James, this is such a complex issue, with so many variables that it can be very hard to determine any one issue as being the cause. It’s obvious that we have reached different points of belief about what actually constitutes systemic, historical racism.
I do not deny that other races are fully capable of harmful racism. I haven’t lived in Japan…but I lived in Vietnam and Thailand. I have also lived in Iran and Germany. (In addition to both US East and West coasts and Texas.) I am fully cognizant of the Asian prejudices against round eyes (and white skin). Of course every race thinks it’s the superior one. BUT. I do believe that it is the whites who have made it a truly global undertaking to force their way of life onto the “lesser” races — except that in pure numbers, WHITES are the minority. Most of the world’s people have brown or darker skin.
What constitutes “superior culture with superior technology”? Who decides (or decided) that having stronger weapons, infectious diseases and the arrogance that “God is on our side” is actually superior to:
1. South American indigenous races: The Spanish conquistadors found CITIES. Not a series of huts, huddling together in the wilderness. They had flourishing, dynamic cultures. Human sacrifice is not a reason to assume primitive behaviors that need to be “uplifted”. Primitive and superior are VERY relative terms and usually assigned by the victor — who understandably considers themselves to be superior just because they managed to kill off enough of the “primitives”.
2. Native Americans in the North American continent: The Europeans who first landed on this shore did not find a land devoid of people, just waiting to be used by whomever showed up first. This country was already occupied by people who lived in every area. And here’s where we really have to consider just what “superior” means in this context, because the Native Americans did not immediately kill every single person who stepped off the boat.
Perhaps they should have. Then there would still be The Nations in truly national numbers; the buffalo would never have faced extinction and there would still be millions of acres of old growth wood. The waters would be clean and free-flowing. (No Hoover Dams.)
3. The Middle East: The oil is NOT ours. The oil is not in OUR lands. But because we want it, we have no problem killing however many of those “lesser” people, whose “lesser” status comes because they are Not Us, Not White,and ergo, Not “Superior” Beings. We are just as efficient as the conquistadors hundreds of years ago: we are efficient at killing. In large numbers. Whites have had no problem interfering in these countries’ governments to make sure that The Government in Charge answers to them and keeps the black gold flowing. (Shah of Iran, until 1979.)
4. History has more examples: The “Holy” Crusades, all of them. The Nazis in Germany, 1934–1944. The British Empire. The Greeks and the Romans. And so on… I do not deny war, killing and atrocities by ANY race. I just reiterate: whites have made a career of trying to take over the whole world, not just their own little corner of it. I’m pretty sure that the Chinese have not expanded their culture throughout the world by war. Doing it by cuisine, no argument. (Or by cheaply made and cheaply priced products that easily outsell the more expensive versions. What constitutes superior in that equation?)
I love modern technology. I’m not sure I would grant the title of “superior” to the technology we have going on now because it is not life-affirming. It makes some things easier, but that is not the same thing as superior. In many ways, technology (while less primitive, of course) is not the best answer at all. Too much dependence on things that require external energy, external maintenance, and reliance on a system that is not the most dependable, most invulnerable source of power means that when the electricity goes off…life stops. Can’t buy things, can’t sell them. Can’t check your FB, can’t Google how to make dinner, can’t watch TV. And people go insane because they don’t remember how to do those things without technology. There’s a reason so many post-apocalyptic stories have alternate energies or a return to an older technology with a new science fiction twist. (Steampunk, anyone?)
Our “superior” technology makes us more susceptible to attacks of opportunity and sabotage. (Russian hacking in the US elections; Equifax losing vital, sensitive information from their financial database; Yahoo being hacked so thoroughly no account is missed.) If something makes us more vulnerable to being harmed in some way…it’s not superior.
I would suggest that this also means the conquistador’s weapons were more efficient, not necessarily superior. You’re just as dead from a stone knife as you are from Toledo steel. The tool itself is efficient or inefficient, depending on what it is being used against — another weapon or just a rock too hard to shape easily without a more efficient manner. (Thinking of the pyramids here; hands and backs and legs of humans built them, with tools that were not as efficient as those which have since been made. But they were made.)
