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The bitter truth, as we feast on the bounty of the empire (Robert Jensen bile alert)
Houston Chronicle ^ | Nov. 22, 2005, 10:28PM | By ROBERT JENSEN

Posted on 11/24/2005 9:15:16 PM PST by weegee

The bitter truth, as we feast on the bounty of the empire -Our myth of Thanksgiving warps a history of genocide

ONE indication of moral and intellectual progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day with a National Day of Atonement.

Indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas. But the thought of changing this white-supremacist holiday is hard to imagine, which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire.

It's not news that all the world's great powers achieved "greatness" through brutality on a grand scale. That those same societies are hesitant to highlight this barbarism also is predictable.

In the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin — the genocide of indigenous people — is of special importance today. It's now routine — even among conservative commentators — to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured.

One vehicle for taming history is patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. We hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 after the Pilgrims' first winter.

Some aspects of the conventional story are true enough. But it's also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening land for the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 percent and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated.

Simply put:

Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was blessed by those we hold up as our heroic Founding Fathers.

In 1783 George Washington said he preferred buying Indians' land rather than driving them off it because that was like driving "wild beasts" from the forest. He compared Indians to wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape." Thomas Jefferson — president No. 3 and author of the Declaration of Independence, which refers to Indians as the "merciless Indian Savages" — was known to romanticize Indians and their culture, but that didn't stop him in 1807 from writing to his secretary of war that in a coming conflict with certain tribes, "[W]e shall destroy all of them."

As the genocide was winding down in the early 20th century, Theodore Roosevelt (president No. 26) defended whites' expansion across the continent as an inevitable process "due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway."

How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures held these views? Here's how "respectable" politicians, pundits and professors play the game:

When invoking a grand and glorious aspect of our past, then history is all-important. We are told how crucial it is for people to know history, and there is much hand-wringing about the younger generations' lack of knowledge about, and respect for, that history. But when one brings up facts and interpretations that contest the celebratory story and make people uncomfortable, suddenly the value of history drops precipitously and one is asked, "Why do you insist on dwelling on the past?"

This off-and-on engagement with history isn't of mere academic interest; as the dominant world power of the moment, U.S. elites have a clear stake in the contemporary propaganda value of that history. Obscuring bitter truths about historical crimes helps perpetuate the fantasy of U.S. benevolence, making it easier to sell contemporary imperial adventures — such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq — as another benevolent action.

History can be one of the many ways we create and impose hierarchy, or it can be part of a process of liberation. The truth won't set us free, but the telling of truth at least opens the possibility of freedom.

As Americans sit down on Thanksgiving Day to gorge themselves on the bounty of empire, many will worry about the expansive effects of overeating on their waistlines. We would be better to think about the constricting effects on the day's mythology on our minds.

Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of "The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity." He can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu.


TOPICS: Editorial; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: antiamerican; creativewriting; deadwhiteeuropeans; fiction; happythanksgiving; idiotarian; leftismoncampus; leftistidiot; leftistweenie; moonbat; pc; politicalcorrectness; politicallycorrect; proterrorist; publischool; rewritinghistory; robertjensen; saddamite; selfloathing; taxdollarsatwork; tenuredradicals; texas; thanksgiving; universityoftexas; ut; youpayforthis
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING everybody.

And here is some rebuttal:

http://lonestartimes.com/2005/11/23/cranberry-sauce-is-blood-of-innocents/

Can we expect an anti-Christian screed on Christmas Eve from the Houston Commiecal?

1 posted on 11/24/2005 9:15:18 PM PST by weegee
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To: weegee

"Indigenous people "

My family is Indigenous to this planet too, and since we are all related, what is the point of this article?


2 posted on 11/24/2005 9:21:22 PM PST by seastay
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: weegee
Jensen is a journalism professor

Hell, if that'd been at the beginning of the article it would have saved me a lot of reading.

May I take this opportunity to wish Herr Professor Jensen a Happy Thanksgiving! We imperialists will continue to allow you to enjoy the bounty and blessings of our empire even though you don't deserve it.

4 posted on 11/24/2005 9:22:52 PM PST by clintonh8r (I hope I'm at home when the GOP Senate Campaign Committee calls for some money.)
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To: weegee

Thanksgiving is a white supremacist holiday?????

"He can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu." After reading this junk I beg to differ, I don't think one can "reach" this guy at all.


5 posted on 11/24/2005 9:23:18 PM PST by Theresawithanh (You'll get me to stop posting on FR when you wrench my laptop from my cold, dead fingers!)
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To: weegee
"But when one brings up facts and interpretations that contest the celebratory story and make people uncomfortable, suddenly the value of history drops precipitously and one is asked, "Why do you insist on dwelling on the past?" "

STFU is fine.

6 posted on 11/24/2005 9:23:55 PM PST by endthematrix (Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse)
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To: weegee

Liberals....guilty, self-loathing, angry and miserable.


