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You Can Bet Yer Black Ass
Or your partially black ass. Which is what your white ass may turn out to be. Or vice versa. Paul Harris writes for The Observer:

Last year, Professor Peter Fine at Florida Atlantic University had an idea for an art class. He would gather a group of students to produce work around their idea of their racial identity. But as part of the class he asked them to take a DNA test that would break down their racial background. His bet was that most of the class - of whom the majority saw themselves as whites of European descent - had no real idea who they were.

He was right. Of 13 students, only one turned out to be completely European. The rest displayed a mixture of European, Native American, African and Asian genes. The one black student turned out to be 21 per cent white. Fine himself - who admits to looking like a corn-fed stereotype of a white Midwesterner - discovered he was a quarter Native American. 'I honestly think these tests could have a large effect on American consciousness of who we are. If Americans recognise themselves as a mixed group of people, that could really change things,' he said.

Fine has a point. For centuries, America has been less a racial melting pot and more a stew, where different communities bump up against each other, but keep mostly to themselves. Yet, as millions of Americans take DNA tests, they are discovering a surprising truth: America's strict racial lines are, in fact, blurred. One-third of white Americans, according to some tests, will possess between two and 20 per cent African genes. The majority of black Americans have some European ancestors.

...Greater knowledge can pose troubling questions. While hosting African American Lives, Professor (Henry Louis) Gates, one of America's most eminent black scholars, was stunned to find he was half European. He had more ancestors in France and Ireland than in Africa. Such discoveries unsettle even the greatest mind. In the show, Gates lamented what this meant to a proud black American. 'I have the blues,' he said, and then asked: 'Can I still have the blues?'

...That is where Barack Obama's past came back to haunt him. Obama is seen as black by most Americans. Yet that skin colour comes from his Kenyan father, who met his white mother, from Kansas, at college. That prompted some leading black commentators to claim that Obama is not a real black American (or not black enough). This, in turn, led a group of genealogists to trace Obama's mother's family back to before the Civil War - and they found that some were slave-owners. That is how - if he wins the 2008 race - America's first ever black president will be the direct descendant of white slave-owners.

Hmmm, that makes this woman's campaign a little...uh...difficult. But, first, a little history. Damali Ayo, first came up with the satirical rent-a-negro:

Why rent-a-negro? Why not buy? As we all know, the purchase of African Americans was outlawed many years ago. As times have changed the need for black people in your life has changed but not diminished. The presence of black people in your life can advance business and social reputation. These days those who claim black friends and colleagues are on the cutting edge of social and political trends. As our country strives to incorporate the faces of African Americans, you have to keep up. rent-a-negro offers you the chance to capitalize on your connection with a black person. At any gathering our service can bring a freshness and tension that will keep things lively. This adds currency to your image and events. We all go out for ethnic food every once in a while, why not bring some new flavor to your home or office...for all your friends and colleagues to enjoy!

She wrote a book, How To Rent A Negro. A reviewer on Amazon writes:

I found this book painfully narrow minded and basically aimed at making a dollar by exploiting the ignorance on both sides of the racial tension between blacks and whites. I guess when I was 5 years old I was "renting" my best friend. And don't try to put character before color, it's all about color.

I recommend Thomas Sowell's "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" if you actually want an insightful look into (actually backed by research!) why things are the way they are. If you are white, prepare to be frustrated for about 200 pages in Ms Ayo's book. If you are black, prepare to laugh at white lameness for 200 pages while you avoid any deep, hard look into the racial issues of our day.

An excerpt from the Publisher's Weekly review of Sowell's book on Amazon:

Hoover Institution Fellow Sowell, author of Ethnic America, argues that "internal" cultural habits of industriousness, thriftiness, family solidarity and reverence for education often play a greater role in the success of ethnic minorities than do civil-rights laws or majority prejudices. The title essay posits a "black redneck" culture inherited from the white redneck culture of the South and characterized by violent machismo, shiftlessness and disdain for schooling. White liberals, gangsta-rap aficionados and others who lionize its ghetto remnants as an authentic black identity, Sowell contends, have their history wrong and help perpetuate cultural pathologies that hold blacks back.

Damali Ayo takes a far different approach in her talks on racism. Here's a PDF of one of them, with some really ridiculous bits:



So...if, according to Ayo, there is no reverse racism, what was it I encountered at the University of Michigan when I happily sat down at the end of a table of black girls in the beginning of my freshman year, and they all went silent like in the old E.F. Hutton commercial, and looked down the table at me as if I were a giant turd with legs?

