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fanuzzir
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Slaveholding and religion

JD, my thanks to you for this very thoughtful strand of discussion. I was very intrigued by your use of the word religion to describe the set of beliefs that cohererd around a region of the country based on its primary labor system. We can say the same thing about the Horatio Alger story in the north in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (penniless immigrants pulling themselves up by their bootstraps), but the word religion does bring to mind the importance of ideas and feelings when you put it in the context of the antebellum south and southerner's attachment to their "peculiar institution," as they came to fondly call it. The fact is, no matter how hard we try to demystify the hold of slavery by saying it was all about money we cannot explain the convictions that constituted a religion, that transformed the way that Christian religion was taught (sons of Ham, and all that) and even substituted for the sacred in some quarters. Does capitalism and free labor do the same thing or it is the pastoral nature of the slaveholding plantation, the paternalism of the "good" master, the Christianing mission to take "heathen" under one's protection. I could go on enumerating the religious beliefs of slavery.
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Choisya
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Re: Fanuzzir : BBC & Slavery (Off topic)

But perhaps on these American boards an American approach like yours would be more acceptable?




fanuzzir wrote:
Choisya, you are too kind, but mine doesn't touch British abolition except as a spur to American abolitionists like Garrison, so I would recommend Simon Schama's latest, a giant of intellectual history.
Bob


jd
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jd
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Re: south as it stands

ELee - It is a thing that is passed from father to son. Education does have a huge part in coming out of it, I think. Travel, another form of education does expose one to a new set of parameters and a new set of rules. The slavery issue or other hated groups would desolve if we could take the individual out of his set of values and expose him to a different set that was more tolerant. Slavery shares the same hatred as the Jews do from neonazi groups or the issues in the middle east, etc. It has almost nothing to do with a reason. The torch is passed from father to son, just as it was in AOHF, thankfully the father was such a wreck his son was able to escape and find a better way to deal with the situation.
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Re: south as it stands

[ Edited ]

jd wrote:
Ziki - currently I spend time in the south occasionally and have lived in the South for a number of years, previously. When you live night and day in a place and work with the natives it becomes evident that some of the beliefs that are not politically correct today have not been given up but have been kept silent until they are certain most of the people in the room are of the same feeling. Those expressions are racist and awful. Many southerners have tried to lose this hatred but for many they live the civil war and the daily grind of losing the war as if it were yesterday. Seriously. Educated people can work through the slavery issue and the racism and come to the current conclusions that it is all bad. But when the people spouting these beliefs have an 8th grade education and their parents had an education to the 6th grade it becomes increasing difficult to find a new opinion that is not contrary to the way grampa did it 40 years ago. The old way was best and still is as far and they know - jd


jd, I see what you're saying. Thanks for explaining it. I was lucky enough to be raised without any racial prejudice but I met these hidden attitudes as soon as I entered the adult world. Often they pop up first when you know the people well and they are hidden behind the politically correct mask.

I also saw it the other way round, statements used by the 'minority' playing on the same string but implying they are discriminated if they don't get this or that, sheer manipulation.

This world we live in never ceases to surprise me.

ziki
(reading your posts I wonder if you have any teeth left, LOL)

Message Edited by ziki on 03-19-200709:45 AM

jd
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jd
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Re: Slaveholding and religion

Fanizzir - I am wondering if capitalism has not held the Black back because of our H. Alger belief that if you want it bad enough you can get it, and is just another way of holding them back in reality and showing the rest of us that slavery was a good paternal thing. Jim was willing to leave his family and his familiarity of a not so vicious master to gain freedom, but really did not have the opportunity equal to a white no matter what he did. I certainly do not have the answers for all of the problems facing Black America. I think the rise of gangs and the rise of violence in gangs has to do with being disenfranchised, but I am not certain if one group or the other is to "blame" for the problem and I wonder what MT would think about todays issues of race?
jd
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jd
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Re: south as it stands

