How they did it….. and now they complain?

No one likes to be type cast, to lumped in with everyone else. Any time you paint a whole people with a broad brush you run into trouble. And yet we see broad patterns that demand a broad brush.
In the history of the United States we see that the land was settled mostly by people who came to exploit. While people already here were neither without accomplishment nor without fault, what happened to them has been a sad theme throughout U.S. history that most Americans readily admit to……… safely, b/c the damage has already been done. The Native Americans have almost zero economic or political power. Their place in our culture is one of nostalgia, perhaps regret, but with no plans for compensation.
A good many of the early settlers saw the potential of the land and knew that vast amounts of labor would be required. Even as they pushed the Native Americans off their land and exterminated them, they declared them unfit for labor and thus in that catchall category, “lazy.”
It is interesting how often people who force others to work for them complain about how lazy they are. Serfs, slaves, indentured servants, marginalized people, all labeled lazy.
And so it was that the labor was found…… in Africa. Soon the farms and plantations of the New World were filling with thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands of Africans, on into the millions. All were the designated labor for the exploitation of the land and sea. As they were worked to death, they were called lazy. Young men with a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years were called lazy.
Who was not lazy? The masters of exploitation, the Europeans who came here. Many were little more than slaves themselves, but that little meant a lot. They could eventually lead a free life allowing them the earnings from their own labor. This happened for few Africans, destined to be filtered into the society as a separate caste in the United States. Those in the upper caste knew intuitively that their membership card was the color of their skin. That was protected. It was the union card, to union membership, education, loans, land…. all things denied to the lower caste, the Africans.
Government policies literally gave land away. Those policies forbade selling land and property to Africans. Property in the hands of Africans was devalued so as to keep them financially powerless, denying them mortgages, keeping values low in segregated Black neighborhoods. Even selling encyclopedias was restricted based on red-lining. Schools were deprived of books, services, and opportunities based on the notion that the Africans were too lazy to benefit. Even insurance policies could not be obtained except rip-off burial policies. Sales people who sold to Blacks were called “paint shy”, referring to the lack of paint on the houses of the poor.
If we trace these practices back to the beginnings we are struck by one thing: at the initial encounter of White and Black, the caste system did not exist. It was invented in order to ratchet up the exploitation of Africans. Laws were constantly enacted to keep Africans, free or slave, out of any sort of power. After emancipation, the laws got worse as Whites felt threatened by newly freed Africans.
What we see in our society now is a strong belief among Whites that the exploitation they practiced will be visited on them by the Africans who have obtained access to education, financing, and better lives. Exacerbating the breakdown of this old caste system is the arrival of a new group in large numbers: the Hispanics. The ones who are so lazy they come here to get on welfare and take our jobs at the same time????


  1. Head Geek says:

    It’s not only a European thing.   Humans everywhere have done this sort of thing (those who were able to).   Japan: Ainu.   Turkey: Armenians and Kurds.   Taiwan: several indigenous tribes. Etc.   Some of them are trying to placate in manner similar to what USA is doing.

    That’s no excuse, though some have tried to use it that way.  But there is no good solution.   We can’t bring back the murdered victims.   And if we want to give back the stolen property we can’t figure out who to give it to.   Nor where to put the people displaced, who weren’t actually the ones that stole it.

    An old saying is “turnabout’s fair play.”  Whether that’s true is irrelevant to whether it will happen. It happened/is happening in South Africa.  And complaining that it’s not fair won’t prevent it.  Protesting “but I never had a slave nor shot an Indian” won’t protect anyone either.

    To adapt another old saying, we’ve made our bed; but we don’t know how to lie in it.

    1. Pat Barrett says:

      BTW, guru ji (that’s what my Indian friend calls me), is the distinction between ‘hits’ and ‘visits’ in the stats section a matter of someone just going to the blog vs someone staying reading something?

  2. Pat Barrett says:

    Totally off-topic but when I was at UCLA the summer of ’63 I saw a famous athlete who was being studied (I actually saw him walking along surrounded by staff monitoring the instruments he was hooked up to). They said he was an indigenous Taiwanese, not Han Chinese.
    But, on-topic, what Liberals try to do with our social engineering is support those who have been disadvantaged – and that’s anyone, not just racial minorities as the Right would have you believe – via legislation and other government action. A editorial just appeared in our very local newspaper and I think I’ll put it on my blog and comment on it b/c the writer embeds in it the very thing that vitiate his arguments (he’s arguing that private philanthropy does a better job of helping people than government programs), which is that the poor are not helping themselves, have bad habits, etc. The only reason we Liberals support government programs is because private sources, which we very much appreciate in every sense of the word, simply limit who they help. One thing I’ll put in the comments I make on the editorial is that when I started working for the Welfare Department in 1966, old-timers told me they had only recently begun giving welfare to Blacks and Hispanics. It should be possible to research that.

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