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The Magical Negro Extended
The Atlantic ^ | December 8, 2009 | Ta-Nehisi Coates

Posted on 12/08/2009 9:39:37 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

An interesting comment from CPR:

I can't speak for all white people, but I think white people want the Magic Negro because they want forgiveness. Obama's election and some of the incredibly weird things I heard some white people say about it made me realize that there is a fundamental injury that all americans carry with them (slavery and its aftermath) that has never been addressed adequately, and on the white side of the street, there is more unexplored/unexpressed guilt (which morphs into defensiveness or fear pretty easily) than I ever would have guessed. So in an archetypal way, the "unconditional gentle love of a maternal black figure" to a white person is about forgiveness, I think. Of course, it is on the cheap, as the one being forgiven hasn't faced what they need forgiveness for.

I don't have much experience with "white guilt," and really haven't spent much time examining it. But I like this point about absolution on the cheap. One problem with the debate around reparations, when it was hot, was that it allowed us to go where we are all most comfortable--our respective corners--and yell at each other. The focus on money, or on some form of direct payback, obscured a potentially deeper discussion in which white folks acknowledge some of the distressing roots of this country, and black folks acknowledge that some debts can not be repaid. Instead we got this cheap, cartoonish debate about cash. It's like everything else.

And yet it can't afford to be like everything else. The Black-White divide, to steal a phrase, this country's birth defect. (More accurately, it's one of two birth defects.) Some of it's greatest patriots--Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass--were consumed by it.(continued)

The Author

(Excerpt) Read more at ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: affirmativeaction; blacks; economy; magicnegro; obama; reparations; slaveryreparations; whiteguilt
I deny any involvement in or benefit from slavery or Jim Crow and I refuse to have money taken from my pocket to pay any reparations.
1 posted on 12/08/2009 9:39:37 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Maybe the people who want forgiveness feel they have done something to be forgiven for. I would guess that maybe deep down these liberals have personal animus or some negative feelings towards blacks that makes them feel guilty.


2 posted on 12/08/2009 9:42:25 AM PST by cvq3842 (A fool and his liberty are soon parted.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Ditto. I would also add that it’s a rather senseless emotion to feel guilty for something one had absolutely nothing to do with.


3 posted on 12/08/2009 9:43:53 AM PST by RU88 (Bow to no man)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What’s this guy been smoking?

My ancestors have been here in the South 200 years. I have no guilt.

And I befriend black folks because I like them, not because I owe them something different from the same respect I owe any other person.


4 posted on 12/08/2009 9:44:33 AM PST by hoe_cake (A member of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Constitution.)
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To: cvq3842
Slavery is wrong. I had nothing to do with slavery. Ask the people wanting reparations if they are better off here in the US or back where their ancestors were from. Betcha I know the correct answer. They ought to be paying us for the chance to have a future versus (pick one) live in hunger and squalor or die young from atrocities or the hands of Muslim extremists. Africans sold Africans into slavery. You didn't suffer, they did, so drop the con game.
5 posted on 12/08/2009 9:47:43 AM PST by dumpthelibs (dumpthelibs)
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To: cvq3842

Count on it! As I commented the other day, some of the most vile-mouthed racists I’ve ever run into were self-proclaimed liberals. In private they use slur words, mock minorities, and speak in a paternalistic manner about non-whites. But because of their political affiliations, they think they are innoculated against criticism.

If I were them I’d feel mighty guilty.


6 posted on 12/08/2009 9:48:02 AM PST by Scanian
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, when the racists dissolve the Black Caucus, then I’ll start paying attention. (I’m still trying to contact the chairman of the White Caucus ... anybody got an email address?) /s


7 posted on 12/08/2009 9:48:11 AM PST by ThePatriotsFlag (http://www.thepatriotsflag.com - The Patriot's Flag)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If a white writer has submitted such a piece of sophomoric pseudo-psychological trash, it would have been returned if and only if return postage had been included.

Look at what affirmative action has done to writing, publishing, ad nauseam.


8 posted on 12/08/2009 9:48:50 AM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: hoe_cake

His last paragraph had this:

“..... I think a lot of us can come to some peace, can come to understand that whatever happened to us, there are limits on what anyone can do to make it right, and while those limits have to be pushed, some of this we’re going to have to carry ourselves. And then with a even broader sense we can understand that our suffering is not singular, that it isn’t the only suffering......”


9 posted on 12/08/2009 9:52:13 AM PST by PeteB570 (NRA - Life member and Black Rifle owner)
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To: ThePatriotsFlag
"...I’m still trying to contact the chairman of the White Caucus...anybody got an email address?)..."

