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[RD] Our Children, Their Children, and the Question Dances With Wolves Couldn't Answer.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cutlass, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Our Children, Their Children, and the Question Dances With Wolves Couldn't Answer.

    In the iconic Western movie Dances With Wolves, Kevin Costner plays a Civil War officer who heads out West after being wounded. Being on his own at a Western post, he eventually befriends some Indians. They call him Dances With Wolves. Over time he becomes more one of them, and less connected to his white American roots. The Indian leader who befriends him, and tries to learn if more white men are coming.

    Taken from the script:

    DANCES WITH WOLVES
    You have asked me many times about
    the white people... you always ask
    how many more are coming .

    Dances With Wolves looks at his friend and mentor.

    DANCES WITH WOLVES
    There will be a lot my friend...
    more than can be counted.

    KICKING BIRD
    Help me to know how many.

    DANCES WITH WOLVES
    Like the stars.

    This is what Kicking Bird wanted to know. And it hits him
    like a rock.

    Kicking Bird bows his head in thought while Dances With
    Wolves raises his. He never wanted to say this, he wishes
    it wasn't true.

    This leaves the critical question unasked: Why are the white men coming?

    Not long ago I was traveling in that part of the country, and it made me think. I went to the Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Black Hills, and other places in the area. And what struck me was little value this territory actually had for the white men. Without mechanical irrigation, the whole region is borderline unfarmable. It's just too arid. And by 19th century standards, it simply offered nothing else of economic value. But the white man came, massacred the Indian, and took the land. Forcing the survivors of the Indians onto reservations which were wholly inadequate for them to continue to live as they knew how to live. And condemning descendants of those people to generations of impoverishment from which they have still not recovered.

    And for this the white man got? Those who settled the area were among the most impoverished of whites anywhere in the nation. In short, having destroyed multiple tribes and an entire way of life, the white man got essentially nothing in return. So why did they do it? Kicking Bird did not ask the right question, and Dances With Wolves wouldn't have know the answer in any case.

    I can't find the book, but as I recall the answer lies in a science fiction novel by Elizabeth Bear. As I recall the story, the setting was a race to launch an interstellar colonization ship between the US and China. And the protagonist was asking her boss what the importance of which was first was. And his answer to paraphrase was 'It's our children or their children. That's what it always comes down to.' And as I traveled though the lands which had essentially no value to anyone but the Indians, but that the whites had destroyed the Indians to take, it struck me as that this was the question that Kicking Bird didn't know enough to ask, and Dances With Wolves didn't know enough to answer. They, we, took the land because 'our children' mattered to us, and 'their children' did not.

    And, this being key, we could not see 'their children' as being a part of 'our children'.

    Why is this relevant now? Because the problem has not gone away. Why do some Americans want the Dreamers deported? Because to them those children are not 'our children'. Why do some Americans want immigration curtailed, if not stopped altogether? Because to them those children are not 'our children'. Why do some Americans want refugees banned? Because to them those children are not 'our children'. Why do some Americans oppose welfare spending that largely helps minority children? Because to them those children are not 'our children'. Why do some Americans want the support segregated education? Because to them those children are not 'our children'.

    The difference between most liberals and most conservatives on these issues is whether or not we take an inclusive, or an exclusive, view of who is 'our children'. How are the children of many African Americans, many of whom have ancestors who have been in this country 100+ years longer than this country has been this country not 'our children'? And the answer is that they are our children, and they should be treated as such. But many conservatives just cannot accept that. And this applies to so many other groups as well.

    The more inclusive you are concerning who can be considered our children, the more you favor acting in a moral and ethical fashion towards those children, and the children of others. And the more exclusive you are concerning who can be considered our children, the more you favor rules and policies that prevent the children of others from prospering. Or of living at all.

    In the end, that's what it always comes down to. Our children versus their children. And who you are willing to consider as ours. That's the core truth of the human condition.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  2. Valessa

    Valessa ate all of your cookies!

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    Very simplistic thinking.

    One of the main reasons against taking refugees and for restricting immigration is that people from outside tend to have very different values from the values of our countries. In an extreme example, if you allow millions, and millions, and millions, and more millions of immigrants from heavily dogmatic, Islamic countries into a western country, then soon after, the western values of that country are gone, and replaced with the backwards, inhuman values that have been imported, take over. That is negative for everybody in that country, including the people who originally fled from the violence that has now followed them.

