Friday, 15 July 2011

Lessons from the Past

Map of the Earth made in 1893 by Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Credit: Don Homuth


Jennifer Tam said...

The sad thing is how much of this can be attributed to the poor handling of the slavery issue in the U.S. in the 19th century.

In nearly every other western society, slavery ended peacefully and blacks became a normal part of society. Instead of the issue being treated as it's own problem, it was used as a political football (and not the American kind, the kind that gets kicked). Most of this happened before 1850.

Lincoln didn't start the civil war to free the slaves. The southern states swore they'd secede if he passed import/export taxes that only applied to their ports, and he passed the taxes anyway, crippling the southern economy.

He said on multiple occasions that if he could keep the southern states in the union without freeing the slaves, he would do it. Plus the emancipation proclamation didn't free northern slaves, only southern ones, and he didn't have political jurisdiction there at the time, making the proclamation a moot point until the end of the war.

Once the slaves were freed, they were not treated as full members of society in the south for over 100 years because the federal government approved such treatment through court rulings such as Plessy v. Ferguson.

The rights of gays and lesbians have been fought for in a much wiser way. Instead of shoving homosexuality down the American throat, and working to educate people, most Americans accept it today. As rights for such people slowly expand, there isn't nearly the backlash there once was.

Unfortunately for us, there are far more homosexuals than transsexuals in society, so it's not nearly as accepted. Worse, a homosexual can be seen as the individual they are by more people because there are no visible outside indicators. In this way, we are more like the blacks.

Anonymous said...

"...and blacks became a normal part of society."

In Australia they did, once whitey stopped hunting them like animals.

Shauna said...

Amazing and brings the past to mind.

To see how 'far' we have come is sad.

For we haven't traveled very far at all.