A Review of “Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa” by Keith Richburg
I just finished Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa by Keith Richburg. Richburg spent three years in Africa while working for the Washington Post, and his tenure overlapped with the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu and the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, among other atrocities and outrages.
Richburg is not a particularly good wordsmith, but he is unflinching and that makes this book transcend. He tells it like he sees it, and varnishes nothing. Well, almost nothing. His fellow expat journalists do receive favorable treatment. But everyone else – Black Africans, White Africans, Black foreigners and White foreigners alike get it in the proverbial jugular. The book has the feel of truth.
If there is any criticism I have, it is that the book was written in the late 1990s and events have since moved on, usually in unfortunate directions. One of the few parts of Africa that Richburg identified as having the potential to be a success story, Zimbabwe, has since become, well, Zimbabwe. And that more or less confirms Richburg’s pessimistic view of Africa.
As I write this review, I realize I haven’t yet mentioned that Richburg is an African-American. It’s in the title of the book, and the fact that he is Black does figure into the book – unlike most foreigners in Africa, he often gets treated like a local by the locals. However, the main relevance of Richburg’s skin-tone, by my reading, is that it makes his “there but for the grace of God go I” moments more poignant. It also confers on him an implied permission to write frankly about topics that would be off-limits to other reporters.
At this point in a book review, it is standard to pepper in some quotes from the book. Honestly, the book is so raw and covers so much ground from Detroit to South Africa that it is difficult to find the right piece of it to illustrate what the book is about. I settled on few. The first quote and a half lays out the problem of Africa in a way that has been bothering me for a while:
Why has East Asia emerged as the model for economic success, while Africa has seen mostly poverty, hunger, and economies propped up by foreign aid? Why are East Asians now expanding their telecommunications capabilities when in most of Africa it’s still hard to make a phone call next door? Why are East Asians now wrestling with ways to control access to the Internet, while African students still must use cardboard drawings of computer keyboards because they don’t have real computers in their classrooms? Why are East Asian airlines upgrading their long-haul fleets, while bankrupt African carriers let planes rust on weed-strewn runways because they can’t afford fuel and repair costs? Why are the leaders of Southeast Asia negotiating ways to ease trade barriers and create a free-trade zone, while Africans still levy some of the most prohibitive tariffs on earth, even for interregional trade?
There was nothing inevitable abut Asia’s success and Africa’s despair. Both regions emerged from colonialism at about the same time and faced many of the same obstacles. In 1957, when Ghana gained its independence from Britain, it was one of the brightest hopes of black Africa, with a higher gross national product than South Korea, which was itself still recovering from a destructive war, and before that, from thirty-five years as a Japanese colony. Today South Korea is recognized as one of Asia’s “dragons,” an economic powerhouse expanding into new markets throughout the region and the world. Ghana, meanwhile, has slid backward. Its gross national product today is lower than it was at independence. World Bank economists like to point to Ghana as an example of an African country that is “recovering” under a strict fiscal discipline program; what they don’t tell you is that the economy today is propped up by foreign aid.
A couple of paragraphs later, he continues:
Talk to me about Africa’s legacy of European colonialism, and I’ll give you Malaysia and Singapore, ruled by the British and occupied by Japan during World War II. Or Indonesia, exploited by the Dutch for over three hundred years. And let’s toss in Vietnam, a French colony later divided between North and South, with famously tragic consequences. Like Africa, most Asian countries only achieved true independence in the postwar years; unlike the Africans, the Asians knew what to do with it.
Talk to me about the problem of tribalism in Africa, about different ethnic and linguistic groups having been lumped together by Europeans inside artificial national borders. Then I’ll throw back at you Indonesia, some 13,700 scattered islands comprising more than 360 distinct tribes and ethnic groups and a mix of languages and religions; Indonesia has had its own turbulent past, including a bloody 1965 army-led massacre that left as many as a million people dead. But it has also had thirty years since of relative stability and prosperity.