    In a less extreme (and thus more realistic) example, every immigrant you take in from a country with a very different culture, who comes here for the benefits of western culture, not to accept its values, is a person who will cause damage to the cultural and ideological unity, of which too much destabilizes a country, or at least moves it away from the values that we think are good. Which is why just pretending that everybody is the same in a beautiful world full or rainbows, and that every restriction to who can and cannot enter a country is in itself bad, is ridiculous, short-sighted, and willfully ignorant of the cultural and ethical differences between human populations.

    That is not to say that I think the people who are against immigration are right of course. In many situations, more of the sort of thinking you're proposing would be very helpful. There is in my opinion absolutely no moral position for why the dreamers should be removed from America, and everybody who I've seen arguing for it has been a cold-hearted, pathetic excuse of a human being who based their argument purely around the othering of people based on "who they are" and not what they do in/to society.

    Overall, these things are too complex to be summarized by two words that you repeat multiple times after making a purely emotional argument.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  3. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Is "Dreamers" what some people are calling illegal immigrants in the U.S.? Or just a specific subset of those illegal immigrants? Or do I have it wrong and it's something else or a slightly different nuance?

    In the end "The white man" came and settled those lands because Americans at the time were driven by Manifest destiny and similar beliefs. It didn't matter if the land wasn't really good for farming. It didn't matter that the natives weren't white, although it did matter that their level of technology and sophistication was much lower than that of the colonists. Americans believed that the land was theirs, and so they came and they took it. If instead of "Indians" (is this term still really used in the U.S.?) there were French people there instead, or Spanish, I'm pretty sure the Americans would try to kick them out too. Which in some cases they did I believe.

    I don't see many parallels between this and the illegal immigrant situation in the U.S., honestly. Let me just say though that I think that children who were born in the U.S. and have lived their whole lives there should be given citizenship and be allowed to stay. America kind of created this mess by turning a blind eye and allowing all those people to settle and work there in the first place. IMO America should figure out a solution that doesn't break families apart.
     
  4. Valessa

    Valessa ate all of your cookies!

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    Dreamers are the people who came to America as children and chose to be part of DACA.
     
  5. tuckerkao

    tuckerkao Chieftain

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    It'll be very hard for the dreamers to fulfill their dreams under the Trump presidency, however several Senators like Orrin Hatch still wants to offer them the narrow path to stay in the workforce with possible military service requirements.
     
  6. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Ahh it's called the DREAM act. Got it. Reading more about this, I think it would be horrible to throw out those who chose to sign on to this program.

    Just suck it up and accept all those people as Americans. The U.S. created this mess by turning a blind eye to these people living and working in the U.S.. Do the right thing and let them stay.
     
  7. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    How is your argument not purely emotional? Every group who has been allowed to integrate into a Western culture has ended up having culturally Western grandchildren. There are no exceptions. Only when a group is marginalized and excluded do they maintain, or create, a different culture.
     
  8. Valessa

    Valessa ate all of your cookies!

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    Even if we accept that to be the case, then we still have two generations of cultural friction that are more than enough justification for people to be opposed to unrestricted immigration, or against immigration from certain areas of the world.

    But of course that's not the case, and the setup you have created is a farce. This idea that immigration "works unless the people are marginalized" is a fantasized version of what is actually the case, which is that culturally similar people generally integrate without problems, while people with big cultural differences to the host culture have trouble integrating. That's precisely because the differences between both sides make them feel like strangers, which makes the immigrants prefer to stick with each other, and the hosts prefer not having to deal with them. That's not "marginalization", that's exactly what you have to expect when you put groups of people together who have very different views about life.
     
  9. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    That ignores the entirety of the US experience with immigration over the past 240 years.
     
  10. Valessa

    Valessa ate all of your cookies!

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    Well first of all, the USA are a unicorn when it comes to that. A country that has no cultural legacy other than that of being a nation that was built by immigrants, that had continuous floods of immigrants and that only in recent times has really established itself as a nation that goes beyond being the place where everybody wants to go, and in many ways still has not found an identity, as it is and was more culturally divided than probably any other nation in the developed world.

