s. The terror encouraged a movement known as the Great Migration, where more than six million black Americans moved from southern towns to safer and more prosperous areas. While many of these individuals fled for a proper opportunity at work, others fled so that their families wouldn't be hung or shot like Emmett Till. What do we make of George Stinney, the 14-year old black boy murdered by the state of South Carolina for the crime of being the last person to speak to a missing white girl? Killed in an electric chair with a Bible for a booster seat, he never met his family again, as they were forced to move under fear of lynching.

It certainly can be argued that sheer numbers make the Holocaust and our own American slaughter of Natives much worse crimes against humanity. But that is no legitimate justification for the whitewashing of our country's racial history. We've conveniently compartmentalized our history of chattel slavery, eschewing guilt on the basis of slavery's now-defunct legal status. But we still haven't dealt with the reality of what happened just a few decades ago. And because of that, we have yet to truly seek the changes to our institutions that would ensure those atrocities don't happen again.

Many states employ a death penalty machinery that puts to death a disproportionately larger number of black offenders. Though we've moved away from hangings as a mode of execution, modern-day gurneys provide no moral superiority to the trees used by old-world Southern racists. We employ a system where prosecutors are regularly able to obtain all-white juries that instinctively value white victims over victims of color. We allow brutal laws in places like Florida, where assailants can gun down young black boys with impunity, hiding behind a "stand your ground" legal justification that leaves just the shooter to tell a story of self-defense. We live in a country where a homeless black man in Chicago can be murdered, on tape, for the crime of stealing a tube of toothpaste. He can be murdered without charges touching the assailant, because a homeless black man in Chicago just isn't a value-rich target for a district attorney who needs votes. Our system enforces and prosecutes laws selectively, focusing on those areas and those crimes where the poor and where minorities are likely targets.

Our system has adapted though it hasn't evolved. Evolution suggests a movement forward toward a better system. Our system is like the frog that's grown an extra foot out of its ear.

If we were like the Germans, we'd be acutely aware of how our policies provide de-facto cover for the racism we are so intimately ashamed of. If we were like the Germans, we'd default toward anti-racism, even if it meant a sort of guilt-ridden sensitivity.

But we aren't like Germany. The possibility exists that we aren't at all ashamed of our history. A less cynical view suggests that perhaps we've just not been forced to confront our own history in the dramatic way the Germans were made to swallow theirs. Whatever the case, the result is the same. Our policies don't tend away from the racism that mars our history. Instead, they suggest a nation less concerned with progressive evolution and more concerned with an undetectable and affective means of executing the racism of our past.

Originally posted to Coby DuBose on Criminal Injustice, Race, and Poverty on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:46 PM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Community Spotlight, and RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

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Comment Preferences

  •  whatever you learned, (39+ / 0-)
    I only learned one week ago about the murder of Emmett Till, the young black boy from Chicago who was tortured and killed in Mississippi for the crime of flirting with a white woman. Despite a degree in history that included multiple courses in civil rights, and despite a record of writing extensively on modern-day civil rights developments, I spent almost 27 years on this planet with no knowledge of a history so atrocious that it could easily hold a seat at a 1940s German table.
    hearing his screams for mercy is all i can ever remember.

    someone heard them, spoke of hearing them, and kept walking, one step at a time. someone heard his screams.

    someone quoted his screaming.

    it has never and will never leave me. whenever i resolve to defend to the death whatever i pledge to fight for, it will be for Emmett Till, a boy devoured.

    let your education begin, here, where there are great ones to teach you to FEEL so you can fight, too.

    whether the shame -- for all we have done -- can ever or should ever lessen, listening for those who still scream must increase. they still scream.

    we have work to finish.
    we have work to begin.

    There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.--@Hugh * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:04:09 PM PST

    •  (((((((((((((((greenbird)))))))))))))))))))))))))) (14+ / 0-)

      Like I hear the screams of Omar Khadr, Murat Kurnaz, and others who have been in Guantanamo. I identify.


      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:18:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I grew up in segregated schools and have (25+ / 0-)

      seen the grinding poverty that the sharecropping system imposed upon many; I remember Jim Crow as an everyday event and I have watched the KKK burn a cross.  I remember hearing the men around the store talk about how another had killed a black sharecropper by choking him with a shoe down his throat.  I can remember a farmer striking an African American worker after she broke a tobacco stick over his back and I can remember how, 30 years later, his son struck down an African American worker for "sassing" him.

      I have known of Till for decades and I have seen the postcards that people used to send after a lynching which displayed pictures of the lynched and proud mob members  Since this is an ugly topic, here are some lynching postcards which have recently sold on auction  
      You can click on the individual frames to get individual, larger shots of the events so you can make out more details, should you be so minded  

      •  I remember too, the North wasn't immune either. (14+ / 0-)

        I currently live in Omaha, our last lynching was in 1919, a man named Will Brown.

        From Nebreaska Studies

        A Horrible Lynching

        From May through September 1919, over 25 race riots rocked cities from Texas to Illinois, Nebraska to Georgia. In Omaha, the trouble began on September 25, when a white woman, Agnes Loebeck, reported that she was assaulted by a black man.

        Agnes Loebeck .
        Source — NSHS. The next morning, the Bee reached new lows reporting the event. The headline was: "Black Beast First Stick-up Couple."
        "The most daring attack on a white woman ever perpetrated in Omaha occurred one block south of Bancroft street near Scenic Avenue in Gibson last night."
        Coverage in the World-Herald was slightly less inflammatory:
        "Pretty little Agnes Loebeck ... was assaulted ... by an unidentified negro at twelve O'clock last night, while she was returning to her home in company with Millard [sic] Hoffman, a cripple."

        Will Brown was accused of assaulting Agnes Loebeck. Source — NSHS. That evening, the police took a suspect to the Loebeck home. Agnes and her boyfriend Milton Hoffman (they were later married) identified a black packinghouse worker named Will Brown as the assailant. Brown was 41 years old and suffered from acute rheumatism.
        Before the police could leave the Loebeck house, a mob gathered outside and threatened to seize Brown. After an hour's confrontation, police reinforcements arrived and Brown was transferred to the Douglas County Courthouse. Several police officers were ordered to report at once to police headquarters in case of further trouble, and 46 policemen and a detective were kept on duty well into the night.

        Nebraska-born actor Henry Fonda was 14 years old when the lynching happened. His father owned a printing plant across the street from the courthouse. He watched the riot from the second floor window of his father's shop.
        "It was the most horrendous sight I'd ever seen . . . We locked the plant, went downstairs, and drove home in silence. My hands were wet and there were tears in my eyes. All I could think of was that young black man dangling at the end of a rope."
        During Fonda's long career, at least two of his best movies — "Young Mister Lincoln" and "The Ox Bow Incident" — featured lynchings as major plot points.
        Without Sanctuary is an organization devoted to compiling a history of our ugly past.

        The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

        by cherie clark on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:27:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Mayor of Omaha was lynched (6+ / 0-)

          for trying to stop a lynching.  He was cut down before dying.

          His political opponents later went out in blackface, beating white women,  to whip people up against Blacks.

          Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

          by 6412093 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:58:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said I was proud to live here, in fact (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it is one of the most racist places I have ever lived and that is saying a lot. It is a beautiful city with a dark ugly heart.

            The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

            by cherie clark on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:03:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Mostly in Chicago in the ’50s and ’60s (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          walkshills, entlord

          you saw apartments firebombed and occasionally a cross burned to stop blacks from moving into segregated white neighborhoods. That happened in Mayor Daley's neighborhood of Bridgeport. The solution: "they" would be "happier" elsewhere.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:46:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  see the "elimination" (0+ / 0-)

            we just witnessed in CA:

            1. Due Process
            2. Freedom of Press

            ? Others ?

            Until PROVEN Guilty
            in a court of Law.

            ... which would have happened.
            ... if that damn fire hadn't just started somehow.

            There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.--@Hugh * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

            by greenbird on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:25:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The photographs of lynchings are shocking (10+ / 0-)

        Some show crowds dressed in their Sunday clothes; their best clothes which they would have worn on a special occasion.

        Some of the photos have a picnic/carnival appearance, as if viewing the lynched (and sometimes mutilated) corpse was an occasion of celebration.

        Some of those photographed appear to be posing, in a manner similar (but relevant to that time) to the way some spectators now pose when a camera passes over the crowd at a sporting event.

        Thank you for this important diary.

        Lest we forget how the audience roared its approval when Presidential candidate Rick Perry answered questions about Texas killings with absolute certainty and pride and righteousness.

        •  edit: pride and righteous [attitude]. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mallyroyal, cherie clark

          Did not mean to imply that he was right, or had the right, but the HE, and his audience that night were all certain that they both HAVE THE RIGHT, and WERE RIGHT, to kill those they had killed in the name of the state.

        •  Yes. Those lynching photos are shocking even... (5+ / 0-)

 someone familiar with the horror of the crime. It's that look of just-here-for-a-family outing on their faces. And the fact that those lynching "picnics" include so many children in the crowds.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:43:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A striking parallel exists between lynchings (8+ / 0-)

            A striking parallel exists between lynchings and recent discussions of extra-judicial killings (of various kinds).