Sure: http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_email.html

10 posted on 12/08/2009 9:55:12 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2 million for Sarah Palin: What will you do?)
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To: PeteB570

“whatever happened to us, “

what’s happened to HIM?

Affirmative Action, appeasements, apologies, gimme programs, ...


11 posted on 12/08/2009 9:55:23 AM PST by hoe_cake (A member of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Constitution.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Most of todays, America did not benefit from “slave” activities, nor did their ancestors.

For those that were involved a lot have time has passed, also, a lot of the “wealth “ “taken” from the blacks has been squandered. As far as “income” goes? Today farm labor is still the lowest paid job going with the workers narrowly getting by. The farm owners? Are having a tough time as well. I doubt things were much different then.

The blacks should be thankful they are here and have every opportunity open to them to fall in the system and be someone as opposed to their brothers in Guinea, Sierra leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana etc etc.

Most people in West Africa wish they could be in America..... for the opportunity that used to be.


12 posted on 12/08/2009 9:55:59 AM PST by himno hero
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To: RU88

Bingo, my ancestors were slaves under Ottoman rule for 500 years and I have yet to see the Turkish government get cornered into payment a plan.

Guilt is nothing more than anger turned inward, so I have no idea why I would have anything to feel guilty for. PC bullshit is so prevalent in our society at large and ingrained into our youth that “white guilt” has become the populist’s tool of choice in drumming up kooky ways to hand over our freedoms to these communist hacks.


13 posted on 12/08/2009 9:56:32 AM PST by montyspython ("I don't believe in 'no win' scenarios." - James T. Kirk)
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To: ThePatriotsFlag

I’m still looking for the Caucasian College Fund


14 posted on 12/08/2009 9:57:32 AM PST by hoe_cake (A member of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Constitution.)
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To: hoe_cake

It’s called a lemonade stand.


15 posted on 12/08/2009 9:59:12 AM PST by montyspython ("I don't believe in 'no win' scenarios." - James T. Kirk)
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To: montyspython

Lemonade stand! That’s rich. LOL.


16 posted on 12/08/2009 10:00:15 AM PST by hoe_cake (A member of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Constitution.)
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To: GladesGuru

Since I am waiting for a conference call with the engineers, I may as well take the time to point out a few points on the “reparations” issue.

Central to the black racists pushing “reparations” is these undeniable facts:
1. Blacks are poorer than whites.
True, but why are blacks poorer than whites? The answer is in the next fact.
2. Blacks hold lower paying jobs. Why do blacks hold lower paying jobs is answered in #3. below.
3. For cultural, not genetic reasons, blacks reject academic hard work in schools. Thus they are less able to compete for better jobs because they are less educated.
4. Blacks have fostered an ‘inner city’ culture which glamorizes “attitude”, foul language, loathsome behavior towards women, crime - all of which may create extra costs for any employer who hires them.

Reverend Manning has it right. Acting like the “Long Legged Mack Daddy”, or almost any of the iconic figures in urban Black Culture is no way to go through life.

Blacks are indeed suffering, not because of slavery, but because of their own choices.


17 posted on 12/08/2009 10:04:08 AM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: cvq3842
"...maybe deep down these liberals have personal animus or some negative feelings towards blacks that makes them feel guilty."

I think this is the real kernel of the problem. Overcompensating for one's own secret racism would explain a lot of this. And it doesn't take a psychiatrist to figure it out, either.

18 posted on 12/08/2009 10:04:55 AM PST by redhead (Hmm.... Copenhagen.. Hopenchange... Copenhagen... Hopenchange....)
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To: cvq3842
Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates;

Please exclude me from the body of white people seeking forgiveness for slavery and the plight of the African-American community. I never owned slaves and am not responsible for slavery in this nation in any way. Additionally, the amount of taxes I pay that end up supporting the employment-challenged portion of the African-American community is more than enough penance for any such feelings any human being could possibly harbour.

Sincerely;
AD from SpringBay
White Guy Who Isn't Looking for Negro Magic
19 posted on 12/08/2009 10:10:43 AM PST by AD from SpringBay (We deserve the government we allow.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

We son’t like your kind there mister.
We’re gonna take you and your kind and put you in a re=education camp there fella.

You WILL pay.

Lot of crap huh?
Lock and load.


20 posted on 12/08/2009 10:12:32 AM PST by Joe Boucher (This marxist punk has got to go.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That thread on there is a steaming pile. I’m in no way responsible for slavery - my family is from a northern state and some died on the Union side in the Civil War, I’ve never had slaves, my famiy has never had slaves, plus it’s 2009!

