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Reparations for Black Americans and the African diaspora


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 My personal opinion on this is that justice can never be served. And that we can never give an adequate amount of Reparations as it isn't a matter of money, and there is never enough as you can heal a broken body with money, but you can't heal a person's psychological trauma. The sad thing is that we see history being repeated repeatedly, and yet we don't seem to have learned from it. The best we can do is to start with careful evaluation and correction of ourselves daily and to put ourselves in other's shoes before making decisions. I apologize in advance if my opinion has hurt or offended anyone.

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13 hours ago, chamomile said:

 My personal opinion on this is that justice can never be served. And that we can never give an adequate amount of Reparations as it isn't a matter of money, and there is never enough as you can heal a broken body with money, but you can't heal a person's psychological trauma. The sad thing is that we see history being repeated repeatedly, and yet we don't seem to have learned from it. The best we can do is to start with careful evaluation and correction of ourselves daily and to put ourselves in other's shoes before making decisions. I apologize in advance if my opinion has hurt or offended anyone.

I agree that reparations alone won't solve things and trauma can't be fully healed.

 

But there's more to it.

 

What do Jews think of Germany today, and what is the nature of relations between Israel and Germany?

 

They seem to be largely cordial, because Jews can see that a sincere effort at atonement was made, and most Germans are truly ashamed and regretful of what happened. That cycle of violence has ended.

 

Contrast that with other issues like the slaughter of Native Americans, slavery of African Americans, and colonization of India and Africa. While some individuals may regret it, the systems that caused these horrors are largely intact (except for the Confederacy) and most of us can see that there is pride rather than shame over what happened.

 

There is no last word in geopolitics, and civilizations rise and fall. But institutional memory tends to be fairly long.

 

China went through a century of humiliation at the hands of western powers, but they were a powerful empire for millenia before that. They're fast regaining their earlier place in the world, and they seem to be hyper-focused on vengeance of some form. That's one of the reasons they're patiently working to take down Western hegemony and usurp America's position in the world. They've managed to get Greece to vote for Chinese interests and against European interests in the EU, and they've also got Canadian and Australian leaders compromising on their own principles to retain a large customer for their natural resources. Most European countries don't see a choice but to balance foreign policy between Chinese and American interests.

 

They will strike when they feel the time is right. A provincial leader in China recently said that in 30-50 years, he wants to see an American bus boy in every house in Beijing. Whether that will happen or not is a different conversation. The point is that Chinese leadership is focused on vengeance, and they're fast gaining the ability to extract it.

 

India and Africa have risen a lot more slowly because they're recovering from much deeper wounds, but rest assured the mentality in their institutions may turn out to be the same.

 

In the long run, it may turn out to be beneficial for the West to truly repent. History does repeat itself like you said.

Edited by Anirudh Ramachandran
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2 hours ago, Anirudh Ramachandran said:

I agree that reparations alone won't solve things and trauma can't be fully healed.

 

But there's more to it.

 

What do Jews think of Germany today, and what is the nature of relations between Israel and Germany?

 

They seem to be largely cordial, because Jews can see that a sincere effort at atonement was made, and most Germans are truly ashamed and regretful of what happened. That cycle of violence has ended.

 

Contrast that with other issues like the slaughter of Native Americans, slavery of African Americans, and colonization of India and Africa. While some individuals may regret it, the systems that caused these horrors are largely intact (except for the Confederacy) and most of us can see that there is pride rather than shame over what happened.

 

There is no last word in geopolitics, and civilizations rise and fall. But institutional memory tends to be fairly long.

 

China went through a century of humiliation at the hands of western powers, but they were a powerful empire for millenia before that. They're fast regaining their earlier place in the world, and they seem to be hyper-focused on vengeance of some form. That's one of the reasons they're slowly working to take down Western hegemony and usurp America's position in the world. They've managed to get Greece to vote for Chinese interests and against European interests in the EU, and they've also got Canadian and Australian leaders compromising on their own principles to retain a large customer for their natural resources. Most European countries don't see a choice but to balance foreign policy between Chinese and American interests.

