November 04, 2003
This otherwise reasonable woman at work was very upset today. Irritated at somebody with an inferior position to hers at work who had not understood her instructions well and not performed the delegated tasks properly. The employee at question was a middle-aged Mexican immigrant with limited English skills. The nicest guy you could possibly imagine. I once made the mistake of commenting how good the lunch he had brought from home looked and he brought me very elaborate lunches for a week until I begged him to please stop. The problem today was obviously a miscommunication issue and not really that important. Besides, with tons of other Hispanics around, it could've been resolved very quickly and amicably. But no, she would not let it go.
I am sure it was a combination of different things, plus some pinned up anger she must've carried from an earlier incident or even a collection of events in her life. Whatever it was, she finally went where I'm sure she now wishes she had not gone. That's when she repeated something twice that went like this: "why don't they learn English? they come here and never bother to become American. They don't dress American, don't talk American. Why don't they learn to act American". I had heard enough.
I spent a good deal of an hour reminding her (okay I lectured but I did NOT yell!) and few others who had considered sympathizing with her that in that case they should all very quickly start learning some new languages and begin to act Pawnee, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Cree or Cherokee, as "acting American" would surely mean acting like the native population of those inhibiting this land and not the foreign occupiers, those who swindled natives, mass murderers or others re-settling here. It was a site to see. A few who have no stomach for the truth grunted something nasty (as they will after this is posted, just watch the comments) and walked away. The rest went through a few different emotions, starting with annoyance, denigration, anger, recognition, sadness, guilt and finally insight and clarity.
It reminded me of a few years back when I was invited to participate in a debate about immigration on a national television program up in the "great white north". I accepted because they had also invited the deputy minister of immigration but insisted that a representative from first nations must also be present which they accepted. I had been on this show once before and knew the host was a jackass who would try to be controversial by pulling some stunt or inventing something shocking to scorn the more progressive guests (I guess it worked for him as he is now host of a much more prominent show, but has mellowed somewhat). So, I prepared by collecting all the information for an Iranian elderly couple who had just received their deportation orders and waited.
We all go to the studio that evening to find the deputy minister who often fancied herself a "lefty" had decided to not show up and sent a poor bureaucrat in her place. The replacement was this proper woman of about 40-45 who only answered questions based on the exact "party line" and didn't even bother to mingle with other guests before or after the taping. Anyhow, I almost backed out at that point but decided to go ahead when I saw who they had invited to represent the first nations. This guest was someone I knew well (if you are reading this S. and it is okay to use your name, let me know!) and I knew it would be fun. So, we start taping and somewhere towards the middle of the discussions the host uses the dreaded words "illegal immigrants" and the bureaucrat follows up with her stupidity of telling us about those who had "entered the country legally and with prior permission".
Here was my chance. I opened the file, briefly pointed to the highlights of the case, looked at the host asking him if he would like to ask the original residents of this land to clarify for him who is legal and who is illegal and let them decide who gets to stay and who should be deported, then turned to the woman and asked "did your grandparents enter the country legally and with prior permission? why should mine?". With that, I turned to S. and let him take over. I tell you, watching this large native man who was articulate, definite and persuasive tearing new holes for both the idiots over 15 minutes or so and without even a commercial break was a delight I'd never forget. It was as if you had finally allowed "Chief" to answer Nurse Ratched and Dr. Spivey of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest for good and put them in their place.
They never aired the show. I wonder why? But the scene today totally reminded me of the look I saw on the faces of those two poor souls that night.
I wish more of the European immigrants in this great land get off their high-horses one day and not be too proud of the vicious legacy they and their parents have created, join others from all other parts of this globe who have contributed immensely to their communities and truly see themselves as equals with the Mexican who can't speak perfect English, the Sikh who wears a turban, African-American that has the funky hair, Asian that eats weirdest foods or the eyeranian who has a different point of view but loves his new homeland as much as anyone else.
Posted by Pedram at November 4, 2003 11:09 PM
Yada yada yada. I'm so bloody sick of people whining about the Indians. We didn't do a goddamn thing to the Indians they hadn't been doing to each other for millenia. We just did it more efficiently and on a larger scale. I also detect a whiff of hypocrisy here. If we hadn't "stolen" America from the Indians, you would probably be rotting in an eyeranian jail right now. If you feel so bad about the Indians, why not give them your home and return to eyeran. I didn't think so.
