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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #21
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If something is wrong today it was wrong yesterday.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #22

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Quote:
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.
Admirable post.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:04 PM   #23

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A moral relativist, I have yet to discover a universal,absolute moral imperative.

My perception is that morality is based on pragmatism,not some external or transcendent moral authority.


Moral sensibilties change,if they were absolute,they would not change. A graphic example: The Law of Moses consists of 613 commandments,collectively called '"mitzvot". Yet,today even the most orthodox Jews don't go around stoning adulterers,killing people for working on the Sabbath,selling their daughters into slavery or killing recalcitrant children.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:11 PM   #24

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I loved reading about your experience's Spartacuss, and I can understand how you feel. I have not had those kind's of experiences mine were more related toward class. I was brought up Working Class in a well to do area and every body looked down their noses at us. My dad made a bit money and we moved out of the council house to a really posh area and it was ten times worse. I hated the snobbery and how people competed to get better things than the next door nieghbour. People were so superficial, I am glad that I live where I do now as nobody judges anyone if they haven't got this or that or "A really good job". When I met my sisters friends who live in Kent and they ask me what do I do for a living and I tell them I am a checkout girl in a food retail shop they look down their noses at me.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:19 PM   #25

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Thanks guys for the compliments. And a Happy Birthday to you, Tercio. When I first joined Historum, I tried to make it clear that, while I have loved history all my life, I have no academic credentials, and that I sometimes feel history more than know it. RusEvo's very nice thread kicked started that feeling. His answer to my post raises a fair point. He gives me pause to look at this "incomplete work" matched against the truth of my signature, which I will always stand by. I like this guy's style. And I must confess that I will have to get back with him on his question.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #26

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal Rainbow View Post
I loved reading about your experience's Spartacuss, and I can understand how you feel. I have not had those kind's of experiences mine were more related toward class. I was brought up Working Class in a well to do area and every body looked down their noses at us. My dad made a bit money and we moved out of the council house to a really posh area and it was ten times worse. I hated the snobbery and how people competed to get better things than the next door nieghbour. People were so superficial, I am glad that I live where I do now as nobody judges anyone if they haven't got this or that or "A really good job". When I met my sisters friends who live in Kent and they ask me what do I do for a living and I tell them I am a checkout girl in a food retail shop they look down their noses at me.
I know that feeling, Crystal Rainbow. Take it from me, love your sister unconditionally... tell her friends to get bent. I missed that part in my struggle and it cost me dearly for many years.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 04:36 AM   #27
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I think all of us are indeed 'tattooed' as we grow up, but some do manage to get them erased. Most do not even make the attempt - it is much easier to go with the flow. As for 'right' and 'wrong', I do not believe they are as 'fixed' as some here may think.

Almost every action that we now abhor has, at some time, or in some society, been seen as normal, or even desirable. In Nazi Germany, selling out your parents or siblings for 'anti-social behaviour' was highly commendable. Hating Jews was mandatory. Slavery and racism was the norm in the some Southern USA societies. Sex with children has been part of some religious cults. Murder of 'enemies' was a badge of honour in many societies. We may not agree, from our perspective, but we see people (even on these boards) who are still proud of their 'tattoos', and display their prejudices for all to 'admire'.

It seems to be OK to hate, if everyone you know hates. It seems OK to kill, rape, or enslave, if everyone you know does the same. That is the nature of the 'tribal' beast that we are. We are trained to do what our tribe does, and few of us have the courage to be different.

The only human activity that has always been a crime, and probably always will be a crime, is being 'out of fashion'!
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Old February 17th, 2012, 04:43 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal Rainbow View Post
When I met my sisters friends who live in Kent and they ask me what do I do for a living and I tell them I am a checkout girl in a food retail shop they look down their noses at me.
What ever can be given, can be taken away, in other words, those snobs should not look down their noses at you because they could well end up doing a similar job one day, then how will they cope?

There are also many people that would love to take your job from you, Crystal, because they can't find any work at all.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 04:46 AM   #29

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I would like to say that I could form my own belief system and principles, independent of others around me, but unfortunately, that's not the way it seems to be growing up.

Maybe later in life, sure, but early in life I most likely would have followed the herd.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 04:46 AM   #30

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Originally Posted by Giraffe View Post
The only human activity that has always been a crime, and probably always will be a crime, is being 'out of fashion'!
So true! And I'm guilty everyday!
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