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Old Yesterday, 10:25 AM
 
153 posts, read 35,452 times
Reputation: 515

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rugrats2001 View Post
I see nothing at all racist in his writings. Heís relating his observations of specific people in specific settings, not discussing all members of a Ďraceí everywhere.

Plus, stop trying to apply todayís ideas and morality to people of the past. Trust me, our current culture will be judged just as harshly a hundred years from now as we judge our past.
Just in case someone misses it, the above post can be described as "wisdom".

Modern folks sitting on their sofa eating Lucky Charms and watching the Telly, and judging (for instance) the Mormons that pushed two-wheeled carts by hand from Illinois to Utah over broken ground to escape religious persecution, don't get a say, IMHO. Until you've lived the hardships of the people that you're judging by today's standards, your credibility just isn't there. Survival was a constant struggle back then, and there was intense competition for just about everything, and as a result there was a lot of violence, suffering, and injustice. Young people, especially, who believe that food comes from the supermarket and energy comes from the wall outlet, just don't get it, and hopefully, will never have to.
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Old Yesterday, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
18,457 posts, read 3,741,090 times
Reputation: 23538
Have a bio of him on my to read table...it's by Walter Isaacson....will be interesting to see how this is addressed.

I agree with others...he's dead and we are certainly the better off for his contributions...
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Old Yesterday, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
8,969 posts, read 4,896,564 times
Reputation: 7717
I suppose it is one of those things not to take in a vacuum.


A and B.


A: One has to consider the time in which it was written and not see it from the present. I just got done watching a 1st season, 1973, episode of Kojak, in which they were able to use the Q word "*****" in a double meaning, both for the homosexuality (gay wasn't the word back then) in the story which was pretty difficult a story to do then and for the bad money involved.



One has to appreciate the surroundings for when something was done.


B: Hard to say with diaries what one might have actually meant when they wrote it. Here's a paragraph from my diaries .... "Rescheduled my engagement for Friday, tomorrow, at 1330. Going up to Austin, even to Slaughter, late afternoon when I have to work puts a strain on systems, especially when I'm reeling from Mossie et al bites.".


What the blazes could all that mean? A and B. A: I suppose if someone wanted to, they could work out a script reading all my diaries to determine a pattern of my writing to figure out its lexicon. They might come up with a correct translation guide....or not.


B: Even the most clear plain text may have an alternate meaning to it. Just look at ......
Where is, repeat, where is Task Force Thirty Four? The world wonders.......
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Old Yesterday, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Plainfield NJ
96 posts, read 18,604 times
Reputation: 153
I agree, continuing to view past figures with today's glasses on is a pointless endeavor. People live their lives and develop their own opinions that way. The man was brilliant and discovered through his travels and his life that people arent what you think they are and was an anti racism speaker. In the '20s he only knew what he saw up to that point and made observations accordingly.

But they do seem to be more travel observations that racist remarks. When I travel I observe people and remark on. Not necessarily as a judgement of an entire populace but as an observation of what I am seeing in front of me.
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Old Yesterday, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,241 posts, read 17,549,526 times
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Ever notice how only negative opinions are racist? If Einstein had written "The Chinese struck me as an industrious, obedient population, for whom manners are very important"..that would be a judgment of the entire race just as saying the opposite would be. In the case of the first, no one would be complaining about a sweeping judgment, in the case of the latter, they would.
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Old Yesterday, 12:15 PM
 
Location: NYC
3,671 posts, read 1,448,663 times
Reputation: 1533
Hmm. Originally posted on Faux News, then ... featured on the NY Post. Looks like some credible sources right there.



I'm sure they didn't just cherrypick some quotes from the actual diaries (see here) and then package them into some ridiculous overblown drivel that would be appealing to their right-wing fanbase
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Old Yesterday, 12:25 PM
 
Location: West Los Angeles
8,930 posts, read 9,049,451 times
Reputation: 9163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vacanegro View Post
Watch some old videos of the Riots in major US cities. Read about the Chinese exclusion act and Japanese Internment. Relearn about the civil rights movement and why it was necessary and was resisted by many.


The world has been racist for a long time. Hell, most of the colonial settlers who came to the US did so because they were being discriminated against back home. Doesn't mean they themselves weren't prejudiced.
Why are you telling me what I should do? This is the history forum, not the political forum. This is a forum for the dispassionate discussion of historical facts, not a forum for attacking the U.S. or the rest of the world for the moral ramifications of their actions.
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Old Yesterday, 12:34 PM
 
3,808 posts, read 7,273,608 times
Reputation: 4994
Quote:
Originally Posted by rugrats2001 View Post
I see nothing at all racist in his writings. He’s relating his observations of specific people in specific settings, not discussing all members of a ‘race’ everywhere.

Plus, stop trying to apply today’s ideas and morality to people of the past. Trust me, our current culture will be judged just as harshly a hundred years from now as we judge our past.
Good point! People of the past lived in a different time. These days I am worried I might be labeled a racist if I say I don't like an ethnic food.

Last edited by davidt1; Yesterday at 12:52 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Central New Jersey
1,684 posts, read 584,195 times
Reputation: 2918
Regardless of his views, whether wrong or right, the man was a genious.
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Old Yesterday, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,373 posts, read 1,139,775 times
Reputation: 4459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalop View Post
I'm sure they didn't just cherrypick some quotes from the actual diaries (see here) and then package them into some ridiculous overblown drivel that would be appealing to their right-wing fanbase
He was a man of European heritage at perhaps the modern-era peak of that culture (at least, in their own regard). It is not unusual that he would see another culture as inferior. Technically, yes, that's racism. But across the span of human time, it is very difficult for even the most enlightened figures to be completely free of their era's influences.

It makes for a fuller picture of the man, who is widely misunderstood anyway. Not a nice addition, but believing he was just a kindly ol' rumpled grandpa who happened to unravel key secrets of the universe is cartoon nonsense. (For one thing, he was quite a meticulous and natty dresser. Only very late in life, after his wife died, did he get "rumpled" as we commonly imagine him.)

(He also had a daughter out of wedlock that he may have abandoned to adoption because of the social inconvenience.)

Misinterpreting cultural perceptions is hardly limited to him, or that time. Differences in how daily life is lived has tripped up many an otherwise acute observer.
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