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“Sins of the Father”

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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15 December 2019 11:44
 

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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15 December 2019 12:27
 
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

Your analogy stinks. A better one would be that the descendants of the Founding Fathers bear recognition—and compensation—for being the descendants of the Founding Fathers: “Good Deeds of the Fathers.”

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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15 December 2019 12:59
 
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

Although you are asking for arguments ‘against’, I just want to say that full acknowledgement and promotion of the truth, i.e. the entire and true history of one’s country, seems to be the foundation needed for healing and reconciliation and essential in order to address past wrongs and move forward.

Canada’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” has done important work in this regard, but it’s just a start.
http://nctr.ca/reports2.php

 

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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15 December 2019 13:27
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 15 December 2019 12:27 PM
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

Your analogy stinks. A better one would be that the descendants of the Founding Fathers bear recognition—and compensation—for being the descendants of the Founding Fathers: “Good Deeds of the Fathers.”

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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15 December 2019 13:39
 
Jan_CAN - 15 December 2019 12:59 PM
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

Although you are asking for arguments ‘against’, I just want to say that full acknowledgement and promotion of the truth, i.e. the entire and true history of one’s country, seems to be the foundation needed for healing and reconciliation and essential in order to address past wrongs and move forward.

Canada’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” has done important work in this regard, but it’s just a start.
http://nctr.ca/reports2.php

I welcome people who are in favor of a fuller understanding of history.  I thank you for providing a source and link.  I don’t have the monopoly in defending the value of history.

There’s more than just the commission in Canada as well.  There has been a concerted effort to gather and archive the stories of people’s lives, and particularly to document them in their own words.  Where are the Children.  That’ll take you to a decently large collection of lengthy interviews from people who lived through the Canadian residential school system.

Personally, I’m not an expert, but I’m more versed in American stories.  I’ve spent time at the oldest American Indian Studies department in the country (they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, coincidentally).  I do think that some of the Canadian projects are damn impressive, both in their scope and availability.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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15 December 2019 14:09
 
Garret - 15 December 2019 01:27 PM

If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

Your welcome to request some extra effort from other patrons but this is not a form of policing admins are prepared to take. Ignore as you see fittin’.

I point out that making an admission like this…

I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

…might invite patrons to share their principles or values on the matter who have no idea how or motivation to citation-ize their opinion. It is an unusual request.

 

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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15 December 2019 14:21
 
Garret - 15 December 2019 01:27 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 15 December 2019 12:27 PM
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

Your analogy stinks. A better one would be that the descendants of the Founding Fathers bear recognition—and compensation—for being the descendants of the Founding Fathers: “Good Deeds of the Fathers.”

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

You just violated your own rule.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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15 December 2019 14:43
 

If a past “sin” leads to a particular injustice today, why should we not address it,  even though we personally bear no responsibility?  The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law, but blacks, still suffering from the consequences of the sin of slavery, did not have the right to even attend certain public schools.  Irrespective of whose fault that was, it was incumbent upon society to address the issue, as our own Constitution was implicated.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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15 December 2019 15:03
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 15 December 2019 02:21 PM

You just violated your own rule.

No nitpicking please.

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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15 December 2019 15:16
 
Nhoj Morley - 15 December 2019 02:09 PM
Garret - 15 December 2019 01:27 PM

If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

Your welcome to request some extra effort from other patrons but this is not a form of policing admins are prepared to take. Ignore as you see fittin’.

I point out that making an admission like this…

I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

…might invite patrons to share their principles or values on the matter who have no idea how or motivation to citation-ize their opinion. It is an unusual request.

Oh, I fully understand that my “request” will not adhered to by mods.

And if patrons have no interest, or motivation to provide sources to back them up, that’s fine.  They can post all they want.  This is specifically is a topic of professional expertise for myself, and I understand that may put some people at a disadvantage.  If they need assistance in how to cite a source, I’m willing to work with them on that.

I have laid out the framework for how people can get me to reply to their argument.  If they choose to not follow that framework, I cannot force them to, but before they even posted the first time, I already told them how to get my attention.  If they want my attention, then can follow that framework.  If they do not care whether I respond or not, they can ignore that framework.

I do work on topics like this professionally.  I am certainly willing to share my expertise with the forum, but gaining access to my time and expertise in this regard is going to require effort on other people’s participation.  They are not required to put in that time and effort, but their demands for reply will not be honored.

[ Edited: 15 December 2019 15:19 by Garret]
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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15 December 2019 15:16
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 15 December 2019 02:21 PM
Garret - 15 December 2019 01:27 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 15 December 2019 12:27 PM
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

Your analogy stinks. A better one would be that the descendants of the Founding Fathers bear recognition—and compensation—for being the descendants of the Founding Fathers: “Good Deeds of the Fathers.”

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

You just violated your own rule.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

 
burt
 
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burt
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15 December 2019 16:16
 
Garret - 15 December 2019 11:44 AM

The thread title is an argument that essentially states that modern Americans bear no culpability or responsibility to address damage caused by previous generations that are long dead.

