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  #81  
Old 10-10-2013, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Alas, I can't imagine any way any white peoples could make up for the sins of their ancestors. Slavery and all it entails is such a vast and mind-boggling sin, it's just impossible to imagine any restitution that could fix it in the present . . . the onus seems to fall on black folks to forgive white folks even though white folks don't deserve it . . .
ALL white folks? That is one helluva a blanket statement - because someone's skin is white, they don't deserve to be forgiven for their ancestor's crimes? People who live in the present are not responsible for what the past generations did, as long as they don't keep continuing to do harm to others or take actions based on a person's race.

I have participated in discussions about reparation in school and online at a genealogy forum. It's pretty much impossible to make up for the past in a way that would satisfy everyone. For example, the only real way to make reparation to Native Americans is to give them all their land back and let them govern themselves - but how could that be possible? In Australia, I was told they had a ceremony to acknowledge the injustices that had taken place against the indigenous people there, but I'm not sure how much else they did, or could do.

Regarding American blacks, speaking as someone who appears and identifies as white but has mixed-race ancestry, I have researched my Caribbean lineage back to the 17th century, and most genealogists will tell you that many, many, MANY self-identifying white people in America would be very surprised to learn how much African blood runs in their families, and many self-identifying blacks would be surprised at how much Caucasian blood is in theirs. Most of the prominent East Coast merchant families in the early years of the United States had ties to the islands and many interracial liaisons, some secret, some not (it wasn't always the stereotypical Master impregnating his black housemaid - in the Virgin Islands, which was under Denmark's rule for 200 years before the US bought the islands in 1917, there was a large population of Free Blacks who owned property and businesses. An authority of Caribbean genealogy corresponded with me some years back and told me that it was property and money that counted more than race in some instances. For example, a white estate owner in St. Croix or St. Thomas might consider a Free Black who owned a small house and had his own business as a tailor, shoemaker, or blacksmith a better prospect for his daughter to marry than a white field hand who worked for a landowner and owned nothing himself. The Danes, Germans, English, and Scottish who owned property there pretty much freely intermingled with Free Blacks, and the subsequent generations of "mulattos," for those two centuries. My family was there for generations, African and mulatto, marrying and mixing with German, Danish, and English white families.).

So through each generation, the skin tone became lighter and lighter until you have someone like me, who is very very fair. My mixed race Caribbean ancestors and their cousins came to NYC in the mid- and late-19th century. My great-grandfather was born here in NYC and had five siblings - allof their birth certiofcates say something different for "Race." Two were "White," another "Black, another "Caribbean Black," another "Mulatto." It is ironic that my German grandfather was quite a racist, but married my nappy-headed supposedly white grandmother. Anyway, my point is this: How do you really determine who is black and who is white, or how much Native American blood someone has (one can only identify as a member of a Native American tribe and receive special benefits from the government if they are within a certain percentile) without DNA testing everyone for proof?

And then what is to be done about interracial people? Should they hate the white parts of themselves? As the genealogists would say, how can you make reparation to someone who is descended from both slaves and slave owners?

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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Black people already live in America, against their ancestors' (and perhaps their own will), and guess what, American culture has infiltrated them. They could all return to Africa tomorrow, and they wouldn't quite fit in because they've truly become "African American," instead of just "African."
Yeah, they tried that with Liberia in the 1800s, but eventually that was a disaster - terrible civil wars, an overthrow of the government, and now most Liberians live in poverty.

I think the best thing we can do is get to know people who are different from what we are, challenge the stereotypes, recognize our own prejudices, and relate to each other as human beings.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-10-2013 at 01:56 AM.
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  #82  
Old 10-10-2013, 02:22 AM
london london is offline
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In Australia, Aborigines are given financial grants in an attempt to make up for the social disadvantages they have.
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  #83  
Old 10-10-2013, 02:59 AM
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@ london ... and in America, Native Americans are given reservations and rights to build/run/own casinos. How are we doing as far as relating to each other as races (one conquerer, one conquered) in a friendly spirit that breaks down the old barriers?

@ nycindie ... well, I think we are in agreement, and I certainly agree that it would be a mess of epic proportions trying to figure out what reparations to make to who. Just one more reason why, instead of the white man trying to make right all the unfathomable sins of the past, it would be better if the now-mixed-and-mingled races would take it upon themselves to "be the bigger persons," forgive, and yes, even trust.

Re:
Quote:
"And then what is to be done about interracial people? Should they hate the white parts of themselves?"
A truly formidable riddle. I remember in Malcom X (the movie), how his mother disliked the lightness of her skin tone, and purposely married a very dark-skinned man so that her children would look "properly black."