They can take their reparations and shove it. Whose going to “reparate” my family for our Civil War dead? What about my oppressed Irish ancestors and the indentured English ones who had to work for 7 years for free to pay off their transit debt?

Ugh, now I’m ticked off.
LQ


21 posted on 12/08/2009 10:15:21 AM PST by LizardQueen (The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The best reparation for the black Americans, descendants of former slaves, would be emergence of robust and viable black middle class, providing good education and employment opportunities for their kids, which is only possible under capitalism. Democrats are denying these opportunuties to them, because they are more inerested in a poor, needy, frustrated and angry underclass, for whom they may appear as a benefactor, Big Daddy giving handouts, keeping them down and dependent on the government. G-d said to the poor and hungry man begging for fish, I will give you a fishing rod and teach you how to catch fish so that you could feed yourself till the end of your days. Democrats are the worst perpetuators of slavery and its aftermath. And the new brand of Democrats wants to enslave us all.


22 posted on 12/08/2009 10:15:26 AM PST by Mi-kha-el ((There is no Pravda in Izvestiya and no Izvestiya in Pravda.))
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To: Joe Boucher

I’ll be here: http://www.LivingInThePhilippines.com
if they ever try it.


23 posted on 12/08/2009 10:15:55 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2 million for Sarah Palin: What will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Just one more failure at race baiting.

Nothing more to say other than EPIC FAIL.


24 posted on 12/08/2009 10:18:57 AM PST by scoobysnak71
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The Black-White divide, to steal a phrase, this country's birth defect.

This phrase is indeed stolen - but lacks the structure to be a sentence.

25 posted on 12/08/2009 10:39:02 AM PST by MortMan (Stubbing one's toes is a valid (if painful) way of locating furniture in the dark.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Funny I have never felt any "white guilt"

But there are so many people telling me I should...I think they have a vested interest in the "white guilt" business/industry

26 posted on 12/08/2009 10:58:57 AM PST by tophat9000 (Obama plans to fix America like he fixed his dog)
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To: redhead
Some comments about the article:

1. Anytime a black person uses the word “folk(s)”, it is being used to separate the speaker from the listener. The word “folk” is a term of art used to say, “I am closer to the issues than you are and as a result my words have more credibility than yours.” So, if the author truly were interested in having all of us discourse at the same level, the author would not be using obvious words that create a decided social strata from the outset before discussion even begins.

2. The California Gold and Nevada & Colorado Silver deposits, their discoveries and their potential all far dwarfed the promise of slavery in 1859 as a potential wealth provider or creator looking forward from that point. Similar initial indications were what led to the Alaska purchase by Lincoln’s Secretary of State Seward and The Riggs National Bank. Similar projections were already being made by Vanderbilt and others in shipping and transportation and Morse and Marconi in telecommunications. Slavery in the South was like the auto industry in Detroit in 1859. Sure it was big. Sure it had a lot of people involved with it but everyone knew it wasn’t the future. It was more about how to transition (just like everyone today knows oil isn't the future but it is more about how to transition). One last thing. The civil war was not fought over slavery. It was fought over state sovereignty. Slavery was the bait and switch cause celeb used in the 11th hour to put the North over the victory line. It had the same overarching moral effect as the Gipper Speech used by Newt Rockne. The author pleads with the reader to respect history. Perhaps he should lead by example. Using the numbers the author gives us, slaves in today's dollars had a total commodity value of $75Billion. That seems like a lot until one thinks that this number represents, in today's dollars, less than 10% of the money we spent on the stimulus passed last March. It was not an insurmountable problem nor the backbone of the American Economic promise, even in it's heyday. Samuel Slater could have told you that.

3. Speaking of respecting history, I find it incredible that a black man in America today would say that what Blacks most want is a respect of history. From Oprah to Tupac, blacks in America have demonstrated an incredible disregard for all things historical and most can’t tell you much about what occurred before Grand Master Flash came on the scene. In an attempt to seize the high ground, he fails under the sheer vaudeville comedy of this particular argument.

