05-24-2016, 07:16 PM
That's one argument I've used a lot as well. I feel like people toss around the term "racist" itself too much anyway and water it down in that aspect as well. It's as if people don't understand that there is a difference between someone being ignorant or naive and actually being racist. I've seen people called racist because they asked a question to learn more about someone of a different race. Racism is active prejudice against people of another race, not being ignorant of another race's history or traditions.
The truth is that Governments have used tools like "racism", "nationalism", "classism", and several other despicable "isms" to control their people for as long as human history stretches back. Anything to foster an "us vs them" mentality in their people to both unite and divide them as necessary to achieve the Government's goals. Back during the days of slavery, racism was a tool used by Governments and individuals alike to convince the populace and themselves respectively that blacks were deserving of being slaves and that using them as economic tools was morally okay. Before, slavery was just a fact of life, but race was used here to battle evolving views of individual worth that likely stemmed from the enlightenment.
Unfortunately, we've carried this cross that our ancestors have put upon us to this day. I agree with Tod that we should owe no debt for what our ancestors did. It becomes especially aggravating for me as a person with an Irish heritage at times whenever the subject of racism, slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and what have you comes up. People don't really understand the history of the Irish in America. But I don't go around acting like people owe me for it and neither does my family. I think we need to talk and be open about race, but instead we have all these insular viewpoints that seek to stifle debate about race and instead put people into "friend" and "enemy" boxes as always.