And what do you call all those "minority fellowships" in journalism, that are not available to poor white people who could only afford community college, but are available to wealthy black people who went to Harvard, not on scholarship, but paid for in full by their black parents? The black people I know are no different than the white people I know -- smart, educated, interesting and accomplished. Of course, the black people I know don't revolve their lives around how oppressed they are (and listen, it was no picnic growing up Jewish in a neighborhood where people hated Jews...but I also find the whole Jewish, chest-thumping "We're persecuted!" thing equally tiresome). So, whomever you are, you may have had persecution in your ancestry, and even in your own lifetime, as I did, but if you define yourself by it, your life becomes about that instead of about building and creating something.

Accordingly, here's Ayo's latest project, a national day of "Panhandling For Reparations":

OCTOBER 10, 2007. People all across the United States will take an hour or two to sit in a range of locations in our communities: outside of businesses, libraries, museums, art galleries, or on busy street corners. We will wear signs reminding passersby of the history of slavery in the United States. We will collect reparations in the form of money from white Americans for the enslavement and free-labor of Africans and African Americans during the establishment and economic rise of this country. This money wiill be immediately paid out to black passersby. Both parties wiill be offered a receipt. We will do this to offer a convenient opportunity for American citizens to acknowledge, apologize and compensate the unpaid labor of African Americans, the travesty of slavery, and the rightful due of reparations.

How disgusting. I can see a black friend of mine being shoved money for "reparations," and being just mortified, as she identifies herself by how much she's achieved not by being a persecuted person. Also, her family emigrated a generation ago from St. Lucia (some of them did; some are still there); they were not brought over here as slaves.

Finally, as for my family, when black people were being enslaved over here, we were being chased around Russia by the Cossacks. My relatives came over on boats from Eastern Europe, so if you're looking to place blame for slavery simply because I have the complexion of Wite-Out, well, you really shouldn't be looking at me.

I do hope, however, that you will look to me as an example of how somebody who's from nobodies -- my Michigan-dwelling parents are the only two employees of a small business my father started -- can accomplish a whole lot in America if they just focus on how much they want to do instead of on how much has been done to them.

Posted by aalkon at July 20, 2007 12:02 PM


Amy, considering your attitude toward race issues (which I share), the Damali Ayo recommendations are indeed ridiculous.

I have encountered people who could benefit from some of them, though. I recall a letter to the editor back in the tumultuous sixties in which a young white woman at the U of Florida advocated integration because "they can learn so much from us."

Not "we can learn so much from one another," not "by telling stories about our experiences we can bridge the gap." No. "They can learn so much from us"--could anything be more arrogant and insulting? And the poor thing thought she was being helpful.

Of course that was long ago and far away, but I assure you there are still people around who just as unthinkingly hold attitudes just as ugly.

And how can you call your parents nobodies, when they owned their own business and raised such a wise and witty daughter?

Posted by: Axman at July 20, 2007 5:39 AM

I was watch some program on TV about reparations. Some self promoting black professor was making he argument that it didn’t matter if your family never owned slaves or even if the emigrated after the civil war. His argument was that everyone in america today has benefited economically from slavery.

Interesting notion, but doesn’t everybody include black people, and as far as reparations go didn’t the US purchase a lot of land in Liberia after the civil war?

And quite frankly if you want to blame someone for slavery blame the catholic church. At one time there was a law that one catholic could not enslave another. So every single slave black or white once they learned enough of their owners language and this interesting bit of catholic law would convert and then be freed. Of course slave owners were tired of losing their investment so the church changed its law. They changed it so slaves could only come from countries where catholicism was not the majority dominant religion. They changed it round so that it no longer mattered whether or not an individual was catholic but whether or not the COUNRTY the individual came from was catholic.

And then there is the fact that many africans worked with the slavers, and the fact that many of the decedents of those slave traffickers have nothing of value that amricans can claim for reparations

Posted by: lujlp at July 20, 2007 5:44 AM

Long live the debunking of all racial purity quests.