 

They will strike when they feel the time is right. A provincial leader in China recently said that in 30-50 years, he wants to see an American bus boy in every house in Beijing. Whether that will happen or not is a different conversation. The point is that Chinese leadership is focused on vengeance, and they're fast gaining the ability to extract it.

 

India and Africa have risen a lot more slowly because they're recovering from much deeper wounds, but rest assured the mentality in their institutions may turn out to be the same.

 

In the long run, it may turn out to be beneficial for the West to truly repent. History does repeat itself like you said.

 

Perhaps one day, when there is a time when we as humans can comprehend that humanity is one and that just because we can doesn't mean we should, most violent and heinous acts may cease.  

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12 hours ago, Anirudh Ramachandran said:

I do believe punishment is necessary, but I'm talking about punishment of individuals who committed crimes, and not punishment of the English people. Their attitudes are mere reflections of the systems, ideologies, and propaganda they grew up with.

 

As for your comment about anger, I'm years past that. I spent a lot of time getting angry over colonial history earlier. Now I only focus on showing an alternate way to view the situation, and discuss principles and practical realities. Discussions do get heated because other people have also spent years studying WWII from a Western perspective, and they're unable to digest a lot of things I say.

 

Why do I think it's important to punish Elizabeth in particular? Because she didn't just get away with her crimes, she also served as a monarch for close to 70 years and is regarded as a hero in Britain. You may not believe in punishment, but I think you can see that rewarding an oppressor can do rotten things to the psyche of a country. The most celebrated Britons in recent history are Churchill and Elizabeth, who are both war criminals.

 

In Churchill's case, I think Indians have done a decent job in recent past of bringing his crimes to light, but every single time a Brit is involved in the conversation, they use manipulation and whataboutism to make him seem like a hero.

 

I also know that it's highly unlikely that Elizabeth will be punished in her lifetime, and she will be sent off in a royal fashion. But I don't think she deserves it, and if anyone disagrees with the colonial mindset, they would agree with me.

 

I'll address the perfectly good solutions that you provided. I just think they may not work in this situation.

 

I think it's important to talk about Elizabeth and Churchill as mentally ill people, as I'm sure they suffered from some form of Narcissism or Sociopathy.

 

And how exactly are we going to do that when Britain keeps talking about these two individuals as angels on Earth? That's why I believe punishing Elizabeth is the best solution as of now, because it will become very difficult to present her as a mentally ill individual later. The British defense mechanism will shoot up because they'll have to agree that they were celebrating two Sociopaths for nearly a century.

 

Your last point about building it from within is very valid, but it won't work here. The Nazis operated within Germany, and Jim Crow laws were within America. The British Empire had an asymmetric mode of operation.

 

On the one hand, Britain was a democracy with a high level of individual freedom. On the other hand, their Parliament voted again and again to implement martial law in Africa and India, starve millions to death, extract the resources and finances of these countries until they were hollow and so on.

 

The British benefited from all of that theft and slavery, but they never had to see it because it happened thousands of miles away. They were able to say "Look at how awesome our country is. We are so free and liberated", and they probably used to think the same was true in the colonies.

 

Colonialism is over. The effects of it are still being felt, but only in the colonies. Brits only see what's going on in their own country. They see Indians and Africans immigrating to England due to circumstances in their own countries (that are a direct result of colonialism) and say "Look at how benevolent we are. We built railroad tracks and helped their countries, and now we're giving them a better life in our country. Yay us".

 

The circumstances that led to public outcries in Germany and America just don't exist here.

 

I hope this makes sense.

I think whataboutism is only possible because these issues seem remote they are a matter of interesting debate that you set aside once you are bored instead of real issues with consequences. There are some things you can’t look people in the eye and say once you have comprehended the real degree of suffering inflicted.

 

Churchill is seen as a war hero for keeping the country together and valiantly resisting the Nazis. The West like to think they saved the world from the horrors of fascism and Nazism and later totalitarian communism that the whole world should thank them on bended knee for it. But, these things only arose as a reaction to the horrors of capitalism, to a mindset of imperialism that was both responsible for the Versailles treaty and the reactionary desire for empire and the supporting nationalistic/eugenicist mentalities that pervaded Germany and Japan. (The same racist mindsets that were very likely in other Western countries as well, just they never saw the need to vanquish others to the same extent because they were resting on their laurels from the first world war and had nothing to prove).