4. Perhaps in the end, the demonstration of anti-social behavior that began in an earnest way in the late 1970’s and 1980’s came at the very time after civil rights when society was really looking for an exemplary demonstration of super-social behavior. White America might well have applauded black efforts in education, industry and academia had they been earnest and pervasive even with the paultry resources at the black community’s disposal. What the nation witnessed was a wholesale rejection of social structures: education, the nuclear family, the professions, hard work and the civil code. Instead we saw anti-social and even violent lyrics, extraordinary defacing of public property, entitlement abuse and a dress code that is well below the level most in society would accept as offensive. Following civil rights, most white Americans chose to look the other way giving a break to polite or impolite confrontation. The result was an interpretation of silence as obtained power or tacit approval when it really was tempered disappointment and at times even disgust.

5. Now, 40 years later, we have an ethnic group in this country that represents 13% of the population. It represents a far lower percentage of doctors, employers, lawyers, academics and employed individuals. It represents a significantly higher percentage of: felons, murderers, armed robbers, unwed mothers, welfare and wic recipients and drug users and dealers. 87% of this country isn’t as concerned with the notion of a “magic negro” in the White House as they are with the dirty little secret every one of us is too afraid to confront, white and black; which is: are the broad masses of black people in this country really even an asset to this society or are they a liability? The real question at this point is, "Of the remaining 87% of us who are supposed to have this guilt the author speaks of, what percentage even wants this segment of our society around anymore?"The author's argument is not a black white issue at this point. Growing affluence and influence amongst hispanics and asians in the west and sweeping east are turning this into a true 87/13 problem. It has less to do with slavery among these populations who arrived enmasse more than a century after the Civil War. There is no legacy of guilt with them, only an experiential frame of reference which these new emerging Americans have internalized and made decisions about. And in those decisions, without a legacy of slavery, the black community in this country may have come up wanting based solely on their interactions with these groups over the past 25 years.

6. This brings us to guilt. Others have written it here and I will add to the discourse. I live in Georgia, south of Atlanta. Both my parents were from Boston. My ancestors were white New England abolitionists who risked their lives to free the slaves even though to my knowledge they had never even seen a black person in the flesh. One of my great grandfathers came from Ireland as an indentured servant (that is a slave with a dubious promise of freedom at some point in the future that might or might not have been honored). My great grandfather actually earned the full measure of his freedom at Gettysburg. According to family history, the first black man he met was one he fought next to with the Union army on that battlefield in July of 1863 (when it was still a states’ rights struggle). I do not have guilt about slavery. I do not owe anyone an apology. If there is a debt to be paid (which I really do not believe there is), then someone owes my grandparents a big “Thank You” instead of an endless multi-decade chip on the shoulder.

7. If Obama represented anything in 2008, it was a collective statement by everyone in this country to tell the black community who continues into this millenium to espouse that if we just give them more and more, they could be better than the statistics they currently present. The statement was, “The ceilings you keep saying are in place are not universally there anymore.” Was Colin Powell a fluke? Well, Obama certainly wasn’t. He was elected by Whites and Hispanics more than by the black community. But the author makes a mistake in believing the rest of us have a continuing need to support Obama because of the salving symbolism he represents. That point has been made. Obama has been given awesome power to either succeed or fail. He has been given the greatest gift that all Americans have been given, supreme opportunity. His choice to use it well or squander it will not be an indictment of black Americans but finally, he will have succeeded or failed on the merits in this one part of his life’s journey. Finally, a black man in this country will have been able to say “I had all the breaks and here’s what I did with it.”

Following that, perhaps maybe black “folk” will get over their collective selves and start taking individual responsibility for their own achievements and failures just as Americans have chosen to do from all corners of the globe for eons. If they can begin to do this in a meaningful and universal way then maybe choosing to see the American Revolution through the prism of Crispus Attucks might seem as passe to them as it already seems to me.

27 posted on 12/08/2009 11:02:31 AM PST by johnnycap
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

To be honest, my family once owned slaves, in VA, KY and MO as they moved across the country between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries. The man who founded the paternal branch of my family in Tidewater Virginia, after immigrating from England, fought as an officer in the Revolutionary War. He was an overseer, farmer and local magistrate, as were two of his sons and a few of his grandsons. This all happened over 150 years ago and beyond.

Do I personally feel “guilty” for ANY of this? Not one bit!


28 posted on 12/08/2009 11:12:32 AM PST by mkboyce
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
According to the author's logic...wouldn't the fact that I didn't vote for obama show that I don't have any guilt? But then again...I'm sure that really means I'm racist.
/sarc
29 posted on 12/08/2009 2:12:30 PM PST by zlala
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; muawiyah; blam
I've read that at least 80 percent of all Americans who descend from a 17th or 18th Century colonist who lived in the South are part Cherokee; that's how high the rate of intermarriage was. I am unsure what is the percentage of "whites" in modern America who have a BLACK ancestor, but I am positive that the percentage is similarly HIGH.