As a historian, I find this stance confusing.  If we were to switch it around to a question like… Should we recognize the importance of the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the Constitution as a governing document, I think there’d be a lot of agreement that this is okay.  To which I would respond that you can’t just take the parts of history you like and discard the ones you don’t.  Either history has an impact on our current society or it doesn’t.

More pragmatically, there is precedence.  For example, the US government violated the Treaty of Ft. Laramie1 over 130 years ago.2  After many, many decades of court battles, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that awarded the Great Sioux Nation $100 million in restitution.  Of course that was in 1980.  The tribes involved have decided to hold out for the land itself (ie, the Black Hills), and the money has sat accruing interest and was valued at $1.3 billion about 8 years ago.3

Overall, I find the argument that past sins of previous generations do not deserve to be addressed to be fairly weak.  In a lot of discussions on these boards, we don’t even discuss anything like reparations or restitution, we just use the past to discuss it as an explanation for where we are now and how to understand the current state of things.  Seeing as how courts, congress, and many, many other institutions think that such past events can be so relevant as to require things like reparations/restition… I would love to hear the argument from people on this forum why we should not even consider past events as relevant in understanding the present.

Please note, I am providing sources for my claims.  If you want to debate this topic, if you provide no sources, I will not respond.  If I were a mod, I would delete all posts without citations.  Just flat out, I’d make it a rule for this thread, but alas, I am not.  If you don’t have sources to back you up, all you have is your opinion, and I don’t care about your opinion.

If you are having trouble finding sources, I am not going to dig through archives for you, but I will help you find those archives.  I also have an active university library account, so I can get full journal articles if that is a road block.

No need to respond to this, I’m not citing any sources.

I don’t think that anybody would deny that past actions by governmental bodies have left a legacy of damage for us today. The questions arise when we ask what ought to be done about this now; who is responsible; should the responsibility be spread beyond official bodies and organizations to entire population groups; and so on. There are also different levels of consideration. The example you provide of the Treaty of Ft. Laramie is very different from the issue of racism and Jim Crow. Why? Because it is a case in which a formal treaty arrived at by the national government was violated by that government so there is an obvious party responsible for reparations, just as I could sue a person who violated a contractual agreement I was a party to. If reparations for slavery were to be established, who would be the recipients? The descendants of former slaves, but what about somebody like Obama? Certainly not a descendent of a slave. What about somebody who is part black but had a white grandfather (legally married to his grandmother). Does that person receive less than somebody whose lineage goes back directly to slaves? I think we can see programs like affirmative action as a partial attempt at reparations, although not couched in those terms, but are they enough? And what about negative effects arising from intended helpful government programs that turn out to be at best ineffective and at worst to exacerbate problems. What about resistance from black communities against work that highlights issues of importance that are being ignored (well, a source, https://www.city-journal.org/html/black-family-40-years-lies-12872.html). So the basic questions are: what objective information do we have, and what is our best response (or suite of responses). Personally I don’t think that holding all whites responsible for the disastrous consequences of slavery is valid, but I’m perfectly willing to see portions of my tax burden going to fund effective programs designed to respond to those consequences and promote equity in the present.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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15 December 2019 16:53
 

I appreciate trying to push the debate further along.  Except there are people who have on these forums literally taken the position that we cannot consider slavery as even having any influence or impact on the circumstances of black people in America today.  No impact.  None.  And often times, the phrase for the thread title, is used as shorthand for their argument.

I’m interested in the points you raise, but before we discuss whether Group A is owed [X], we would first firmly establish whether or not history was relevant to the current state of things.  Does the past matter, or does it matter only selectively.

This is the most recent post I am aware of.  But GAD and a few others have made essentially the same argument, often with the same phrase “sins of the father”.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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15 December 2019 16:55
 
Garret - 15 December 2019 03:16 PM

  If they need assistance in how to cite a source, I’m willing to work with them on that.

That’s cool.
I did not intend to discourage you. We would welcome many threads that establish their own format for specific and stated intentions.

I feel duty-bound to mention that this will be like putting up a revival tent in a frontier town.

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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15 December 2019 18:47
 

I disagree with nothing in the OP.  History records that blacks were brought here from Africa and sold as slaves to, by and large, whites.  The vast majority of blacks in this country today can hardly be considered “immigrants”.  This would be an entirely different country today if there were no descendants of conscripted inhabitants by virtue of never having had any conscripted inhabitants in the first place.

The South seceded to maintain slavery.  The North fought against the secession in order to maintain The Union, not necessarily to free the slaves.  We wound up with Yankees, Rebels, freed slaves, and a brokered election (the Compromise of 1877) that allowed The South to rise again (via Jim Crow, etc.), yet The Union remained intact.  Does the United States of America owe restitution and reparations to the descendants of slaves?  Indeed, however the logistics would be considerably gnarly.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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15 December 2019 19:39
 

The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection, not reparations.  Civil rights legislation was appropriate to get us to a level playing field.  Instead of reparations, let’s insure that everyone has equal opportunity and access to education.

 
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