 

I think this is what the West needs to understand. Imperialism, colonialism, capitalism have their consequences and sometimes they come raining down from the sky in a blitzkrieg and sometimes its Chinese officials saying they want American bus boys.

 

Forgiveness is real, but in order to do so the whole world would need to commit to moving past these very same paradigms that produced such phenomena. 

Edited by Delphi
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@Anirudh Ramachandran, you are making sense, yes. I get what you're saying, but you're looking at the West as a monolith. You say its impossible for this to happen from the inside. But we are having these discussions about the impact of imperialism already. In Britain, the Queen (and the monarchy in general) has been hotly contested for decades: there are royalists and there are anti-monarchists. There are those who hate her, and those who love her. There are those ashamed of the Empire's actions, and those who aren't. In America, we're putting the horror of imperialism in our Disney movies (Frozen 2), and we're taught in school about its consequences. Remember we were once a colony, too. The problem at least for America is that we're taught about what happened in the past, and we're even taught about our own imperialism (and imperialism is not taught to be a good word), but we're not really taught its repercussions on the now, which is of course the most important part. But we are having these cultural conversations already--they began in the '60s, in fact earlier, and they've steadily gained ground and understanding as time has passed. At least in America, it's part of what we're trying to figure out about who we are as a nation now, and how we can fix what damage we caused by being who we used to be.

 

@Delphi's right: the British like Churchill because he saved them from German occupation, and helped to end World War II. There were bombs falling regularly in England; everyone sent their children away for their safety, lost family members, ran out of food. Churchill was a steady light during the trauma for them, and he ended the terror, and that's why he's looked at as a hero. Because of their personal experience with the war, and with him over the radio -- the rest of WW2 and anything else he did is ancillary to that personal emotional relationship. Is that fair? Not to those he caused harm to, no.

 

The problem is national memory is long, and international memory is short.

 

And the world is wide, and we can only know what we're exposed to.

 

You don't seem to know about the way imperialism is discussed here, for example. Likewise, I have no idea what political or cultural discussions are happening in India, or Nigeria, or Egypt, or South Africa. I could only tell you snippets, because I live in the US. We're concerned with keeping ourselves together right now, because it feels precariously like we might fall apart at any moment. These days, we talk about Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Israel, Britain, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia (because Russia is regularly cyber-attacking us), and that's the where-in-the-globe the conversation is currently focused.

 

It's one of the reasons I love this community: I get to learn about the political or cultural discourse I don't know about. The internet is great.

 

If the world is becoming a global community, that's one of the things we need to recognize and address. Sometimes the issue is just exposure.

Edited by Becca the Student
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1 hour ago, Becca the Student said:

@Anirudh Ramachandran, you are making sense, yes. I get what you're saying, but you're looking at the West as a monolith. You say its impossible for this to happen from the inside. But we are having these discussions about the impact of imperialism already. In Britain, the Queen (and the monarchy in general) has been hotly contested for decades: there are royalists and there are anti-monarchists. There are those who hate her, and those who love her. There are those ashamed of the Empire's actions, and those who aren't. In America, we're putting the horror of imperialism in our Disney movies (Frozen 2), and we're taught in school about its consequences. Remember we were once a colony, too. The problem at least for America is that we're taught about what happened in the past, and we're even taught about our own imperialism (and imperialism is not taught to be a good word), but we're not really taught its repercussions on the now, which is of course the most important part. But we are having these cultural conversations already--they began in the '60s, in fact earlier, and they've steadily gained ground and understanding as time has passed. At least in America, it's part of what we're trying to figure out about who we are as a nation now, and how we can fix what damage we caused by being who we used to be.

 

@Delphi's right: the British like Churchill because he saved them from German occupation, and helped to end World War II. There were bombs falling regularly in England; everyone sent their children away for their safety, lost family members, ran out of food. Churchill was a steady light during the trauma for them, and he ended the terror, and that's why he's looked at as a hero. Because of their personal experience with the war, and with him over the radio -- the rest of WW2 and anything else he did is ancillary to that personal emotional relationship. Is that fair? Not to those he caused harm to, no.