Re:
Quote:
"As the genealogists would say, how can you make reparation to someone who is descended from both slaves and slave owners?"
It then seems necessary to tell such mixed persons: "A lot of shit happened in the past. A lot of white people did some really bad things. Fortunately, we are moving away from the times when blacks and whites strove to exist as enemies, people are beginning to realize that both races have much good to share with one another, and the sins of those old white people are slowly receding. Eventually black people will have their chance to heal, and America will be a much happier country." And the talk is as far as you can take it. You can't try to repair anything. You can only explain that, "Well, this is what happened, this was the result, this is what we're trying to do about it, and this is how we hope things will be eventually."

Reminds me a little of Dr. Seuss' story of the Sneetches. The star-bellied Sneetches were the privelaged class at the beginning of the story. Then, Sylvester McMonkey McBean shows up on the scene with a machine that can put stars on the plain-bellied Sneetches (for a mere buck a pop). Predictably, the plain-bellied Sneetches seize the opportunity and now all the Sneetches have stars.

"But wait," say the original star-bearing Sneetches. "McBean's machine didn't make you equal to us, it just made you *look* equal. This is a social debacle that cries out for rectification."

Well, luckily, McBean's machine can also remove stars. So now the "originally superior" Sneetches pay their fares and get their stars removed. "Aha!" they shout to the "originally inferior" Sneetches. "Now we can plainly see who the superior Sneetches are. You can't hide behind those stars anymore!"

At which point, of course, the now-star-bellied Sneetches race off to Sylvester McMonkey McBean to get their stars removed (and re-level the playing field). Well, by this time, the superior Sneetches are thinking ahead and getting their stars put back on. Predictably, the situation quickly devolves into complete chaos. Sneetches are getting stars added and subtracted non-stop. Nobody even knows who the last Sneetch was to get his "star status" corrected.

By the time it's all over, McBean drives off with his machine and a shitload of money, leaving behind two impossibly jumbled races of now-impoverished Sneetches, and chuckling to himself, "You can't teach a Sneetch."

In the TV version of the book, the Sneetches do learn their lesson. They start to realize how absurd the whole star-counting business was in the first place. They find themselves laughing at weird instances where some Sneetch ended up with three stars on his belly. The chaos was so ridiculous it was comical. And so, happily for our friends the Sneetches, they throw aside the barriers of race and privelage and share the good things in life together.

Outside the United States is a whole world of different kinds of black-white relations. We could almost call ourselves unique in our level of black/white tensions if it weren't for apartheid in South Africa. Surprising that we can't learn more from multi-national cultures.

Re:
Quote:
"I think the best thing we can do is get to know people who are different from what we are, challenge the stereotypes, recognize our own prejudices, and relate to each other as human beings."
We all have enough stars-on and stars-off by now (and McBean is rich enough) to let the healing begin, yes?
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  #84  
Old 10-10-2013, 04:44 AM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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*nodding at Cindie's post* All of that.

Thank you for that post, Free.

I have broached the topic with my married, black friends, and they have all said they could not do poly or swinging, but they always respected me and what I chose to do. The thing is my single black friends practise some variation of solo poly but do not call it poly. My male friends say they are "doing them" or "just having fun." My female friends say they are "exploring and keeping their options open." They are doing it honestly and not deceiving anyone involved, and feelings have never been off limit. I would say that is pretty ethical and constitutes solo poly. Would they ever seek support from a forum or chat within a group? Free pretty much covered the reasons why they elect not to.

This reminds me of a conversation my BIL started over my birthday weekend. He flat out asked where are the "brothers" and "sisters" who practise this?" Like I told him, the only openly black poly person I know is my friend's girlfriend. She has said that it feels like a struggle because she is not only a female working in a male dominated field, but she is poly, a lesbian, and black. She works in a place with at-will termination, so they could very well get away with firing her for any of those reasons and legally get away with it. That is a hell of a burden to bear.

Despite what we appear to be, we are an interracial couple. The catch-22 is DH's appearance and what he self-identifies as does not correlate. He quickly corrects people when they assume he is adopted or simply white. He appears to just be "white," but he has two mulatto parents, who ID as Afro-Caribbean. DH has never tried to pass for white like his ancestors, but it throws people for a loop when he reveals what he is. In his parents' respective countries, he is called a chabin. The mystery of the chabin and chabine (female form) is that they often get the recessive traits and any traits that skipped a generation like the fairness of his skin and texture/colour of his hair.