            These 19th and 20th century extra-judicial killings, were viewed by many as justifiable homicide, outside the boundaries of the law and the courts (imperfect though the law and courts can be).

            Considerations of who felt justified and who was targeted are very relevant to our discussion of gun safety, responsible gun ownership, and rights to self-defense.

            One issue that was often used as justification was "protecting the honor and purity" of a [white] woman.

            Given our current political battles, it should be clear that we (collectively, in the US, as a culture) have not yet grown out of the mindset, it's just the methods that have been updated.

            I added a comment below, with links to 3 books, and a few reviews. 2 books are photograph books and 1 book is a collection of newspaper accounts of lynchings, that illustrate this point.

            •  These lynchings were for the fun of it, please (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LilithGardener, walkshills

              never confuse it with justice in any form. They did it because they could, frequently there was no crime other than being black.

              The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

              by cherie clark on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:11:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, I totally agree with you - the excuses now (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cherie clark, svboston, varro, walkshills

                are even similar.

                I picked up the word "justified" came from one of the book reviews, I meant to use it in the same way, the killings were celebrated, that the perps could brag, and be "excused" as in "justified" in their entitlement.  

                Don't get me wrong, I do not believe the killings had anything to do with justice.

                The same cultural frame fits some of the extra-judicial killings now.

                A policeman only has to say he THOUGHT he saw the black man reach for a gun, for many to view the shooting as an "accident" and to view the cop as "justified" in his trigger happy poor judgment.

                That man who ran out of his house? Then ran back into the house to get his gun, and shot the Latino driver of the car, who had merely been looking for someone to pick up for the movies? And then he held all three of the passengers, and the injured driver at gunpoint until police arrived.

                That racist jerk was soooo eager to have the chance to shoot a brown skinned person, and felt totally "justified."

                That's the entitlement that I mean to compare to the lynching.

                The public who came to see the body in their Sunday best, enjoyed the spectacle, and the perps felt pride in the notoriety, because they felt entitled to torture, maim, and take a life, for sport.

                •  I completely agree with you! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

                  by cherie clark on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 03:28:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The police can still get away with it.... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  greenbird, LilithGardener

                  ....although being white won't protect you from them - ask James Chasse in Portland, or the white Hispanic women whose truck was riddled with police bullets during the hunt for Christopher Dorner.

                  9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

                  by varro on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:04:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's part of what I think of when I think about (0+ / 0-)

                    the parallels with lynching and current normalization of "acceptable" shootings.

                    By "acceptable" I mean shootings where the clearly identified or identifiable shooter, was not retreating, or in clear defense of life or private property, and yet will not be charged with at least manslaughter.

                    Reluctance to require gun registration and licensing is part of that acceptance, IMO, because if guns had to be registered, and inspected annually or biannually, and there were penalties for not reporting a stolen gun within 48 hours, etc. then it would be easier to track the origin of guns used in crimes.

                    Even simple things like, each gun registration coming with a submitted fired round, so that at a shoot out, the origin of each recovered bullet could POSSIBLY be used to identify the type of gun used...

                    But, no, otherwise seemingly intelligent people reject those steps as infringing on their 2nd Amendment rights. These shootings are our current and culturally relevant "justifiable" homicides, so that some people, mostly men, can buy, sell, trade, brandish, and shoot guns, AT PEOPLE, for the "fun of it."

                •  I was hoping (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  starfu, greenbird, fhcec

                  Trayvon Martin would be among the names the president mentioned as those who deserve a vote.

                  Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                  by ramara on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:57:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Public Executions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            were considered entertainment for all for at least a couple of thousand years. Many of these lynchings were also public executions, only they were carried out without the express (though often with the implicit) imprimatur of the state.

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 12:28:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think the most shocking aspect of those photos (3+ / 0-)

            and there are many, was the abundance of children present.  We talk about video games desensitizing our kids to violence, I can't imagine what you become when you grow up not only violence but violence against a specific group of people.

            The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

            by cherie clark on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:10:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  her first lynching (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            entlord, cherie clark

            Reginald Marsh

            1934 cartoon in the New Yorker. Shows the attitude at the time, and well after lynching had been decried in many places.... Never could figure out if Marsh's point was a flippant "this is normal" or a severe "have we sunk this low???". I suspect the former, but I never met him, he died when I was 9.

            My parents met at Marsh's parents house in Essex Fells, New Jersey, an art salon, many people from the art student's league of NY, chamber music (my father was a composer), etc.

            In 1950 or so, the New Yorker published a 25 yr retrospective of cartoons, and "Her First Lynching" was in it, I thumbed thru it at age 10, and I never forgot it.

            Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

            by blindcynic on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:44:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have viewed the cartoon many times (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbird, LilithGardener

              the answer lies in the faces of the mob; see how the cartoonist exaggerated the features so some of the ones in the background appear to almost be demons.

              I would guess your latter conclusion based upon the subtle treatment of the faces of the people in the background

        •  And holding their small children (3+ / 0-)

          on their shoulders so they don't miss a thing - that always gets me!

        •  I still remember seeing a picture of a lynching... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

 my high school history textbook - even in a course which necessarily is a cursory examination of history (350 years in 36 weeks of school?  Sure!)  it resonates with me 25 years later.

          Of course, the Texas school board would want to "teach the controversy" of lynching, or just ignore it altogether.

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:02:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The crowds were in Sunday clothes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Often crowds were so moved by the preaching at church that they went out to find someone to lynch. Women and children went too.

          Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

          by ramara on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:53:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  There is a project (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cherie clark

        that Steven Spielberg is involved with to interview Holocaust survivors on tape (digital actually probably) so that their stories/testimony exists for posterity, in part to refute deniers.

        There should be such a project for people who lived through and saw Jim Crowe first hand.

        Otherwise many may end up being incredulous.

        Even to me, born in mid 60's first things I remember politcally are Watergate and I grew up in the North not around a lot of Black people (some). I have no firsthand experience of the era.

        It is repeatedly amazing (that is not quite the right word-something smaller--surprising? anyway I have a little jolt once in a while in the moment) that "White's only" restrooms and lunch counters and water fountains existed in my lifetime somewhere in my country.

        IT wasn't all that long ago so MANY older Black people today lived through that.

        White people need to understand this. What people alive today actually lived through. Having to step off the curve and walk through the gutter if a white person passed...

        •  I was in an old building recently that had been (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cherie clark

          abandoned for some time (but not that long) and noted the dual water fountains with the words "white" and "colored" scrawled on them.  BTW white shopkeepers who provided dual restrooms were considered progressive for their time as most shopkeepers took the attitude "let 'um wait til they get home"

          One other observation is that when we purchased the clinic in 1984, it still had dual waiting rooms

          •  that is so wierd to me (0+ / 0-)

            and I'm middle aged. But from the North so have never seen it except in photos.

            I remember when the Right went after an Obama appointee because Briebert had taken something she said out of context (I'm blanking now on her name and can't find it on google) about when she'd worked handing out loans to farmers. How she had to learn to get over her resentment of the White farmers who'd not been discriminated against applying for loans (IIRC).

            THe context was that as a young (Black) girl in JimCrow south she'd ?watched as the Klan killed her dad. No one was ever punished.

            I was floored.

            It was a reminder that there are (functional) people walkng around today who lived though that. Every time Ignorant White people talk about Blacks should get jobs not Welfare (Gingrich slur) or are against Affirmative Action or smear "the takers" or say mostly Black people are on food stamps (not true)...

            I can see they are not remembering that some of those people were raised in such a toxically hateful environment created by our country, or at least allowed.  They are trying to get away with taking no responsibility whatsoever for historical fact and the attitudes that were prevelent that shaped it.

            Jim Crow and racism in the north was a foot on Black people's neck as they struggled to get up. Anyone who understand people (particularly their emotional development as they grow) can see that would effect anyone hugely to pull them was a burden. That the often rose anyway is a testement to human resiliance, only.

            THat the right went after her for her statement made me see red. Stupid stupid thick people.
            (and yes, Obama admin was over reactive and stupid as well. I hoped heads rolled there).

            •  Shirley Sherrod what is so sad about this is if (0+ / 0-)

              people had a clue about the NAACP they would have known there was more to it than what she said on the Breitbart tape. I knew it was bonus or doctored in some way. But people have no idea about the NAACP how and why itwas founded and what it stands for. Ignorance perpetuates this crap, makes it easy for people like Breitbart to slander a good woman teaching a very important lesson.

              The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

              by cherie clark on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:45:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  can you see reminants in old blds still in use (0+ / 0-)

            anymore or have they removed them completely?

            I am surprised that a blding in use--it sounds like about 5 or 10 yrs ago--would still have dual water fountains.

            You would think, out of respect--if they wanted to show that anyway--they would obliterate any sign of separate but equal.