 

The problem is national memory is long, and international memory is short.

 

And the world is wide, and we can only know what we're exposed to.

 

You don't seem to know about the way imperialism is discussed here, for example. Likewise, I have no idea what political or cultural discussions are happening in India, or Nigeria, or Egypt, or South Africa. I could only tell you snippets, because I live in the US. We're concerned with keeping ourselves together right now, because it feels precariously like we might fall apart at any moment. These days, we talk about Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Israel, Britain, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia (because Russia is regularly cyber-attacking us), and that's the where-in-the-globe the conversation is currently focused.

 

It's one of the reasons I love this community: I get to learn about the political or cultural discourse I don't know about. The internet is great.

 

If the world is becoming a global community, that's one of the things we need to recognize and address. Sometimes the issue is just exposure.

@Becca the Student Could you share more about the cultural conversations post-60s and how the US is focused on keeping itself together at the moment?

 

”These days, we talk about Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Israel, Britain, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia (because Russia is regularly cyber-attacking us)” what’s being talked about there?

 

And is it true that fear of China and China-bashing is a unifying issue across the board? How is the topic of China’s ascension being navigated?

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2 hours ago, Delphi said:

@Becca the Student Could you share more about the cultural conversations post-60s and how the US is focused on keeping itself together at the moment?

 

”These days, we talk about Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Israel, Britain, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia (because Russia is regularly cyber-attacking us)” what’s being talked about there?

 

And is it true that fear of China and China-bashing is a unifying issue across the board? How is the topic of China’s ascension being navigated?

I’m a bit busy rn so I’ll come back to the first two questions later, but I can quickly answer the last: and that’s no, China-bashing is not a unifying issue across the board, far from it. If there’s a unifying issue about China, it’s condemning the genocide currently happening there, and condemning/worrying about everything that’s going on in Hong Kong. The bashing and fear is mostly coming from the political right — the political left and the moderates are concerned about the human rights violations happening there, and condemning that, but that’s not out of fear or “bashing”, that’s just genuine concern. There’s a movement currently happening called #StopAsianHate in reaction to extremists and Trumpists turning up their racism dial re: Covid.

 

Literally nothing in America is unifying across the board—that’s the short of “trying to keep ourselves together.” Trump and his followers are not gone, and neither have we rooted out the Republicans who helped the insurrectionists in January. It’s pretty clear it was an inside job, but Republicans just blocked a motion to look into it. Republicans in the State legislatures are putting in place laws that will make it harder for people to vote, in largely Democratic areas and neighborhoods of color, and we have a Supreme Court who seems likely to uphold that. A little less than half the country believes the election was stolen (we call that belief the Big Lie). And everything Biden or Congress pass is subject to filibustering in the Senate. It’s a mess.

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17 hours ago, Becca the Student said:

Your "top-down" approach as described above is just using the tools of colonialism on the colonizers.

Just realized that I didn't address this. How is it a tool of colonialism?

 

The "top-down" approach isn't calling for martial law, forced labor, captive markets, apartheid, or anything else.

 

I'm just asking to dismantle two political parties (and maybe starting other political parties that will largely consist of the same individuals) while retaining democracy, and punish one person for their war crimes.

 

Does that seem equivalent to colonialism?

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5 hours ago, Becca the Student said:

I get what you're saying, but you're looking at the West as a monolith. You say its impossible for this to happen from the inside. But we are having these discussions about the impact of imperialism already. In Britain, the Queen (and the monarchy in general) has been hotly contested for decades: there are royalists and there are anti-monarchists. There are those who hate her, and those who love her. There are those ashamed of the Empire's actions, and those who aren't.

But I didn't look at the West as a monolith.

 

I said the SYSTEMS that are in place are a continuation of those that implemented colonialism.

 

The British aren't debating the monarchy because of what the monarchy did or didn't do for the colonies. They're debating it because they feel like it's bad in principle to have a monarch in our time and age.

 

And I've already mentioned that there are individuals who are ashamed of the Empire's actions. But the SYSTEMS are pro-Empire. Oxford, Cambridge, the two largest political parties, and the monarch. None of the systems have officially said "Britain apologizes for the Empire".