I have no doubt poly exists in black communities (not within my in-laws'), but elsewhere? Absolutely. It probably stays behind closed doors and goes under a nameless entity. Sometimes they just do not call it poly but actually practise it. It seems to be different for every culture. My in-laws are devoutly Catholic and religious, so picture me the polyamorist being part of a family like that and "flaunting" (not hiding) my extramarital relationship. It did not mesh well, as things like poly and breaking vows are frowned upon, by them and their beliefs.

Some of DH's relatives are self-hating. They despise the white blood that is in their veins. They hate the fairness of their skin because they cannot properly pass for black and are perceived to be white. The worst one of all was DH's uncle. He hates like most white people, but his own father is white and his brand new DIL is, too. I offered to help him pick his face up off the floor.

For people like them, no reparations will ever be enough. They would not accept it because they would view whatever was given as tainted and tinged with the blood of their ancestors. I would love for them to forgive and learn to trust, but the odds of that happening are minimal. They feel empathy for the black ancestors and shame for the white ones.
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  #85  
Old 10-10-2013, 09:12 AM
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In my last post, I left out the part about my great-grandmother who was of the first generation of my Caribbean line born in NYC - her father was from Denmark, her mother a mulatto descendant of slaves from St. Croix. I've written about her here before, because she was poly in her later years (during the 1960s). We just always were told the other man who lived with her and her second husband was a boarder. Once I became a grown-up, one of my grandmother's cousins shared the truth with me -- he was her boyfriend. It was all so natural and accepted, and the only reason I didn't know back then was because I was too young. But anyway, I had left out that part about my West Indian ggm* being poly, and some of my research leads me to believe she and my ggf, her 1st husband, were also poly, probably in the 1920s. Of course, they never knew that word!



*ggm = great-grandmother
ggf = great-grandfather
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-10-2013 at 09:17 AM.
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  #86  
Old 10-10-2013, 12:12 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Nice about your great-grandparents! I would imagine it might go something like that today. Such and such is a "family friend," "roomie," or whatever they refer to them as. I would imagine certain people know the truth. I know poly exists. Do they call it that? Probably not. Do they tell the world and show it off? It depends on the individual or their level of comfort. Much like polys today.

Most of my in-laws are very reserved, and to them, what you do behind closed doors needs to stay there. If they do not care to be around something, they express it in a tactful manner. They had no qualms about expressing their need to not see Si or be around her at all. For them, it was unacceptable and left a bad taste in their mouths. They had strong opinions on it, and from birth, they are taught to speak their minds to clear their hearts. On the islands and in their respective homes, the desire for her not to be around was respected.

If I had elected to be more reserved and subtle about my polyamorist choices, it would not have caused such a brouhaha. Of course, this family has a member who was in the postop period from surgery when she shot at her husband, from the bed, because she suspected infidelity. She missed intentionally, but yes, THIS is what I married in to! (And yes, the couple is still married. They celebrated 39 or so years earlier this year.) That is that crazy love.
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  #87  
Old 10-10-2013, 10:59 PM
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So the answer to the question, "Do black people practice polyamory?" is, "It depends." For example, it depends on religion and familial culture.

And the answer to the question, "Why don't more black people attend our poly functions?" is, "They're not poly functions, they're *white* poly functions." A black person could attend a potluck here in Albuquerque, and all they'd be thinking the whole time is, "I don't belong here. I don't fit in." Skin color sure seems to be hard to get past.

I note, too, that there is quite a bit of variation between how inclined different black communities are to "make friends with the white guys." And that reparations tend to be rather futile, regardless of the inclination of a particular black community.

It's not easy for people to get past the ill will and hostility, between individuals and between cultures all over the world. The white man has made of himself a conquering race, and as such has done considerable damage that can't be undone. Not in this lifetime at least.
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  #88  
Old 10-11-2013, 07:49 PM
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Kdt- I think it depends on how welcoming the reception is if someone would feel if they fit or not. A lot of warm fuzzies goes along way LOL. I'm going to attend an event at some point.

As far as communities making friends. With the advent of the net: Clist, meetup.com, etc. You can pretty much find what you're looking for. This website is a perfect example.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:02 AM
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Shoot, I'm so terrible at walking up to someone I've never met and saying, "Hi, how are you, my name is Kevin, etc." ... Maybe I should push out of my comfort zone if I see a black newcomer though, amirite.

I guess Polyamory.com is one place where people of different races are beginning to get together. That's a hopeful sign.
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  #90  
Old 10-14-2013, 02:17 AM
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See also http://polyamoryonline.org/smf/index...61320#msg61320 on Polyamorous Percolations for a few more posts.
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