            •  it was an old tobacco warehouse and the water (0+ / 0-)

              fountains had not been used in decades and were actually in a back corner behind tons of fertilizer.  I wandered back there because I remembered them from when I was young

      •  I grew up in the shadow of Till (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney, entlord, Bendra, fhcec

        As a child, I was hyper-sensitive to horrible things happening to children somewhat older than me in Chicago. I believe Till lived nearest to me of all the kids on that roll: the Grimes sisters, the Schuster brothers, Judith Mae Anderson, Our Lady of the Angels ...

        (The former murdered, the latter consuming  90 kids in flame)

        I don't remember at what age I specifically knew all the details about Till.

        Growing up in Chicago, my mother used to say "There's nothing south of the Mason-Dixon Line you need to see."

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:44:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Racism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is a crime how "selectively" our history is taught. I'm horrified by the changes that have been made in our curriculums over the years. Now that we have the internet, and we have information at our fingertips, I don't understand the ignorance. To my mind there has been enough exposure of our treatment of black and brown skinned people that all it would take is an elementary search to find all you would want to know. We (being the whites) treated the American Indian abominably, also. Since I came of age in the sixties, I've ached over what man does to man. I pray for a better future.

  •  OMG ! (23+ / 0-)

    I had heard about Emmett Till, but this is the first time I have seen the photo of his body. His poor beaten face :(

                             In tears,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:15:35 PM PST

  •  We need more like you................... (16+ / 0-)

    I have a feeling you're going to be a fine lawyer.  All best.

  •  Something I didn't know 'til a foreigner told me (20+ / 0-)

    Nationwide anti-Black rioting.

    Completely missing from any history book I had read in school or outside.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:51:49 PM PST

  •  all the souveniers (12+ / 0-)

    from the most intimate parts of native american women;
    so many unmarked graves;
    so much to see.

    keep showing.

    There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.--@Hugh * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 12:24:02 AM PST

  •  Good diary, but... (10+ / 0-)

    This isn't going to sound nice, but it needs to be said: just because YOU were not aware of Emmett Till does not mean we whitewash our history. It just means that rather ugly chapter of our history escaped your notice until now. It happens - although, to be frank, I have a hard time knowing how it could happen given your area of study. Songs and books were written about Till, his name was remembered throughout the civil rights movement and beyond as a tragic example of what we had to put an end to, and he is still widely recalled as one of two reasons why 1955 is often referred to as the beginning of the civil rights movement (Rosa Parks being the other). Regardless of what you did or didn't know, his name and the injustice he suffered have absolutely not been "whitewashed" from our history.

    Your view of Germany is also a bit rose-colored. Yes, the Germans are very careful to push back against anti-Semitism (although it does still exist there and by some accounts it's on the rise). But they can also be among the most politically incorrect people you're ever going to meet regarding almost every group except the Jews, and they tend to look askance at Americans' cultural sensitivity about such things.

    Bottom line, all nations have some skeletons in their closets, and none has done a perfect job of righting those wrongs (I'm not sure it's even possible to do so completely). I'll never deny that my country has some shameful episodes in its past, but we're not alone in that regard and we're also not the only country that has struggled to learn from its mistakes.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:29:48 AM PST

    •  Look at the way Germany deals with (5+ / 0-)

      its Guest Workers.  It's about the same way France and Britain have dealt with their colonial citizens, and all of it seems awfully familiar (one reason the idea of guest workers here in the US scares me.) Yes, Germany is sensitive about antisemitism, but it doesn't strike me as terrible culturally aware.  Witness the rise of the skinheads and other far-right nationalist parties.  Hatreds don't die out in one generation; they die by degrees--ugly, protracted, and metamorphic.  But slowly, they do die.

      Europeans especially have said to me that they're mystified about the way we go on about race here in the US.  We so sensitive, we just have to deal with the facts instead of indulging ourselves in all the navelgazing.  (I'm eliding a number of conversations from over the years.)  But when I would (inevitably) mention the above they would clear their throats and say something like, "Well, obviously you don't understand--those people are just pigs."

      I've always taken comfort in the fact that we in the US are no longer white-washing our history and pretending everything was just-so.  The Germans have taken a first few steps, but the rest of Europe is woefully behind.

      "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

      by DrLori on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:32:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is your knowledge of how Germany treats (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, SilentBrook, awesumtenor, milkbone

        its guest workers based on hearsay or experience? As I noted in a comment just below, the people I associate with are not bigoted or xenophobic in the way you describe. The co-chair of the German Green Party is the son of a Turkish guest worker, for example, and the kids who go to school with the guest workers's kids born here are certainly changing all that. It just might not show up in surveys among adults yet. Skinheads and neo-Nazis are still a tiny minority here, and the government is actively fighting them every day, even to the point of banning a rather extremist political party, which they are really loath to do BECAUSE of their past. I can't speak for the rest of Europe, because I don't live there, but talking about "Europe" as if it were a single, homogeneous country or referring to Europeans you have talked to as representative of a group of 50 sovereign states from Russia to Spain is very misleading and something one can not draw broad, sweeping conclusions about.

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:16:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I defer to your perspective (6+ / 0-)

          Most of the expats I know are older, and my perspective has been formed over 25+ years dealing with the foreign language departments of several small and midsized universities, with representatives from across Europe (minus Scandinavia).  I've been struck, however, by the uniformity of opinion from the expat adjuncts and professors.  And I've seen for myself the treatment, the ghettoization, of "colonials" both in Paris and in the UK.  So when the Paris riots blew up a few years ago, I wasn't surprised.  Very much like when L.A. blew up over Rodney King, except that many Parisians were stunned, where Americans were not surprised.

          Obviously social class, age, and economic situation all impact matters surrounding racial relations.  And since most European countries have settled, racially-homogeneous populations, the European experience of multiculturalism hasn't been at all like the American experience.  But I'm very glad to hear that my anecdotal experiences in Europe were isolated ones.

          "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

          by DrLori on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:34:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for elaborating on the reasons for your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MaikeH, milkbone

            opinions. I do agree that there have been and still are problems, and certainly in part for the reason you cite,

            European countries have settled, racially-homogeneous populations, the European experience of multiculturalism hasn't been at all like the American experience,
            which is true, but things are changing for the better, albeit slowly, and the situation is much more nuanced than most people who don't live here can possibly know. Yes, there are still many Germans who have a hard time accepting guest workers, but in all fairness, some of the difficulties of Turks integrating into German society is partly because their own societal structures and hierarchies are not a good fit. For example, the women, especially, don't work or learn the language. I could go on citing reasons on both sides of the cultural divide, but the situation can be far better elucidated by an article discussing a survey on immigration in Germany from January 2009:

            Der Spiegel Immigration Survey

            The so-called Aussiedler, ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, most of whom who came to Germany in the 1990s, are the biggest single group of immigrants, and they have also done relatively well. Their sons and daughters are making good use of the education system and the proportion of them with higher education degrees is greater than that of the general German population.
            Turks Poorly Integrated
            But immigrants from Turkey, the second biggest immigrant group in Germany making up almost 3 million people, are very poorly integrated. They come last in the Berlin Institute's integration ranking and the difference between them and the Germans is greatest -- they are worse educated, worse paid and have a higher rate of unemployment. And it doesn't make much difference how long they've been living in Germany.
            But many Turks who came to Germany as guest workers decades ago didn't want to become part of German society, they wanted to earn money there and return home after a few years. That didn't happen, though. The Turks stayed on, but it seems that their original attitude hasn't changed. They formed ghettos and didn't establish much contact with Germans, and all that made it harder for their children to find a place in German society.
            My biggest objection to critiques of Germany/German society and culture (to be clear, I am a US expat) is with the over-simplification of complex issues that I often find here at DK and other blogs, and which cannot be adequately summarized in a blog comment and/or are based on very limited information  that does not do justice to an entire nation.

            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

            by translatorpro on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:09:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)
              some of the difficulties of Turks integrating into German society is partly because their own societal structures and hierarchies are not a good fit
              If you're a devout Muslim, move to a country that is famous for beer and pork sausages, and then prohibit your children from playing with the "swine-eating infidels" (that's what I was called by the father of a classmate in elementary school), there are bound to be some problems. Just saying.

              261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

              by MaikeH on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:17:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And their experience of a multi generational group (0+ / 0-)

                set apart from the society in which they live, and who are so acculturated in the place where they are that Turkey does not work for them either and hasn't for some time,  is one reason I cannot live with the R notion that rather than a route to citizenship and equality for the unpapered US immigrants, a sort of second class non citizen status will do.

                The Turks of Germany have that, and it is a mess for both groups, and now so many generations old that the Turks can fit into neither place. Is that what we want for here?Even with want of papers, the children of the unpapered here are Dreamers, part of this place fully as much as I am.

                And do not kid yourself, this segregation occured not just because the Turks who went to Germany did not want to fit in. Germans played their role in this one as well.  

                 It was a shocking moment to me when Mehmit Ozil, the great soccer player, declined to sing the German national anthem in the finals of the last World Cup as a part of the German national team  because of the way he and his people were treated in Germany. He plays professionally in Spain, not Germany.

