Blood Guilt/Debt

Debate and discussion on racism and related issues

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Dimmesdale
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Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #1

Post by Dimmesdale »

Here's the deal with blood guilt/debt. If it's real it cuts both ways.

If whites are morally indebted to blacks because of the gains had by their hard labor, then the current standard of living which blacks enjoy is also due to the scientific and political contributions of Europeans, who also in their own way sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for their genius, the culture that nurtured them being likewise indispensable to the point they arrived at.

Think about it. The United States, as well as the world, would not be in the position it is now without both cultures, and probably a lot more. A question worth raising: is our current society something we desire to live in more than any other? If so, then I think we should be very, very grateful, and overlook our ancestors' wrongs, in turn focusing on the many boons that have given us so great a civilization, and that whether by hook or crook. But maybe we think our civilization isn't so great? Which is a sentiment I too harbor betimes.

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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #2

Post by Haven »

(Note: for what it's worth, I'm of Malagasy descent, and count as black -- so am not saying this out of privilege)

I really agree with you. The concept of blood guilt / blood death is fraught with philosophical problems (how can someone bear responsibility for something they did not do?). In addition, it is also politically problematic, because it encourages continued racial tensions, tensions which will inevitably escalate to violence. It will keep the animosity going for generations more, and that can only hurt people now and in the future.

At some point, people must accept that a lot of wrongs were done in the past, but forgiveness and reconciliation are the best ways forward right now.
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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #3

Post by Purple Knight »

You can't incur debt for something you were forced into. You can incur debt for what you take deliberately.

If I chase you around with a mule screaming, "I am giving you this mule! This is yours now!!!"

And you're running screaming trying to get away shouting, "Nuuuu I don't waaaant it!!!"

...Then I can't very well come to you later and tell you that you owe me anything, even if the chase ended with me having outlasted you, and you exhausted, nearly passed out on the ground, looking up at your brand new mule that is staring down at you.
Haven wrote: Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:53 pmIn addition, it is also politically problematic, because it encourages continued racial tensions, tensions which will inevitably escalate to violence. It will keep the animosity going for generations more, and that can only hurt people now and in the future.
This is true, I just don't consider it a problem. I want racists poked and poked and poked within the limits of what is legal until they do something illegal, such as violence, and then they can be punished. Harass them, torment them (words only!) and they should never stop hearing about it. When they break, we can have justice. It's the solution to the problem of objectively immoral viewpoints in a society that won't criminalise viewpoints alone. Ostracise them until they so something for which there can be reprisal.

Fight fire with fire.

Fight free speech with free speech.

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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #4

Post by Haven »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:39 pm You can't incur debt for something you were forced into. You can incur debt for what you take deliberately.

If I chase you around with a mule screaming, "I am giving you this mule! This is yours now!!!"

And you're running screaming trying to get away shouting, "Nuuuu I don't waaaant it!!!"

...Then I can't very well come to you later and tell you that you owe me anything, even if the chase ended with me having outlasted you, and you exhausted, nearly passed out on the ground, looking up at your brand new mule that is staring down at you.
Could you explain what you mean by this? I’m a very literal thinker and struggle to understand metaphors sometimes.
“Purple Knight” wrote: This is true, I just don't consider it a problem. I want racists poked and poked and poked within the limits of what is legal until they do something illegal, such as violence, and then they can be punished. Harass them, torment them (words only!) and they should never stop hearing about it. When they break, we can have justice. It's the solution to the problem of objectively immoral viewpoints in a society that won't criminalise viewpoints alone. Ostracise them until they so something for which there can be reprisal.

Fight fire with fire.

Fight free speech with free speech.
I find this attitude understandable, yet still immoral. I’m a pacifist, and see violence as an evil act that is almost never justified. War, violence, fighting — all of these are evil tools that will bring evil ends. Simply seizing power is not my goal. I want justice, and to get to justice, forgiveness, understanding, and reconciliation are necessary. Using the methods of evil to defeat evil just puts another form of evil in power. It’s futile, and continues the senseless samsaric cycle of murder, suffering, bigotry, and hatred.
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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #5

Post by Purple Knight »

Haven wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:34 pmCould you explain what you mean by this? I’m a very literal thinker and struggle to understand metaphors sometimes.
I just mean that I can't force debt on you. Only you can force debt on you. If you don't take it willingly, I can give it to you, but I can't claim you owe me for it.

The slaves were brought to America against their will. Even if they were brought to live in luxury, no one can call this a debt they owe because they didn't have a choice. If they gained a benefit, fine, but it's not something anyone else can claim they owe for.

Whites willingly took slaves. That's why they owe a debt. They did this deliberately. They owe for whatever benefits they stole. Black people owe nothing because they stole nothing.
Haven wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:34 pmI find this attitude understandable, yet still immoral.
I'm sure you do. I'm not a moral person. I could do the most moral thing in the world, only intending to do what is moral, and it would turn evil.
Haven wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:34 pmI’m a pacifist, and see violence as an evil act that is almost never justified.
I didn't advocate violence, nor doing anything illegal. I'm sure it sounds bad, but I only say it because I have seen who is respected as most moral and I'm copying them.

