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19 June 2012

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Basilisk

It is what it was.

Absent the imminent invention of a time machine the only logical response to the American smorgasbord is acceptance. No Kumbaya moment is required, just an honest acceptance of reality. We are all in this together, like it or not.

Lars

I guess I have to own up to having some Vikings in the family tree. It is highly unlikely that they came this way but they went east. Their tribe were the Ros and not only did they spread mayhem in the east, they named it too. That is where "Russia" comes from.

Maybe we should call America "Muttia"?

Al Spafford

Very well stated, Basilisk!

alnval

Col. Lang:

It's not immediately obvious to me why having Flotus confront her white ancestors and relatives would be of service?

HankP

I think one of the strengths of America is that we don't spend a lot of time confronting our ancestors and don't obsess over events from hundreds of years ago. America is at its best when looking forward, not backward. I've seen too many places in the world where an obsession with the past retards tranquility in the present.

Tyler

I though Obama's dislike of the white grandmother who was active in raising him versus his worship of the black father who abandoned him was pretty telling.

turcopolier

HankP

I could not disagree more. Our ignorance of who we are and how we got to be what we are leads directly to horrible mistakes about what we ought to do. All that rubbish about how superior we are to other people in the world makes us blind to the common experience of mankind which is a continuum that cannot be avoided. I guess you did not read my "Pogo" piece. Do you not see that we failed in Iraq and so many other places because the Iraqis were not "new men?" We make the same mistakes over and over again in dealing with others because we think that the past does not matter, only the future. What people like you do not understand is that the past extends through us into the future. We are the past and the future is the past. pl

turcopolier

alnval

She would be a good example for people who cannot deal with each other on the basis of their shared humanity and do not want to see each other as related beings. pl

Al Spafford

Tyler, read the new bio out on Obama. Well researched. His grandmother was very influential, but also a "closet" alcoholic. Grandfather a "Willy Loman" character always dreaming of unfulled schemes. Mother basically left him to their care when back from Asia. So, probably a lot of issues leading to his "dreams" (not reality) of his bio father. Not much found within him regarding his 1/2 Afro/Amer side until he hit Chicago. Very interesing bio of an achieving young man!

Al Spafford

link to discussion on new Obama bio:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/#47872359

Mark Logan

He didn't hate his grandmother, she did a large portion of his raising.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2008/11/obamas-grandmother-dies.html

He once mentioned that she was sometimes afraid of black people, and that was spun as hatred, by some. This is actually a fear that many black people share. We nearly all harbor a fear poor people, even the poor themselves do, and wisely so.

TWV

Yes, be aware of history - to avoid repeating obvious mistakes, if nothing else.
But, keep it in context.
The ME, in particular, is plagued by it's history.
They can never seem to get away from all their past baggage of multi-century feuds and hatreds.

Tigershark

Tyler: Telling of what? That he "worshiped" (Your words) the unknown father versus the grandmother who made him do his homework and chores and clean his room? Sounds like plenty of kids, to me.

elkern

A quibble...

"Anyone who knows anything of human sexuality should know that power in the male is one of the strongest aphodisiacs for the female."

I'd argue the tendency is human, not peculiar to females. We experience it as stated because (1) few women have much power, and (2) women are more beautiful than men (IMHO, but I bet it's "true").

I know I've been attracted to "Women of Power". First time I realized it was when I met Pat Schroeder during her ground-breaking (but doomed) campaign for President; it wasn't just her great sense of humor which I found attractive. Besides, you gotta admit, she's a lot better looking than Woody Allen.

Regarding the history of race, sex, & power in our country, I'm sure there were cases of white women making it with black male slaves, but the consequences of getting caught (or pregnant) would have been pretty drastic.

Stephanie

It is true that money and/or power can make men attractive candidates as husbands or lovers for a variety of reasons in a culture where men have traditionally held most of the keys to money and/or power. That doesn’t erase the hard truth that the fact of enslavement made genuine consent to sexual intercouse impossible (and this would be true even if the woman invited such contact.

Which doesn’t mean that the possibility of love or other manifestations of affection and loyalty didn’t exist in such relationships and I have no doubt that they did exist. Technically, however, the article is accurate – any sex between a slaveowner and a slave was inherently coercive, whatever the circumstances of individual cases.

In the case of President and Mrs. Obama I would say the key difference is one of cultural heritage, not mixed blood. It’s not just that Obama is half-white, it’s that he isn’t a product of African-American culture as his wife is. He seems to have understood that to make a career in the mainland US he was going to have to “choose” to identify as black. That wasn’t a dilemma Mrs. Obama ever faced.

turcopolier

stephanie

Just so much PC bilge. Sorry. Were arranged marriages in the past rape? pl

turcopolier

elkern

Perhaps you have not noticed but there are actually differences between men and women. pl

HankP

I think you're seeing things I didn't write. I never said history doesn't matter, my point was that unlike other ethnic groups and nations that obsess over injustices hundreds (and thousands) of years old, Americans tend to recognize certain issues but not let the cold dead hand of the past control the present.

Iraq is a good example. I think it was a mistake to go into Iraq (and felt that way at the time) for a variety of reasons. But the comparison to America is illuminating. We generally don't have Catholics and Protestants physically attacking each other over the Reformation and counter-Reformation, while in Iraq and most of the ME the schism between Sunni and Shia is much deeper and more personal. Some Americans feel very strongly about the Civil War, but once again usually not to the point of shooting or bombing each other. I think the fact that we can put aside the passions of the past is a virtue, not a fault. It's important to understand the past but not to let it control you.

tequila

"Just so much PC bilge. Sorry. Were arranged marriages in the past rape? pl"

I think the answer in many cases is, absolutely yes. Unless you believe a marriage document is the same thing as consent on the part of the female party.

The human heart is unknowable and there are, of course, many examples of slaves and slaveowners seeing their common human identity, but in the broad spectrum this was very rare.

Were all slave/slaveowner sexual relationships rape? No. Was there a massive difference in power? Was there the ever-present threat of physical and legal coercion, against which the slave had absolutely no legal recourse or appeal? Absolutely yes. That is part of the definition of slavery.

turcopolier

tequila

More PC bilge. If you watched Professor Gates' program you would have seen several instances of slaves taking people to court in lawsuits. pl

Phil Cattar

"The past is never dead.It's not even past."William Faulkner.....I have found out some amazing and interesting things,to me at least,with a combination of years on Ancestery .com and dna testing.Do not assume anything when it comes to your roots and ancestors.

Fred

Allegedly my family is related to both French nobility and a daughter of Nur al-Din, though I find it doubtful such a marriage could have been arranged during the Second Crusade.

confusedponderer

Tequila,
looking at a difference in power, massive or relative, is overly materialist and monocausal.Sex and sexual relationships are rarely just about that.

What about the appeal of physique? What about the heat of the moment? What about the recklessness of young age? If teenage pregnancies are any indication, these factors do play a role.

confusedponderer

Hah, and yes, and what about love? Just saying.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

It was probably another cause of the Civil War in US - the Sex Envy of the Northern men for the Southern men who clearly had easier and more varied sexual access.

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