While your point of tolerance and appreciation for other cultures and people is extremely good, I suggest the technique of using "guilt" to shame people into proper behavior is a poor psychological tool.
It is poor because history is full of depradations of one group by another. Perhaps we could ask the Hisatsinom (Anasaz)i, who occupied the American southwest from about AD 1 to AD 1350, their opinion of the encroaching Athabascan who arrived in 1350. Of course, the Ute have been in this area for ten thousand years, which establishes them as far back as the Archaic-Desert culture, and were first "discovered" in the Four Corners region in the 1500's.
The word "Apache" actually comes from the Spanish trying to pronounce the Zuni word for enemy. The Apache had a fierce reputation among the tribe of the region who they "oppressed."
In Mexico the Spanish, hardly white anglo-saxons, were quite adept at colonizing the native population. In fact, Mexican society today is obviously still layered socio-economically around the race of the individual, and lighter skinned Mexican's typically are upper class while the darker skinned, with more native blod" tend to be the "trabajadores."
I'd point out that many "white" citizen's of the U.S. were still firmly shackled to the kingdoms of Europe while the "west was won" - a period during which many inhuman acts were committed.
I'd be curious to know how Americans moving to Iran (and while refusing to learn Farsi also demand that English be adopted) would be recieved by Iranians.
Lastly, since you seem to lump Mexicans in with Native Americans (a grouping I suspect some might object to) I'd like to ask everyone to research exactly how long it was that Mexico was actually in possession of California.
"A few who have no stomach for the truth grunted something nasty and walked away." You called it! It has already started, I will read the rest of their comments with a smile on my face.
Thanks for confirming that you are unable to partake of a discussion laced with that most dreaded by leftists - facts.
He's right. People with sole grip on "facts" start their discussions with words like "Yada yada yada". Very factual. No wonder they are tired of hearing about Indians (Columbus makes a mistake centuries ago and they still can't get the name right), I would be "bloody sick" too if I had their blood on the consccience of my ancestory.
I don't know where you come from naser, but wherever it is, I'd bet my bottom dollar your ancestors have at least as much blood on their hands as mine do. The blood may be older but no less bloody for that. Humans of all races, places, and times have used conquest and murder to further their ends. Why do you think a handful of Spaniards was able to defeat the Aztec empire? They weren't supermen. They just found allies everywhere they went because of the brutal oppression by the Aztecs of the tribes they ruled. And yada yada yada wasn't meant to be an argument, just an expression of impatience with unthinking lefty cliches.
Naser gotta to give it to u. you just read my mind.
It's not his problem it's the way they were grown up.
Some blood has been washed away over the years by people admitting their past deeds, making compensation, developing new relationships. Other blood has maintained a huge presence on the conscience of a nation, as it has never been addressed properly, accepted and admitted to, made retributions for to achieve one final harmony. Until that day, we'll all be bloody sick.
This is a discussion that goes nowhere, 'cause someone might start talking about what Aryan settlers did in a new plateau where was called Iran thousands of years later (Please don't tell me they were nice and all that). Some one else might want to talk about what Germanic settlers did to the indeginous Celtic population of the British Isles (Britons), some one else may ....
Shorter, more concise and right to the point, unlike my rambling...
PS - who is nobody suggesting admitted to "their past deeds, making compensation, developing new relationships"?
What happened in previous generations, previous incarnations possibly, doesn't matter half as much as what we are doing now.
We talk about past, present and future, it looks like a progression, like pearls on a string. But actually, the past is in our memories, in our histories, each person has a different point of view. The future also is not yet here.
It is always NOW, from moment to moment. That is the only place where REALITY exists.
If you want to understand what is happening in the present, take a look at the causes you made in the past. If you want to have an idea of what is coming into the future, take a look at the causes you are making in the present.
How can you make it up to a 13th century, or 14th century, or 15th century, etc., etc., victim NOW? How can you even make it up to last year's victim?
Saying it's OK to be a bastard today, because someone else was a bastard yesterday, is a little stupid, isn't it? Just be the bastard you always wanted to be, stop asking the rest of us to approve or give you permission.
Nobbog, I don't entirely agree. The past does exist and weighs on the present. One of the greatest flaws in American culture is the idea that we can simply recreate ourselves, our society, even our world without reference to history (a legacy of Puritan millenialism).