The next quote shows that is going on in Africa is more than tolerated, it is supported (and more or less why that is the case):
I got to see Strasser again about a year later in Libreville, the capital of the small, oil-rich central African state of Gabon. The occasion was a summit meeting between Africans and African Americans organized by the Reverend Leon Sullivan, the veteran civil rights campaigner and anti-apartheid activist who had authored the “Sullivan Principles” outlining fair employment practices for U.S. firms doing business in apartheid-era South Africa. The summit brought together some of the most prominent luminaries from the American civil rights establishment—including Coretta Scott King, former UN ambassador Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, the comedian Dick Gregory, the Reverend Joseph Lowrey, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and Virginia governor Douglas Wilder. Hundreds of African diplomats and some twenty heads of government were also in attendance.
When Strasser entered the meeting hall, sporting his now-trademark sunglasses and his camouflage battle fatigues, the crowd of mostly middle- and upper-class black Americans went wild with cheering, swooning from the women, some hoots, and frenzied applause. Sitting in that hall, you might be forgiven for thinking Strasser was a music celebrity instead of a puny boy-dictator. These black Americans were obviously more impressed with the macho military image Strasser cut than with the fact that he represents all that is wrong with Africa—military thugs who take power and thwart the continent’s fledgling efforts to move toward democracy. The chanting and hooting was a disgusting display, and to me it highlighted the complete ignorance about Africa among America’s so-called black elite.
The reception for Strasser wasn’t the only thing sickening about that summit meeting. I sat there and listened as speaker after speaker heaped a nauseating outpouring of praise on some of Africa’s most brutal and corrupt strongmen and their repressive regimes. An uninitiated listener might not have noticed the farcical nature of Jesse Jackson’s fulsome tribute to Nigerian strongman Ibrahim Babangida. Jackson called Babangida “one of the great leader-servants of the modern world in our time,” proclaiming, “You do not stand alone as you move with a steady beat toward restoring democracy” Jackson also called on President Clinton to reward Babangida with an official visit to the White House on what would be a “triumphant tour as we herald the restoration of democracy” in Nigeria.
Along the same theme, Richburg has this a few pages later:
It’s as if repression comes only in white.
So I was disgusted and angry in Gabon. And to keep from venting my disgust, I decided to have some fun by asking the various black leaders at the summit about the lack of human rights and democracy in black Africa. I enjoyed watching them wrap themselves in their own contradictions when I pointed out their contrasting views on South Africa versus the rest of the continent. I found the whole affair in Gabon so distasteful, I actually liked watching them squirm.
I asked Doug Wilder, Virginia’s first black governor since Reconstruction, about the problem of democracy in black Africa. “We cannot and should not force them to undergo a metamorphosis in seconds,” he replied. “If they are on track and on the path and giving evidence of trying to adjust, then our job is not to interfere, and to understand that there is a difference from what they are accustomed to.”
Interesting. Now imagine the conversation was about South Africa, and the year is, say, 1980, and imagine a white governor of a southern state saying of the apartheid regime, “We cannot and should not force them to undergo a metamorphosis in seconds…. Our job is not to interfere.” I can imagine that white politician would immediately be branded a racist or worst, and probably by no less a personage than Doug Wilder.
And consider the comments of Leon Sullivan on the question of democracy in black Africa: “We must be on the side of human rights and democracy,” he told me. “Many African leaders recognize it must be done and are trying to find a way to bring it about.” Then he added, “I don’t like to see anything stringent from America, saying you must do this or you must do that.”
Really? I seem to remember Reverend Sullivan being made of stronger moral fiber. What were the Sullivan Principles, after all, if not a way to bring pressure on the morally bankrupt apartheid regime? And they worked. So is Reverend Sullivan now trying to tell me that it’s okay to be stringent with despots when they are white racists, but for black despots we’ll let our standards slide a bit?”
At no point in the book is there much optimism about Africa or its future. I have never been to Africa, but I have spent a fair amount of time in Latin America and I can recognize a lot of what he wrote in the parts of the “developing” world that I know. The attitudes of the populace, and how they lead invariably to poor outcomes is certainly a factor in common. And based on what I know about Latin America, I share Richburg’s concerns about the future of Africa.
In closing, I would say I finish less than 10% of the books I start. I finished this one, and expect to re-read it within the next year or two. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand more about Africa, and the United States.