Currently, I'm looking at 1920s attempts to prove "scientifically" that albinism was Nature's attempt to preserve the original white race in colored populations. Not a pretty period!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 20, 2007 6:23 AM

Reverse Racism? That's got to be one of the weirdest terms to come out of the American language. Reverse racism would be extreme tolerance? ENG at BU stands for English Not Good so correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm going to assume that what Ayo meant was when minorities have racist tendencies towards us cracker. First I'd like to point out that crackers are not one unified race. Anyone growing up in a white neighborhood who was the wrong kind of white (Russian in an Irish/Italian neighborhood) knows this too well. Second if Al Sharpy (intentional spelling) uses the word cracker some how it's funny, but Imas uses "nappy headed hoes" he's a freaking clans man. Last I checked hoes was a derogatory word for women of all races. However Imas said it about a predominantly (9 of 14 members were a minority) minority team. He gets fired. White truck driver gets killed during the riot and Al totally ok with it. He (at least in his own mind) a leader of the black community and I don't hear much dissent on the issue of his self proclaimed leadership.

Reparations are absolute crap. If anyone is actually still alive from the time of slavery then yeah I could almost see it. That person would have to be over 140 years old. Also the economic advantage of slaves was mainly for the south. The north went to mechanical labor starting in 1813. So why should us northern crackers pay money for some stuff done the redneck we look down at?

Like Amy my family are immigrants too, only I came off the turnip truck with my family as opposed to my ancestors. We did not benefit from the economic prosperity of slaves. In fact with all of the public apologies (extra stuff) given to minorities our lives were harder. We didn't fit into the federal definition of a minority (Never knew Russians were a majority in the US) so we had to struggle just like most immigrant families. Now having never benefited from slavery in any way, having had ancestors who were serf in Russia, and having gotten where I am through sheer force of will you want me to hand over more pay check?

People are nobodies if the choose to be so. I agree with Axman, they were certainly not nobodies.

Posted by: vlad at July 20, 2007 7:02 AM

One thing that has puzzled me about your writings, Amy, is that it sounds as though you are not receiving your monthly check from the JCH (The Jews that Control Hollywood.) Did you forget to send them forwarding notices?

I use my monthly check from the JCH as well as from the Patriarchy (which you of course are not eligible for, Ha!) to pay for hookers, blow, and my 800 sq. foot apartment.

Posted by: jerry at July 20, 2007 7:21 AM

jerry, were going to have to expel you now. Rule number one of the great male conspiracy is never reveal that it acctually exists, and rule number two is never reveal what benifits it gives its members.

You broke both rules buddy, and you're gonna have to pay. Had you kept quiet you would have been eligable for free hookers(high class too) and blow when promoted to the third circle, but you just had to brag didnt you. Well now your out and you wont be getting any more checks.

Posted by: lujlp at July 20, 2007 7:46 AM

And then there is the fact that many africans worked with the slavers

I posted something along this line on another thread. Bottom line is, what's done is done, it's in the past, can't change it, but I would hope to hell that something can be learned from it! Playing the role of 'perpetual victim' doesn't work for an individual, let alone the majority of a race/races; it's long past time to get over it and move on.

Posted by: Flynne at July 20, 2007 7:55 AM

I pretty much agree with her about how (white) people so often say, "So, this black guy comes up to me......" 90% of the time the guy's race is totally irrelevant.

Your U of M story reminded me of a situation that I found myself in just a few years before the one you describe. I was walking down a stairway at Ann Arbor Huron High that was divided down the middle by a hand rail. It was class change and the crowd was moving at a glacial pace due to the fact that there was a group of guys sitting at the bottom on one side. Call me naive but I had no idea what they were up to so I just stepped through them. I soon realized what was going on when three of them stood up and semi- attacked me. No injuries on my part, it was more like a vigorous feel-up on their part. Hey, maybe they were members of the African-American gay rape society.

Posted by: rbnyc at July 20, 2007 7:55 AM

Everybody gets persecuted for something I think. Both my parents came over from Europe after WWII, my mom from Austria & my dad from Germany. They were both in their late teens when they came over, and did so to make a good life for themselves, because Europe was totally destroyed. They had to spend their childhood under Hitlers rule, and then my mom had to be hidden from Russian rape gangs by my grandmother.

I was called a nazi when I was 12 years old by the class bullies,and in my later years when I started dating, my jewish boyfriends were either told by their parents to dump me, or they told me to lie about my background so as not to upset grandma or grandpa.

I was called a Mangacake by my Italian friends, and the guys with Greek and Italian backgrounds were told by their mothers that Canadian girls were whores and they should only bring a nice Greek or Italian girl home to marry.