Still, on this particular issue, the inescapable fact is that for better or worse, conquest is the way the human race conducted business for the its first 40,000 years or so. I'm not suggesting we should continue to conduct business that way. But one doesn't need to deny the importance of the past to see no sense in walking around in sackcloth and ashes and beating our breasts over the nature of human evolution. Besides, as the Good Book says, "By their fruits shall you know them." Do any of you really wish this country had never been built?
selfish i know .. but i am suffering from withdrawal syptoms .. no one reads my blog. Weren't you the one who encouraged everyone to write blogs in english for the rest of the world to view?
Though a regular reader, I'm not quite sure I understand this post. I thought it was about illegal immigrants, but it seems to be more about immigration, and whether or not new immigrants should integrate themselves culturally into their new home, in either the U.S.A., or Canada. Since I hope to avoid some of the emotionalism of the above posts, lets candidly discuss: firstly, what constitutes a "Native American/Canadian?" As an American presently living in Canada, I find it interesting that Canadians tend to use the term "First-Nation Peoples" to describe indigenous peoples prior to European settlement of the continent. I think this is a decent descriptive, much better than the term "Native American" we use in the States to describe indigenous peoples. The latter is a misnomer: though being of mixed German, Irish-Welsh, Scandinavian background, I too am a "Native American," because I have lived all my life in America, and don't know how to act except like an American; I'm definitely not German, Irish, etc, though my family still celebrates some "old world" customs. Secondly, whatever the cultures of Canada and the U.S.A. are, I think it is not good to feel a perpetual sense of pride about the good achieved by these respective nations at the expense of the indigenous peoples, resulting in their dispersal, destruction, murder, and every sort of foul human activity which accompanies national conquest. It's important to be aware how the "nation event" actually unfolded, and to make restitutions. At the same time, I also think it is unnecessary to feel a perpetual sense of guilt over the sins of the ancestors. They did wrong, or al the very least unknowingly profited from the misery inflicted on other human beings for the benefit of another. But the descendants are not the trigger-pullers, nor should they be made to feel as if self-flagellating guilt is the proper response to injustices done in the past. This accomplishes nothing. Its probably for the best that in the modern world, we try to make right the present, with actions, not feelings. Thirdly, I disagree with regressive. It is not a great American flaw, but a strength that we attempt to recreate ourselves in the present. It is taking responsibility for ourselves in an (not always sucessful)attempt to become something better than what our constraints and cultural contexts limit us to being. Self-creation, in other words. Master of the Khudi. Finally, let's address identity politics. It goes without saying that recent immigrants to either Canada or U.S.A. will probably have more cultural traits associated with the country/culture they have recently left. I think this is just fine, and that people should be more sensitive and empathetic to the difficulties they face in language barriers, being exposed to a new cultural milleau that is just as strange-seeming to them as a recent immigrant may seem to sensibilities of a "Native Canadian/American(my attempted redefinition of the term)." When "otherness" becomes disturbing is when it is bandied about to denote difference. Ethnic/cultural identity can be as much a destructive force as a positive force when it becomes overbearing: the woman in your office, the KKK/white supremecist agitator, black people blaming "whitey" for all woes, or the "Azitlan" movements desires for a pure "raza" and the return of the American southwest to Mexico. I think its fine that people take comfort, and pride in cultural identity, but this pride turns into hubris, and works as an eroding force against everything the civil rights movements have fought to achieve: measurement of a person by virtue of character, not by ethnic cultural background. Whew. This is becoming a little long winded for my liking, and hell, we could talk about these matters forever. Gimmie a write if you want to keep talking about this, or if this rhetorical spiel seems dubious or weak. Jul/Yalda approaches...
Yada yada yada. I'm so bloody sick of people whining about "democracy" and the miracles of "free market economy."
"We didn't do a goddamn thing to the Indians they hadn't been doing to each other for millenia. We just did it more efficiently and on a larger scale."
Who are you? A Nazi? They were the ones who were proud of their "larger scale" jobs in killing people.
Just wanted to remind my fellow eyeranians that our "noble" Aryan ancestors could not have taken over the Iranian plateau without any resistance from the indigenous people of Iran. Although, there is no historical account of that period, one cannot assume that indigenous people of Iran welcomed the invading Aryan tribes with open arms. Our ancestors most probably perpetrated the same reprehensible acts that many colonizing nations did throughout the history, albeit a few thousands years earlier!!! I paraphrase an earlier comment that historical guilt should not be shoved down the throat of the perpetrators’ offshoots to bring them into conformance with what we “immigrants” believe the right code of conduct should be.