” What he doesn’t have much to say about, oddly enough, is Africa. Shocking images, bitter jibes and bits of potted history amount to little, finally, in a book that remains, in the preferred mode of American publishing today, relentlessly focused on the author’s thoughts and feelings. There are few characters of any heft in this fervently self-absorbed volume, few whole scenes, scant dialogue — almost no concrete sense, really, of how things look and sound and feel, or of how ordinary Africans live. But Africa, for all its political and economic problems, is far more than the sum of its horrors. It is a place of staggering complexity, natural beauty and intense sensuality — all of which Mr. Richburg seems too busy with his jeremiad to notice.
“And when he widens his lens to compare, at some length, the postwar economic performances of East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (finding Africa, of course, severely wanting), he fails to take into account some of the most basic factors, like climate, soil and irrigation, that have so far helped prevent African agriculture from achieving its own green revolution, without which prosperity will never come. Indeed, he doesn’t even mention agriculture in this discussion, preferring to focus on the shortcomings of African ”culture.” ”
I am going to guess that a primary difference between Richburg and the guy who wrote the review you cited is that while he is a journalist, Richburg does seem to understand the difference between exogenous and endogenous factors in a model. If you look up African soil on line, what keeps coming up over and over is that soil in much of Africa is depleted and degraded.
I’ll leave the guessing to you. He Fisked Richburg pretty soundly, and not just about soil.
As for me looking up African soil online, I’ve known this fact for years. It’s a general problem for rain forests. The plants that grow there are adapted to those soil conditions. Food crops aren’t.
Since your link is about Madagascar, I am guessing it’s the rainforest soul that is bothering you. Look up the history of Asia. Much of it was tropical rainforest. It is now productive farmland. Approve or disspprove of making rainforests into farmland, but don’t say it cannot be done. Again, it’s a question of what is exogenous and what is endogenous to the model.
Richburg alludes to that, I might add, when he discusses some advice a Predident of Mozambique gave Robert Mugabe. It would be deemed as offensive so I don’t repeat it, but the notion that the author of your review has, that Richburg doesn’t discuss agriculture productivity is incorrect.
Mugabe’s problems had nothing to do with soil quality.
As for “rainforest soul,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean, it isn’t “bothering” me. Maybe you’re projecting.
As for the conversion of Asian rain forest to productive farmland, that didn’t happen in a generation. Much of the planet was rain forest at one time in its history.
MmegiEditorial Only innovation can save Botswana Only innovation can save Botswana
Much has been said about the country’s future, after the diamond and mining era that powered its initial 50 or so years. The closure of BCL Mine last year was an emphatic reminder that the growth that birthed modern, prosperous Botswana, was anchored by a finite, diminishing and finicky resource.
ByMMEGI EDITOR Thu 02 Feb 2017, 11:01 am (GMT +2) TweetComments Email Share
No matter how deep De Beers and other mineral explorers look, the minerals will at some point become depleted and during their lifespan, they are exposed to global price fluctuations that have in the past rocked our fragile economy.
It is to government’s credit that the revenues from the mining miracle have been spent in supporting the pillars of a diversified economy, namely the development of primary and secondary infrastructure, investment in education and skills development, as well as the support of critical alternative sectors such as financial services and manufacturing.
The challenge going forward is not only oft-stated, but also self-evident. Chiefly, it is how to leverage on the structures already built into the economy, to propel and sustain growth beyond the minerals sector. In this regard, key lessons – at a smaller scale – can be drawn from the example of India, which diversified its economy away from a near total reliance on agriculture through liberalisation and the prioritisation of Information Technology.
It is not in doubt that going forward, the economy of Botswana will have to be led by knowledge and information, a fact recognised by government’s establishment of various entities, including the Innovation Hub, and supporting investment in IT infrastructure. However, it is critical that more be done in terms of innovation, as a transformative tool to unlock
the existing investments in education and IT, and as an anchor of future growth. As stated by one Indian minister, education and innovation do not spoil or run out and they can be uniquely geared to reflect a country’s culture, heritage and aspirations. Innovation may seem unimportant in the face of tangible challenges, but it is desperately needed when one considers the billions of pula spent on poverty eradication and similar interventions. Just yesterday, state owned media reported how the community projects funded from these interventions were struggling, due to “over-competition”. A beneficiary is funded to open a tuck shop or tyre-repair shop, and the whole village turns to the same business! Other economies that have prioritised innovation are now global leaders in process solutions, products, services and have spawned global brands such as Google and Toyota.