5 hours ago, Becca the Student said:

the British like Churchill because he saved them from German occupation, and helped to end World War II. There were bombs falling regularly in England; everyone sent their children away for their safety, lost family members, ran out of food. Churchill was a steady light during the trauma for them, and he ended the terror, and that's why he's looked at as a hero. Because of their personal experience with the war, and with him over the radio -- the rest of WW2 and anything else he did is ancillary to that personal emotional relationship. Is that fair? Not to those he caused harm to, no.

I understand all of that. My point is that a lot of Brits gaslight, manipulate, and use whataboutism when we talk about Churchill's actions that caused harm. They refuse to look at him as a man who did something good for them and something horrible for humanity.

 

5 hours ago, Becca the Student said:

You don't seem to know about the way imperialism is discussed here, for example.

I do. I have lived in both the US and Canada, and I have been following these discussions. I think North America is ahead of Britain when it comes to introspection of past crimes, but not by a lot. It's mostly restricted to discussions on social media, regular media, and popular culture. I'm yet to see large political parties take them up as key issues in their platforms.

Edit: Justin Trudeau did make it part of his platform in his first election campaign, but I think he's the only one.

Edited by Anirudh Ramachandran
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You literally just said “I’m not talking about individuals, I’m talking about systems” and then went ahead and said “my point is that these individuals are doing this.”

 

My argument is that lasting systemic change comes from within, from individual, cultural, and social pressure. Imposed systemic change is forcefully interventionist, and has proven in the past to be ineffective and not long lasting. Your argument to me was that you doubted that pressure was ever going to be in existence, and that you think systemic change has to be imposed by outside forces. My examples were to say they are in existence, and that momentum is growing to enforce political change. It happens in baby steps but it’s happening. Protesting the Vietnam war for being a pointless intervention in another country’s politics was one example. Biden appointing the first Native woman to be Secretary of the Interior is the latest.

 

(I believe an outside force imposing drastic governing changes on another country is a tool of colonialism. You can disagree; it’s certainly not in the same league as any of the more horrific things you listed, but interventionism is an imperialist tool America uses often, so that’s what I think of.)

 

Look, I literally feel like you move your goal posts, add to or change your positions to refute the points I make to  your original positions, and ignore the point of my arguments every time you respond to me. Seriously, I mean no offense, but I’ve had my fair share of debates with people who do that, and I’ve lost the plot with this one. It’s cool, you won’t be moved. Fine. I'm not saying "you're wrong," I'm saying "I disagree with the methods you want to use." I say this kindly: I’m really not interested in continuing this argument.

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2 hours ago, Becca the Student said:

You literally just said “I’m not talking about individuals, I’m talking about systems” and then went ahead and said “my point is that these individuals are doing this.”

 

My argument is that lasting systemic change comes from within, from individual, cultural, and social pressure. Imposed systemic change is forcefully interventionist, and has proven in the past to be ineffective and not long lasting. Your argument to me was that you doubted that pressure was ever going to be in existence, and that you think systemic change has to be imposed by outside forces. My examples were to say they are in existence, and that momentum is growing to enforce political change. It happens in baby steps but it’s happening. Protesting the Vietnam war for being a pointless intervention in another country’s politics was one example. Biden appointing the first Native woman to be Secretary of the Interior is the latest.

 

(I believe an outside force imposing drastic governing changes on another country is a tool of colonialism. You can disagree; it’s certainly not in the same league as any of the more horrific things you listed, but interventionism is an imperialist tool America uses often, so that’s what I think of.)

 

Look, I literally feel like you move your goal posts, add to or change your positions to refute the points I make to  your original positions, and ignore the point of my arguments every time you respond to me. Seriously, I mean no offense, but I’ve had my fair share of debates with people who do that, and I’ve lost the plot with this one. It’s cool, you won’t be moved. Fine. I'm not saying "you're wrong," I'm saying "I disagree with the methods you want to use." I say this kindly: I’m really not interested in continuing this argument.

I was talking about individuals and systems from two different angles, but yes, we've mixed up a number of things in a long conversation. If you think I moved goal posts, I'm a little confused but I'm not going to deny it because it could have happened unintentionally. This is a wide topic with many faces, and it's hard to keep track of every detail.