I love this topic!
Sailing under the Spanish flag in 1542, Portuguese-born Juan RodriquezCabrillo hoped to find the northwest passage; instead, he found the California coast and claimed the new-found land for Spain. The history of California Indians is the story of an attempt to survive a series of invasions and the hardships that ensued.
California was a colonial province of the Spanish empire during the years 1769 to 1821.
"For a quarter century after the achievement of Mexican independence in 1821, California was a remote northern province of the nation of Mexico. Huge cattle ranches, or ranchos, emerged as the dominant institutions of Mexican California."
Hardly a model of perfection when it came to Native Americans.
"Traders and settlers from the United States began to arrive, harbingers of the great changes that would sweep California during the Mexican American War of 1846-Jan. 3, 1847."
That war, no doubt motivated by the "manifest desitiny" concept, was triggered by continued hostilities over Mexico's loss of Texas. (See: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Mexican-American-War)
Thus Mexico " owned" California for about 25 years. Seems Spain would have more claim.
Aztlan is the mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples.
"In Chicano folklore, Aztlan is often appropriated as the name for that portion of Mexico that was taken over by the United States, on the belief that this greater area represents the point of parting of the Aztec migrations. In broad interpretation, there is some truth to this in the sense that all of the groups that would subsequently become the various Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico passed through this region in a prehistoric epoch"
So really then, who are those peoples with the longest standing residency in California? The Native Americans. (See: http://www.kstrom.net/isk/maps/ca/california.html - for a map and lisitngs of the tribes.)
Return California with Mexico? Why? Because they have a legitimate claim? No. Because they have done so well creating peace, prosperity and liberty for their people? No.
If it gets returned to anyone I say it should be the tribes.
Meanwhile, let's make some movies, build some comuters, and pass the guacamole.
No Other, I'm not a Nazi. I'm not particularly proud of our conquest of the Indians (I refuse to be politically correct and besides, "Native Americans" were actually Asian immigrants anyway). But neither am I particularly ashamed of it. Frankly, I don't see why I should be more ashamed of our conquest of the Indians than descendents of any one Indian tribe should be ashamed of its conquest of another (conquests that happened quite frequently). As I said, for 40,000 years that was the way the human race conducted business. I'm not going to subject myself to paroxysms of guilt over human nature.
And for you and anyone else who thinks I'm a Nazi, a racist, an ethnocentrist or whatever other leftist epithet you wish to hurl at me, I have two questions: 1) Do you wish this country had never been established and that the Indians were still its sole inhabitants? 2) If so, are you willing to hand your property over to the nearest tribe and go back to wherever your ancestors came from? If the answer to either is "No," you'll have to forgive me if I take your coronary hemorrhage for "Native Americans" with a grain of salt.
Mark, you and I definitely disagree about self-creation. Human beings are limited, finite creatures. We have neither the power nor the wisdom for creation, or self-creation, ex nihilo. That's not to say we should be rigidly, eternally bound by tradition. But we reject or ignore tradition at our peril. I believe Paul Ricouer was right when he said that tradition deserves a presumption of truth until a better argument can be made. I do, though, agree with much of what you said, especially about identity politics. I also agree that we could discuss this forever without resolving anything. But for me, the point of this discussion is not resolution but enjoyment of the debate and sharpening of my wits by testing them against intelligent people who strongly disagree with me. I don't get to do that often in my day-to-day life.
No what? That is the problem with a multicultured society: it is multi cultured, and clashes are just supposed to exist. Take it or leave it: changing it is really hard, probably impossible in many lifetimes.
My country is not exactly multi-cultured, it is multi –ethnic, to a point that one white person or black person can easily trace back common ancestry, and be ethnically… true mongrels. This has caused minority causes a lot of trouble. For instance, black Brazilians, seldom identify themselves as African-Brazilian, but just as Brazilian, adding the adjectice “black” was really hard, specially if you have to define how black you need to be to be considered black. Culturally, believe me, the mixing is so weird and atypically great that although we have a multifaceted culture it is still one culture, and one culture that has become, over the centuries one of the most receptive to immigrants, legal or illegal, which easily integrates newcomers.
I remember a time when a couple of workers at a hotel restaurant ( I was on a business trip), interrupted my meal to ask where I was from, because of my looks and accent. They thought I was French despite the softer accent or a darker skinned Italian raised in a country of more guttural languages, but the features had something Syrian, yet… I said Brazilian. The girl said a “bingo!”, because Brazilians tend to be “difficult to identify if they´re not in groups”. What the heck was I? A zoo specimen?