                •  It goes both ways (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It goes both ways (0 / 0)

                  When the first Turks came to Germany, the idea was that they would work in a factory for a few years, save up their money, and go back to Turkey. Obviously that didn't happen. There was never an official transition from "guest worker" program to immigration, and that's where the problems on both sides come into play.

                  There have been different versions in the media why Mesut Özil doesn't sing the national anthem, one being that he uses that time to pray.

                  Before transferring to Spain, Özil played for Schalke and Bremen until he made a name for himself internationally. According to Wikipedia:

                      Upon signing, Özil said, "When the offer came in to join Real Madrid, there is no decision to make. Let's be honest – you don't refuse this club. I was in no rush to leave Werder Bremen, but this is one club you say yes to. They are an institution, a club with a fantastic history, stadium and squad full of world-class players. The prospect of performing at the Bernabeu is so awesome you jump straight in."

                  261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

                  by MaikeH on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:45:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  THe terrible point for both Germany and the Turks (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    fhcec, translatorpro

                    there is that the Turks are stuck in a limbo, neither in nor out, and that produces its own frustrations and reactions. And that that situation is an object lesson for the US where the Rs are proposing a sort of stuck in limbo guestish worker  without rights of citizenship for eleven million people long here, as well.

                     It also suggests that the ICE bureaucracy has to be fixed so that the legal waiting line is three years or so, and not between ten and twenty years, as it now is, a situation which means that for many who lived an orderly and mostly lawful, papers aside, life here will not until the very end of that life be able to regularize their situation, and even the perfectly papered will have to wait a generation or more to go forward.

                    •  Again, it goes both ways (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      One reason why many Turkish immigrants did not apply for German citizenship, even if they were eligible, had to do with Turkish inheritance laws.

                      Basically, if they gave up their Turkish citizenship, they also had to give up the eligibility to inherit their parents' house in Turkey.

                      Apparently, though, that has been fixed now. Also, the German government has made it easier to retain dual citizenship.

                      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

                      by MaikeH on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:27:04 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  in the relatively recent past (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I think I remember that Germany voted against the possibility of citizenship for long time immigrants from the Middle East. That seriously demoralized immigrant communities - according to friends living here with relatives living there.

              "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

              by fhcec on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:55:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There was a bit of a brouhaha in 2010 (0+ / 0-)

                brought about by Thilo Sarrazin's book and this incident
                German politician inflames immigration debate,

                but there was no VOTE that I'm aware of, and if there was, I would appreciate a link.  Here are two pretty good discussion of the whole issue, which does have some parallels in the United States, to circle back to the topic of this diary:
                 There's lots more, but I have to get to work, but feel free to peruse the articles in this search:
                Google Search: Immigration to Germany

                To my knowledge, Germany has had some of the most consistently liberal immigration policies in Europe BECAUSE of their past. What they have gotten stricter about is who is allowed to seek asylum. Much policy is more and more determined by the EU, but in general, the German government has always taken great pains to not appear to discriminate in any way, and anyone who lives here knows (or SHOULD know) that the immigrants are absolutely essential to keep the economic powerhouse of Europe running, because the German birthrate is far too low - but that's another topic.

                There are growing pains, to be sure, and still lots to learn, but immigration to Germany is still a relatively recent phenomenon - only since the 1950s - compared to the US, which was founded by immigrants hundreds of years ago, and should be better at it, considering the number of years it has had to work on it!

                „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                by translatorpro on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:22:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I was just about to post something similar (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            based on my experiences (a while back) in Scandinavia. There aren't exact parallels because the US and Europe/Scandinavia, except as with Jews in Germany (and possibly the Romany?)

            * the indigenous population is the dominant population
            * the immigrant population has not been subjected to slavery/ethnic cleansing
            * there is not a tradition of immigration/"the melting pot"
            * there is an assumption/expectation on the part of the indigenous/dominant population that you came to JOIN that culture, not bring your own with you (eg, "why did you come to Norway if you didn't want to become a Norwegian?"

    •  With all due respect, the diary isn't about his (19+ / 0-)

      recently acquired knowledge of Emmet Till, it's about how the US hasn't reconciled itself to our wretched history.

      "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

      by Yasuragi on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:41:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but... (3+ / 0-)

        The diarist does lean rather hard on the fact that s/he didn't know about Emmett Till until recently as an analogy for the entire country turning a blind eye to its past. That simply doesn't hold much water. I've met people from Mississippi who didn't know about the murders of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney until they saw the movie Mississippi Burning. That doesn't reflect on anything other than their own background, for better or worse.

        And more to the point, has any country truly reconciled itself to the ugly aspects of its history to a greater extent than we have? I'm not convinced. For what it's worth, I live in Singapore, and a lot of people here have told me they're really impressed with the US for electing a president who doesn't look like most of us. They can't imagine it happening here, and frankly, neither can I. That doesn't mean racism is dead in America or that our job is done. But progress has been made, and the problems we're still grappling with are not unique to us.

        Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

        by RamblinDave on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:04:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was a device to introduce the larger topic (9+ / 0-)

          I don't believe it was a required point for the topic to be introduced, but did serve as a reasonable launching point from an expository standpoint, IMHO.

          Even so, I was not taught about Emmett Till in high school - I learned about his horrible death and its significance on the Internet.

          "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

          by wader on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 07:16:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          This country has not reconciled itself to the ugly aspects of it's history. At all.

          If it had, the 13th amendment, which is supposed to eliminate slavery, would not contain the loophole it does to perpetuate the status quo of involuntary servitude, oppression and disenfranchisement.

          In Section I, it reads (emphasis mine):

          Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME WHEREOF THE PARTY SHALL HAVE BEEN DULY CONVICTED, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
          That merely changes the currency entitling one to possess slaves from cash to criminal convictions...and along with that came the institution of draconian laws that pretty much boil down to "if you're black, you're guilty of something" and the inherent presumption of suspicion in those laws continues to drive public policy to this day in the perpetuation of polica actions such as stop and frisk and racial profiling.

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:42:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is true (17+ / 0-)

        I use my example because I believe it is instructive.

        I'm 27, I grew up in both public and private schools. I attended a top-25 public university where I studied history for 5.5 years. My study of history included multiple courses in African-American history and civil rights history. This was also in the deep South, where the white-washing is, in my opinion, the most egregious.

        I don't believe I slept through most of my classes, and I'm a very curious person when it comes to civil rights and history. I also do not believe I was befallen by some massive conspiracy to personally keep me, Grizzard, out of the loop on events like Emmett Till's death.

        My only conclusion then is that, at least in places where the exposure of dastardly racial history is most needed, we (as a society) are woefully failing in our duty to educate.

        And as you said, this unwillingness to deal head-on with our issues, and admit our inadequacies, has led to a reality where our laws allow racial injustice to continue unchecked.

        In addition - my thesis here is not that Germany is perfect. I specifically limited my inquiry to their treatment of the Holocaust. My thesis is that they have dealt effectively enough with their darkest of hours, and as a result, they retain a sensitivity about the Holocaust that powers a legal structure that ensures no laws that disproportionately disenfranchise Jewish people.

        "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

        by Grizzard on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:07:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If the US had "reconciled itself to our history" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cherie clark

        what differences would we see in practical terms with the present US?

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:00:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No successful "Nixon Southern Strategy" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cherie clark, LilithGardener

          for one thing ...

          We might be able to address issues of race and class with some kind of objectivity.

          We might not need so much judicial oversight of NY's police conduct and NY's Fire Department's hiring.

          And, possibly, there might be a little less intense fanboy fervor for the Person and Legacy of Barack H. Obama.

          •  and we wouldn't each and everyone (0+ / 0-)

            need a gun to protect our "property".

            A lot of the fear of government imprisoning its citizens  is surely projection. What "they" have fantasized doing to others is what they fantasize others doing to them.

            And the proportion of people in jail / prison would more equally mirror the racial composition of the country.

            "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

            by fhcec on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:07:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We wouldn't be having all these arguments about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yasuragi, cherie clark

          who has the right to carryout extra-judicial killings, otherwise known as justifiable homicide.

    •  I have lived in Germany as an expat for many (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Chi

      years, and the people I know and associate with are not racist or bigoted, so your conclusions may apply to some of the population, but not all. It's really not a good idea to paint an entire country with one broad brushstroke.

      In any case, the point of the diary is not to excuse America's genocidal and racist past (and present, from the American Indian and other minorities' pov) by pointing at another country's sins. For example, the Germans have made a huge effort to atone for their history, and while it is not perfect in many ways, they have been quite a bit more honest with themselves than many Americans, or history books, for that matter.

      I think the diarist's bottom line is that we must do better for our own sake, otherwise we have no moral standing in the world - and it's really questionable in light of our history whether it was ever really justified in the first place.

      „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

      by translatorpro on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:05:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, it isn't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        You're right, it's not a good idea to paint with as broad of a stroke as I did there (although I was more or less quoting a number of German friends I have). The catch is, that is also what the diarist did with regards to the US.

        Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

        by RamblinDave on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:09:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's implied (6+ / 0-)

          That broad statements like "we are whitewashing our history" necessarily include some (perhaps many) exceptions. But perhaps that's just me.

          In the interest of not publishing a book with every diary, I believe it to be appropriate to leave the obvious unsaid in some cases, so as to not have to say "We are whitewashing our history, except for those people who are not, because broad statements about hundreds of millions of people are rarely completely accurate on this or any subject" (that would make for some cumbersome reading, in my estimation, and it doesn't add much to the point of the diary).

          "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

          by Grizzard on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:12:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My main objection is to the over-simplification of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            complex societal and cultural issues (this is not referring to your diary, but to comments), then drawing generalized conclusions about them based on a very limited amount of information/number of sources. Obviously, the entire spectrum of what makes up a nation cannot be discussed fully in a single blog comment, but pronouncing judgments or pointing fingers on such a flimsy basis can - and should - be avoided.

            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

            by translatorpro on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:24:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  With all due respect (10+ / 0-)

      The US does whitewash its history. Most students don't find out the details of these horrific things until college. When I went to high school slavery and the brutality of it was covered very briefly. I believe one chapter in the school approved US history book. Same with incidents like Emmett Till and so on. Its not getting better either. Take a look at what the Texas and Arizona School boards are doing. Same with people like Michelle Bachmann who can't even get basic history right. Republicans all the time say things to whitewash history. Its almost like were teaching a nation to be like; since it wasn't me doing it then we shouldn't learn about it.

    •  We certainly don't learn about this history (7+ / 0-)

      in school, except in the most cursory way.  I never learned about a single race riot except when it was black people doing the rioting. Nor do we learn about the genocide of the native people except for in a most cursory manner.  There is absolutely no comparison between how we treat our history and how Germany treats theirs.  They are far from perfect but at least they're trying.  We can hardly even say that.

    •  are you reading the rest of the comments? (7+ / 0-)

      the diarist isn't alone.

      I've been shocked many times at what progressives on this site DON'T know about racism in the USA.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:06:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not all nations make the ownership of other (5+ / 0-)

      human beings a matter of law; nor do they define them as property which is to be returned via the coercive powers of the state.

      Dubya, being honest, declared this an ownership society. Owning things, including people, has taken precedence over human rights -- a human's right to won himself. It is, to an extent, what makes the U.S. a materialistic society.  It isn't that we love things more; it's that we like human beings less.

      There is a malevolence afoot which argues that, while there may be a right to life, continuing to live has to be earned by learning to obey. The culture of obedience is quite specific. There is "no free lunch." Which is exactly why school lunches are such a knotty problem. Once children get used to being fed on a regular basis, how can they be persuaded that they must work, if they want to eat? And, if the muffled threat of starvation isn't available to gain compliance, how will the culture of obedience get its way?

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:39:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is a malevolence afoot which argues that, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cherie clark
        There is a malevolence afoot which argues that, while there may be a right to life, continuing to live has to be earned by learning to obey.
        There are strong parallels in our arguments about gun safety, personal rights to self defense, and when does someone have the right to kill another, "justifiable homicides", otherwise known as extra-judicial killings.

        A century ago, lynchings came to be an form of extra-judicial killings, that were accepted by the majority.

    •  Fair enough, but your knowledge of Emmett Till (0+ / 0-)

      does not imply that we don't whitewash our history.  

      "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people." -Tony Benn (-6.38,-6.36)

      by The Rational Hatter on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:16:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My parents, now in their 80s (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alice kleeman, fhcec

      had never heard of the Trail of Tears. They never learned about it in school.

      I told them about oh, a decade or more ago and my father was disbelieving. (We got on to the topic because my dad was talking about Andrew Jackson with approval.)

      So, yes, I do think that the US educational system HAS had a tendency to whitewash our history. There was a recent diary about the Texas Board of Education. They're a bunch of crazy mo-fo's and they have enormous control over the content of text books (because they're a huge market). IOW, they essentially have editorial approval of what goes into textbooks, and the rest of the states of the Union just have to live with it.

    •  Just because other counties do it doesn't mean we (0+ / 0-)

      Shouldn't call it out when it happens.

      A good example. The historian Jelani Cobb often marvels at how many of his students think that slavery wasn't that bad and that the enslaved didn't think that had it that bad.

      Lenin Cat says "In soviet Russia Cat chases Dog"

      by DanceHallKing on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:10:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can live a lifetime in this country... (21+ / 0-)

    And never be taught of these evils.

    Lord knows I didn't learn it in high school.  Or college.  And I have a freaking history degree!

    Public schools in this country barely cover the basics and what is covered is taught like a fairy tale.

    It's a lot easier and more comfortable to acknowledge Rosa Parks than poor Emmit Till.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 02:47:07 AM PST

  •  There are certain things (13+ / 0-)

    U.S. history surveys tend to leave out--or gloss over. I knew about Emmett Till, but then again I'm well-read in the historiography of lynching (I know, awful thing to be "well-read" in...but important to my dissertation topic). I don't think Emmett Till was brought up in my undergraduate history courses, but I could be wrong...I know he wasn't brought up in high school. And, as much as we don't want to talk in-depth about lynching when discussing African American history, the violence committed against LGBT people is even more lacking in what place we've carved out in U.S. history. Enter my dissertation. There are certain ugly, repulsive realities we have to face and deal with.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:32:07 AM PST

  •  Bob wrote about it (19+ / 0-)

    The death of Emmett Till

    He also wrote the The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

    And Only a pawn in their game which deals with the murder of Medger Evers

    If you want a really horrible example of hidden history, read Slavery by another name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II.

    The Age of Neo-Slavery

    In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—when a cynical new form of slavery was resurrected from the ashes of the Civil War and re-imposed on hundreds of thousands of African-Americans until the dawn of World War II.

    Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel Corp.—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.

    Have a airsickness bag handy, its that hard to read.

    Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

    by BOHICA on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:02:38 AM PST

  •  I didn't learn about Emmett Till until I was an (15+ / 0-)

    adult, well out of public school, well past university.  My husband has a degree in American History and only knew the name, not the particulars, until I told him.

    For me, the case of Emmett Till was a watershed.  I knew about racism by family example (my maternal grandfather was a horrible racist and my father grew up poor in Kentucky during the Depression--the stories he told us!).  I was told how bad racism was by my parents and the school, of course.  It was just academic, though, until I learned about Emmett Till.

    After that, I spoke up.  I used to be quiet and non-participatory around people who used the "N-word" or who told racist jokes.  I just didn't encourage it and I thought that was enough.  After learning Till's story, I knew it wasn't enough.  Now, I confront anyone who is stupid enough to laugh at racism and ask them if they have ever heard of Emmett Till.  

    And then they get a detailed history lesson from me.

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:08:41 AM PST

  •  Tips, Recs, & Appreciation... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, Aspe4, LilithGardener

    Have you heard about this play?

    "HERPES was more popular than Dick Cheney when he left office!" Rachel Maddow 5/23/12

    by CityLightsLover on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:09:23 AM PST

  •  Tipped and recc'd for a very thoughtful, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, SilentBrook, LilithGardener

    balanced perspective on two different, but not dissimilar pasts.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:19:58 AM PST

  •  Our history is stained with the blood of Natives, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, LilithGardener, cherie clark, Chi

    African Americans, Viet Namese, ..., now Muslims.  

    When will we ever learn?

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:25:55 AM PST

  •  You have made an essential point, the heart of (11+ / 0-)

    which is here:

    Imagine a world where Germany still used the death penalty, and then imagine a year in which the German Jewish population received a disproportionate number of death sentences.

    I had never made that connection before and you have made it most excellently.

    I had been thinking of Emmett Till recently because of something I remember his mother said (I learned about the case later, but still decades ago). She insisted on an open casket because she wanted "the world to see what they did to my boy." (approximate quote from memory) Noah Pozner's Mom made the same decision with respect to her murdered son.

    I will take minor exception to something you wrote, which detracts in no way from your message. Adaptation is evolution, and evolution in no way suggests progress. Evolution is merely change with time, much of which consists of increased adaptation to the environment. Evolution produced the butterfly and the orchid, but it also produced wasps that lay their eggs in caterpillars so the larvae can dine on the caterpillar.

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:44:00 AM PST

  •  I watched the Kenyan Presidential debates Monday. (7+ / 0-)

    The biggest problem pointed out in their political and social system is racial (tribal) discrimination.  Each of the eight candidates was asked to speak to the topic of racism.

    It made me realize that racism even in Africa is still a huge problem in the world.  This is a planetary problem.  

    All monkey species act this way.  Humans are no different.

    •  Which emphasizes that race is a social construct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Keone Michaels, cherie clark

      and will continue as long as people cane derive power and profit from the construct.

    •  Many of the problems (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, cherie clark

      dealing with tribal identity in Kenya are the remnants of British Colonial policy designed to keep the various ethnic groups at odds with and suspicious of one another... it is nurture... not nature.

