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racism

The question of racism definitely comes to mind the more I ponder the implications of this book.It's not like I need to discuss Jim on the raft. Some people and countries still ride in the back of the buss and how are we going to remedy that?

ziki
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Re: racism

Kiki, you asked about racism. The following answer is based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the Philippine-Americian War, however, I think it has some meaning in terms of what's currently going on in the world.

After the brief (about five months) but very popular war with Spain in 1898, the US acquired Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and, nearly by accident, the Philippines. This happened at a time when the US was covertly admiring the European powers who were carving up Africa, China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

The problem was that the Catholic nationalist Filipinos, guided by Emilio Aguinaldo, resisted the US after 1898 just as they had resisted Spain before 1898. It was a savage three year war in which the US held very few prisoners of war; they killed them instead. After Aguinaldo was captured in 1901, the Muslim Filipino fighters continued to resist until 1913.

Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden," is about the US conquest of the Philippines (the poem is quoted at the beginning of one chapter in "Orientalism" by Edward W. Said). The White Man's Burden is the idea that imperialism is racially-destined. Imperialists in the US argued that white people generally, white Americans in particular, inherited a racial obligation to expand their power indefinitely in order to civilize the world.

>Self-described imperialists insisted that America had a duty to bring order and civilization to what Indiana senator Alfred Beveridge called a "barbarous race." As the senator insisted, "The Philippines are ours forever. We will not repudiate our duty in the archipelago. We will not abandon our duty in the Orient. We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee under God, of the civilization of the world." (PBS, A Conflicted Land)

The downside was what to do with the newly-colonized subjects, most of whom were not white by the standards of the day. This period marked the zenith of European immigration in the US and the nadir of race relations -- the era of Jim Crow segregation began in 1896 with the Plessy v. Ferguson court decision. So neither the imperialists nor anti-imperialists wanted an influx of new non-white American citizens.

>Senator John Daniel of Virginia told Congress, "You may change the leopard's spots, but you will never change the different qualities of the races which God has created in order that they may fulfill separate and distinct missions in the cultivation and civilization of the world." Another anti-imperialist simply wondered why the United States would want to acquire "fresh millions of negroes." (Scott L. Malcomson, One Drop of Blood)

President McKinley implemented a policy of "benevolent assimilation," under which the United States would control the Philippines temporarily while it oversaw the transition to self-rule and independence. As the conquering party, the US set the standard for self-government, which helped to postpone independence indefinitely while the US exploited the islands' economic resources while using their country as a military base.

>Assimilation of foreigners was a political issue of vast importance after the turn of the century. At the peak, foreign-born people would make up a fifth of the labor force and nearly half of the urban population. This greatly concerned native-born Americans who responded with various forms of legal coercion (laws against speaking foreign languages, for instance), extralegal coercion (a reborn Klan), and, most importantly, ideas of Americanism and programs of Americanization. (Malcomson)

"The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth and "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides both describe Americanization programs, one civic, one corporate. Immigrants could keep their "culture" but had to give up their "race," or "an inherited past that controls you," which would make them loyal to the Kaiser, the Pope, the ward-heeler, etc. This was the period before the US entry into WWI and there was some concern about loyalty.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis gave a speech in Boston called True Americanism in which he admitted that other countries offered the same freedoms as the US. He added that what is "distinctly American" is racial equality. When Brandeis said that the United States alone "recognizes racial equality as am essential of full human liberty," he immediately followed with, "It has, therefore, given like welcomes to all the peoples of Europe."
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Re: racism

Ziki, Sorry I misspelled your name. I don't know if this was the answer you were looking for, but I suspect that the locations in the novel were chosen for a particular reason. Chile possibly because of the CIA involvement in the military coup which overthrew democratically-elected leader Salvador Allende (for which former Secretary of State Colin Powell apologized).
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Re: racism

steve, my question about racism and how we are going to remedy that is more or less rhetorical.
Racism exists, more hidden now than earlier but it exists.

There is an arrogance in white race thinking they need to "sivilize" all other people IOW rule them and a great part of that is hidden in the Amercan 'political' approach. (my references were to M. Twain)

I am not versed in politics or history but Europeans came to the American continent and stole the land from red Indians. Maybe red Indians if left alone would have developed into a segregated society, too, maybe not, who knows... what I want to say is that the same mechanisms are at work and had been at work for a long time and if anything is going to change the thinking has to change. As long as we do not respect each other and fear rules the collective situation will not be different.

A good inspired leadership is needed but who becomes the leader today is also a decision based on economy interests. We think we have a democracy but it is hollow. Many attitudes we see today remind of those once present in communist countries, it is just that people do not recognize the patterns of control and repression by fear.


ziki
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