Then there was this very obnoxious man from a Detroit company who asked about my country, education, and he asked about my colour and features, because I didn´t look Latin, but the family name was Latino, so… and I made the mistake of saying that my favourite grandmother was a black woman and my grandpa a white of Jewish descent, while the other side of my family was part Syrian, part native, part black, part Portuguese… when he asked what I was I said “Brazilian”. He said that it made no sense, because “with whom did I hang around at school?”. I took a while to process the question, because I was born to a poor family which became middle-classed and such issues have never been a issue.
I discovered that Americans are ancestry-freaks, despite everything they say about “living the present”, and that the way they seek identity is totally alien to me, and that I don´t want to waste time trying to join their trip. One friend of mine, who teaches at UPENN says that having had contact with other cultures made him realize the great divides within American identity, that in fact there are Identities, some of them well structured, so he is Irish-American, and even if he couldn´t care less about it, it would matter, even unconsciously, to most people.
So, if I ever had to flee my country, I tell you, the US would be the last country on my list of alternatives.
Please, of course there is racism in Brazil, and it is really mean because it is diffuse, non confrontational, and even then, some say that we got to a stage where the social discrimination is a lot more important then the ethnical as the problem becomes more and more complex. We are trying to make amends, offering the population of darker skin, and the population of low income (whatever colour ) access to free university education, a quota system, etc. Seeking equity, and all that stuff that cons call leftist-babble, but that is dear to us as a nation, after all, we have the largest leftist party in the Americas, besides other radical red parties. But can you imagine the debate it causes in a society with this level of racial mixing?
Some one needs to mention chicks....
Maya has got us thinking it's been a run for gold, a mad dash from persecution, and sometimes the all too human dream of greener pastures, but really we run to keep the blood vigorous
think if it this way, the one lasting effect
of the spanish invasion of south america is
The Mayans mistook the Spanish invasion for the return of Quetzalcoatl and handed over all their gold, according to the plan (legend).
But the Spanish also requested virgins, as they they didn't want to mess with the men's significant others. When the male Mayans refused, claiming their virgins were off limits...
war broke out and much blood was shed and new
blood was born.
For an example of what happens when people don't run, see the movie "Deliverence".
Maya abhors hillbillies as much as she abhors a vacuum. 'kissing cousins' is okay but 'mating cousins' is asking for trouble...see american pitbull.
when we finally catch up with Aliens from another planet, the first and last question will be, "can we mate with them"...if not, and these same aliens happen to live on a resourceful planet, they may get screwed anyway.
Humans have ran around this planet so many times...to keep from boredom...we forget to remember. Revitalizing ourselves thru 'ashghayeh lapkhandun'
Vox, I've never been to Brazil, but it sounds like an interesting place. I think America is probably less multicultural than many multiculturalists would have you believe. People certainly come here from a vast array of different cultures, but over time, exposure to American mass culture, peer pressure, and simply living in one place for a long time tend to homogenize.
Each culture will leave its mark of course. There was a great line in the old television show "All in the Family." Archie Bunker, objecting to Chinese food at his daughter's wedding, retreated to his kitchen and said, "I'm going to eat something American, like spaghetti." Spaghetti, of course, came to America from China via Italy. But one point that scene makes is the degree to which "foreign" cultural elements become typically American. That is part of the homogenizing process that makes America also more a multi-ethnic than multicultural society.
Madame Blotsky, you are a unique individual. But you have a point about sex. Back at the beginning of the 18th century, the Virginia diarist William Byrd suggested solving the Indian problem by interbreeding. Of course, it's pretty clear he meant white men breeding with Indian women and not Indian men breeding with white women. There's also the Roman myth of the rape of the Sabine women. So women have always been part of the motive for conquest. What that means for our discussion, I don't know, but it is interesting.
Madame Blotsky has it right, it's always about the virgins. Is that why so many people focus on the past, and not so much on the present?
As seen on an old tombstone:
"Here lies [name-my lips are sealed]
She died a harlot
'Though she could've been a queen.
To the age of sixteen
She retained her virginity,
And that's a record
In this vicinity.
We are importing a seperatist movement from Mexico and our liberal friend, and his pinko friends in Europe will dance in the streets the day some gang of mexican thugs starts blowing up police stations and calling themselves Los Librantes.