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:51:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Monkeys make social distinctions based on visual (0+ / 0-)

        clues, differences such as fur color, size, eye color etc.  Even our social structure has some basis in evolution.  Sometimes you just can't separate the physical from the cultural much as one might wish.

        •  Because (0+ / 0-)

          when the topic turns to african interethnic conflicts the most logical place to seek causality to you is the societal distinctions of monkeys...

          Is that your final answer?

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:23:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We all belong to the same species. The human one. (0+ / 0-)

            The observation has to do with animal behavior in general, from many different species.  Dogs behave the same way.  

            We, humans,  are at the basis of our DNA animals subjected to the similar hard and soft wired impulses designed in the endgame by evolution to assure longer survival and procreation for our progeny.

            The point is that discrimination is not complicated when seen in context of who we really are as biological entities.

            •  One of the benefits of sentience (0+ / 0-)

              is that we are not subject to or controlled by hardwired genetic impulses and instincts. We have the ability to heed or disregard as we see fit... and societal conditioning is one of the greatest influences that causes us to avoid or even reject the impulses developed at the subcellular level...

              As for your observation that "Dogs behave the same way"... your impulsive response was to equate monkeys... not dogs...and you've only doubled down on it since then, utterly ignoring how fucked up and offensive your chosen framing du jour is...

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:51:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The US doesn't do bad things! (10+ / 0-)

    Even right now, we don't do bad things.

    We just redefine bad to be worse than whatever we're doing.

    Because yeah, sure we do horrible, terrible things to other people around the world and to our own people.

    But at least we're not as bad as Hitler.  Or Stalin.  



    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:45:40 AM PST

    •  How very true (4+ / 0-)
      We just redefine bad to be worse than whatever we're doing.
      Or as Rob Corddry once quipped in a Daily Show segment on the subject of Abu Ghraib:
      Jon, there’s no question what took place in that prison was horrible, but the Arab world has to realize that the U.S. shouldn’t be judged on the actions of a. . .well, that we shouldn’t be judged on actions. It’s our principles that matter; our inspiring, abstract notions. Remember, Jon, just because torturing prisoners is something we did doesn’t mean it’s something we would do.
      American exceptionalism in a nutshell.
  •  I find it interesting that Germany does not (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, GenXangster, Chi

    allow pictures of hitler that are suitable for framing to be published.  I remember a story a few years ago about a german magazine that published a pic of hitler on their cover but did not blur it enough to meet the law.

    I find your comparisons here fascinating. Thank you.

    Another parallel is in the very different cultures of African Americans and Jews, which were both villified and generalized in the same way.  I could hardly believe it, but in the early nazi propaganda, Jews were described as being dirty, standing on the street corners with their long black greasy hair, ogling and preying on the aryan women who walked past.  Incredible!

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 07:15:15 AM PST

  •  When we remember.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, cherie clark

    When we remember equally the innocent loss of life as a holocaust to someone, rather than an event that seems to remember one innocent life more than another, this 'forgetfulness of history' will end, and we will ALL own up to every inhumanity.

    The true strength of of an oath is forged in adversity.

    by Nur Alia Chang on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 07:21:50 AM PST

  •  one big difference between us and the Germans is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cherie clark

    that the Germans lost and we didn't.  Losers question themselves.  Winners never do. That's why we still have the collective superiority complex that we do. We think, literally, that we are God's Gift to the world.

    What we really need is to be beaten. Not just losing a stupid little war like Iraq and Afghanistan. WE, the US itself, needs to be beaten. We need to be invaded, our military crushed, our cities broken, and our nation prostrate and at the mercy of those who have beaten us. Just like WE have done to the rest of the world for so long.

    It's the only thing that will teach us a little humility.

  •  Some have learned (8+ / 0-)
    I only learned one week ago about the murder of Emmett Till, the young black boy from Chicago who was tortured and killed in Mississippi for the crime of flirting with a white woman. Despite a degree in history that included multiple courses in civil rights, and despite a record of writing extensively on modern-day civil rights developments, I spent almost 27 years on this planet with no knowledge of a history so atrocious that it could easily hold a seat at a 1940s German table.
    My 18 year old daughter studied and discussed the Emmet Till case in one of her high school classes.  

    This is in Florida.  

    The point is not all are ignorant of their history.  They've studied and discussed the Holocaust and the horrors of Jim Crow.  

    Is my daughter's experience unique?  I don't know.  However,  just knowing there are hundreds of kids who know their history gives me hope for the future.  

  •  a degree in history (9+ / 0-)

    and you never heard of him. That is a sad comment on our degree mill system. I'd ask for my money back on that degree they sold you.

    •  Human history is enormous (0+ / 0-)

      And I always find there to be something new to learn.  

      I'm familiar with Emmett Till from middle and high school units on the civil rights era, but my degree personally didn't involve that many classes on US history, and race relations wasn't an area I studied in depth.

  •  America has "selective"amnesia (6+ / 0-)

    and it shows in the history books we are given in school. I never knew about Emmett Till until I was an adult. I heard all about Rosa Parks and MLK.  Do our basic history books whitewash this country's past?  Yes.
    BUT, once I knew, I couldn't remain inactive given what I had learned. And this diary does an excellent job of taking off the rose colored glasses that many Americans still wear today.

    I do benefits for all religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. Bob Hope

    by bluebuckeyewmn on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:04:44 AM PST

  •  Germany would not have been "like Germany" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, LEP

    had they not been crushed by multiple competing armies and carved up by the victors. In order to reenter the modern world the German nation had to ask permission at every point.

    Had a large superpower invaded our country for the purpose of ending slavery, and had we been subjected to ongoing pressure in the aftermath to make reparation, American history would have been different.

    But make no mistake: the German nation (as we know it today) would not have come to their present reckoning without having been forced to do so by the combined powers of the Allies. The irony this diary misses is that the forced adoption of American standards and values on the German population, literally at gunpoint, is what created the self-reflection that is lacking in our own culture. It's one of the very unfortunate elements of the self-regulating American experiment.

    •  On the other hand... (5+ / 0-)

      ...our involvement in the war is sometimes credited with spurring the civil rights era to begin when it did. A lot of soldiers came home questioning why we had gone to war against a government that systematically abused certain of its citizens when ours was doing essentially the same thing. It took too long, but that questioning came to great fruition eventually.

      Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

      by RamblinDave on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:56:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't disagree with the diarist at all (7+ / 0-)

    We have as a nation "whitewashed" our history.  As evidence that most Americans never truly learn the extend of events that happened in American history throughout their education.   Some are enlightened to events unheard of previously, once they begin college courses on History, but a sad fact is that most U.S. History courses leave out events that aren't very easy to digest.  Emmett Till is just one example of this.   How many times in high school have you or your child been confronted with events in our past such as native american genocide, the Eugenics movement of the early 20th century etc.?  How many people even know of the extent of the eugenics movement in the US, or which prominent Americans in history were part of it?  

    A Yale study tracing a once-popular movement aimed at improving society through selective breeding, indicates that state-authorized sterilizations were carried out longer and on a larger scale in the United States than previously believed, beginning with the first state eugenics law in Indiana in 1907.

    Despite modern assumptions that American interest in eugenics waned during the 1920s, researchers said sterilization laws had authorized the neutering of more than 40,000 people classed as insane or ``feebleminded'' in 30 states by 1944.

    Another 22,000 underwent sterilization from the mid-1940s to 1963, despite weakening public support and revelations of Nazi atrocities, according to the study, funded by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Merck Co. Foundation.

    Forced sterilization was legal in 18 U.S. states, and most states with eugenics laws allowed people to be sterilized without their consent by leaving the decision to a third party.

    ``The comparative histories of the eugenical sterilization campaigns in the United States and Nazi Germany reveal important similarities of motivation, intent and strategy,'' the study's authors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

    Eugenics sprang from the philosophy of social Darwinism, which envisioned human society in terms of natural selection and suggested that science could engineer progress by attacking supposedly hereditary problems including moral decadence, crime, venereal disease, tuberculosis and alcoholism.

    "The eugenics laws in the United States were virulent, just as they were in Sweden, France and Australia,'' said Art Caplan, head of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.

    The fact is, we tend to glorify the good things in our history, and sweep the bad under the rug.  Perhaps Germany reluctantly moved toward recognizing the wrings committed in their past, but they still faced them, and admitted to them.  I will repeat the diarists own point, if America is to move on from its past problems, we have to confront them and make people aware of them, so that laws can be put into place to prevent said atrocities from happening again.
  •  Ausgezeichnet (outstanding). (8+ / 0-)

    As a Germanophile (and a bit of an amateur expert on the Franco-Prussian war and a resident of Austria for several years) I have long been fascinated by the ability of Germany to own its history of militarism and racism in a way that for some reason, we just don't seem able to do. Visiting Berlin a number of years ago soon after the renovation of the Reichstag building I was deeply moved by the choice to place a glass dome over the building, from which you can look down at what Parliament is doing.

