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Old February 16th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #11

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I think most people would go along with the majority. even if you didnt believe in it what would you do? in the old south you might have gotten away with being an outspoken critic but nazi Germany? The people of Germany (and the old south) for the most part werent monsters they just turned their heads. even the SS soldiers were just that soldiers doing what they were told (of course a few of them enjoyed their jobs)
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Old February 16th, 2012, 08:03 AM   #12

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Look at my signature. Though I constantly change avatars, I have never changed it from day one here. I think it is the truest thing ever said about humanity, and is perhaps the greatest obstacle to change throughout our history. Yet it can be overcome. If one is lucky, a painful experience or two can set one on a path to softening or eliminate the more distasteful traits engrained in his childhood. The op asks of personal morals in a past era of evil or institutional injustice. I lived in the time of Jim Crow in the south. Most of the more horrible aspects had at least been beaten back to rarity in occurence, but still were used. More prevalent, and much slower in changing, were the more socially based discriminations and customs that lasted into the 1970's here. It is a recognized history in this country and is the best source I can use for the examples of the changing of personal morals in the face of family and societal convention.

I come from a military family of Ohioians that by the duties of my father kept us largely living in Georgia for nearly all my young life. My parents were decidedly racist in their views. Extreme to the point of no social interaction with non-white or non-christian people. Extreme to the point of not being allowed to watch a television program that might have a rare black actor. The many vingnettes of this life can well be imagined, but two incidents served to change my attitudes and set me at odds with my family for many years.

At age 12 my father was assigned to Kindley AF, Bermuda. We lived off base and the local population was decidedly black. In a lot next to our home, some locals were playing cricket, which I found fascinating. A local kid came to me afterward and asked if he could get water to drink. Everything in my brain screamed no... don't do it. But I did. My mother happened to see the lad drinking from the garden hose and told him to leave and called me to her. When I got within range she slapped my face so hard I nearly fell. She literally screamed that I was to never let a ****** anywhere near the house again. I clearly remember trying to think this thing through and came to the conclusion that my mother hated some people so badly that she was willing to hurt someone she loved, and who loved her. That got the ball rolling.

Two years later, we were assigned back to the base in Georgia we had left. We lived on base then and I played baseball in the military youth league. It was desegregated and we had a black kid on our team. Oddly, I remember my mother not having too much of a problem with it. My father, he wouldn't come to the games because of it. Anyway, Bob and I developed somewhat of a friendship born mainly because we would often be the last two kids to be picked up after practice, and just started talking. Most of the time, his mom or dad would arrive to get him first. But one day I saw that huge baby blue station wagon coming. I told Bob I had to go and that my folks don't want me talking to niggers. Unbelievable. I actually said that. His face just fell. I'll never forget the pain in his eyes. More like "Oh man... you, too?" I'll never forget his face. I wanted so badly to appologize, but I could only turn in embarrassment and head for the car. He never gave me the opportunity. After that day he never spoke to me and ignored anything I said to him... about anything. After the last game I never saw him again. To this day, when I see or hear that word I see that face. Worse, I think that when Bobby would hear it he would see mine.

Despite that incident, it still took quite some time for me to shake loose from much of what I was raised on. Indeed, I cannot claim to be a completed work in this matter. It is a powerful influence, that tattoo of your tribe.

Your pardon, Rus. Perhaps this rather personal offering is not exactly what you look for. Throughout human history we have always experienced change that, in nearly every case, met with the vigorous opposition of the then established norms. Often so horrible that the wonderment of such drives one the the question of this most excellent first thread. I, along with others here, experienced a more modern, but significant, history and I hope my story in it serves to example the effects of powerful influences on the morals of individuals in the forever changing life of mankind.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 08:41 AM   #13

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Your pardon, Rus. Perhaps this rather personal offering is not exactly what you look for.
I found your story very interesting, thank you. But it sounds like you were capable of thinking for yourself, even if it took until your adult years to form your opinions (against how you were raised). That almost goes against your own signature.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by Spartacuss View Post
Look at my signature. Though I constantly change avatars, I have never changed it from day one here. I think it is the truest thing ever said about humanity, and is perhaps the greatest obstacle to change throughout our history. Yet it can be overcome. If one is lucky, a painful experience or two can set one on a path to softening or eliminate the more distasteful traits engrained in his childhood. The op asks of personal morals in a past era of evil or institutional injustice. I lived in the time of Jim Crow in the south. Most of the more horrible aspects had at least been beaten back to rarity in occurence, but still were used. More prevalent, and much slower in changing, were the more socially based discriminations and customs that lasted into the 1970's here. It is a recognized history in this country and is the best source I can use for the examples of the changing of personal morals in the face of family and societal convention.