While I agree that the "Why don't they Americanize" was a zenophobic idea in say, the 70's. But now people come to this country, and simultaneously hate this country. Oh sure they love the opportunity, but they hate America. And they hate me.
Its time to paint over that damn sign on the statue of libtery. Put the lid on the melting pot and hang out the no vacancy sign.
We cannot, CANNOT, enforce our southern border without being called racist. And we are not allowed to have one shred of self preservation instinct. Political correctness is combined with rampant America bashing to become an all out attack on our country. Leaders from Castro, to Jang Zemin, Putin, even our so called friends in France are talking about an need to diminish American sovereignty.
In a few years there will be 10 billion people on the planet. Its time to start thinking about defending our turf.
"Scuse me, "pinko" is passe, "pinko" is just after-image for "greenie"
In fact, sex played a great role in Portuguese colonization. The first travellers to the colonies were usually unmarried sailors, or other young men. The Portuguese Crown incentivated these men to marry local women and thus create ties with the local population. Early Portuguese colonization was a "sex party". In fact the wife of the most powerful Brazilian General Governor, later also ruler of the African Colonies for Portugal was married to an Indian woman, and that was in the late XVII century. Same thing in Africa, where the daugthers of many Sobas were married to Portuguese men, and their mulatto children became high ranked church people, important slave trade moguls, etc.
The later colonization was more ethnic separatist, but then the "damage" was done. They started to get the habit of inter-racial sex, which wasn´t always of the free will of both parties involved, and not always rape (much the reverse), so the violence was there, but there were other things too, in a very weird sort of cohexistance!
It became such a "mess", that Brazil was known as hell for the black, purgatory for the white, and heaven for mixed race.
So, yes, using this example, inter racial marriages would have created a very different America. Better? Worse? As no one will ever know, why bother?
Interracial marriage is changing America. Whether for better or worse I think depends on what happens culturally. As long as our culture remains fundamentally Western European, I don't think it matters much what our racial make-up is.
I agree with the person right before me...
keep america fundamentally western european...
now don't tell anybody that
the europeans got their shit (the whole works baby,
from language to tips about hygiene) they
got that from people fundmentally Asian.
Chow for now!
What's so special about being "West European"... melanin deficient? Considering we are all so gung-ho on allowing the depletion of the ozone layer, it seems to be a little short-sighted to want to go "white", or even for those of us who are already, to want to stay "white", when the only ones who are destined to survive the world of the future, sans ozone layer at all, will be the very darkest, melanin sufficient, peoples of the world.
Madame Blotsky can tell us whether science may find a way to introduce melanin protection, by gene splicing or some other method, to enable the "white-skinned" to be protected, without becoming "dark-skinned". Hehehe!
Can't we just learn to take the culture, any culture, "beyond skin"? Enjoy the diversity? Have fund learning another language, discovering another culture?
I like the cut of your jib. By the way, what did the middle-aged dude bring ya to eat? Was it good?
A.H., lighten up, you'll live longer. Though I am a liberal, I agree with your stance on boarders, for the reason that I believe America has an obligation to the members living within its boarders before we open them up to immigration. Its a fact that increase in immigration in America has fluctuated with labor union agitation, when unions have agitated for basic human rights, better pay, etc. And in other shoutbacks: regressive, thanks for your comments, though I don't think I said that people are able to fully create themselves out of nothing, as every person has to come out of some cultural context-only that self-creation is possible for people, and that it has been one ideal of Americans (not always actualized, practiced). Man, no offence, but your language of "no possibility of humans being creators for our finitude, limitation, or self-created 'ex nihlo'" takes me back to my days as a seminarian (are you, by any chance?). Are we "western European?" "Sheeeeit, ah thought we waz Americans!" I mean, am I a "western-European" American, say a German, because I eat bratwurst every October? Yeah, its hard to say if "the browning of America" would diminish racism or not. Still, "the browning process" could be a lot of fun...Lastly to the Other (may I call you "Al-Ghayru?"), did anyone "whine" about "democracy" and "free market?" I don't need convincing to know of the predatory nature of global capitalism, but I think commerce is inevitable as long as humans remain social animals. Micro trade does not necessarily mean depredation. And that goes for politics too, or at least polity. It appears to be a human institution, if not an instinct.I know too well about democracy's perversion in modern politics, particularly in America. Do you know of a better political system of "one person, one vote" though?