Posted by: Chrissy at July 20, 2007 8:00 AM

jerry, were going to have to expel you now. Rule number one of the great male conspiracy is never reveal that it acctually exists, and rule number two is never reveal what benifits it gives its members.

HAH! I knew it! :)

PS to Crid: Back on another thread you quoted a TFF song, and I just wanted to say, thanks for the earworm, dammit! ;)

Posted by: Flynne at July 20, 2007 8:02 AM

Racism is racism. No reverse. Amy, you live in a world where, I suppose, racism is an anomaly. People are judged by how hard they work or how hard people will themselves. Here in good ole South GA, history book racism is alive and well. People may not swing necklong from trees, but a 20 year old black kid at a local college got his tires slit this past week. A confederate flag was tied around his antenna. He happens to have a white girlfriend. Not an ugly one either: cute, slim, and a full set of pearly whites. I would love to hear from your black friends, though. Do you think they have never experienced racism? Do you think they brush it off as an annoyance as easily as your white ass does? It is difficult to see people you care about being treated with such inequity, even in towns where whites are the minority. Around here, white people are protected every day of their lives from hardships non-whites face. It is a fact white people do not have to believe or validate. And that is a very powerful position to take.

Posted by: kg at July 20, 2007 8:03 AM

I've been called "fag" and "homo" throughout my life. But that's okay. I like it rough.

Posted by: Lena at July 20, 2007 8:26 AM

I pretty much agree with her about how (white) people so often say, "So, this black guy comes up to me......" 90% of the time the guy's race is totally irrelevant.

I've blogged about this before. If you're in China, where most people look, well, Chinese, and you're talking about somebody who looks like me, you're going to call that person "a white girl" or something like that. Why? Because that person's looking non-Chinese is significant as a way of describing them. Most people in America look "white," for whatever that's worth vis a vis the Harris now. So, if somebody looks different from the majority it makes sense to mention that.

An example: I believe people describe me as "redheaded" since red hair is pretty rare. (I mean, when they aren't describing me as "that bitch" or something!)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 20, 2007 8:51 AM

Yes, racism is still a problem and will ever be. On the other side, asking for reparations is moronic at best.

The truth is, I am in an excellent position to ask reparations. You see, I have an Acadian family name. For those who don't know, my family, like many families were deported from their house during the Great Upheaval of 1755-63 (

We never asked to the British Crown for any excuses or compensations. We just moved on.

This being said, the whole retribution movement is pathetic. Who need to pay? Do the states of the North states will have to pay less because they fought against Sourtern states? Do we will need DNA test and genealogical proofs that you had a family member who was a slave to get the money? Did the package deal came with a return ticket to Africa and a "Sorry for all the trouble" card. As far as I am concerned, it's just another Scam based on race.

How hard it is to just move on?

Posted by: Toubrouk at July 20, 2007 9:06 AM

Chrissy - I've had the same experiences! My grandparents immigrated here after WWII from Germany because they had nothing but two suitcases and a five year old.

Two nights ago I was at my good friend's house. She had a visitor from out of town, "Jane." I'm not quite sure how it started, but w/in five minutes this woman looked at me and said "Because you're German you are responsible for the holocaust." I said the obvious "Ok, but I wasn't alive...but my grandparents were and they were in Germany. Are they guilty?" "YES! They didn't try to stop it!" I told her I had a great uncle die in a concentration camp b/c he distributed pamphlets trying to give information to German civilians about what was happening (people know "something" was happening but not what and not to the extent).

She then accused my family of being Anti-Semitic Jew-killers. Wellll, thanks for clearing that up.

She mentioned that I, personally, owe the Jews of the world. I "should give money to Israel - THE HOLY LAND." I can barely pay off my student loans. And uh, I don't exactly feel that the land is holy, alright, bitch?

I left, disgusted, and apparently, with the blood of millions on my hands. I am also white as white gets. So, apparently I'm to blame for slavery (my family wasn't here yet), the holocaust (my family was trying not to die, too), killing the Native Americans (not here...)...holy shit, I'm glad I'm not a man b/c then I'd also be guilty of keeping women down.

I'm still not quite over what happened two nights ago, Chrissy.

Posted by: Gretchen at July 20, 2007 9:08 AM

I told her I had a great uncle die in a concentration camp b/c he distributed pamphlets trying to give information to German civilians about what was happening


I saw the award-winning film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days very recently, about the amazingly brave German non-Jewish White Rose leaflet heroes. (The young ring-leaders were beheaded during the war, others jailed.)