Z- you are soooo funny. I was afraid when I lost my wisdom teeth, that I would be more dull and dim-witted but alas I am just ordinary dull as before. I have been on the receiving end of the manipulation that you describe as well. I try to keep balance, but again the civil war was such a huge thing and some people still believe that I and my ancestors "owe" them something. I have a hard time putting that aside. I cannot make restitution that will make what was so awfully wrong right and I cannot think of a way for " all of us " to get beyond this besides education and time, but surely we could have made further progress if we did not try separate and equal or some other silliness. Thanx for all your posts, jd
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Choisya
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Re: Slaveholding and religion

[ Edited ]
I think the rise of gangs and the rise of violence in gangs has to do with being disenfranchised, but I am not certain if one group or the other is to "blame" for the problem.>/i>.


We are having quite a few programmes on slavery on our radio and TV at the moment and the other night a prominent black commentator remarked that the problems we see today with black youth can be traced directly back to slavery itself and the way that slaves were treated like animals, given no rights or responsibilities etc. She said it would take generations for this to work itself out of the black psyche and I think perhaps she was right.:smileysad: If we can blame anyone, I guess it is some of our ancestors (black and white), although mine weren't rich enough to own slaves.





jd wrote:
Fanizzir - I am wondering if capitalism has not held the Black back because of our H. Alger belief that if you want it bad enough you can get it, and is just another way of holding them back in reality and showing the rest of us that slavery was a good paternal thing. Jim was willing to leave his family and his familiarity of a not so vicious master to gain freedom, but really did not have the opportunity equal to a white no matter what he did. I certainly do not have the answers for all of the problems facing Black America. I think the rise of gangs and the rise of violence in gangs has to do with being disenfranchised, but I am not certain if one group or the other is to "blame" for the problem and I wonder what MT would think about todays issues of race?

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200704:55 PM

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200704:55 PM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Slaveholding and religion

We always should be careful about tracing things back to slavery. For instance, several times in American history, African-Americans were poised to make leaps economically and socially, and then whites, or fate intervened to turn them back. One such turning point that failed to turn was in the 1820s to 1830s, when working class African Americans were elbowed aside by white labor leaders, who saw in Irish immigrants both cheaper labor and a common caste identity. The other was in the 1920s and 30s, when the Depression, coupled with "block-busting" realtors, put an end to black social mobility. Throughout the nineteenth century, anti-black interests had a large stake in making sure that black Americans were known by their connection to slavery, even though there were many free, educated, and upwardly mobile African-Americans, and that they were permanently stigmatized by its scar. Twain played a role by having Jim walk out of a plantation folklore stereotype, though he does do much, maybe more than anyone, to humanize and individualize the "good slave."

As far as race relations in the US, a good series of exhibitions in New York City detail the destruction of historically black neighborhoods to make way for the Modernist vision of Master Builder Robert Moses and his federally subsidized housing schemes, otherwise known as warehousing the race. That might be a better starting point for seeing where race relations have gone.
jd
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jd
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Re: Slaveholding and religion



fanuzzir wrote:
We always should be careful about tracing things back to slavery. For instance, several times in American history, African-Americans were poised to make leaps economically and socially, and then whites, or fate intervened to turn them back. One such turning point that failed to turn was in the 1820s to 1830s, when working class African Americans were elbowed aside by white labor leaders, who saw in Irish immigrants both cheaper labor and a common caste identity. The other was in the 1920s and 30s, when the Depression, coupled with "block-busting" realtors, put an end to black social mobility. Throughout the nineteenth century, anti-black interests had a large stake in making sure that black Americans were known by their connection to slavery, even though there were many free, educated, and upwardly mobile African-Americans, and that they were permanently stigmatized by its scar. Twain played a role by having Jim walk out of a plantation folklore stereotype, though he does do much, maybe more than anyone, to humanize and individualize the "good slave."

As far as race relations in the US, a good series of exhibitions in New York City detail the destruction of historically black neighborhoods to make way for the Modernist vision of Master Builder Robert Moses and his federally subsidized housing schemes, otherwise known as warehousing the race. That might be a better starting point for seeing where race relations have gone.




