Letter to the editor-Shultz

“Always Question”

Terry Donnelly’s rant about white privilege in his October 18 article “Question – Don’t Assume” is more of a reflection of an ideology rather than historical fact.

Thankfully, slavery has been illegal in this country for over 150 years and it is illegal throughout the world. And it is important to understand that slavery was never limited to the United States, nor was it limited to only “white” cultures.

In actuality slavery was a common and accepted practice in many societies and cultures dating back to ancient civilizations. For example, the ancient Mayans are known to have used war prisoners, criminals and others as slaves to do manual labor and for human sacrifice, and slaves were bought and sold by the Aztecs.   The Egyptians are also known to have relied on hundreds of thousands of slaves to construct their pyramids.

In Africa, slaves were used for armies, household servants and for manual labor needs. Between 2000 and 3000 years ago the number of enslaved persons in Africa has been estimated at 30% to 50% of the population. During this period, slave trade with Muslim countries was common.

There is also evidence that slavery was practiced amongst the American Indians, typically with captives from tribal conflicts. Included in this group were tribes such as the Comanche in Texas, the Pawnee and the Klamath. The percentage of slaves held by NW Indian tribes has been estimated to be as much as 25% of their population.

Slaves were a source of cheap labor and during the height of the western slave trade, it was the African states that were primarily involved with raiding parties to obtain individuals for sale. At that time in history, the economies of some African states were based upon slave trade, and during times of conflicts, captors were more likely to be sold as slaves rather than to be killed. Also, during this time most Europeans refused to participate in raiding parties due to fear of disease and conflict with warring native tribes.

Unfortunately, slavery still exists today. An underground economy in human trafficking exists for the sex trade, and in 2015 ISIS went on record reinstituting slavery. They also went so far as to set a standard price for men, women and children slaves ranging from about $40 to over $170 per individual.

Regarding the on-field NFL player demonstrations, I fully agree with Mr. Donnelly and others. The players do have a right to protest. They also have a right to choose how and when they protest as long as it is done lawfully. However, protesters should understand that there may be consequences to their actions as has occurred in this instance (reduced viewership, fewer fans, cancelled advertising, negative publicity, etc). On the other hand, the public has the right to decide if they want to listen to or watch such protests. Those protesting have no rights nor guarantees that their protests be heard.

Finally, Mr. Donnelly is no longer a resident of Mesquite. He has been a full-time resident of Colorado for well over 1 year at his home near Denver.

Jerry Schulz

Comments

  1. Harold White says:

    Slaves in this age are known as employees and slave drivers are known as employers!

  2. Terry Donnelly says:

    Jerry, you are absolutely accurate with your history of slavery in the world. My point wasn’t that whites were the only ones to participate in slavery, and even with your explanation, it still doesn’t pass the Mom Test: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right for you.

    As for sex trade and trafficking that brings notice to another privilege, male privilege. Not exclusively, but the primary offenders are men lording over women. The history is parallel to white privilege with voting rights, equal treatment under the law when women once could not have bank accounts or sign contracts on their own, and inequality in the workplace, which, of course, still exists.

    I should have added a word to the title of my column: Share. To make progress toward a post racial or post male dominated society we need to share after we manage to not assume and get the answers to our questions. Sharing a candy bar does not mean getting another candy bar, it means giving up some of yours to another. That was the whole point of my column. I wasn’t stereotyping or saying all whites are bad, I was making a suggestion that we look inward instead of outward to make our society better.

    My “rant” from Oct. 18 is much more than a “reflection of ideology.” There are plenty of studies that have gathered data to support my contention that white privilege exists. If you are interested check out the PBS documentary “Race: The Power of an Illusion”, or “Race: Are We So Different” from the American Anthropological Assoc. I’ll leave it there, but if anyone wants more, contact me.

    On another issue you are spot on. Protest doesn’t automatically get one’s point across. It takes savvy. MLK was a brilliant strategist and understood, better than most of his day, the power of media, especially television. He used it endlessly. As I wrote, the athletes are using their celebrity to help advertise their plight. Watch or not, it is your choice, just as it is theirs to make it. But, those who contend the protests are anti-American are not questioning or listening; they are assuming what they think is right and the protests are not about what the protestors say they are. That is a pretty good example of exerting white privilege.