Was your great uncle connected to them?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 20, 2007 9:51 AM

Since my father is white and my mother is black, does that mean I pay reparations to myself?

I can't believe so many people are suprised to find out that they have African DNA. Lord knows that a lot of the blacks that could pass for white, did so they could have a better life.

Posted by: meshaliu at July 20, 2007 10:01 AM

"Most people in America look "white," for whatever that's worth vis a vis the Harris now. So, if somebody looks different from the majority it makes sense to mention that."

Fully understood, I agree, however, it so often seems that blacks are identified when the story is in no way influenced or affected by their race.

KG--That is terrible about the tire slitting, etc. It would be nice if people could just get past that sort of thing but is goes two ways. There are plenty of neighborhoods here in New York where white faces are not welcome. There is a housing project that I often have to walk by where I receive plenty of harassment. I ,once, had an "Angry Black Man" stab me in the thigh while I was minding my own business on the subway. He then gave me a rant punctuated by trying (unsuccessfully) to stomp by foot when he got up to leave.

Posted by: rbnyc at July 20, 2007 10:02 AM


"Hey, maybe they were members of the African-American gay rape society."

I had a boyfriend who looked like Will Lemey (google him) 6'2'' 200 lbs. He almost got raped by a big 6'6'' black guy on the street, who tried to pin him down. When he came home that night he said "Now I know what its like to be a woman." I've dated other men who have been hassled by the gays, make very good boyfriends.

As a kid, and later teen people always assumed I was their race (except blacks of course). It was an interesting experience.

Posted by: PurplePen at July 20, 2007 10:11 AM

(It's interesting how many of these comments are so lengthy, like the post that inspired them. As a little boy I thought race would be over by now. People apparently have a great deal yet to say.)

Posted by: Crid at July 20, 2007 10:14 AM

Gretchen, my grandfather who lived in Vienna Austria during the war, listened to BBC and also helped smuggle gypsys out of the country. These were both very dangerous things to do-I think you could get shot by the authorities at the time. My grandmother stood up to a group of 5 or six drunk Russian soldiers who were looking to rape and pillage, and saved my mom and a few other girls that were hiding in the attic.

It might be nice if people actually got their facts straight before opening their big yaps.

I actually changed my last name to something Swedish in order to stop being harrassed, and because I didn't like my last name anyways.

Posted by: Chrissy at July 20, 2007 10:32 AM

> thanks for the earworm

Never heard that expression before.... It's perfect

Posted by: Crid at July 20, 2007 10:37 AM

I don't care what anybody from anybody's family did -- you are personally responsible only for your own actions (although if you have kids who are minors, while they are minors, you have some responsibility for theirs).

This thinking mirrors the concept of "original sin," which is just idiotic. Sorry, but as a newborn baby, you aren't guilty of shit.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 20, 2007 10:41 AM

As a kid, and later teen people always assumed I was their race (except blacks of course). It was an interesting experience.

I forgot to say I had nothing but good experiences with everyone and I dont have any stories like the ones above.

Posted by: PurplePen at July 20, 2007 10:51 AM

> as a newborn baby, you aren't
> guilty of shit.

That's not an innocence that counts for much... In its purest, unregulated manifestations, human nature sucks garden hose. Religion can be admired for first insisting that people check their impulses.

Posted by: Crid at July 20, 2007 10:57 AM

speak for yourself
I don't need religion to act rationally (morally), and racism is irrational.

Posted by: newjonny at July 20, 2007 11:20 AM

> as a newborn baby, you aren't
> guilty of shit.


After you've digested your first meal, *that's* when you're guilty of shit.

Posted by: Axman at July 20, 2007 11:38 AM

Jody - I'll ask my father when I see him tonight if he was related. My father told me about that movie, I'll have to look into it. People are generally shocked when they learn that non-Jews were also killed during the holocaust.

In theory, standing up for fellow humans is a GREAT idea. An obvious "why of course!" idea. As in, let's all fly over to Sudan right now! Only it's much more complicated. During the war Germans were being brutally raped and murdered by Russian and Polish soldiers. A good family friend, Margaret L., was in Dresden immediately after the firebombing. She was then gang raped by Russians (who came after) for days.

