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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Legacy Of The Past

We watched Selma yesterday and were amazed how much we had forgotten, which - I guess - sort of shows me why one should remember the Holocaust and not trivialize it; one should remember all great moral history and not trivialize it.

We thought of the divide between the political groups in the USA, and we remembered how the Solid South, the Democratic South which went solidly for the Democratic party, splintered on Civil Rights in 1948 with the presidential aspirations of the Dixiecrats, and finally fell apart in the 60s when the Democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson, was a moving force behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The displaced southerners went into the Republican Party in great numbers and southern church groups opened their own schools which did not accept federal monies.

Today we often see the Confederate flag in public, which may indeed be seen as an attack upon the memory of my ancestors who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

At this point, you may disagree or you may assent, but take a moment and realize that I have just severely trivialized history.

So let's get serious.

What is our untrivial legacy that still haunts us today? Read the following:

The Tablet
Book Review
Was Nazi Germany Made in America?

A new history argues convincingly that institutionalized racism and common-law pragmatism in the United States inspired Hitler’s policies

Historians have downplayed the connection between Nazi race law and America because America was mainly interested in denying full citizenship rights to blacks rather than Jews. But Whitman’s adroit scholarly detective work has proved that in the mid-’30s Nazi jurists and politicians turned again and again to the way the United States had deprived African-Americans of the right to vote and to marry whites. They were fascinated by the way the United States had turned millions of people into second-class citizens.

Strange as it may seem to us, the Nazis saw America as a beacon for the white race, a Nordic racial empire that had conquered a vast amount of Lebensraum. One German scholar, Wahrhold Drascher, in his book The Supremacy of the White Race (1936), saw the founding of America as a “fateful turning point” in the rise of the Aryans. Without America, Drascher wrote, “a conscious unity of the white race would never have emerged.” Rasse and Raum—race and living space—were for Nazis the keywords behind America’s triumph in the world, according to historian Detlef Junker. Hitler admired the American commitment to racial purity, praising the anti-Indian campaigns that had “gunned down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand.” ...

How Race Questions Arise.’ A map of the 48 states showing ‘Statutory Restrictions on Negro Rights,’ which appeared in the Nazi propaganda magazine Neues Volk in 1936. (Courtesy of University of Michigan Library, appearing in James Q. Whitman’s Hitler’s American Model)

This is still living history. Less than 3 generations ago, fine minds in our country were devoted to keeping the races separate and denying rights to groups of citizens.
There still are today.

And there are still people who feel we need a "conversation" of race relations.


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