    Finally, Jerry, you are right again. I have not lived in Mesquite since April 2016. I made arrangements with MLN management to continue submitting my column before we moved. I still write about cultural, social, and national political issues like the life and death of Arnold Palmer, the heartbreak of supporting a losing baseball team, the state of education in America, and, of course, political commentary. I’m hoping another liberal voice will take on the task of musing on Mesquite’s local government that I enjoyed, but am unable to due to my absence.

    The point of any of my columns is to get readers to think and, hopefully, respond with thoughts of their own. I have succeeded, to at least a small degree, with “Ask–Don’t Assume” and I’m happy to have this conversation.

    • Jerry schulz says:

      It is to be expected that you would reference PBS for further information. A very liberal source to support your liberal thinking. Can you give a different source from a neutral source or from a conservative source? As for the “mom test”, slavery was not condoned in America’s past because everyone was doing it. Slavery was condoned mostly in the Southern states as a source of cheap labor. Most of the people in the Northern states actually condemned slavery. Finally, to support your idiology, you make the outlandish statement that those who appose NFL player protests are an example of white privilege. Sorry Terry, opposition to the protests has been evidenced in people of color as well.

      • Connie Foust says:

        Jerry,
        You are right on with the PBS reference. They sing to their own choir. Conservatives do not have a voice on PBS, although they trot out their version of a conservative every so often. We the taxpayers are all paying for biased progressive reporting. It would be so nice to see intellectual honesty on all sides via cable news, but it does not exist. Tuning out more and more and enjoying great music.

    • Thank you Terry, for the hard to find, open minded, intelligent point of view so lacing in mostly conservative Mesquite.. Keep up the good work.

  3. Terry Donnelly says:

    “White Privilege 101: Getting in on the Conversation”, Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion. “Moving Diversity Forward: How to go from Well-Meaning to Well-Doing”, American Bar Association. Take a look at “Waking Up White” by Debby Irving. She lists nearly 250 references, not all of them spot on this exact topic, but perhaps you could find a publisher you favor. I’m assuming the Anthropological Assoc. is too liberal as well. A stance isn’t wrong simply because it comes from a liberal. There are facts presented and codified. You can draw your own conclusion, but to do so, you have to read or watch the presentation rather than dismiss out of hand.

    Please reread my column. You are generalizing the problems to everyone and as I clearly stated, everyone needs to work on their behavior. I tried to make clear that I was limiting the topic to what white people could do. I never said any of this was singularly a white issue, but because I still have to think, ask, and listen before acting, I felt qualified to write this column. As I wrote, it will take everyone working on the issues and we can only work on ourselves. If we water down the problem by making the excuse that those problems are far reaching and range across race lines, we won’t do anything to improve ourselves, instead putting off any action waiting for others to go first.

    Your history is pretty good, but before you excuse all northern whites during slavery, please review the Dred Scott decision and it’s application. There were white abolitionists in the South too. Speaking in absolutes or even in “mosts” is dangerous. Don’t fool yourself into thinking slavery was all about cheap labor. It was about power. The people were owned by another and the owners were clear on who was superior. Owners beat, raped, and murdered their “chattel” with impunity–again, not every slave owner, but enough to get our attention. Slave owners expected monarchial reverence from their property–excreting white privilege.

    Again, my NFL player protest example was aimed at those who condemn the protest saying they are disrespecting the country. Those people are ignoring the intent of the racial protest and are applying their own reasoning without regard for the protestors’ expressed intent. Those who deny the protest thinking there are no racial problems are wrong too, but at least they have the right focus. Those who simply call the protest disrespectful are putting their own biases into the mix and moving the conversation to their way of thinking (white privilege) about a different topic, one not intended by the protestors. That is either deflecting or deaf. If the protests were illegal, there would be a case to be made, but they aren’t.

    Just to be clear, one more time. I’m speaking only to white people and I’m not excusing those who need to step up and make personal changes from other races.

    • Terry Donnelly says:

      Ha! Spell check got me. That should be “executing” not “excreting” at the end of the third to last paragraph.