7 posted on 11/24/2005 9:24:34 PM PST by clintonh8r (I hope I'm at home when the GOP Senate Campaign Committee calls for some money.)
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To: weegee
LOL!!! I'm looking across the street and the Mexicans, Central Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Middle Eastern Americans are so happy and stuffed they can't even walk....The Kids of these people were eating, playing and having a very good time. People said hello, danced and drank a little. Jensen....stop worrying so much and enjoy life. Go tell these people how evil they are....OK?
8 posted on 11/24/2005 9:25:58 PM PST by Dallas59 (“You love life, while we love death.” - Al-Qaeda / Democratic Party)
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To: weegee

This extremist viewpoint eventually leads to canceling itself out. Since whiteys are bad because they "slaughtered with mass genocide the Native Americans", we cannot celebrate Thanksgiving anymore.

But wait! Native American tribes also slaughtered each other, sometimes wiping out an entire opposing tribe and taking their land. So therefore, Native Americans as a whole must be demonized (as whites are), and N. A. holidays must also become illegal and uncelebrated. At some point, we come to the realization that EVERY group of people has done something bad in the past, and ALL of them must have their traditions stripped away as a result. Then...we have nothing.

Political correctness is a road that leads to nowhere.


9 posted on 11/24/2005 9:26:07 PM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: weegee
Cranberry Sauce is the Blood of the Innocents.

Poor cranberries.
10 posted on 11/24/2005 9:27:57 PM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: seastay
They are indigenous - to Siberia.
11 posted on 11/24/2005 9:28:22 PM PST by hometoroost (TSA = Thousands Standing Around)
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To: weegee

This is the guy that said on 9-12-2001 on KGO (S.F.) radio that we should not seek any retribution..I was sick when I heard him.


12 posted on 11/24/2005 9:28:32 PM PST by steelie (Still Right Thinking)
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To: weegee

There was a time, not so long ago, when a pathogen like this creature wouldn't have been allowed to breath this kind of feces in a skid row bar. That he teaches young people says even worse things. This piece of filth sickens me and the editors of the rag that printed his drivel, today on Thanksgiving, are less than human.


13 posted on 11/24/2005 9:29:48 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth (The problem with being a 'big tent' Party is that the clowns are seated with the paying customers.)
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To: weegee
The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 percent and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated.

It is fairly reliably estimated that the American Indian population declined by 95% in the century after Columbus.

Very little of this decline was due to killing by Europeans. Almost all of it was caused by the merging of the disease ecosystems of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. The virgin field created among the Indians gave diseases from the Old World a field day.

At the time, this process wasn't understood and couldn't have been prevented even had anybody known what was going on. The germ theory of disease wasn't even developed until the latter half of the 19th century.

Interestingly, very much the same thing would have happened if more technologically advanced Aztecs had landed in a primitive, but germier Spain.

14 posted on 11/24/2005 9:30:04 PM PST by Restorer (Illegitimati non carborundum)
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To: weegee
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
15 posted on 11/24/2005 9:33:16 PM PST by Nasty McPhilthy (Those who beat their swords into plow shears.will plow for those who dont.)
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To: pcottraux
LOL! I can see this guy...Miserable...on Thanksgiving Day....alone...eating a Tofu and Water Cress sandwich...seething inside as millions of people of the "empire" sit down to a decent spread...
16 posted on 11/24/2005 9:33:24 PM PST by Dallas59 (“You love life, while we love death.” - Al-Qaeda / Democratic Party)
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To: weegee

Those are some great rebuttals. That professor is the moonbat's moonbat! Interesting that he teaches journalism........


17 posted on 11/24/2005 9:33:48 PM PST by Frank_2001
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To: Theresawithanh
How can a country that the young heroes we have in Iraq also produce utter fools like this Idiot. Tis a mystery
18 posted on 11/24/2005 9:34:31 PM PST by bybybill (GOD help us if the Rats win)
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To: clintonh8r

You left out 'despicable'...


19 posted on 11/24/2005 9:36:22 PM PST by GW and Twins Pawpaw (Sheepdog for Five [My grandkids are way more important than any lefty's feelings!])
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To: weegee
How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures held these views?

Why, we carve their likenesses in stone on mountain sides, set aside national holidays to remember these great men and eat truckloads of turkey every year around the end of November.

And if the Indians had succeeded in slaughtering all the whites and driving them from this land, how would that have been remembered?

Why, the carving of images, the singing of songs and annual celebrations involving food and sport.

Except all the sports teams would be named things like, The Dead Whiteys, The Tomahawked Pilgrims, The Scalped Round Eyes, The Tongueless Forked Tongues, etc.

Happy Thanksgiving, Chief!

20 posted on 11/24/2005 9:37:18 PM PST by cowboyway (My heroes have always been cowboys.)
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