    I think a country that is capable of literally making its decisions transparent should make us take pause. We helped form the new Germany. Yet we are unable to come to terms with your own behavior which shares some commonalities with Germany. I find this both interesting and unsettling.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:49:04 AM PST

  •  I am 63 years old, grew up in rural Louisiana (7+ / 0-)

    Saw Jim Crow up close and personal.  Saw old Jet magazines about Emitt Till.  Anger gripped me when I read about it.  Never thought about why he was killed (the whistle).  I won't go into what it was like growing up in the 50s and 60s when these particular types of white men were beginning to see that the tide was turning.  Exposure more than anything was what was happening with those individuals.  And like wounded lions there were more dangerous for a while.  

    One of the things that I have gotten 'jacked' as a black man about is when I speak with the militant blacks today of all age groups they get angry when I make the point that without there being sypathetic whites it would be impossible for us to be where we are today.  

    In fact it is unfanthomable to even grasp how we could have over come the wicked inhuman system that we toiled under for years.  This is one reason that the Obama presidency is so aggrivating to whites who sat around the table listening to the shame of blacks being brought into the norm.  And it is still being done.  

    The race hatred in America will never been done until the ignorant whites and ignorant blacks are brought up to speed.  This can only be done by being open and honest.  ?Whites will have to face the ugly fact of what slavery and the residue of it did to blacks and the mindset of many ignorant whites.  And on this end, black people will have to look at the fact that we have not done what we can do to rectify this problem that affects us as a people.  

    And lastly these two entities must realize that we live on an island.  This is an island of repute for more than the racism of the past 400 years.  This island is a target of other entities who wish to bring this island to its knees and lower.  And they have been and are content to watch the two principal entities of this nation keep confusion and chaos rocking.  And the fires are political factionalsim is a very good thing for them.

    Together we stand as a nation, divided as a nation we will continue to fall

    I may not be deep, but I am very wide... Honree Balzac

    by meknow on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:07:09 AM PST

  •  We're watching Eyes on the Prize in class right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Lorikeet students could not even identify what "Selma" meant.  I spent twice as long with the documentary in class than I usually do, but now they know about Emmet Till, Medgar Evers, James Meredith, Freedom Summer and Selma.  

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:41:48 AM PST

  •  Emmet Till was butchered the same year... (7+ / 0-) mother and I left (as in fled) Georgia, 1955. His story was one I took with me in my heart when I went back to the South, to Till's own Mississippi, to register black voters. The Klan and other white racists weren't over killing black children then. When the FBI investigated the disappearance of the three civil rights workers, they found in a swamp the body of a 14-year-old boy wearing a CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) tee-shirt.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:42:28 AM PST

  •  One other thing. (4+ / 0-)

    If you are ever in the Mississippi Delta, it's worth a drive to go to Money, Mississippi, where this murder took place. Get out of the car. Look around. Pay attention to what it's like. Ask yourself, "How far away from the lynching are we really?"

  •  Excellent book on Jefferson's Slaves (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, a2nite, shanikka

    Impeccable research. Jefferson depended economically and materially on his slaves.

    He wrote some of the best arguments against slavery, and his extensive writings are part of our foundation history. He also hid what he actually did with and to his slaves. It was hidden so well that many new things, including archaeological evidence at the site, show the paradox of his public vs. private positions.

    The book is "Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and his slaves" by  Henry Wiencek.

    It is extremely well written and might well win the national book award for this year.

  •  Whenever an old white guy waxes nostalgic (7+ / 0-)

    for the Good Old Days of the 1950s, and how carefree and wonderful they were, my response is "Two words. Emmet. Till." In response to the inevitable blank stare of incomprehension, I elucidate.

    This - our hiding of real American history that clashes with the Disney propaganda version (the one Rethugs would like to make the law of the land) - is the reason so many dumbass well-meaning whites were shocked by the outpouring of rage and hatred at the Obama campaign and presidency. "B-b-but MLK! All that's over now, my Texas history book sez!"

    I wouldn't know about Emmet Till if it hadn't been for "Eyes on the Prize."

    Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

    by gardnerhill on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:19:31 AM PST

    •  I know our history, but I was still shocked (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Because I learned it as a story of progress, and I really had believed that America had put this ugly past behind us.

      Now I know better.

      •  When I learned about "liberty cabbage" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        birdboy2000, jplanner

        (aka sauerkraut) and "Wiener Dogs" (instead of dachshunds) - the names changed during WWI so Americans wouldn't soil themselves by speaking a German word - I thought, "What idiots. What a stupid, pointless thing to do! Thank God we're so much more advanced these days."

        Then came 2003 and "Freedom Fries."

        As angering as I find Bill Maher's entitled-white-male misogyny, I gotta agree with him on one thing: "I don't think anything's beyond the pale for this stupid country."

        Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

        by gardnerhill on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:12:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think it was "People's History of the U. S." (0+ / 0-)

      (Howard Zinn--People's History of the United States)

      We had to bumble upon the information on are own, likely as adults. THe officially history we were taught didn't have this kind of stuff in it.

      THe diarist is under 30 so hasn't had as much time yet to bumble into things...or has just started.

      It' s kinda random that I've heard about Emmett Till.

  •  Primary sources on lynching (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mallyroyal, cherie clark

    I'd like to refer anyone who thinks they really understand lynching history to take also look at the following primary sources.

    The first 2 are photograph books, that document the fact that many lynchings were not only accepted as justified homicide, but some lynchings were a primary spectator event the following day, with photographers and reporters documenting that a lynched body was really something to dress up for, something to see, and remember, an "attraction" to memorialize and send to friends and family who weren't able to see for themselves.

    The third book is a book of newspaper articles from various communities with different news perspectives. The ordinary beat reporter just doing their job under deadline and within their cultural frame.

    Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America [Hardcover]

    Editorial Reviews

    These images make the past present. They refute the notion that photographs of charged historical subjects lose their power, softening and becoming increasingly aesthetic with time. These images are not going softly into any artistic realm. Instead they send shock waves through the brain, implicating ever larger chunks of American society and in many ways reaching up to the present. They give one a deeper and far sadder understanding of what it has meant to be white and to be black in America. And what it still means. -- New York Times, January 13,2000
    Lynching Photographs (Defining Moments in American Photography)

    Editorial Reviews
    From the Inside Flap

    "A lucid, smart, engaging, and accessible introduction to the impact of lynching photography on the history of race and violence in America. "--Grace Elizabeth Hale, author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in America, 1890-1940

    "With admirable courage, Dora Apel and Shawn Michelle Smith examine lynching photographs that are horrifying, shameful, and elusive; with admirable sensitivity they help us delve into the meaning and legacy of these difficult images. They show us how the images change when viewed from different perspectives, they reveal how the photographs have continued to affect popular culture and political debates, and they delineate how the pictures produce a dialectic of shame and atonement."--Ashraf H. A. Rushdy, author of Neo-Slave Narratives and Remembering Generations

    "This thoughtful and engaging book offers a highly accessible yet theoretically sophisticated discussion of a painful, complicated, and unavoidable subject. Apel and Smith, employing complementary (and sometimes overlapping) methodological approaches to reading these images, impress upon us how inextricable photography and lynching are, and how we cannot comprehend lynching without making sense of its photographic representations."--Leigh Raiford, co-editor of The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory

    "Our newspapers have recently been filled with photographs of mutilated, tortured bodies from both war fronts and domestic arenas. How do we understand such photographs? Why do people take them? Why do we look at them? The two essays by Apel and Smith address photographs of lynching, but their analysis can be applied to a broader spectrum of images presenting ritual or spectacle killings."--Frances Pohl, author of Framing America: A Social History of American Art

    100 Years of Lynchings[Paperback]
    Ralph Ginzburg

    5.0 out of 5 stars Primary Sources on Lynching January 11, 2002, Review By J. Reynolds

    Given its politically and culturally loaded history, lynching is one of the most difficult topics to teach in American universities. Ginzburg's book makes the job easier by providing the instructor with primary documents with which to examine the phenomenon. In particular, Ginzburg's collection is useful because it draws upon newspaper articles intended for a number of constituencies. Some, directed at racist whites, cheer the lynchings. Meanwhile, black newspapers and those directed at more progressive whites decry the practice. As such, the collection is a perfect tool for examing the place of lynching within various US communities in the latter 19th and early 20th century. Even more excellent when combined with the visual record of No Sanctuary.
  •  There is a great documentary about Emmett Till (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, cherie clark

    done about 10 years ago by the distinguished filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who also did the recent PBS film about the Freedom Riders, among many others. It's a good way to learn about this horrific chapter of our history.

  •  knowing how it was in that day... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how till was mediarized I am not sure...  but for every emit that was known, think of how many were just grabbed rolling down the road at an opportune time...

    I had a friend who lived next door to my grandmother.  if a dog ever came into his presence he would do hid best to kill them without question...  he hated dogs.  

    this was the attitude that some vicious whites had toward black folk up to the late 60s until the realized that blacks were not going to take it any more...  

    imagine all the tills we don't know about...

    kind of like Abel's blood crying from the earth...

    too many conflicting opinions, lies on all sides...  

