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  1. Berend Jan says:

    First of all i have to say i am not an academic, so, when you rip my comment apart, do it with care. Then i am i a white European male aged 58 born in the Netherlands.

    I have been fortunate to grow up in a family where any form of racism was deemed stupid, and i still think that its the most impoverished ideology to date.
    In my opinion there is no race.
    The difference between an Japanese male, a south American male, a European male of African male is negligible, apart maybe from cultural differences.
    There are as i understand it, only two races, male humans and female humans.
    There you have a real difference in how reality is perceived and experienced.
    Sir Ken Robbinson makes a nice exemplary joke about this.
    There is this question: if a tree fall’s in a forest, and there is no one to hear it, does it still make a sound?
    He converts this to:
    If a man has an argument, and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?

    Then there is also a little known fact, but numerically there have been sold more white people into slavery than black people.
    Also there is no one alive any more who is sold into slavery, at least in America or Europe.
    We, the Dutch were heavily involved in the slave trade through the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compangie).
    The VOC was a multinational enterprise that bought slaves from the Arabs en shipped them to America and sold them there.
    I find that an important detail for in Holland there where no slaves, the common people in Holland where in that sense also not involved, certainly the common people had benefit from it through a wealthy society, but Mientje living in Drenthe had no notion what happened in Amsterdam and certainly no notion at all about international business at that time.
    But we also called Japan a barbaric country what says a lot about the notion anyone at that time had about other peoples. We had the idea at that time that we where going to civilise the Japanese.
    A Hilarious notion seen through modern eyes.

    Growing up in the Netherlands meaned also growing up in a culture where no one was seen as a descendent from a slave.
    A Negro was a Negro, a Chinese a Chinese and a Indonesian was someone with Indonesian forebears, not a person with slave forebears.
    In the middle ages most of the people here where serfs, that is, part of a feudal property.
    No one feels himself here as a descendant from serfs.
    I find this fixation on the slavery past in America surprising and certainly it does not do anything positive.
    For, let’s face it, after at least 10.000 years of more or less recorded history all peoples have done , or where lead, to do horrible and or absurd things to others.
    My parents and grand parents suffered greatly under the occupation of Germany during the 2nd world war..
    But that is something between the people of that generation.
    I can not overtake the claim from my parents in relation to my German friends, and i have many German friends. That is something that generation has to deal with.
    All i can do in that regard is see and understand that these horrors are based on the absolute negation of what a human being can be, like our capacity for empathy or love to but name two things.
    I even don’t want my German friends to be apologetic to me. I did not suffer.
    We all have the responsibility to stand guard against that these kind of things do not get room to develop again.
    Not by conquering or eradicating these ideas, but by further develop the insight and capacity’s into what an incredible process a human being is and can do.
    What we can develop into and what a wonderful world is just around the corner.
    Yes i know i am a romantic.
    So, as part of the human race i think we as race have to say no to any kind of degrading notions that swirl around, we have had enough of it and we, in relation to our ancestors, have all suffered under it.
    He or she who has not the capability to see what a human-being, at least potentially can be, has no right to proclaim hell for some of us.
    And thus i am very lucky not to have been born in Germany in a family that was happy with the rise of Hitler.
    I have not been a SS hotshot.
    And i can really not say that i would not have been one if i would have been 27 in 1934.
    So thinking in races or peoples in relation to the past is only useful to see what happened.
    The best i think we can do to honer the people in the past, is to do the best we can with what is here now.
    Not squander our riches but invest in the Good, make it fruitify in the best way possible.
    Take your education, you can do two things with it, work corporate and use your insights to demolish local cultures so an exploiting company can get resources or ‘cheap’ labour.
    Or you can do what you do, and help develop new roads to a future that does not depend on slavery, exploitation or degradation of mankind, animals or the earth.
    But do not apologise for something you did not do.
    In fact that would be arrogance.

    Berend Jan

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