Innovation, encouraged early through academic curriculum, and fostered through public and private agencies, funding for research and development, favourable policies and laws, can transform Botswana into a globally-recognised producer of certain goods, services and information. Minerals laid the foundation, the service sector is in place, institutions such as CIPA and BIDPA are ready, infrastructure exists and is expanding, the young population is eager and the opportunities are plenty. There’s no excuse.
Sorry. Spelling error. Rainforest soil.
Exactly. In some cultures people will plant trees knowing they themselves will be dead years before the tree is productive. In Richburg’s description, Africa comes across as virtually devoid of planning, much less execution.
Hopefully Botswana pulls it off. A success story that inspires the rest of the continent would be a positive thing. I don’t have enough knowledge of the situation to be optimistic though. (I.e., I don’t know why this time things will be different.)
Soil degradation = soil carbon depletion.
Poor soils have low carbon content and rich soils have high carbon content.
The biggest reason for soil degradation is the application of conventional western farming practices. It isn’t just tropical regions that are degraded – it just happens much faster in the tropics.
Farmers all over the world are waking up to the fact that the destruction of soil carbon is the destruction of
their livelihood. Soil carbon is the farmers most valuable asset.
Because Western practices are slash and burn, not leaving fields fallow for a time, and avoiding replenishing the soil with nitrogen and phosphorus? It seems that absolutely nothing can go wrong in Africa without somehow insisting the fault lies in the West somehow. And that, incidentally, is one of the points of Richburg’s book.
Here’s another alternative:
The same piece goes on:
If, as the O.P. suggests, we are tolerating and applauding strongman because the mouth the word DEMOCRACY, then the West IS to blame.
Our success is not built on agriculture, or on manufacturing, or on knowledge. Our success is built on absolute intolerance of corruption. Part of me fears that that intolerance is coming to an end. Trickle-down corruption. When Senators call bribes “contributions,” and police use asset forfeiture to make payroll, how long until police start taking ticket payment curbside, and the tax assessors start taking “contributions” to change your assessment?
“Our success is not built on agriculture, or on manufacturing, or on knowledge. Our success is built on absolute intolerance of corruption.”
What color of the sky is seen from your planet?
US success was built on the taking of incredible natural resources from an unaligned native population, enhanced by natural defenses that prevented serious attacks from other advanced civilizations, and made dominant by the other advanced civilizations constantly destroying themselves.
We are the luckiest country on the face of the earth. And now our luck is running out.
As always, EMichael offers keen insights that cut straight to the heart of the matter. His point is valid, and explains why Brazil, which has more natural resources (pretty much everything we have, plus huge quantities of the best iron) and a more pleasant climate than we have in the US is so much wealthier than we are. And why Mexico (again, about the same amount of natural resources as we do, plus insane amounts of gold, and throw on Cantarell and Ku-Maloob-Zaap, and better weather than we do – just ask any retiree) is wealthier still.
EMichael’s theory can also explain why the wealthiest country in the world today is Zimbabwe – it’s a resource rich country whose expropriators were booted out, returning the wealth to the native population. It also explains why South Africa will soon overtake Zimbabwe as the wealthiest country on earth. If the Apartheid-era South Africa managed to use the country’s resources to create first world technology during a time of sanctions and while oppressing most of the population, imagine what they will accomplish now that they use the entirety of their population and the sanctions have been gone since the mid-1990s. Any moment now, the place will take off.
Any chance you care to add in the colonization of those countries(in the vast majority of cases) where the natural resources you speak about are so great?
Any chance you want to look at the natural environments of those countries and the effect of that on settlement like the US?
Or the fact that the natural defenses the US had, while protecting us, were not sufficient to cut off trade and technological knowledge from the civilized world that came to the US?