The author of the piece must only know urban lefty caucasians and doesn't realize that the majority of allegedly white Americans have NO such guilt....

30 posted on 12/08/2009 3:03:07 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: hennie pennie
"I've read that at least 80 percent of all Americans who descend from a 17th or 18th Century colonist who lived in the South are part Cherokee; that's how high the rate of intermarriage was."

That's an urban myth....albeit, it exists in my family too.
DNA tests I've done on my extended family shows it to be false...at least in my family.

The DNA haplogroups in my family are all European, R1b, U5a, V and H.

31 posted on 12/08/2009 3:12:52 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Thanks blam, I was really interested HOW something like that could be known, as first of all, few people can totally trace and/or totally document their very early American ancestors - sure, there are some you CAN trace back to the olde country and sometimes even go back a few generations there -- but usually at a certain point in Colonial America, there are gaping holes.

I've "met" several third and even fourth cousins online, and one of our very early Americans could potentially have come from one the Quaker communities, or perhaps from somewhere in the Caribbean, very probably from New Sweden, but with no documentation, he could be a Huguenot or German or Irish or English or Scottish or Scotch Irish.... indeed, almost anything, from almost anywhere.

Secondly, since so very few people have had their DNA done, I've no idea where the '80% of old Americans have a Cherokee ancestor' meme originated, but I've come across it quite a few times online. I had no idea it was an urban legend.

Thank you blam.

32 posted on 12/08/2009 4:23:45 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: hennie pennie
My dad's mother, Mrs Smith, (my grandmother) is related to Cheddar Man
33 posted on 12/08/2009 5:59:40 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
That is 4 kEwL!!

That means that YOU are the descendant of Cheddar Man???

wOw!

34 posted on 12/08/2009 6:09:13 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: hennie pennie
"That means that YOU are the descendant of Cheddar Man???"

The U5a mtDNA, see here, that belonged to my grandmother and Cheddar Man was not passed on to me. I received my mtDNA from my mother who is in haplogroup 'V', as are 52% of the Skolt Sami. Haplogroup 'V' is one of the oldest in Europe but is one of the smallest percentage haplogroups.

35 posted on 12/08/2009 6:27:54 PM PST by blam
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
My folks came over on several ships from Italy between 1910 and 1925, My father's sister, my aunt, was born on one of those ships while at sea. By then the Civil war was over and slaves were free. My ancestors learned to speak and read English. They worked hard and made a life for them selves here. My grandfather on my mothers side fought for the United States in WW1. My Father and Uncles fought for the USA in WW2 in Europe and the Pacific. My second cousin fought and was wounded in Korea.

No one in my family has derived any benefit from American slavery and I refuse to give one red cent to any reparations for slavery. That debt was payed during the 1860s in blood by the soldiers that fought on both sides during the civil war.

36 posted on 12/08/2009 6:34:07 PM PST by Calamari (Pass enough laws and everyone is guilty of something.)
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To: hoe_cake
Feel sorry? Reparations? Tell that to all the families of fallen soldiers who fought for the Union. That's the cost of freedom and reparations paid. Likewise for all the Southern boys who died, never owning slaves and never aspiring to and were conscripted into service. This guy should ask himself the question: “What if the South won?” I come from a border state and lost relatives who fought for both sides. I have no guilt and would never entertain such a notion. Liberals always play to the emotions of guilt. It's there mantra.Your right, this fellow is smoking bad weed.
37 posted on 12/10/2009 12:54:48 PM PST by Edisto Joe (Support our service men and women!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The author, being black, is unqualified to comment on what “the white side of the street” is thinking.


38 posted on 12/10/2009 12:56:51 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (Ram "Health Care Reform" down our throats in '09, and we'll ram it up your @ss in '10.)
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To: hoe_cake

Or WET White Entertainment Television LOL!


39 posted on 12/19/2009 4:28:41 PM PST by stephenjohnbanker (Support our troops, and vote out the RINO's!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I deny as well....none of my family ever benefitted from slavery.....we have a "southern" name and we do have coattail relatives in the mid South, but they we're so successful my family ended up in the North with my father doing very basic work for little money... and the other side of the family were immigrants fresh off the boat..

..we did not gain anything from slavery.....

on the contrary, I would say its been tougher for people like us because all the jobs seem to have that "diversity" crap.....where a person is passed over so the minority with lesser skills can have the job....

maybe we should have a class action law suit.

40 posted on 01/10/2010 2:21:50 PM PST by cherry
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