I agree - but what happened in the 100 years between these events? It is not hard to believe that large cities, especially large northern cities deal with race issues differently. On a one on one basis what went wrong? and why is it taking so long to get beyond it???? - jd
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fanuzzir
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Re: Slaveholding and religion

I actually think that people of different races deal with each other quite well on a one to one basis, much as Huck and Jim do. The inter-racial friend and romantic relationships attest to that. Often friends of different races have to gingerly raise larger issues of race or relate obliquely to histories of inequality. That shared knowledge is something that draws people of the same race together. One of the issues that have intrigued scholars and critics is whether white people come together have a racial consciousness of their own.
jd
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jd
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Re: Slaveholding and religion



fanuzzir wrote:
I actually think that people of different races deal with each other quite well on a one to one basis, much as Huck and Jim do. The inter-racial friend and romantic relationships attest to that. Often friends of different races have to gingerly raise larger issues of race or relate obliquely to histories of inequality. That shared knowledge is something that draws people of the same race together. One of the issues that have intrigued scholars and critics is whether white people come together have a racial consciousness of their own.




I agree and believe that is much like Huck - he has his own personal experience with a black and decides that most of what he has seen and heard is not true of Jim. The civil war was not fought and lost easily, the right of states to have slaves and use them as chattel to grow huge plots of land filled with cotton or tobacco or rice was an economic decision. In order to grow crops on the vast land the planters could not afford to pay someone. It is easy to identify a white person or a black person. The slave traders could easily identify a black and easily enough capture a black and transport them to America. The hatred that came with that decision was only recognized later and out of economic necessity the planters had to try to protect their investment at any cost. When slavery ended, the south lost not only the war but also its' economic stability and had little opportunity to become industrialized over night. The south could not get back on its feet and still has economic black holes in patches. All of this misery was heaped on the south because they had slaves = slaves were black = all blacks are evil = hatred of blacks. Add to the mix the ignorance of the population, - which is still handed down from generation to generation. Slavery was not the only reason for racial hatred, but it was certainly a part of it. -jd
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Choisya
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Re: Slaveholding and religion : Black slavers

The slave traders could easily identify a black and easily enough capture a black and transport them to America.


Fanuzzir will correct me if I am wrong but my understanding, from several of the programmes I have seen in the past week, is that it was often the blacks who did the capturing and the whites who did the transporting. Black people in Ghana, it has been reported, sold naughty children and other of their tribesmen they thought undesirable; they sold captives taken in battle to the European 'Slave castles' along the Gold Coast. African research by Dr Akosua Perbi has revealed that African traders 'supplied' as many as 15,000 slaves a year to the Europeans. The whites brought their ships and they were herded onto them by both black and white. We see Africa today as a poor nation and forget that many parts of it were once wealthy and powerful:-

http://www.internetpuppets.org/afrghana.html

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=403592007

Another peculiar thing that came out of one of the programmes talking to the elders in Ghana, was that they thought the slaves had a better deal because they were transported to a much wealthier, more educated society and benefit from it today because America and the Caribbean are much wealthier than Africa, and afford more black people more opportunities. No account seemed to be taken of the mental scars. Several of the British Afro-Caribbean reporters who went back to trace their roots have been very upset by these revelations.

Maybe we have to separate the stories of slaves being captured from those of the slaves being transported?

I agree that the friendship of Huck and Finn show that 'inter-racial friends and romantic relationships attest' to the fact that 'different races deal with each other quite well on a one to one basis'. We often hear the phrase 'some of my best friends are black' from people who are challenged about their racist views. In groups other races appear to be threatening and I must admit that in the early days of mixing with my late (black) husband's Afro-Caribbean friends I felt threatened when entering say, a dance hall, full of black people. Why I do not know because I have always had a very tolerant outlook and was brought up in a liberal family who had long fought against such things as slavery and racial discrimination.





jd wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:
I actually think that people of different races deal with each other quite well on a one to one basis, much as Huck and Jim do. The inter-racial friend and romantic relationships attest to that. Often friends of different races have to gingerly raise larger issues of race or relate obliquely to histories of inequality. That shared knowledge is something that draws people of the same race together. One of the issues that have intrigued scholars and critics is whether white people come together have a racial consciousness of their own.




