Human Relations

The world’s people aren’t really too good with human relations. The Holocaust is a big example. We all point to that as one of the grossest human relations mess in history. Shame on Germany.

Well, shame on America, too, right? We invaded another country and toppled their government, treating their people as savages, methodically hunting them down and murdering them using superior killing technology. Many of the nations and people we displaced in that process, first as a colony, and then as a growing nation who wanted stuff the Indians had, disappeared. Their survivors are still pretty bitter about it. Now the Indians fight to keep their sovereignty and keep their languages alive.

Meanwhile, a few centuries later, we invaded Iraq with almost the same scenario. They had stuff we wanted, or, like it was sometimes used to murder Indians, we just didn’t trust them. We didn’t like them. They were brown people, with a different culture and religion. You know they can’t be trusted, because they’re not much like us. Our newest hero, Kyle of American Sniper fame, made it clear that the Iraqis were savages and he didn’t think anything more than that about them.

It’s an attitude many have about blacks. Black slaves were shipped to America. They were an economic boon to the new bastion of freedom, liberty and independence. Surprisingly, many blacks, just like the Indians, and the Iraqis later, weren’t real pleased with their situation. Some fought back. That wasn’t a problem.  As pieces of property, they were easily put into their place, just like women who used to insist they were equal to men. Rape them, kill them, torture them, imprison them, that’ll teach them to be uppity.

I’m not bitter about this. But then, I’m a MAM – a Middle-class American Man. We mostly have it pretty good as far as rights good. I’m heterosexual, too, which improves my situation, generally speaking.

No, given all that, and my age and general financial situation, I’m in very good spirits today, yes, worried about things like our water supply and other people’s rights, and the police killing unarmed people and getting pretty violent, and people killing police and escalating it as well, but that’s sort of abstract from my POV. Nobody is hunting me, at the moment, at least that I can see. I’m a fiction writer. Some part of my mind always dwells in plots and paranoia, something fostered in me by military training to watch out for terrorists and military training to plan and train for the worst imaginable situations. I also sometimes plan bank robberies, as Dell's father does in Canada. 

What brings me to my human relations thoughts is my adopted state’s history. I live in Oregon. I moved here from my previously adopted state, California, almost ten years ago. I lived in California about fourteen years. I know more about it from my elementary school history lessons than I know about Oregon. They taught us about California and Texas. They skated over Oregon – along with Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and a whole bunch of square states in the country’s midsection.

I recently learned about Oregon’s racist past. When Oregon became a state, no blacks were permitted to own property. Blacks weren’t allowed to move to Oregon and the KKK had a strong presence reinforcing that position.

It frankly sucks. I’m proud of my new state in some matters, disappointed in others. This is an area that disappoints me. I had to wedge this piece of knowledge into the mosaic of my feelings and thinking. That’s what shipped me down the path through world human relations.

America isn’t alone in this. I watched Fingersmith last night, reminding me of how the English treated one another based on their class differences. Or peer into at the Middle East’s history. Or Africa. I hear Australia had some issues with their indigenous people, too. Killing to assert superiority, take over lands and improve security and welfare, whether we’re a country, nation, empire, tribe, clan or family, has been standard human methodology as far back as history is recorded.

 

Well, my mind and fingers are limbered up. Time to write like crazy one more time, and address the complicated lives and situations my characters face. It’s easier to cope with than reality.

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