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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics & Religion » Acountability for the Sins of the (Fore)Fathers

Default Acountability for the Sins of the (Fore)Fathers

April 25th, 2007, 01:24
In another thread, ThatGuy made this statement:

"On the topic of slavery; I guess I think about it like this: How long do you keep paying back an entire race for something as horrible as slavery? Am I really accountable for the horrors my ancestors and fore fathers carried out?"

This seemed like a good topic for discussion, since it's a major point of political contention here in Australia as well over our treatment of the Aborigines many years ago and how much we owe then now for what our forefathers did to them!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 25th, 2007, 01:54
I can think of several groups looking for reparations of some form or another:
Aborigines
American Indians
American Blacks
German Jews (well, "German" might be too restrictive, but y'all know what I mean)

It's an arbitrary limit, but I would say once all actual aggrieved parties are dead, the clock's run out. That would work out to a 90 year limit, give or take. 3-5 generations will move thru in that time period, which is plenty of time to recover.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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April 25th, 2007, 02:00
Then why is the 'guilt trip' still being laid on us after more than a hundred years and why should I feel guilt over something done before I was born?

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 25th, 2007, 02:07
So it never happens again. So you remember you and/or your children don't do something like it again.
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April 25th, 2007, 02:15
I'll probably get in trouble for saying this. Actually, I really shouldn't involve myself in this conversation as some could get offended.

Corwin, I visited Australia last year. I went diving at the Great Reef. There was this awesome aboriginal tour guide. He was really cool. When I visited Townsville, an Abo spat at me. I read up on some of the history of Australia, and came to the conclusion that the native aborigines where conquered by the english. And why should Australians have to apologize for beating them? Also, why should aborigines be given special rights?
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April 25th, 2007, 02:18
same issue is a big one in the usa.
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April 25th, 2007, 03:54
Our Aborigines are similar in many ways to the American Indians, with many of the same issues. One of the things that annoys many Australians, is that the Aborigines get special treatment, yet frequently fling it back in our face. A good friend of mine spent 5 years as a public health nurse in an isolated aboriginal community and came home frustrated and totally disillusioned. The gov't built them houses- they chopped them up for firewood; the gov't gave them money for food etc- they chartered a plane full of beer and drank it dry. When the gov't many years ago took some aboriginal children away from drunk and abusive parents and put them with foster families who made sure they got an education and job opportunities, we're now told that these children were stolen and WE should feel guilty for it happening and apologise to them!!!!! There are many more issues, but you get the drift.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 25th, 2007, 05:15
The whole thing's a mess in the US. Blacks went from slavery directly into severe poverty and stayed there for a long time. That only began to change in the 1960s. Who can blame them for wanting reparation?

I think we've done about enough already, though. Laws began changing here over 40 years ago. You have to wonder why they haven't had more effect by now. Bill Cosby claims too many of today's inner-city blacks aren't doing enough to help themselves. That made a lot of blacks mad (but most folks outside of the black community think Cosby's right).

IMO, change was implemented too slowly and disparately. Among everyday people the facts are in dispute, and that's why the value of those changes is downplayed and unappreciated. As a group, blacks don't typically come out to vote, and it's been too easy for politicians to give other issues priority.
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April 25th, 2007, 10:06
How long will we blame Germany for Hitler?
How long will we blame Russia for Stalin?
How long will we blame the Jews for killing Jesus?
How about the sterilization of native americans in the US?

Can a child be blamed for the actions of their parents?

I say that once the victims have shaped up, it's time to drop the blame.
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April 25th, 2007, 11:24
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Then why is the 'guilt trip' still being laid on us after more than a hundred years and why should I feel guilt over something done before I was born?
I think this has less to do with guilt than with responsibility. People tend to forget fast… too fast (I'm German, I kinda know what I'm talking about). After a couple of years slavery wasn't all that bad, imperialism wasn't that bloody, and the holocaust a mere side-scenario of WWII.
Very often we do not name the thing we're talking about. The holocaust means genocide, the colonization of America means genocide, as does the colonization of Australia. People seem to downplay all these things after a few years went by.
No matter what group we're looking at, the native Americans, Aborigines, the black society in America or the jews - their living conditions were influenced by the acts commited against them, the consequences of these acts being visible even today.

Inheritance is a tricky thing. We take it as granted that we inherit our parents possessions although we haven't earned the money, or bought the house that is handed down to us. Our right of inheritance is based solely on the fact that we were relatives. When it comes to guilt or responibility however we insist that it cannot be inherited… strange uh?

My opinion is that guilt cannot be inherited, responsibility on the other hand should. I never killed a jew, so no, I'm neither directly guilty nor responsible, but indirectly I have a moral responsibility that people will never forget what happened during WWII. And if that means paying tax money for the hundreth monument that reminds of the holocaust - so be it.
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April 25th, 2007, 11:38
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
How long will we blame Germany for Hitler?
How long will we blame Russia for Stalin?
How long will we blame the Jews for killing Jesus?
How about the sterilization of native americans in the US?

Can a child be blamed for the actions of their parents?

I say that once the victims have shaped up, it's time to drop the blame.
I know I'm playing devil's advocate saying this, but I like to look at it from each perspective (as long as it doesn't seem to silly), so here's a thought on that; How, or who decides when the victims have gotten to the point where they're shaped up or equal?

I have no answer myself for anything like that.

