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For people of the time our parents and grandparents, it was normal to be racist.

By Curt_Anderson
September 9, 2021 9:21 am
Category: History
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I happened to hear a story on Sound Beats the other day about a boxer of the early 20th century named Harry Willis. Harry Willis fought for some twenty years between 1911 and 1932 and at one time held the crown as the "Colored Heavyweight Champion".

A contemporaneous boxer, Jack Dempsey, refused to defend his heavyweight title againste Willis and other black boxers. Dempsey had his own color line. Dempsey was one of the most popular athletes of that time and one of the most popular boxers ever.

I mentioned this story not because it was remarkable but because at that time it was considered quite unremarkable. In the 1920s Dempsey's overt racism was not generally considered outrageous or an act of cowardice.

Dempsey is an Irish name. It's quite possible that Dempsey's parents and grandparents were victims bigotry against the Irish. "Help wanted. Irish need not apply" was a sign commonly seen in the windows of shops and stores in nineteenth-century America.

Racism and bigotry of all sorts were common in America. After all, we started this country with slavery as a major part of our labor force. The good news is that we are not as bigoted or as racist as our parents, grandparents and ancestors. However, it's quite possible that our descendants will judge our behavior critically.


Cited and related links:

  1. en.wikipedia.org


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Comments:

  1. by Ponderer on September 9, 2021 9:42 am

    Well said, Curt. You nailed it.


  2. by HatetheSwamp on September 9, 2021 9:47 am

    Curt,

    I don't buy it. To add the suffix IST to a root, in my opinion, suggests that that thing or characteristic is a driving force in an individual's life to the point that that thing, at least nearly, often entirely, consumes that person. It demands radicalism...

    ...as I understand English tongue.

    -------

    What I demanded of Donna is among the most philosophically important questions...the question of how human language, which is an artificial human creation,...is used.


  3. by HatetheSwamp on September 9, 2021 9:48 am

    Well said, Curt. You nailed it.

    Uh uh.


  4. by Ponderer on September 9, 2021 9:49 am

    It's hysterical how pb and other conservative Republicans will distort the living shit out of something someone says in order to disagree with and attack it.

    Well done, pb! You are an exemplar for conservatives everywhere.


  5. by Donna on September 9, 2021 9:50 am
    Hts doesn't handle uncomfortable truths very well.


  6. by Ponderer on September 9, 2021 9:53 am

    "What I demanded of Donna is [a bunch of meaningless obfuscation having nothing to do with the subject of racism, which I am employing to distract people from the fact that I can't create a salient argument against hers in any other way]." -pb



  7. by HatetheSwamp on September 9, 2021 10:07 am

    Hts doesn't handle uncomfortable truths very well.

    Ah, it always comes down to one of two things. Either,

    1. You are superior to me,
    2. I am inferior to you.

    The point remains, Donna, in the posts that launched this, you were using the term, racist, to condemn others. I've made that assertion in about a half dozen of my posts and you never objected.

    I've nearly worn my phone out asking you, simply, to splain what you mean when you say that ALMOST ALL of the people of your parents generation were racists.

    You said it. Clearly, you said it with conviction, and meaning.

    How can I handle an "uncomfortable truth," when you won't define for me what that truth is?

    For the longest time, I have rated you as the SS poster with the highest level of integrity, as I've told you before.

    I don't understand why you're trying to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee...and failing, over this.


  8. by Ponderer on September 9, 2021 10:11 am

    pb's THIRD GRADE ELEMENTARY TEACHER: "Billy, can you tell us what sixteen times four is?"

    pb: "Why sixteen times four? Why not ten times four? Or three times four? Or even a million times four? Is adding things together like this all the time really necessary? And what is so important about the number four for that matter? What are you trying to indoctrinate us into with all this adding and subtracting nonsense we will never even need? Why are you assaulting our rights by dictating that we answer the way YOU want us to answer aqnd penalizing us if we don't answer the way you want us to? Why must we believe that putting two things together can only have one result, just because you tell us it only can?

    Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind answering the question myself, but I think that it is an infringement on the constitutional rights of every student in this classroom... as Americans... to demand unanimity and conformity from us like this. It's downright FASCIST if you ask me."

    pb's THIRD GRADE ELEMENTARY TEACHER: "So..... what is the answer to the math problem I gave you, Billy...?"

    pb: "I already told you several times. I am not going to waste my valuable time dredging up answers to old questions and repeating myself."