I come from a military family of Ohioians that by the duties of my father kept us largely living in Georgia for nearly all my young life. My parents were decidedly racist in their views. Extreme to the point of no social interaction with non-white or non-christian people. Extreme to the point of not being allowed to watch a television program that might have a rare black actor. The many vingnettes of this life can well be imagined, but two incidents served to change my attitudes and set me at odds with my family for many years.

At age 12 my father was assigned to Kindley AF, Bermuda. We lived off base and the local population was decidedly black. In a lot next to our home, some locals were playing cricket, which I found fascinating. A local kid came to me afterward and asked if he could get water to drink. Everything in my brain screamed no... don't do it. But I did. My mother happened to see the lad drinking from the garden hose and told him to leave and called me to her. When I got within range she slapped my face so hard I nearly fell. She literally screamed that I was to never let a ****** anywhere near the house again. I clearly remember trying to think this thing through and came to the conclusion that my mother hated some people so badly that she was willing to hurt someone she loved, and who loved her. That got the ball rolling.

Two years later, we were assigned back to the base in Georgia we had left. We lived on base then and I played baseball in the military youth league. It was desegregated and we had a black kid on our team. Oddly, I remember my mother not having too much of a problem with it. My father, he wouldn't come to the games because of it. Anyway, Bob and I developed somewhat of a friendship born mainly because we would often be the last two kids to be picked up after practice, and just started talking. Most of the time, his mom or dad would arrive to get him first. But one day I saw that huge baby blue station wagon coming. I told Bob I had to go and that my folks don't want me talking to niggers. Unbelievable. I actually said that. His face just fell. I'll never forget the pain in his eyes. More like "Oh man... you, too?" I'll never forget his face. I wanted so badly to appologize, but I could only turn in embarrassment and head for the car. He never gave me the opportunity. After that day he never spoke to me and ignored anything I said to him... about anything. After the last game I never saw him again. To this day, when I see or hear that word I see that face. Worse, I think that when Bobby would hear it he would see mine.

Despite that incident, it still took quite some time for me to shake loose from much of what I was raised on. Indeed, I cannot claim to be a completed work in this matter. It is a powerful influence, that tattoo of your tribe.

Your pardon, Rus. Perhaps this rather personal offering is not exactly what you look for. Throughout human history we have always experienced change that, in nearly every case, met with the vigorous opposition of the then established norms. Often so horrible that the wonderment of such drives one the the question of this most excellent first thread. I, along with others here, experienced a more modern, but significant, history and I hope my story in it serves to example the effects of powerful influences on the morals of individuals in the forever changing life of mankind.
Wow, that is a very poignant story. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 09:02 AM   #15
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Hi, I think this is the first thread I have started here..... I hope it doesn't go down like a lead balloon!!!

I was reading the KKK threads and was considering those horrible poster images of hanging people etc and I got to wondering: If I was raised in the South in those days as a white person, or in Germany during the Nazi era, or any other time in history where evil happened, would I have gone along with it? Or would I have been able to see right from wrong no matter what the environment was in which I was raised?

For yourself if you were raised in the South would you have shared your communities hatred of Black people (assuming the community is that kind). Would the local culture take the lead in shaping the views of a merely ordinary person like you or me (assuming you are ordinary like me )?

I worry that in a different age I might have been capable of doing bad things or having bad views that would make me sick in todays world (simply due to the way I may have been raised).

What do you think from your own point of view? Would you be the product of your environment, or rise above it?

Sorry if this was posted in the wrong section!!
"Rising above" already seems to imply a sweeping underestimation of other ethical beliefs.

People (ordinary or not) is inevitably largely the product of the own culture.

Had any of us lived during most of known History, in all likelihood any of us would be accepting slavery as a natural fact of life.

Conversely, I'm pretty sure the current opportunistic deshumanization of human foetuses will not stand the pass of time in the long run on purely objective criteria.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 11:28 AM   #16

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Originally Posted by Spartacuss View Post
Look at my signature. Though I constantly change avatars, I have never changed it from day one here. I think it is the truest thing ever said about humanity, and is perhaps the greatest obstacle to change throughout our history. Yet it can be overcome. If one is lucky, a painful experience or two can set one on a path to softening or eliminate the more distasteful traits engrained in his childhood. The op asks of personal morals in a past era of evil or institutional injustice. I lived in the time of Jim Crow in the south. Most of the more horrible aspects had at least been beaten back to rarity in occurence, but still were used. More prevalent, and much slower in changing, were the more socially based discriminations and customs that lasted into the 1970's here. It is a recognized history in this country and is the best source I can use for the examples of the changing of personal morals in the face of family and societal convention.

I come from a military family of Ohioians that by the duties of my father kept us largely living in Georgia for nearly all my young life. My parents were decidedly racist in their views. Extreme to the point of no social interaction with non-white or non-christian people. Extreme to the point of not being allowed to watch a television program that might have a rare black actor. The many vingnettes of this life can well be imagined, but two incidents served to change my attitudes and set me at odds with my family for many years.