Was SHE supposed to STOP Hitler and the soldiers following his orders? No way. She would die and who would take care of the newly orphaned children she, in a manner of speaking, picked up along the way.

Amy is so right on. Guilt isn't transferable. Margaret Gilbert (social philosopher) and her notions of the collective group mind and collective guilt are absolute crap. And to the person who is half black and half white - you don't have to pay yourself but maybe you'll get a special tax break? ;-}

I hope people with African lineage are insulted by the idea of being paid reparations for things that didn't happen to them.

Where were all you guys two nights ago when this idiot was ripping the proverbial new asshole??

Posted by: Gretchen at July 20, 2007 11:58 AM

so i find all of your comments intriguing based on the fact that you are looking at racism on an individual, rather than an institutional basis. individually everyone may feel that they have been discriminated against or singled out because of their heritage, but the reality of our country is that the majority of the people who hold power are "white". Notice that i don't refer to any specific ethnicity as that is a separate type of categorization. When the author says that reverse racism does not exist, she is talkin in terms of power. discrimination can happen with anyone, prejudices are held by everyone, but systematic exclusion, which has happened to many immigrant groups in this country, has continued and, arguably, is still continuing with black and latino populations. and i say all this as a black woman, in the ivy league, who comes from working class roots. while i do recognize the importance of hard work in moving forward in society, i also understnad the boundaries that do prevent others from similar backgrounds from making these same strides.

Posted by: morgan at July 20, 2007 12:38 PM

We all have it easier or harder based on who we are, how we look, where we come from and how much money we have. I posted recently about how a male friend of mine was not hired to write a TV comedy even though he was the best person for the job. The network told the showrunner they had to hire a woman when they told him they were hiring my friend. That's wrong.

Because I didn't come from an important family or go to an Ivy League school, when I wrote letters asking to be considered for a job at Ogilvy & Mather right out of college, I was ignored. I went to their offices and tried to sneak in (in the days before 9-11, they didn't take this too seriously). The guard, who later became my buddy, caught me and sent me out. I stood outside and waited until somebody who looked important walked out. I had a very funny, creative resume (a phony handwriting analysis) and I asked him to pass it to somebody who could do something with it if he liked it. A week later I had an interview with the head of production, who loved my student film and hired me as an assistant producer...a job later held by Harvard alumni Reggie Hudlin, who happens to be black and who went on to make movies. I'm guessing his path was a bit smoother and more conventional than mine!

So, what I'm trying to say is, we all have things standing in our way. I don't believe infantilizing a race or a gender and giving them special treatment is the answer. Making a quality education a priority -- including helping kids realize they have something to be ambitious about -- I'm all for.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 20, 2007 12:55 PM

I asked the guy I stopped, I mean...who turned out to be Norman Berry, head of creative worldwide.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 20, 2007 12:58 PM

Sorry to be so off topic Amy, you can just ignore this! - Jody seemed interested and this topic is very important to me.

Jody - It was my grandfather's cousin and best friend, Max Stelzer. He spoke out against the Nazi regime BEFORE the mass killing of Jews, Gypsies, gays, blacks and others began. At that point it was communists and loudmouths.

He was in Dachau as a slave laborer. After Morgenthau released his plan for utter destruction of Germany - the country - and its people in entirety (FDR went along w/ it in his state of delirium before death, Truman fired Morgenthau) Hitler began murdering everyone as a reaction to The Morgenthau Plan as well as being effed up in the head and having a predisposed hatred of Jews, Gypsies, etc.

When Max got out of the camp (he lived, it was another group of people in my family who died in another camp) he was fucked up for the rest of his life after watching the innocent people who were murdered. But I guess he's still guilty of murder.

It was another group in my family who passed out pamphlets about the regime and, as far as I know, THEY were NOT caught and killed - for if they had they surely would have been.

Posted by: Gretchen at July 20, 2007 2:05 PM

In theory, standing up for fellow humans is a GREAT idea. An obvious "why of course!" idea. As in, let's all fly over to Sudan right now! Only it's much more complicated.

The problem is not with the Germans who did not help the Jews (and gypsies etc.); it's with the much, much larger number of Germans who persecuted them and killed them and robbed them of their property.

During the war Germans were being brutally raped and murdered by Russian and Polish soldiers.

It was tit for tat. The Germans did the same and worse when they invaded Poland and Russia. Read your history.