  9. by HatetheSwamp on September 9, 2021 10:16 am

    po,

    When Donna condemned ALMOST ALL of the people of her parents' generation as racists, what did Donna mean?


  10. by Donna on September 9, 2021 10:16 am
    My wife nailed it.



  11. by HatetheSwamp on September 9, 2021 10:26 am

    Donna,

    When you condemned ALMOST ALL of the people of your parents' generation as racists, your words meant something. Clearly, you intended those words to be read, and understood.

    What did you want your readers to apprehend from your words?

    Why won't you splain?

    This is so unlike you.


  12. by Ponderer on September 9, 2021 10:40 am

    What does "almost all" mean.......?





    Are you seriously telling me that you are ignorant of what the phrase "almost all" means?





    I am at a loss as to how to respond to you, for fear that you won't understand many of the common phrases from the English language that I might utilize to explain it to you. But I'll give it a go....

    In order to give you a thorough explanation, I researched a bit by doing a Google search for What does "almost all" mean?.

    Here's what Wikipedia says about it...

    "In mathematics, the term "almost all" means "all but a negligible amount". More precisely, if X {\displaystyle X} X is a set, "almost all elements of X {\displaystyle X} X" means "all elements of X {\displaystyle X} X but those in a negligible subset of X {\displaystyle X} X". The meaning of "negligible" depends on the mathematical context; for instance, it can mean finite, countable, or null."

    It basically means all of a set or grouping, except for a negligible minority. It could also mean an overwhelming majority.



    What she meant was that all but a negligible minority of the population of this country back in our parents' day harbored some degree of racism, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    Deny it if you want. But it's quite true.


  13. by Ponderer on September 9, 2021 10:58 am

    You can debate about the size of the majority if you want to, but a huge majority it most certainly was.


  14. by HatetheSwamp on September 10, 2021 3:38 am

    Sheesh, po.

    Donna assused nearly every one of my 15 aunts and uncles of being racists. I get the quantification.

    What I still don't know is what Donna accused ALMOST ALL of the effin "Greatest Generation" of being.


  15. by HatetheSwamp on September 10, 2021 3:54 am

    What she meant was that all but a negligible minority of the population of this country back in our parents' day harbored some degree of racism, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    Defining a term by using the term.

    A racist is someone who "harbored some degree of racism, whether consciously or unconsciously."

    Ain't helping me.

    You progressives are so quick on the draw at accusing people who are different than you of one form of evil or another. That, and saying, "You're stupid," seems to be your entire bag of tricks.

    But, it seems, you don't even know what you mean when you hurl the insults.


  16. by Donna on September 10, 2021 9:36 am
    Unlike you, Hate, I don't consider the adults around me back in the day who had some racist attitudes as "evil", nor do I consider your dad "evil". That's what they were programmed to believe, and because they never heard any opposing viewpoints, those beliefs became sort of cemented into their psyches.


  17. by HatetheSwamp on September 10, 2021 10:58 am

    So, Donna, are you defining what you mean when you condemn them as racists?


  18. by Ponderer on September 10, 2021 11:01 am
    Hate, I would ask you why you feel it necessary to reflexively try to change the meaning of what people say, but the answer has been obvious for many years.


  19. by Donna on September 10, 2021 11:04 am
    I didn't condemn racists. You're the one who's calling racists "evil", an attack I defended them against. Btw, how are you defining "evil"?


  20. by HatetheSwamp on September 10, 2021 11:09 am

    They could seem nice but they're not. ALMOST ALL of them were racists.

    Sounds like condemnation to me. It sure ain't praise.


  21. by Ponderer on September 10, 2021 11:29 am
    Well feel free to read anything you want to into what people say, Hate. There's nothing anyone can do to correct you apparently. If you don't get it, you don't get it.

    But I think you do get it, and you're just being an asshole about it. I think you are intentionally being dense, because that's the only way you think you can dredge up any basis for an argument.


  22. by HatetheSwamp on September 10, 2021 11:35 am

    Donna countered "nice" with "racist." Seems a abundantly obvious to me.




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