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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #6

Post by Haven »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:08 pm The slaves were brought to America against their will. Even if they were brought to live in luxury, no one can call this a debt they owe because they didn't have a choice. If they gained a benefit, fine, but it's not something anyone else can claim they owe for.

Whites willingly took slaves. That's why they owe a debt. They did this deliberately. They owe for whatever benefits they stole. Black people owe nothing because they stole nothing.
I don't believe in collective guilt. One is only responsible for actions they themselves committed. One isn't responsible for the actions of others who look like them, or hail from the same part of the world. Since a person can't control the actions of other people, they cannot bear guilt or debt for the actions of others.

No white person alive was a slave owner or trader, no black person alive today was a slave. All these evils were committed generations ago, and continuing to obsess over them can only bring more division and hate, making things worse for America's black population (due to an increase in racism).

My proposed solution involves monetary reparations, citizenship in any African country from which one descended (if desired), and intentional "racial reconciliation" events where a person can learn about the history of other races, slavery, ask questions, express feelings, and -- hopefully -- find contrition and forgiveness.
Purple Knight wrote: I'm sure you do. I'm not a moral person. I could do the most moral thing in the world, only intending to do what is moral, and it would turn evil.
If you don't mind me asking, why do you feel this way?
Purple Knight wrote:
I didn't advocate violence, nor doing anything illegal. I'm sure it sounds bad, but I only say it because I have seen who is respected as most moral and I'm copying them.
That's encouraging, at least. I'm glad you don't consider violence an option.
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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #7

Post by Purple Knight »

Haven wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:57 pmI don't believe in collective guilt.
That's fine; then neither race owes a blood debt. The original question was why one race would owe it and one not (which presumes blood debt). I explained why I disagreed with the assertion that it cuts both ways. If there is a blood debt, whites owe it. Blacks do not.
Haven wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:57 pmIf you don't mind me asking, why do you feel this way?
Because I copy the most moral people, and they are still moral, and I not. I look at the proudest and most extreme of social justice warriors and see gods among men. They are perfection incarnate, such that there are only two ways people feel about them: 1) jealous rage at not being able to ascend to those heights of morality or 2) absolute awe. I want to be moral, as they are, and have the respect from fellow moral people that they have.

Yet I imitate them and there is no respect for me. Neither is there the sort of jealous rage people feel when someone is so far above them in morality as to be a god. All I get is cold denouncement.

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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #8

Post by Mithrae »

Dimmesdale wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:31 pm Here's the deal with blood guilt/debt. If it's real it cuts both ways.

If whites are morally indebted to blacks because of the gains had by their hard labor...
I've generally seen this used as more of a caricature than anything else, a view which very few people hold. If you're talking about reparations, the US government (and various state governments, and some other 'legal persons' such as a few old corporations) are responsible for any misdeeds which those entities enacted or endorsed, such as slavery and oppression under Jim Crow laws.
Dimmesdale wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:31 pm ...then the current standard of living which blacks enjoy is also due to the scientific and political contributions of Europeans, who also in their own way sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for their genius, the culture that nurtured them being likewise indispensable to the point they arrived at.

Think about it. The United States, as well as the world, would not be in the position it is now without both cultures, and probably a lot more.
That's an unprovable counterfactual. If the scientific revolution hadn't occurred in Europe it presumably would have occurred in Asia or Africa or the Americas instead. Indeed Europeans fumbled the ball for almost two thousand years - there could have been a scientific revolution in ancient Greece/Ionia - and according to Carl Sagan in Cosmos one of if not the major reason for that setback was slavery itself, the kind of social stratification which deemed certain practical/experimental tasks too menial for the educated elites to bother themselves with. Similarly, perhaps a scientific revolution elsewhere in the world, even if a century or two later than the Europeans stumbled across it, may well have been less encumbered by religious presuppositions, ethnic/cultural supremicism and political domination holding back progress in colonized parts of the world. We simply don't know in which directions and at what pace the world might have developed in a counterfactual universe, so declaring that things are better off due to actual European activities is a tenuous claim at best.

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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #9

Post by bjs1 »

[Replying to Dimmesdale in post #1]

Purple Dragon is correct that a person cannot incur debt for something that he was forced into. A freed slave owes his former master nothing.

That said, the concept of ancestral guilt does come with a lot of problems. For instance, if we accept ancestral guilt then almost everyone living in America owes a debt to Native Americans. If you live in North America and are not Native American then, no matter how you or your family got here, you are living on stolen land.

Unless we plan to give essentially the entire country away, any talk about a historical debt seems hollow.
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Re: Blood Guilt/Debt

Post #10

Post by Purple Knight »

bjs1 wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 9:44 pmThat said, the concept of ancestral guilt does come with a lot of problems. For instance, if we accept ancestral guilt then almost everyone living in America owes a debt to Native Americans. If you live in North America and are not Native American then, no matter how you or your family got here, you are living on stolen land.
I do think all the land should be returned. All of it. Every last bit of it. I know it won't be pleasant but I think it would be right.

You don't even have to accept ancestral guilt for this. You're not literally guilty of anything your ancestors did, or punishable for it, but that doesn't mean the land you hold isn't still stolen.

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