I agree and believe that is much like Huck - he has his own personal experience with a black and decides that most of what he has seen and heard is not true of Jim. The civil war was not fought and lost easily, the right of states to have slaves and use them as chattel to grow huge plots of land filled with cotton or tobacco or rice was an economic decision. In order to grow crops on the vast land the planters could not afford to pay someone. It is easy to identify a white person or a black person. The slave traders could easily identify a black and easily enough capture a black and transport them to America. The hatred that came with that decision was only recognized later and out of economic necessity the planters had to try to protect their investment at any cost. When slavery ended, the south lost not only the war but also its' economic stability and had little opportunity to become industrialized over night. The south could not get back on its feet and still has economic black holes in patches. All of this misery was heaped on the south because they had slaves = slaves were black = all blacks are evil = hatred of blacks. Add to the mix the ignorance of the population, - which is still handed down from generation to generation. Slavery was not the only reason for racial hatred, but it was certainly a part of it. -jd


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ELee
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racial grouping

Choisya wrote:
"In groups other races appear to be threatening and I must admit that in the early days of mixing with my late (black) husband's Afro-Caribbean friends I felt threatened when entering say, a dance hall, full of black people. Why I do not know because I have always had a very tolerant outlook and was brought up in a liberal family who had long fought against such things as slavery and racial discrimination."

Choisya,
I very much enjoyed your comment because it brought back a similar experience of my own. My mother and father were Caucasian: our family division was religious, not racial. My father joined a non-denominational church and my mother was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. (I attended two "churches" for the first sixteen years of my life, after which I had had enough church-going for a lifetime and struck out on my own.) Anyway, when I was 14 or so, I vividly remember attending a JW meeting with a black friend at a different congregation from our own. I was the only white face in the place, but I was made so comfortable and welcomed that I recall feeling more at ease there than I might have been in the most familiar of surroundings. I think that it is an unfortunate reality that many people rush to judgement based on "external" factors, which may account for our opposing outcomes.
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JesseBC
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Re: Twain's artistic and moral journey

You may be right and I'm not familiar enough with the culture of the South to say you're not right.

But I do wonder if the rest of us don't give the South enough credit for having also evolved into the 21st century.

For example, when controversy erupted in the '90s over the use of the Confederate flag, I did perceive that as thoughtless and I understood why Southern blacks could see it as nothing but a racist symbol. But I also thought a lot of Southern whites were telling the truth that, for them, it was merely a symbol of regional identity, not racial identity. The history of slavery and Jim Crow -- which was exactly what the flag meant to blacks -- seemed so far outside the experience of whites that the racial implications just weren't on their radar.

We in the North like to be smug about how racism still oozes under every magnolia tree south of the Mason-Dixon line (and maybe it does -- I'm admitting ignorance here). But it's also been my observation that, in the South, blacks and whites actually live together.

If you go to Atlanta or Memphis or certainly New Orleans, you see blacks and whites in the same places, interacting with one another. Whereas in Chicago or Minneapolis or certainly Milwaukee (where it's possible to predict someone's race by their zip code), the segregation is so steep that, depending on where you go, one might think these are virtually all-white cities.

Can that kind of segregation really be considered any better? I have to wonder if the North would have just as many racial problems if blacks and whites were as accustomed to rubbing elbows as they seem to be in the South.

Though perhaps I'm being naive (see? I'm not always cynical.)





jd wrote:
please take what is next without predjudice. I do not mean to offend anyone... but I feel that much of the old South and its ability to make it with the help of slaves became a "religion" of sorts with fierce beliefs on either side, much as the war of muslims and christians now, or the christians and romans or etc . . . the emotion of the belief and the faith and what that means to each side, is still in the south as it stands now. The South may have conceded but it will never forget or forgive. The south lives the civil war on a day to day basis and no matter how much legislation to the contrary it will never be over the Civil War. It becomes a religion of its own and has its own dogma and followers, period. -jd


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Re: south as it stands

I seriously don't want diminish what you're saying here at all.

