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Bruce, Caroline

I Am Not Guilty: Do Not Prosecute Me

One of the things that crosses my desk often as a proofreader of textbooks is social studies textbooks. This is inevitable. However, a disturbing trend I'm seeing in these texts is the drift from social studies to social engineering.

I am white. This makes me better than no one, but it also makes me worse than no one. The current trend of social studies texts, in an effort to be politically correct, takes great pains in pointing out the wrongs done by whites over the years, decades, centuries and millennia. To read these texts, one is asked to assume that to be white is to be inherently evil, tyranical, warlike and hateful. As a white person, I am apparently, by definition, out to "cleanse" the world of all those whose skin color does not match my own.

With it being Columbus Day in the States, I am asked, from various sources, to take responsibility for some of the horrible things that took place as a result of Columbus's discovery of America and its ensuing results. Well, I have news for you: I'm not responsible. I didn't do it. My parents didn't do it, nor did their parents before them. It's not my fault, and as much as the politically correct intelligentsia, the social engineers, and that subset of other cultures who insist on the blame game want me to take responsibility for these things, I will not, because I can not, at least not with a clear conscience.

Of course some terrible, awful, repulsive things were done by white people in the past; some terrible, awful, repulsive things are still being done by white people. Of course there's no denying it, and I'm not going to try. My heart goes out to the innocents who have been unfairly treated, abused, tortured, killed by others. Injustice is injustice, and it needs to be recognized as such, no matter who is the prepetrator. But responding to injustice with more injustice is not at all better than the original injustice was. Don't try to deposit at my feet blame for what I didn't do, because I refuse to accept that blame, and I will invariably resent you for attempting to do so. An apology for something one did not do is no apology at all. How can one derive any satisfaction from it? To say you abhor racism, then to call me racist because I come from a race with, like any other race, some people who are racist, isn't thar racism in itself?

If I've hurt or wronged someone, you bet I want to know about it, and you bet I want to make amends. but if it's not my fault, don't you dare try to make me feel guilty for it based on my skin color and then claim to be opposed to racism.

I have many things going against me in this politically correct mindset of a society. I'm white, which means I hate all other races; I'm male, which means I don't regard women as equals; I'm straight, which means I hate other lifestyles; I'm Christian, which means I hate anyone who believes differently than I do; I'm from an affluent country, which means I have no regard for the poor. The reality is that I do not hate other races, I do regard women as the equals they are, I do not hate people who practise a different lifestyle, I do not hate those with a different belief system from my own, and I do care about the poor; but why be bogged down by mere trivialities like reality when it's far easier to blame me for the sins of others? Welcome to the new world order, ladies and gentlemen, whereindividual responsibility for one's own actions is taken over by government and where one is made to represent a group, whether he or she chooses to represent it or not, and take responsibility for the past or present sins of some members of that group. Personal responsibility is flushed down the toilet, collective responsibility for the misdeeds of others is alive and well.
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I understand more than you realize. The history of Mennonite is one of persecution as well, of being forced out of one country and into another, out of that country and into a third, out of that country and into a fourth. We have no home country, huge chunks of our culture have been lost forever, to the point that we do not have a clue what these aspect of our culture even are, let alone how much has been lost. No culture is perfect; no people is perfect. But no culture has a monopoly on being persecuted, and no culture has a monopoly on being the persecutors. An honest study of history, though I do not believe one of these truly exists, would also reveal that no culture is free from guilt.