    But then, how does it go against the US experience? America is a country that is closer to a multicultural model than any other place, you literally have Ethnic enclaves full of people who segregated and stuck with people who came from the same place as them. It is true that they become "Americanized" over time, but surely you agree that "Mexican American Culture" is a very different beast from "Mainstream American Culture" for example. People who can choose to stick with people they feel familiar with will generally do so, and the effect is stronger, the bigger the difference is between the "general" culture of their new place and their own culture.
     
  11. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    I dunno, seems pretty similar to me. Also completely intertwined.
     
  12. danjuno

    danjuno Usually Quite Serious

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    The difference is noticeable, but little more.
     
  13. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    What is "American culture" anyway?

    It seems to me that America is made up of a great variety of different cultures, and not just one uberculture.
     
  14. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Have you the same fears of Roman Catholicism?

     
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  15. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Chieftain

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    Gold
     
  16. r16

    r16 not deity

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    thousands of years "Civilization" . Agriculture feeds people but arable land is limited , you have to expand to feed the next generations . Or face Civil War . If you are to suffer a war , why not taking it to other peoples ? Civ III might be annoying in so many things , but it models the idea extremely well . The land was there , war helped by cutting down mouths to feed even in defeat , so simply it was a case of "Why not?" And if Americans didn't , Canadians would . Maybe with more "elan" , kindness , whatever one wants to name it . But Indians , well , would be taken out in the end . It took a couple of world wars and basically the development of a Communist nuclear deterrent to make people stop and consider .
     
  17. Crezth

    Crezth Gaslight-Punk

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    Why are collectivists bound and determined to eliminate personal agency from the calculation of terrorist responsibility? Is it possible that terrorists commit acts of terrorism because they want to and not because mommy and daddy are Muslim? At a certain point you have to step back and say people are responsible for their own actions and not inevitably contrived to follow a certain course in life because of magical historical narratives that only a judicious study of history can realize.

    "Culture wars" is such a disgustingly collectivist concept, advanced by people who obviously have never interacted with the real world. As if it's literally impossible to talk to people from different cultures. Unreal.
     
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  18. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Chieftain

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    At that time, the time of the conquest, I think that many of the pioneers, christian farmers, felt an inalienable right for their share of the the "promised land" Canaan, a home for their childrens children.
    Despite the poor quality of the soil.

    On the music of the movie Exodus from 1960, that "good old time" (of Trump), Pat Boone wrote the lyrics:

    This land is mine
    God gave this land to me
    This brave and ancient land To me
    And when the morning sun
    Reveals her hills and plains

    Then I see a land
    Where children can run free
    So take my hand
    And walk this land with me
    And walk this lovely land

    With me
    Though I am just a man
    When you are by my side
    With the help of God
    I know I can be strong
    Though I am just a man
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    This really misrepresents and/or misunderstands the American experience pretty much completely. Other than a few Orthodox Jews, the Amish, and some white racists, there aren't groups that self segregate. Not any meaningful number of them. The segregation was always imposed. This is true in all cases with Blacks and Hispanics. So the biggest blocks of people who are segregated, and so have a 'culture' which is somewhat different from the mainstream of American 'culture', had that imposed on them, not a choice on their part. That same segregation was formerly imposed on Irish, Italian, Chinese, other Asian, and other groups. Some of those people still have some segregation they haven't overcome. Others have overcome it. Once a group overcomes the segregation imposed on it, that group integrates seamlessly with America as a whole.

    It only breaks down where segregation is imposed from the outside.

    Which is exactly why so many European countries have a worse experience with modern immigration than the US does. The imposed segregation hasn't broken down enough.

    What you don't see, because you're unwilling to see it, is that the maintenance of a foreign culture among immigrants, or the development of 'Black culture' in the US, is a response to externally enforced segregation. If people are forced to remain 'foreign' in the nation they were born in, then some of them choose to own it. If a 3rd generation French Moroccan woman is deciding to wear the Hijab that her mother did not wear, the reason this happens is that she is still considered 'French Moroccan', and not just French.
     
  20. Crezth

    Crezth Gaslight-Punk

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    "America has no cultural legacy but surely we can all agree that Mainstream American Culture is different from Mexican-American Culture" ahahahahahahahaha
     

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