I know you think this is all about culture, but you always ignore that the European race was the most advanced in the world when the Industrial Revolution brought great power to those cultures, and leaped them forward to the point where they could subject other cultures to immense controls of their lives.
But it’s all good cause those white people are the best. Meanwhile, if the US had been located 100 miles from Ireland, the white races would have annihilated themselves by now.
Born on third base, and the white culture(well, some of them) thinks we hit a triple.
You mean that Mexico and Brazil weren’t colonized by Europeans? Or Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) or South Africa?
Or is this the difference:
Sort of like, say, Brazil and Mexico? Or Argentina for that matter? Or countries in Central America? The weather is better than in the US in just about every place in the Americas except Canada.
i hate to get into this. but you might need someone on your side. You are right about the great riches of America. But even Warren has a point: the American Constitution, born in compromise guided by real students of the history of governments, has protected us from the worst of ourselves.
The last real threat to that compromise was the politics leading up to the Civil War, wherein racists…. they didn’t give a damn about race, but understood the economic value to them of unrestricted slavery… undertook to raise “property” to the supreme value of the land. The present threat comes from the same people. I don’t think the Constitution all by itself can save us. We need another Lincoln, or at least a population which so understands, or at least believes in, the value of human rights that they will resist in every way they can.
I don’t see any such understanding or belief or readiness to resist with any firm intelligence.
There isn’t much point to arguing with Kimel. His arguments have been around since at least before the civil war, and once a person chooses to be a racist he will never lack for arguments that convince himself and others whose intelligence does not rise above racist hate of the other.
What is really evil… sickening evil… is the degree to which these people can look at the harm done to real human beings by the policies they expect to save them from their imaginary enemies… and find excuses for it.
Sadly that not only includes Kimel’s racism, but Warren’s worship of money.
You almost make a point(against yourself) with, “You mean that Mexico and Brazil weren’t colonized by Europeans? Or Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) or South Africa?”, but you do not understand it.
Likewise your comment, ” The weather is better than in the US in just about every place in the Americas except Canada.” is an observation that is a couple of centuries late. Looking at the climate now has no relation to the climate when colonization took place.
It is like Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Too warm, too cold, temperate us just right and works for Europeans.
“They argue that when Europeans encountered natural resources with lucrative international markets and did not find the land, climate, and disease environment suitable for large-scale settlement, only a few Europeans settled and created authoritarian political institutions to extract those resources. The institutions created by Europeans in these ‘extractive colonies’ impeded long-run development. But, when Europeans found land, climate, and disease environments that were suitable for smaller-scale agriculture, they settled, forming ‘settler colonies’ with political institutions that fostered development.”
“We exploit differences in European mortality rates to estimate the effect
of institutions on economic performance. Europeans adopted very
different colonization policies in different colonies, with different
In places where Europeans faced high mortality rates, they
could not settle and were more likely to set up extractive institutions.
These institutions persisted to the present. ”
“Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”
Badly written part about the climate during colonization being different then as opposed to now. I meant to say the technology to deal with the climate is different now.
My answer will cover Brazil because its the example (other than the US) that I know best.
In Brazil, Land Reform has been a major issue for a long time. I think things really boiled up in the 1930s and 1940s. A generation or so later, it was a big enough issue to result in the 1964 military coup (catalyzed partly by the US government).
The backstory is extremely complex, but a simplistic version is as follows: the Portuguese crown granted enormous amounts of land (“captaincies” is the translation of the word I have seen in English) in colonial Brazil to a few worthy supporters. The system broke apart and reformed a few times (captaincies became governorships, etc.) but essentially land ownership concentration was enormous. (I think in the first iteration, there were 14 captaincies, but there was a point in the early 1700s when essentially all of what is Brazil today was split seven or eight ways.)
Meanwhile, the population grew with more colonists showing up. Many of them were essentially conscripts or prisoners become soldiers of fortune explorers who became known as Bandeirantes, which translates roughly as those with the flag. Many of these Bandeirantes simply took off into the bush, sometimes after their term was up, and sometimes they simply went AWOL. Some would seek out gold or silver on their own terms, but a lot of them carved themselves out a farm far from the cities and proceeded to live their lives off the grid. But they had no title to the land, which belonged to whoever owned the captaincy or whatever the enormous tracts of land happened to be legally called at whatever point the Bandeirante took off into the bush.