“Different from” does not equal “inferior — or superior — to”.
You said, “ Racism is part of it, of course, but there are many more contributing factors as well. Black people tend to be born into single parent homes. Black people tend to be poor. …two factors played out again and again.” I say that racism is the root cause of “black people tend to be poor” and “into single parent homes”. From the Federal Safety Net site:
“Here are the current U.S. Poverty Statistics released September 2017 by the U.S. Census Bureau [i]. They represent various categories of the population and the percentage of people within those categories in a poverty status (more on Poverty Threshold page):
Adults not working — 31%
Adults with a disability — 27%
Single moms — 27%
Adults without a high school diploma — 25%
Black Americans — 22%
Hispanic Americans — 19%
Foreign born non-citizens — 20%
All children — 18%
Single dads — 13%
Seniors — 9%
Married couples — 5%
Adults with college degree or higher — 5%
Full time working adults — 2%”
And the total amount of Americans living in poverty: “The official poverty rate in 2016 was 12.7 percent, down 0.8 percentage points from 13.5 percent in 2015. This is the second consecutive annual decline in poverty. Since 2014, the poverty rate has fallen 2.1 percentage points from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent.” (Census Bureau) From the Atlantic, we get the good news that poverty is decreasing — and the bad news which shows the geographic and economic divisions growing in America. Far too many Americans are living one major catastrophe from poverty — one car accident, one termination, or one natural disaster would be all it took for them to be homeless, jobless and helpless.
That’s for all Americans. Add some melanin to the skin and the numbers are worse. My favorite question then gets asked: WHY? Why are people of color, and especially black people, more represented in poverty? White people still make up the majority of the population, so the math would seem to indicate that it should be a larger percentage within poverty. The Census Bureau doesn’t even give the figures for just being white in those numbers — but they do for the blacks and Hispanics. I could write a doctoral thesis dissertation on the many ways we failed to provide appropriate and equal education, opportunity, and treatment for those who are not white throughout history.
Others can write similar works on how Japanese discriminate against non-Japanese or how the Middle Eastern countries all hate each other. I do point out that in both of those examples, it is not a matter of skin color that creates the animosity. Japanese don’t despise “gaijin” because we’re white; they despise gaijin because we are not JAPANESE. Everyone in the Middle East has brown skin and yet they gladly kill each other; being the same color doesn’t save anyone.
We’re not going to come up with answers or a better way of dealing with this any time soon. We’re certainly not going to do it using only this particular medium. (See what I did? haha)
BTW, you said that “… something tells me that you are pro choice. At any rate, you know darn well that you are more valuable than a squirrel or rat.” My stance on abortion doesn’t have anything to do with the topic at hand. As far as being more valuable than a squirrel or rat? Not to the squirrel or rat. We have trees because of the squirrels, who can’t remember where they hide all the tree seeds (nuts). Rats also serve their function and serve it well. Of course, I wouldn’t want to die because I’ve swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel playing in the street, but I will try to avoid it.
I will admit to being pro choice — but I take it well beyond the question of reproduction. Life is about choices, every single second of every single day. That’s all we really do, you know. Our entire life is nothing more than a series of choices we make; some are as mundane as do I get out of bed now or in 10 minutes? Others are more momentous: do I take this job, marry this person, jump off this cliff? The really head-exploding part of this choice making is that every single choice has consequences. Some we can deduce, others just happen and we’re left wondering what the hell just happened.
This conversation has been interesting. However, I feel that we’re reaching a point where we’re just going to keep circling around the topics without any particular change in point of view for either of us. So I consider this to be my choice: I am stepping away from this, going on to other things. I have limited energy and I have to choose how and where I spend it. I have other writing to do, my own that isn’t a response to someone else’s words. Thank you for engaging in this discussion; I hope that you have found it as thought-provoking as I have. Peace to you and your beloved. (I also have a beloved; I know how wonderful it is to find The One.)