 

I, too, feel like you take my statements out of context or refuse to answer some of my questions. But I try not to be rude in a public setting.

 

As for what you said about outside forces, I can see that you have valid points in your latest comment even if I don't completely agree.

 

Piece of advice: don't start an argument that you don't want to finish.

Edited by Anirudh Ramachandran
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6 minutes ago, Anirudh Ramachandran said:

I was talking about individuals and systems from two different angles, but yes, we've mixed up a number of things in a long conversation. If you think I moved goal posts, I'm a little confused but I'm not going to deny it because it could have happened unintentionally.

 

I, too, feel like you take my statements out of context or refuse to answer some of my questions. But I try not to be rude in a public setting.

 

Piece of advice: don't start an argument that you don't want to finish.

If you found my frustrations with the way we were talking over each other rude, then I apologize for the rudeness. It wasn't intentional. Likewise if you asked me questions I missed in my responses, that was also unintentional. I think you're a smart guy, and I tried to answer whatever you asked me to clarify, but as I explained above, it felt like you were shifting the debate away from my actual argument in order to a have a different one. I offered to agree to disagree and part ways yesterday, and you instead asked me for further debate.

 

I suppose here's another thing we disagree on: I don't think there's anything wrong with ending an argument before the other party wants it ended. Sometimes you don't have the bandwidth to continue, and it's best for both you and the person you're arguing with if you bow out. As we've both acknowledged, we were talking over each other. I respect you enough to end the argument here, and not waste your time trying to continue it. I'd hope you respect me enough to do the same. 

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5 hours ago, Delphi said:

@Becca the Student Could you share more about the cultural conversations post-60s and how the US is focused on keeping itself together at the moment?

 

”These days, we talk about Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Israel, Britain, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia (because Russia is regularly cyber-attacking us)” what’s being talked about there?

 

And is it true that fear of China and China-bashing is a unifying issue across the board? How is the topic of China’s ascension being navigated?

Okay so briefly expanding on the cultural conversation post-60s:

 

The sixties is arguably when Americans started actually reckoning with the idea that the way we abused Indigenous Americans and stole their land and continue to disenfranchise them to this day in the name of Manifest Destiny was, surprise, incredibly wrong. Up until then, we'd culturally romanticized stealing Indigenous land and its resulting atrocities (that whole "how the west was won" thing), and around the sixties, the counterculture began pushing back on that romanticization.

 

In the seventies, Vietnam protests were about a lot of things (the draft being one), but one of the major arguments against the war was that the USA had no place going to war on another country's soil to intervene in its political upheaval. Post-Vietnam, the dominating opinion (where I am, at least) is still that the war was wrong. There have always been arguments against and for US intervention in foreign affairs, even immediately after the US was formed, but in the seventies, this argument became more clearly about US imperialism than about war. And ever since, that's been a dominating part of the public debate any time we get into a war. Why are we there? What is the impetus for this war? Should America be less interventionist? The past twenty years (perhaps more? but definitely post-9/11) we've talked about how we're responsible for fucking up a lot of countries out of fear of communism. That's actually become such a part of the public discourse, it shows up in Marvel movies all the time (Iron Man being the first one off the top of my head). Recently, thanks to the internet, I've personally noticed more talk about Hawai'i, Guam, and Puerto Rico and how they became states and territories. The fact that Disney -- corporate, play-it-safe, don't-offend-anyone Disney -- wrote the sequel to their most popular children's film of all time to be about discovering consequences of imperialism should tell you how prevalent that conversation has become in modern culture. Deb Haaland is the first Indigenous person to be appointed Secretary of the Interior (the Cabinet Office in charge of, among other things, everything pertaining to Indigenous lands) largely because we're having these conversations.

 

And what we're talking about:

Canada -- the Canadian-run pipeline that cuts through Indigenous American land; up until recently, we talked about Trudeau as an example of sanity compared to our prez; we often use Canada as a measure of how progressive we could be (universal health care, voting laws, etc), because it's not too different from where we are now that you can't see how we can get there.