All was well for a while – there is a lot of bush in Brazil. But a couple of centuries later, those with title to the land had the wherewithal to find out what was sitting on the more distant of the land they owned… and what was sitting on the land were farms and even entire towns built up by the descendants of folks who had simply gone off the grid. So naturally, the folks with title then proceeded to boot out the people without it, and who naturally viewed the land as theirs given they were living on land cultivated by their grandparents and great grandparents.
There remain an awful lot of dispossessed people whose situation remains “unregularized” after many programs and much money thrown at the problem by the government over the past few decades. An estimate that was bandied around a few years ago was of about 1.5 million people. (Strictly speaking, the number mixes apples and oranges in a way that a perfunctory explanation would merely add confusion, but bearing in mind that by the time this estimate was made, the “problem” had been fixed for many other landless people before that point, the estimate tells you that millions of people are involved.)
What does any of this have to do with what we are discussing? Well… all this stems from the fact that as early as the 1500s, semi-literate, inexperienced, ill-equipped soldier-of- fortune types wandered off in ones and twos into the bush and carved out off-the-grid farmsteads that fed them and their families for generations. Obviously it wasn’t easy, particularly in some areas. (Brazil’s greatest classic, Os Sertoes by Euclides da Cunha goes into heart breaking detail about the misery in parts of the rural Northeast of Brazil.) But we are talking about millions of people. Europeans most certainly did settle Brazil and leave lots of descendants.
Now, this will no doubt provoke more cries of racism, but what was different was the institutions that developed in Brazil v. the US. Settlers in the hinterland in the US were doing so legally, at least from the perspective of one government. Settlers in the hinterland in Brazil were not. Period. So the latter were subject to eviction and having whatever they built up taken away from them with no notice whatsoever. And it happened a lot. So Brazil developed a culture where people are wary of how much work they put into things that they cannot simply put on their back and walk away with, because at some point whatever they can’t put on their back will be taken by someone else. It leads to less investment and more corruption.
If Brazil had been settled by the English rather than the Portuguese, the culture would have developed in other directions and Brazil would be a better place today. It is fairly obvious to me that the institutions created by the English (and he Dutch as well) work better than the institutions created by other populations. (I have zero English ancestry myself, so I am not talking my book here.) They even work well in areas where there are virtually no English people or Europeans in general.
You are in the wrong century. You missed it by almost 400 years.
The reason that your “good immigrants” exist is because the “bad immigrants” have had their countries and peoples repressed for centuries by the “good countries”.
Racists with guns created all of this.
“US success was built on the taking of incredible natural resources from an unaligned native population, enhanced by natural defenses that prevented serious attacks from other advanced civilizations, and made dominant by the other advanced civilizations constantly destroying themselves.”
What natural resources? What, besides land, did the Europeans find in the original colonies? Not much. No silver. No gold. Was the land here so much better than in Mexico, or in Central and South America?
And then we have counter-examples, such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. Can’t say much for their natural resources. Australia is not much more than one huge beach — lots of sand with ocean on all four sides. They’re doing pretty well.
We are the luckiest country on the face of the earth.s counter-examples to the
Yes, we are very blessed. But it is not the natural resources that make us so.
Warren, try to think what people need most of all to survive and flourish.
Man, you’re dumb.
I have posted links to the Census figures on immigrant income in the US by country. Go back and look. The pattern is not dispossessed v dispossessed. Latin American countries, whether majority European descendants or majority native pop descendants don’t generate world beating immigrants in the US. Nor are they world beating countries now. I love Brazil and it’s people but I am not blind. Most Brazilians aren’t either and will tell you the same thing.
I would suggest you read the link to the paper I gave you about a thousand times. You obviously missed the point of the paper as you are so convinced that your racist correlation is causation you have no time for actual facts that actually caused the correlation you propose is fact.