    I may not be deep, but I am very wide... Honree Balzac

    by meknow on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:35:15 AM PST

  •  Remember also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Chi

    the slaughter of 100s of members of the Black Sharecroppers' Union near Arkansas/Mississippi state line in  1919.

    We've never had a Truth and Reconciliation committee like they had in South Africa after apartheid was repealed.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:56:43 AM PST

  •  American Exceptionanlism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Chi

    I think the whole notion of American exceptionalism makes the whitewashing of some horrific episodes in our history a must.  I

    I remember checking out a DVD from the library regarding the Paper Clip Project, a project based out of Whitwell Middle School in Tennessee to teach "tolerance"  through  voluntary, after-school program about the Jewish Holocaust.   I recall thinking to myself that if they wanted to teach tolerance by reviewing past events in the historical record, they didn't have to go to Europe, they just had to review the records for lynchings in Tennessee or the many Jim Crow Laws in Tennessee which perpetrated the myth of white racial superiority or many other examples of blatant racial injustice.  

    There's a willful ignorance which makes everyone else's racial sins horrific and awful, but which makes your own past crimes not worthy of mention or reflection.   Racial prejudice is for Nazis, not good Americans.  They did the heinous things, not us.   Try and bring up some of the heinous things done in America in the name of racial prejudice and you're somehow a person who 'hates America' as if reflecting on past mistakes is an indication of hate.

    "Out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there." Sanai

    by Michi on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:06:47 PM PST

  •  The difference in my opinion (0+ / 0-) that the US occupation of Germany sought de-Nazification and held strict war crimes trials in Nuremburg.

    After the Civil War, most white Americans North and South were not interested in punishing the rebels to led to war nor were they interested in integrating Negroes into American society.  There was a rush to reconciliation and to the formation of a mythology that allowed terrorism to bring about home rule, followed twenty years later by legally sanctioned discrimination and segregation that depended on the same terorism practiced by slave patrols to enforce submission.

    In the north periodic attacks on black neighborhoods, labeled in the press "race riots" contributed to Northern complacence.

    After the neo-Confederate movie "Birth of a Nation" was screened in 1915, the number of incidents increased and the Ku Klux Klan went nationwide -- holding a massive march on Washington in the 1920s.

    Today, the GOP outside the South is as racist as that inside the South.  And there is an active effort to reinstitutionalize Jim Crow.

    And all those nice white moderates of both political parties are still ambivalent about desegregation.  North and South are still segregated fifty years after the March on Washington.

    There was in the US no outside power to force the de-Conferatization of the country.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 02:32:33 PM PST

  •  indeed the Texas History books are being "revised" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Don midwest

    Using less terms like "Slavery" and more of "middle passage"

    •  that is shameful; I hadn't realized (0+ / 0-)

      politicians should have no control over educational content. I wish it were left to educators.

      •  Needing to know... (0+ / 0-)

        The ugly truth has to be put out there.  as painful as it maybe...  for one thing this will dash water on black activists who use this avoidance to say that white America is still lying to them.

        What ever growing pains that we have to take, lets do it.  We need to take the extremists of all sides buttons away.  a thing hidden is still there.  The idea or imagination is still that and tend to make is worst if that is possible in this case.  It is like amputating a limb to save the body...  

        It is difficult for blacks to hear of some of the things that happened...  And whites who have not disavowed this even to the point of accepting that they were lied to either by complicit or ignorant elders...  

        lots of pain to bear or this will be like an infected sore that is covered by clothes, still bleeding and puss draining through the cloth...

        I may not be deep, but I am very wide... Honree Balzac

        by meknow on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:58:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  less politicians and more "citizens" (0+ / 0-)

        representatives elected by the people in their districts for the express purpose of making decisions about content of texts...

        they are way over the top crazy and not at all connected to the reality based world.

        Unbelievable. Can't believe that anyone with children in school who had any options would decide to live in TX unless they could send their children to private schools that are not required to use the texts.

        "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

        by fhcec on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:53:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's sad about our country that someone can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    be as obviously intelligent an educated as the diarist
    and not have known about Emmett Till despite having studied history and  especially having taken civil rights courses. I'd think they'd cover his murder in civil rights courses to be understanding is it was a famous case of it's era, wasn't it?

    I'm two decades older and never learned of it in high school  (early 80s) or college--but I did not take history in college.

    I learned it from reading on my own because I was interested...particularly in the history of the 60s because it was the decade of my birth but I 'missed" it (ie don't remember anything). This lead me to explore the reason why MLK was leading people in protest. My bet is I did not know it at 27. So it can be said that it took a decade for me to come across it, probably.

    I hope they teach these things in detail in high school, now. US History (and a Civics course) should be mandatory in all high schools and they need to cover slavery and the Jim Crow era in detail--as well as how the US treated Native Americans.

    I think I got a big chunk of my missing education when I read "the People' s History of the United States" (Howard Zinn).  (our education also left out/deemphasised in our education had been the entire labor movement and women's sufferage movement).

    Diarist is right--at least in my day our history classes were surely whitewashed. I'd hoped it had changed.

    •  The problem with high school (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      or even lower level courses is that they have to cover a lot of material in relatively short amount of time. For example, in my high school European history class, we covered the two world wars in the last 30 minutes of the semester, just days before the final exam and we never even got into the Holocaust or the Cold War. I don't think there was any intention there to whitewash anything. There's no reason for an American school to whitewash the holocaust for American sensitivities. In my American history class, we did deal with slavery, Segregation and Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, but nothing as specific as Emmett Till or even Rosa Parks. Again, as this was much more recent, we crammed it in the last few classes. We spent a ton of time   on the early periods, colonization, the Revolution, the Constitution, slavery, the Civil War. From about WWI to the 60s, we dealt with in 3 days.

  •  Necessary to understand we are 'in' the past (0+ / 0-)

    As indicated in this book:
    Jim Crow America, Catherine M. Lewis,
    But look here, now:
    The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
    We are certainly in times that will encourage this repression, in as horrible terms as any previous, that again call us to witness and register ourselves.

  •  Shocked you didn't know about this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patate, fhcec

    ...but I was a kid in the 60s.  I think my mom told me.  I happened to be caucasian, BTW.  I guarantee you that every African American, even if s/he only has a 3rd grade education and is mentally challenged, knows all about Emmett Till.

    African Americans of all classes are well aware of their tragic history, even if they never took a college history course.

    They often are more informed about US history and the legal system than your average white American.

  •  I respectfully disagree with your assessment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    fabucat...  I will be 63 tomorrow and deal with them on a regular basis.  I have sons ages 27, 30 & 39 and dealt with their friends during their upbringing and schooling.  And I am still able to talk to them and get their respect.  

    I taught my sons respect for other human beings regardless of color.  I taught them to be able to take a man at face value with the confidence of knowing that they would be able to over come any adversity.  And learn from the experience.  

    I gave up a lot of summers to take them to AAU sporting events in different cities and had a chance to teach some of these young men who did not have a father figure in the home some things.  I can remember turning the radio down at opportune times on long trips and talking to them about some of the issues that we are discussing here.  The look on their faces told me that they would have rather be listening to Tupak but it was my car and I seized the moment.  

    The present thug and rapper generation don't care to know anything.  They think that it is not relevant.  The next party is all that matters or fad.

    I am mentoring an excon right now and he is full of that shyt that they get poisoned with in lock up.  It is unfortune but this is where the majority of my races kids get their education and philosophy from.  And we all have to deal with the repercussions of it out here.  

    I know that most people are afraid to talk about these issues but I am certain of the positive effect that it would have on all parties...

    I may not be deep, but I am very wide... Honree Balzac

    by meknow on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 04:11:23 PM PST

  •  Personal experience of dialoguing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Grizzard, fhcec

    I have worked with some whites that were die heart racist and could hardly stand to be in my presence.  Nothing I had done just what had been taught them.  My learning was to give it time and when the right moment came along get the point across to them non confrontationally that we have to work together.  Our jobs require it.  I would make it known to them that I did not have a problem with them nor their philosophy.  

    We do not have to visit each other off site and eat fish together.  But for 8 hours we had to work together to produce.  And then I would make the point that if they would like we could go to the plant or department manager and let them know that he could not work with me.  You can imagine what the response would be...  in fact no one ever took me up on that.  

    no nigger and honkie jokes...  we usually ended up being able to share family stuff...  I took pride in being able to break the die hards, not with words but actions.  Of course I was in the position of authority, in the reverse it might have been different.  

    my first manager once sat me down and told me that he had expected me to be in his office on a daily basis the first few months of taking my job, not because I was not capable of the job.  But because he recognized what I was up against.  I never had to take anyone to task on the issue of race.  And I had some of the most hateful whites come to me and tell me thanks for giving them a break when they did get a little out of line.  Rarely did I had to deal with them twice.  

    Life is great when you take it by the scruff and turn it the way it should go...  

    I may not be deep, but I am very wide... Honree Balzac

    by meknow on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 04:27:34 PM PST

  •  Remember (0+ / 0-)

    Most black pastors are about money.

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