Inheritance… I guess it all depends on the person, guilt and responsibilites are something we might inherit, but only if we allow ourselves to. I've seen both sides, those who feel deeply responsible, and those who don't feel they owe any responsibility, it really depends on who you talk to.

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April 25th, 2007, 11:57
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
How long will we blame the Jews for killing Jesus?
Quite long. Have any of you seen south park's "Passion of the Jew"???
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April 25th, 2007, 12:58
Hitler was actually Austrian, not German, but that's a minor point!! I don't hate Germans, Japanese, or anyone that 'my' side fought against in the wars. My British uncle who fought on the front lines in WW2, loved Germany and eventually married a German. Hate is destructive and should not be perpetuated. Guilt and blame are bi-products that we don't need either. I certainly would never belittle the holocaust in any way, but I don't hold German people today responsible for it. Why then do other groups hold 'us' responsible for things which happened before we were born?

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 25th, 2007, 13:54
I think you should know that American Indians haven't received everything they used to have. So actually, you're still not letting them get their inheritance, instead you see American Indians getting less and less than thay used to.
No, YOU shouldn't feel guilty. You should give them what's rightfully theirs. That means land, land and more land.

Same with aboriginals, they used to own lots of land. Corwin, you say, your government gave them money and they drank beer. What else do you want them to do? Money is not one of their customs. You have two options. Let them live in peace with their land, customs and traditions or educate them in your (, our, Western) ways.

Jews, they never had land, except for Israel/Palestine/Judea. However, some Jews in Europe were extremely rich. Some of them got killed, others not. The fact remains that banks are not wiling to give the money back to the Jews. German banks make a majority out of these banks, along with Polish ones.

So, Jews, Indians and Aboriginals, aren't living their life to their greatest potential. Why? Because the governments or banks are withholding stuff from all these groups.


Please, don't get me wrong.
I know most banks won't ever give that money back to the Jews.
I know the governments won't give most of the land back to the Indian Americans or Aborignals.

But it does stay in the mind of those involved.
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April 25th, 2007, 14:04
The thing of persistence of memory is a whole different subject … while it is important that we remember so that history doesn't repeat itself, at what point did punitive action become positive action?

I believe that each issue is complex - the issues of African Americans aren't so simple as 'leftovers from slavery' or 'laziness' or 'continued disenfranchisement' or 'addiction to entitlements' … but rather a mixture of all of them.

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April 25th, 2007, 14:19
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
No, YOU shouldn't feel guilty. You should give them what's rightfully theirs. That means land, land and more land.
Pladio, but they lost. When some nation loses a war, they lose land. So they can't just request it back. Or am I completely missing some point here? Isn't this the case?
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April 25th, 2007, 14:54
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Why then do other groups hold 'us' responsible for things which happened before we were born?
I think much has to do with the fact that the consequences of these things are still visible. No one can hold you directly responsible for what your forefathers did - at least not from an objective point of view. But let's not forget emotions play a big role here, and these bring such conflicts to a more subjective level. I think that is partly understandable.

If you look at the facts than you have to admit that neither the Aborigines, nor the native Americans, nor the black society in America (or other ethnic minorities) have the same opportunities as the ethnic majority. Theoretically they may have, but practically…?
The white ethnic majorities that live in Australia and America today live there in relative wealth and comfort - because their forefathers did what they did. They cannot just say that they have nothing to do with the whole situation because they are still profiting from what their forefathers did.

Again, I don't think you can be held responsible for what your forefathers did. What you can be held responsible for is the situation as it is right now - or better, how you are dealing with it.

There can be no doubt that many governments today try to help their ethnic minorities - very often however they aim to assimilate these minorities. Assimilation however is a very imperialistic concept. What do you do if these people don't want to be assimilated?
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April 25th, 2007, 15:01
It wasn't a war. It was a massacre.
The Spanish came with rifle, guns, horses, armor…
For every Spaniard who died 20 or more Indians died.
They killed countless, raped countless, of men, women and children. I think that that isn't a war. That's a massacre. I believe that if Germany would have won the war against Europe (without thinking of the Holocaust) then they would have the right to keep the land. But they massacred millions of people. They raped others and they killed children.
They (the Nazis) don't deserve anything.


Now, I know the Americans aren't the Spanish, but the fact remains, the English were colonialists the same way the Spanish were. Most of the land was conquered through massacre.
Some was bought, some was surrendered. But most of it was through massacre.
I wish I had a different word for massacre, so this text wouldn't have been that repetitive, but I can't think of one right now.
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April 25th, 2007, 15:20
Specific to native people living 'separate but equal' lives, at what point do we say 'integrate or STFU'. We pay them whether they work or not, we support their infrastructure, and we pay to keep their institutions intact. The land that they have sucks. But at what point do we say - look, you need to build your own success as so many of your people have individually chosen to do?

I don't know the answer - but I do know that Bill Cosby is right, it is up to each individual to own their own life, not to play victim to some unseen force. Yes there is disparity of education, but I have known kids from those schools who have worked hard and succeeded. It takes drive, initiative and solid parenting. Too much of the rest of it is laziness and excuses on one side and guilt on the other.

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April 25th, 2007, 15:40
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
It wasn't a war. It was a massacre.
Interesting. I sort of agree with you there, but still think that they (redskins) should of done a better job at defending themselves. This goes for aboriginals as well. Poland fought well against Germans (from what i've read). It too was a massacre. But they managed to fight back and regain lost land. And I don't think Poland ever requested an apology from Germany (not 100% sure though).
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