    • jerry schulz says:

      Thankx for the references, Terry. I will be looking into some of them for sure. I can only hope the you, too, have read some of them. As for slavery in the south, it was predominately about cheap labor for the labor intensive farms. And as for the NFL player protests, the reason behind their protests should be well known. The problem is that the forum they have chosen shows nothing but total disrespect for our flag, our great country, and the millions of great Americans who have put their lives on the line to ensure that we continue to live in a free country…..God Bless Them All, and thank everyone of them for their sacrifices. The NFL players should be showing respect to those who helped make and keep this country free and by doing so have provided them with the opportunity to play in a sport they love, earn exhorbitant sums of money, and to live a life style that they want, not a life style dictated by the government.

  4. Steve Clutterham says:

    So Terry, am I to assume that you are inferring that there were no black slave owners in America and that no black people today take issue with the NFL protests? Because in both cases you would be wrong. White Americans did not invent slavery, but they did end it by killing 100’s of thousands of their own brothers. I for one, will not apologize for being white. No more than any black man should apologize for being black or Latin should apologize for being brown. None of us had a choice in what color or race we are born.
    Somehow the majority of blacks manage to live happy, normal productive lives here in America. However, just like any other race, there is a certain percentage who never seem to reach their full potential and always try to put the blame on someone besides themselves. Rich football players using the national anthem to protest racial inequality is a ridiculous time and place for it. It accomplishes absolutely nothing positive and further divides our great nation. They have the money and notoriety to make real changes, and many pro athletes do just that. Talk is cheap, let them go into the inner cities and donate their time, money and name to actually do some good.
    I was born on the south side of Chicago and attended Junior high and High School in Santa Ana, CA. You would be hard pressed to find a more racially integrated school district in the early 70’s. I had more black and brown friends that I did white. I had no more trouble from any one color or race than I did any other. Everyone was treated pretty damn equal. And if you go to the trouble to look up Santa Ana Valley high school in the 70’s, you will find we produced many great athletes who went on to outstanding college and professional careers. I don’t recall a single one of them whining about “white privilege”, or “racial profiling” in any way.
    You want to talk about injustice in America? Try being obese your entire life. Everyone assumes it’s because you are lazy and undisciplined, no matter what race or color you are. It is nearly impossible to find work, even when you are over qualified for the job you are seeking. You have to work twice as hard as the next guy to prove yourself. You are skipped over for raises and promotions. Employers are afraid to hire you for fear of excessive medical problems that will cause you to miss work and raise their insurance premiums. Society looks at you differently than anyone else. You aren’t quite good enough to be a part of social groups and gatherings. People assume you are many things that you are not, but refuse to get close enough to you to discover that their misconceptions about you are all wrong.
    Inequality in America, most of you have no clue how much crap people of size put up with in this world. I would trade places in a minute with any normal size person of color today with everything else being equal. Then they would have a real world understanding of what social injustice is really about.

  5. Terry Donnelly says:

    Mr. Clutterham, your comments on the protest are valid and thoughtful. I wish more people would address their concerns, as you did, with understanding and suggestions focused on racism. I support your decision to oppose because you focus on the crux of the matter. My bone to pick is with the people who say this is about disrespect for the country. To call this disrespect is not listening and assigning parochial reasons for the protests that are not at issue.

    I wish you’d reread my original column from Oct. 18. I do know that there were black slave owners, I also know that New Yorkers owned slaves. As I warned Mr Schulz, overgeneralizing is dangerous. I tried to convey that in the original column by stating that we all need to work on our own behavior without regard to what others are doing. I also made clear that I was speaking only for white people, because that is all I can do from first person experience.

    We have a long way to go before there is equal treatment for all and, again, working on ourselves has to be first. We can’t wait for someone else to act before we give up some of our own power.

    • jerry schulz says:

      Gee, Terry. Now you are warning me….about generalizations……reread what you wrote. No one could support your comments as being nothing more than generalizations….just from a far different point of view. Thanks for your comments.

  6. Martin Locke says:

    Well done Mr Donnelly
    Obviously none of these people, like Schult or Foust, never lived through combat or laid their life on the line for someone else’s freedom. The nfl protest is not about disrespect it’s about freedoms. If you want disrespect, look at those stealing from our government, working for our enemies, Manafort comes to mind. That is disrespect. The NFL protest is freedom of speech.

    • jerry schulz says:

      I agree with you about the reason for the NFL protests. The problem is the forum that they have chosen for their protests. As I said previously, their protests do nothing but show disrespect for our country and those who have sacrificed for our freedoms. If you have put your life on the line, I am perplexed as to how you cannot see that.

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