Sunday, December 4, 2016

Response to an encounter

She was speaking at a Friends' Meeting. I didn't at first register that she was a POC, because she was fairly light skinned. She almost could have passed, but then she said she was a POC, so I knew.

She was raising money for a trip she was taking, so I gave her $20, but then we started talking. I was still reeling from the election. I wrongly assumed that she would agree with my support for Hillary, but she didn't. She didn't like liberal, white women. She thought a more open racist, like Trump might actually be easier to deal with than a sneaky racist, which she perceived liberal white women to be.

She started talking about having some Native American as well as black ancestry. She started angrily saying that we live on stolen land and should give it back. Everything I said seemed to annoy her. Eventually, she called me arrogant.

Then I said maybe she should give back the $20. She did, with an obscenity.

I didn't say more, but afterwards I had many thoughts of things I might tell her. I figured I would write them down.

First, I thought of prominent people with Native American ancestry, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Jackson. Then I thought that God is gradually giving the country back to Native Americans, one child at a time.

Second, I wondered whether this individual truly wanted to live in a Stone Age lifestyle the way the Native Peoples did prior to European invasion. My guess is no, that she wants the infrastructure and technology we have now without the white people, which doesn't necessarily seem all that equitable.

Third, I thought about how I'd love to find a cute, well behaved Native American guy and share my home with him.

And then I thought about how her face looked more white than black or red, and how odd it is that we think of people like her as not being white; or think of President Obama as black, when he's half white. Why shouldn't he be regarded as as much of a white man as a black man?

Also, some Native American tribe recently amnestied us, at least as immigrants.

And then I thought of my father. He came to this country as a penniless immigrant and died upper middle class. He was white. I recognize that he had advantages because he was white, but, his story demonstrates that the reason that so many Native Americans live in poverty is not that white people took their property in the 19th century, but other factors.

Another thing I thought about was statute of limitations, a concept that limits recovery for damage to a certain period of time after the alleged wrong. But the statute can be tolled in some cases where the complainant has been under coercion and disabled from litigating.

Still, it certainly is true that the land was stolen from Native Americans and white people are all immigrants. And, no, I'm not donating all of my property to Native American causes.  There isn't really any moral justification.  That's just how it is.

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