But I do want to point out that, in the North, hateful and bigoted talk happens all the time in ostensibly sympathetic company (meaning all-white company) -- it just happens in code.

South Chicago and the Sheridan neighborhoods (among many others throughout Northern cities) are referred to as "bad neighborhoods" -- which is encryption for "black neighborhoods." The phrase "urban youth" really means "black kids."

White kids who commit crimes are called "delinquents." Black kids who commit crimes are called "gangbangers." The only difference is that the former actually has to commit a crime to get the label and the latter may get the label for doing nothing more than loitering around like a typical sullen teenager.

It's hard to get much further north than where I live without crossing into Canada. We have clean air, a low cost of living, and relatively stable housing prices. As a result, there's a steady stream of people migrating here from Chicago and Minneapolis.

Rarely does a week go by that I don't hear someone grumble (only in all-white company, of course) about "the gangs and welfare recipients moving in from Chicago."

This is ludicrous. We don't have gangs here and our crime rate is as low as ever. What we have is an increasing black population. The grumbling is just code for "There are black people moving here and I don't like it."

Hate is hate, whether you say it directly or tiptoe around it. And it doesn't go away just by bleeping out "the n-word."






jd wrote:
Ziki - currently I spend time in the south occasionally and have lived in the South for a number of years, previously. When you live night and day in a place and work with the natives it becomes evident that some of the beliefs that are not politically correct today have not been given up but have been kept silent until they are certain most of the people in the room are of the same feeling. Those expressions are racist and awful. Many southerners have tried to lose this hatred but for many they live the civil war and the daily grind of losing the war as if it were yesterday. Seriously. Educated people can work through the slavery issue and the racism and come to the current conclusions that it is all bad. But when the people spouting these beliefs have an 8th grade education and their parents had an education to the 6th grade it becomes increasing difficult to find a new opinion that is not contrary to the way grampa did it 40 years ago. The old way was best and still is as far and they know - jd


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JesseBC
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Re: south as it stands

I'm not nearly as disturbed when I see prejudicial, hateful, or bigoted attitudes in other people as I am when I see them in myself.

We're all products of own cultures. None of us is really free of it.


Hmmm..."running away is never enough...but also never quite possible"...hmmm...see, this is why I like Fan so much...






ziki wrote:

jd wrote:
Ziki - currently I spend time in the south occasionally and have lived in the South for a number of years, previously. When you live night and day in a place and work with the natives it becomes evident that some of the beliefs that are not politically correct today have not been given up but have been kept silent until they are certain most of the people in the room are of the same feeling. Those expressions are racist and awful. Many southerners have tried to lose this hatred but for many they live the civil war and the daily grind of losing the war as if it were yesterday. Seriously. Educated people can work through the slavery issue and the racism and come to the current conclusions that it is all bad. But when the people spouting these beliefs have an 8th grade education and their parents had an education to the 6th grade it becomes increasing difficult to find a new opinion that is not contrary to the way grampa did it 40 years ago. The old way was best and still is as far and they know - jd


jd, I see what you're saying. Thanks for explaining it. I was lucky enough to be raised without any racial prejudice but I met these hidden attitudes as soon as I entered the adult world. Often they pop up first when you know the people well and they are hidden behind the politically correct mask.

I also saw it the other way round, statements used by the 'minority' playing on the same string but implying they are discriminated if they don't get this or that, sheer manipulation.

This world we live in never ceases to surprise me.

ziki
(reading your posts I wonder if you have any teeth left, LOL)

Message Edited by ziki on 03-19-200709:45 AM




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JesseBC
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Re: Slaveholding and religion

Two things come to mind.

One is just segregation. That it's entirely possible for a white kid to grow up in a virtually all-white neighborhood and have very little contact with anyone who isn't white. This kid may even grow up rejecting common stereotypes, understanding that they're, at the very least, overgeneralized and lacking real-life nuance. But they don't have any real life experiences to draw upon either. (As adults, these people often talk about their "black friends" in an effort to show how they're "not racist." Except they don't actually have any black friends and neither does anyone they know.)