At age 12 my father was assigned to Kindley AF, Bermuda. We lived off base and the local population was decidedly black. In a lot next to our home, some locals were playing cricket, which I found fascinating. A local kid came to me afterward and asked if he could get water to drink. Everything in my brain screamed no... don't do it. But I did. My mother happened to see the lad drinking from the garden hose and told him to leave and called me to her. When I got within range she slapped my face so hard I nearly fell. She literally screamed that I was to never let a ****** anywhere near the house again. I clearly remember trying to think this thing through and came to the conclusion that my mother hated some people so badly that she was willing to hurt someone she loved, and who loved her. That got the ball rolling.

Two years later, we were assigned back to the base in Georgia we had left. We lived on base then and I played baseball in the military youth league. It was desegregated and we had a black kid on our team. Oddly, I remember my mother not having too much of a problem with it. My father, he wouldn't come to the games because of it. Anyway, Bob and I developed somewhat of a friendship born mainly because we would often be the last two kids to be picked up after practice, and just started talking. Most of the time, his mom or dad would arrive to get him first. But one day I saw that huge baby blue station wagon coming. I told Bob I had to go and that my folks don't want me talking to niggers. Unbelievable. I actually said that. His face just fell. I'll never forget the pain in his eyes. More like "Oh man... you, too?" I'll never forget his face. I wanted so badly to appologize, but I could only turn in embarrassment and head for the car. He never gave me the opportunity. After that day he never spoke to me and ignored anything I said to him... about anything. After the last game I never saw him again. To this day, when I see or hear that word I see that face. Worse, I think that when Bobby would hear it he would see mine.

Despite that incident, it still took quite some time for me to shake loose from much of what I was raised on. Indeed, I cannot claim to be a completed work in this matter. It is a powerful influence, that tattoo of your tribe.

Your pardon, Rus. Perhaps this rather personal offering is not exactly what you look for. Throughout human history we have always experienced change that, in nearly every case, met with the vigorous opposition of the then established norms. Often so horrible that the wonderment of such drives one the the question of this most excellent first thread. I, along with others here, experienced a more modern, but significant, history and I hope my story in it serves to example the effects of powerful influences on the morals of individuals in the forever changing life of mankind.
Very powerful story there, Spartacuss, thanks for sharing it with us.

I totally understand your situation, more than you would believe. It is up to us as adults to decide whether our parents were right or wrong in how they raised us. As a child you don't know any different, but as you grow into an adult you start to notice the faults that your parents have, you realise that your parents are not perfect and they may not always be right.

I have been on this earth for just under 30 years, but I have experienced a lot in those years, more than most, and not for the better unfortunately - but hey that is life! Your childhood does mould you, but as an adult we have to decide where does our conscience lay? In 2012, there is enough information out there for people to make more informed choices on their actions - like not to be racist or prejudice. But unfortunetly, there seems to be something in humanity that can progress on one hand and digress on the other. We have come so far, but it always seems to linger in the back ground waiting for the next excuse to come out and saturate our societies once more. Let's hope that humanity can move forward now, although I do sometimes feel quite pessimistic about such.

Back to the OP, I think we can all say that our surroundings and the norm of each time period would be a huge influence on our personalities and how we acted.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 11:59 AM   #17

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Back to the OP, I think we can all say that our surroundings and the norm of each time period would be a huge influence on our personalities and how we acted.
Thankfully, we know (because History recorded much of it) that people have always gone against the "norm" even when it meant losing their lives. I'm glad they did, otherwise, by now, I might have been burned at the stake.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #18

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Thankfully, we know (because History recorded much of it) that people have always gone against the "norm" even when it meant losing their lives. I'm glad they did, otherwise, by now, I might have been burned at the stake.

I said the same thing a few posts back.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #19

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RusEvo, I have asked myself the same many times. Thanks for the thread!
I am very interested by the posts do far though. Thanks to Spartacuss especially. His story touched me quite a bit. I am now 16 since Monday, so I am still forming and being tatooed. But I have actively tried to keep this very morale question in mind.

I am an atheist, but I actively try to argue against those militant atheists, and religion haters simply because it is the same approach of such religion in the past that is often viewed so negatively today.

I feel that without such a reminder I would have taken the same intolerant approach of my friends at school, and indeed I do hold certain resentment towards religion. But I think in our morale behaviour we need always to compare with the past, to view what is right in the present. If I jumped on my natural feelings I would be the same as those Catholics 500 years ago I believe, and I am so very grateful that I came upon this question.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:42 PM   #20

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Probably the same as they are now - out for everything I can get and to have as much fun and mischief as possible.
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