Posted by: kishke at July 20, 2007 2:21 PM

The first step to reducing the racial issues is to stop harping on the past. That is not to say forget it, just let it stay where it is, the past. Every single group has at one time or another held power. When a group comes into power after getting the shit kicked out of them they want pay back. The power shifts now a new group is in power, this group was picked on by the previous group, the cycle continues ad-nausium. We as a species just have to let it go.

Yes, no matter what we do there will still be ignorant bigots. Yes everyone of us has in someway or another been picked on, as far as I can tell it's not about race so much as being different. If you stick out then those looking to cause problems will single you out.

Posted by: vlad at July 20, 2007 2:36 PM

Read with fascination, Gretchen. Thank you.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 20, 2007 2:59 PM

TO: Amy Alkon, et al.
RE: Racism

I'm reminded of a famous reply a first sergeant gave to the Inspector General's rep for Equal Opportunity during an AGI....

"When I look at that formation, I don't see black, white, red, brown or yellow. All I see is 'green'."

Last iteration of the decadenal census, every racial question asked on the form, I scratched through and wrote "American".

I agree with the item over on the Volohk Conspiracy the other day....

"The Way to Stop Discrimination on the Basis of Race Is To Stop Discriminating on the Basis of Race"


[Sometimes the answer is so simple it eludes us.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 20, 2007 3:44 PM

P.S. And for those who insist on living [their victimhood] in the past.... one sergeant I know would say....

...."Shut up and soldier."

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 20, 2007 3:46 PM

"Both parties wiill be offered a receipt."

It would be worth a couple of bucks just to have one of these reciepts as a souvenier. Mounted on the wall it would be an interesting conversation piece.

If Gretchen ran into another nutjob she could just say "hey man, I paid, I gotta receipt" I bet you would get a really funny reaction.

Posted by: winston at July 20, 2007 5:50 PM

...."Shut up and soldier."

Give us a break from the Private Benjamin platitudes, Chuck!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 20, 2007 8:47 PM

I prefer: lead, follow or get out of the way. Actually, my version: lead, follow or get out of MY way.

Posted by: Joe at July 21, 2007 6:16 AM

Give us a break from the Private Benjamin platitudes, Chuck!

Jody wins the coffee-snorter remark of the day contest.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 21, 2007 10:31 AM

I also find the whole Jewish, chest-thumping "We're persecuted!" thing equally tiresome

Jews still think that? I'm amazed. I'm Jewish, in my late 50's, and never once in my life have I encountered anything resembling persecution directed at me. My father had some problems with anti-Semitism early in his career, but that was over 50 years ago.

Posted by: Rex Little at July 21, 2007 5:50 PM

Grow up in a then-new neighborhood in the midwest where you're in one of three Jewish families, and the other kids are from whatever brand of Christianity teaches them that the Jews killed Jesus and are to be hated, disparaged, and isolated, and you'll experience some of the fun I did as a kid. Kids egged our house, shaving creamed anti-Jewish epithets on our garage door, called me "dirty Jew," and did other fun stuff. I had no friends until I was in high school. My father had to go to the principal when I was in junior high to get some girls to stop bullying me because I was Jewish. The mother of a friend of my little sister's told my mother, "You're not like other Jews." And so on, and so on. I don't dwell on it now, but it wasn't exactly a laugh-riot at the time.

On a brighter note, one of the girls who bullied me in junior high later saw my column running in a Detroit paper and e-mailed me to apologize.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 22, 2007 2:53 AM

I didn't get it as bad as Amy, but in Los Angeles in elementary school in the late sixties I was told I killed Jesus, and even now I am asked why I don't celebrate Christmas (especially since "some other Jew we both know" does.)

Last year someone painted a swastika near where we park. I don't think they were targeting us. When I asked the apartment manager to paint over it, I had to explain to her what a swastika was and why it was offensive.

Tremendous amounts of ignorance abounds.

Posted by: jerry at July 22, 2007 1:44 PM

"while i do recognize the importance of hard work in moving forward in society, i also understand the boundaries that do prevent others from similar backgrounds from making these same strides."


Posted by: kg at July 23, 2007 9:18 AM

TO: Jody Tresidder
RE: Hmmmm....

"Give us a break from the Private Benjamin platitudes..." -- Jody Tresidder

....I don't recall that line in Private Benjamin.

Maybe I should watch it again, tonight....


[The First Sergeant of any company IS the local god.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 23, 2007 3:28 PM

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