The other thing that comes to mind is that blacks and whites often get along just fine when they belong to the same social class. Interpersonal problems seem to crop up more from class-based social cues that can be tricky to identify and usually exist even among people of the same race, with racial differences merely complicating the matter. The kid in the above example may have known a few black families, but chances are they were of the same social class and spoke, dressed, and behaved similarly.






jd wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:
We always should be careful about tracing things back to slavery. For instance, several times in American history, African-Americans were poised to make leaps economically and socially, and then whites, or fate intervened to turn them back. One such turning point that failed to turn was in the 1820s to 1830s, when working class African Americans were elbowed aside by white labor leaders, who saw in Irish immigrants both cheaper labor and a common caste identity. The other was in the 1920s and 30s, when the Depression, coupled with "block-busting" realtors, put an end to black social mobility. Throughout the nineteenth century, anti-black interests had a large stake in making sure that black Americans were known by their connection to slavery, even though there were many free, educated, and upwardly mobile African-Americans, and that they were permanently stigmatized by its scar. Twain played a role by having Jim walk out of a plantation folklore stereotype, though he does do much, maybe more than anyone, to humanize and individualize the "good slave."

As far as race relations in the US, a good series of exhibitions in New York City detail the destruction of historically black neighborhoods to make way for the Modernist vision of Master Builder Robert Moses and his federally subsidized housing schemes, otherwise known as warehousing the race. That might be a better starting point for seeing where race relations have gone.




I agree - but what happened in the 100 years between these events? It is not hard to believe that large cities, especially large northern cities deal with race issues differently. On a one on one basis what went wrong? and why is it taking so long to get beyond it???? - jd


jd
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jd
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Re: Slaveholding and religion

JBC - I understand what you are saying, and actually have found similar experiences. I grew up in an all white neighborhood and had very little experience with a black. My high school had one black person admitted during my senior year. But thankfully I have had the opportunity to work with blacks and attend college with blacks and have gotten over the unfamiliar'ness' of the situation. My personal experience is that I have more in common with anyone who is in my socioeconomic fold, including blacks and others. What draws me to others is their mind and experience that is either interesting to me or similar to me. I suspect that is true of most of us. Education is a great barrier for some people, getting it, keeping and using it is a hardship some people because of how they grew up and the money situation and how important education was to the elders in there tribe, adult family members. Education is not available to everyone nor is education sought by everyone. My question for what happened in the 100 years between the two events was meant for myself as well as others. I live in Southern California, and not so surprisingly your experience with blacks is much the same as mine. A group of black kids hanging out is often intimidating and a group of white kids hanging out is intimidating as well but different some how. The kids who hang out are not very educated or able to socially interact with the rest of children their age. The parental influence is lacking and these children find something to do that may not be in your or my best interest. That happens here as well as other places. If the child feels comfortable in his group of peers, no amount of offering for a better life will make him take it if it requires him to become uncomfortable in a situation. This is not about black or white children, this is about children. Here in California we have a real issue of violent gangs. The Black gangs and the Hispanic gangs and the White gangs all have superimposed turf to protect or deal drugs in, ect... This children are often very smart but have refused the help offered to get them off the streets, out of the gangs and on to a better way of life because the "pride" of belonging to gang is worth it to them somehow. If your family cannot protect you from the influence of a gang and the gang is very seductive because it can protect you then being something other than gangbanger is not really important. The gangs spend a lot of time killing one another and innocent bystanders and in certain neighborhoods, the 'bad neighborhoods' it is unsafe to be out at night in because of stray bullets or other unseen obstacles. This is real and scary. - jd
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Re: south as it stands in north

In Oak Park there was "an unspoken line". Beyond that street no black person moved..then one day they did...whites were shocked into whiteness.

ziki
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Re: Twain's artistic and moral journey

Not to speak of certain white parts of western Connecticut....
z.
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