 

Mexico -- immigration, ending the 'remain in Mexico' asylum policy, the impact of Nestle, Coke, et al. on Mexico's water

 

Puerto Rico -- possible statehood, the responsibility of the US to provide aid after disaster and the terrible FCC response to hurricanes.

 

Israel -- a few months ago, their vaccination success. Now, debating about the terrible treatment of Palestinians, re-opening official contact with Palestinians (which Trump shut down), and offering aid to the Gaza Strip after the bombings

 

Britain -- mostly about Boris Johnson and how they're handling Covid

 

Iraq -- the invasion of Iraq, what's going on with the US military there and the Iran militia

 

Afghanistan -- the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan

 

Russia -- Putin, Russian hackers' interruption to one of our oil pipelines and general cyberattacks, their interference in both of our recent elections, etc. You know. Russia.

 

Did I explain that well?

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56 minutes ago, Becca the Student said:

If you found my frustrations with the way we were talking over each other rude, then I apologize for the rudeness. It wasn't intentional. Likewise if you asked me questions I missed in my responses, that was also unintentional. I think you're a smart guy, and I tried to answer whatever you asked me to clarify, but as I explained above, it felt like you were shifting the debate away from my actual argument in order to a have a different one. I offered to agree to disagree and part ways yesterday, and you instead asked me for further debate.

 

I suppose here's another thing we disagree on: I don't think there's anything wrong with ending an argument before the other party wants it ended. Sometimes you don't have the bandwidth to continue, and it's best for both you and the person you're arguing with if you bow out. As we've both acknowledged, we were talking over each other. I respect you enough to end the argument here, and not waste your time trying to continue it. I'd hope you respect me enough to do the same. 

Fair enough. I won't address the debate anymore. I'd just like to say that I myself find it frustrating when other people shift goalposts, so I certainly try my best not to do it. If I came across that way, I do apologize.

 

I hope this place remains a safe space full of mature and reasonable individuals like yourself. Have a great evening.

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@Becca the Student I went back and read the whole conversation again, and it looks like I was a little rigid in my thinking. I wasn't the ideal debate opponent.

 

I've had these conversation dozens of times in the past with racists, Empire apologists, Southerners who believe "the civil war wasn't about slavery", and people who believe the Native American genocide "wasn't great, but it resulted in the creation of the greatest country in the world".

 

I reflexively thought you were one of them, and mistook your sincere arguments for rationalizations of the status quo. That was my mistake and not yours.

 

I'm still getting used to being in a truly inclusive community of Mature and Old souls who are consciously removing their subconscious biases, and genuinely want a better world for humanity rather than for just their nation-state or civilization.

 

I'll be more flexible with my methods of engagement in the future. Please do accept my apologies.

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@Anirudh Ramachandran 

I understand having the same conversation over and over with racists and reflexively assuming the worst--I've done that so many times, too. I didn't read you as being standoffish, but I did sense some defensiveness, and I understood why; I was simply getting the sense that we were having two different conversations, and feeling myself getting frustrated, I wanted to bow out so I could take a moment and come back to read your arguments at a later time to see where our wires were being crossed. I knew I was too distracted and emotionally-invested in my own argument to do that truthfully now, but I'm also honestly so exhausted by real-world events happening around me this week I had trouble thinking of the words to bow out of the discussion in a way that didn't seem passive-aggressive.

 

Of course my frustration ended up getting in the way at the end. I'm afraid I did end up offending you and getting you defensive in both my phrasing and my assumptions, and I sincerely apologize both for that, and for not taking the time to address your corrections of my assumptions both about what you know or what your arguments were.

 

I truly appreciate your apology, and I'd like to extend one of my own. I'm more divorced from the consequences of colonialism and imperialism than you are, so it's my responsibility to make sure I'm being clear about both where I stand on the subject, and about my respect for your opinions as a person directly experiencing the disenfranchisement. I'm sorry for dropping the ball there. Reflexively assuming the worst is a thing, but there are also ways to assure someone that reflexive defensiveness isn't needed, and I think I let tiredness and frustration get in the way of that as the conversation continued today.

 

As I said before, I think you're very smart, and I like reading your opinions. I'd be glad to have more discussions with you in the future.

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