And just to be clear, many in the north also dehumanized themselves by supporting slavery.
I think this nicely sums up a bigger point about the discussion of the contemporary meaning of the Civil War. Hunter says, "Any discussion of the Civil War must invariably include slavery, but this is not all that mattered at the time. Americans who try to make this the case dehumanize 19th century white Southerners in much the same way that racists stereotype minorities." There are two issues with this statement.
1) Slavery was not all that mattered at the time to some people, from the north and the south, but failing to appreciate that slavery was all that mattered to 4 million enslaved men women and children is an egregious oversight. Slavery wasn't the only issue if and only if you weren't a slave.
2) Claiming that slavery should be a principal concern in the debate does not dehumanize white Southerners. They took care of that themselves by supporting slavery tacitly or explicitly.
My contention is that the conservative understanding of health care reform is incomplete. Under Jack's last post I posed the following, to which I received no response:
"The recent Health Care Bill was strongly opposed by conservatives and the GOP alike. The central issue in the debate was whether we as a country ought to extend health care coverage to 45 million uninsured Americans. The left saw it as a moral imperative, the right as a government take over. Most hotly contested was an expansion of medicaid and the potential inclusion of a public option for the poorest of our citizens. Of those 45 million currently uninsured, the vast majority of them are minorities. Site what principles you like, but Tea Partiers are fighting tooth and nail to keep minorities uninsured. Whether this is you intention is another question all together, but you are either overtly racist, or racist and woefully ignorant of that fact.
If you respond please tell me how, regardless of your motivations, you are not advocating denying millions of minorities equal access to basic services. Sounds a lot like Jim Crow to me."
I'd appreciate your answer. I'll also add that your first paragraph is correct in that my argument (not thought experiment) only works if there is "enough racism to go around." Unfortunately this is not an assumption but a fact. No one wants to understand the world in terms of race, but it's going to take a while to cleanse ourselves of a profoundly racist legacy. (The civil rights act was passed less than 50 years ago) The impatience, and unwillingness of conservatives to help in the process makes them either immoral or amoral.
Reader Out of State,
My post directly addresses the topic of Jack's article, "white guilt." In particular it's an argument which explains the unequal distribution of the burdens of racism, and how this burden creates the appearance of guilt in some "Liberals." You might also argue that it creates genuine feelings of guilt, but the cause remains the same. In other words it explains the phenomenon which Jack is trying to understand in thinking about and writing his article.
Moreover, you have failed to address my argument directly. It would seem your oblique reference to my post is off-topic.
Even though I don't share the view, I can understand how one would perceive certain groups as burdening themselves thinking of race matters. But I'd submit the following argument for consideration.
1) There is racism in the US in some quantity
2) Racism is an ill and it's elimination desirable
3) Among the US population there are differences in the level of an individual's concern and attention to racism and its effects.
4) Some people are not at all concerned or concerned very little about racism as a problem.
5) Some members of society have to shoulder more than their fair share of the collective burden of racism.
The first 4 premises are pulled directly from reader comments and Jack's article. And the conclusion logically follows. More over, all premises and the conclusion are true so the argument is not only valid but cogent too.
To disprove the conclusion you must disagree with the veracity of a premise (which would make you a flip-flopper and wrong) or point to some unstated assumption. My guess is that you will say I assume that racism is a bigger problem than it really is (in your minds). In that case, the argument comes down to a question of the "quantity" of racism in the US. There's lots of empirical evidence to support the notion that its ubiquitous, and none to support the opposite. Please refer to America's Promise Alliance for an enormous data set on the effects of race and socio-economic status (the two are almost indistinguishable in the US) on one's life.
Are you basing your argument on anecdotal evidence derived from a life time as a white male? Bravo.
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