I would suggest you read it. Here is their main point:
Not sure why cut and paste comes out that funny, and as I noted in another comment, they aren’t right about the colonization process or land reform wouldn’t be the issue it is in South America. But they are right about institutions, and institutions and culture have a feedback loop with each other, and that these effects persist. This is precisely what I have been writing and which you have called racist time and time again. So, if you agree with what you claim to agree with, let me be the first to welcome to the racist club. Just so you know, the new guy always brings the cross and the lighter fluid.
So let’s sum up. For almost four centuries European nations have raped the land; oppressed the people; and extracted every single cent they could in countries where they did not want to live, or could not survive, and now we have descendants of those European countries claiming that the natives of those lands are unproductive and should not be allowed into those other countries.
“Stay tuned for Kimel’s next installment of ‘Blame The Victims’ coming soon to an Alt-Right website near you.”
I guess I will have to go far afield and cover the latest genetic research one of these days.
Spoiler alert. There were numerous prehistoric migrations into the Americas. The original Andamanese population was completely marginalized. People with some descent from that population survive today only in a few parts of the Andes. To put things differently, they were wiped out by the next wave of immigrants a few thousand years before the evil Christopher Columbus was born.
It’s kind of analogous to what happened in South Africa. The European invaders subjugated the Bantu invaders from three hundred years earlier who had subjugated the Khoi Khoi invaders from a thousand years earlier who had essentially pushed the original settlers, the San, aside and took their land.
Just because the Europeans were the first to show up in a given area with writing doesn’t mean everyone was living in harmony before the Europeans showed up.
And no, might doesn’t mean right. But if you want to blame one group for its past massacres, blame the other groups for their past massacres too. As I mentioned before, all of us descend from killers. But holding people to different standards because they are from different groups is racism.
Which brings up the question, How did the Europeans get to the point where they COULD, as you say, ‘rape the land, oppress the people, and extract every single cent [sic]’?
Why didn’t the Chinese do this? Or the Indians? Or the Arabs? Or the sub-Saharan Africans?
geez, Warren, you just get worse every day.
Guns? Didn’t the CHINESE invent gunpowder? How was it that the Europeans then managed to invent GUNS, but the Chinese didn’t?
Try not to talk.
“Just because the Europeans were the first to show up in a given area with writing doesn’t mean everyone was living in harmony before the Europeans showed up.
And no, might doesn’t mean right. But if you want to blame one group for its past massacres, blame the other groups for their past massacres too. As I mentioned before, all of us descend from killers. But holding people to different standards because they are from different groups is racism.”
Mike, an all time low for you.
“But, Mom! All the other kids are going!”
“blame the other groups for their past massacres too. As I mentioned before, all of us descend from killers.” Sounding a little Trumpish today while talking t Bill O’Reily???
EMichael, try to say something sensible.
I have. You are just too clueless to understand it.
Let me ask you a question.
Who had the bigger guns when China was colonized?
Meanwhile, I see no reason to respond to you posts other than the sheer humor.
That’s something I’ve noted before a few times, and predates Trump becoming President. And I would hasten to note that I think it is extremely unlikely that Trump is aware of my existence or is otherwise influenced in any way by what I write.
“Who had the bigger guns when China was colonized?”
Can’t really say that China was “colonized,” just Hong Kong. But if the Brits were better armed, the question remains, WHY? China was on home turf, while Great Britain was projecting power thousands of miles away. China had far more people.
Doesn’t mean your thoughts are not the same.
Talk to the hand.
Here is what this all comes down to. I capture a person. I make him a slave. He has nothing except what I allow him to have.
Then I release him, and then criticize him because he is not advanced enough and cannot benefit my society.
Oh. and he happens to be a different color than me.
Call it racism(like I do), or sheer and utter stupidity.
We did not capture the Hispanics. In fact, they were the conquerors of all of Central and South America, plus Mexico, Cuba, and half of Dominica.
And how was it that the Europeans conquered the Americas, and not the other way around? Why did the North American Indians, with all these natural resources, not conquer the world? You cannot say that the United States became a superpower because of the natural resources here, when the North American Indians had those same resources and did not.
Hong Kong has almost no natural resources whatsoever. Same with Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan. Why are they economic power-houses while other island nations such as Cuba and Haiti are dung heaps? (At least the other half of Dominica makes good cigars.)
It is not natural resources, but culture.