Author Topic: Emmett Till et. al.  (Read 711 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Emmett Till et. al.
« on: October 27, 2022, 07:06:54 PM »
In watching ads for the movie "Till," about the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, I wondered, is teaching about what happened to him fall under Critical Race Theory? Is it something that should be taught in our schools about our unfortunate racial history.


If we teach about his torture and death, about about Matthew Shepherd's torturous death? His wasn't motivated by race.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

David Garner

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2022, 01:50:58 PM »
In watching ads for the movie "Till," about the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, I wondered, is teaching about what happened to him fall under Critical Race Theory? Is it something that should be taught in our schools about our unfortunate racial history.


If we teach about his torture and death, about about Matthew Shepherd's torturous death? His wasn't motivated by race.

In the case of Till, absolutely not.  Teaching history is not teaching Critical Race Theory.  It can be, but it need not be.  Till's murder should be taught in every public high school in America as far as I'm concerned.

Shepherd is different, though I also don't have a problem with it being taught.  My brother lives and teaches in the town where he was killed, and there is a memorial just outside his office to Shepherd.  As I understand it, there is a LOT of local disagreement on what motivated his killing, and how involved he was in stuff he shouldn't have been involved in.  But so long as it is taught as honest history and not a whitewashed hagiography, I'd have no problem teaching that as well.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Dan Fienen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2022, 03:01:30 PM »
My problem with CRT is not that it teaches the often sordid history of racism, racial injustice and violence, and the history of systemic racism in the USA. My problem arises when all of US history, society, and government is to be considered only in terms of racism, that every trend of American history, culture, legal and economic structures is explained only in terms of racism. And that the primary if not the sole determination of a person's character is their race.


Race and racism has been an important factor in America. But not the only one. Diviging up America into good races and bad races is racist.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2022, 03:08:10 PM »
In watching ads for the movie "Till," about the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, I wondered, is teaching about what happened to him fall under Critical Race Theory? Is it something that should be taught in our schools about our unfortunate racial history.


If we teach about his torture and death, about about Matthew Shepherd's torturous death? His wasn't motivated by race.

In the case of Till, absolutely not.  Teaching history is not teaching Critical Race Theory.  It can be, but it need not be.  Till's murder should be taught in every public high school in America as far as I'm concerned.

Shepherd is different, though I also don't have a problem with it being taught.  My brother lives and teaches in the town where he was killed, and there is a memorial just outside his office to Shepherd.  As I understand it, there is a LOT of local disagreement on what motivated his killing, and how involved he was in stuff he shouldn't have been involved in.  But so long as it is taught as honest history and not a whitewashed hagiography, I'd have no problem teaching that as well.


Our son was living in Laramie (and we lived in Wyoming) when Shepherd was killed.


The reason(s) he was tortured and killed are debated.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2022, 03:20:26 PM »
My problem with CRT is not that it teaches the often sordid history of racism, racial injustice and violence, and the history of systemic racism in the USA. My problem arises when all of US history, society, and government is to be considered only in terms of racism, that every trend of American history, culture, legal and economic structures is explained only in terms of racism. And that the primary if not the sole determination of a person's character is their race.


Race and racism has been an important factor in America. But not the only one. Dividing up America into good races and bad races is racist.


How do we counter the belief that whites (especially those from norther Europe) are the good race and all the others are bad?
How do we teach American history and not turn the whites (at least some of them) into the evil racists that they were?
Can we admit that being white in America gave us some privileges that others did not have?

Another often overlooked part of our history was the massacre of Chinese. I knew of the one in Rock Springs, WY (1885), where he had lived, where 28 (and some reports list 40-50 killed); but when looking for information on this, I discovered a 1881 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles, and one in Eastern Oregon in 1887.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2022, 10:11:39 PM »
My problem with CRT is not that it teaches the often sordid history of racism, racial injustice and violence, and the history of systemic racism in the USA. My problem arises when all of US history, society, and government is to be considered only in terms of racism, that every trend of American history, culture, legal and economic structures is explained only in terms of racism. And that the primary if not the sole determination of a person's character is their race.


Race and racism has been an important factor in America. But not the only one. Dividing up America into good races and bad races is racist.


How do we counter the belief that whites (especially those from norther Europe) are the good race and all the others are bad?

Do we do that by inculcating the belief that whites (especially those from northern Europe) are the bad race and all the others are good, the darker the better?


White Supremacy is bad and needs to be counteracted, I whole heartedly agree. But do we drive out racial stereotyping by simply substituting other racial stereotypes?


How do we teach American history and not turn the whites (at least some of them) into the evil racists that they were?


You put your finger on a key point here, a crucial point. Some whites were evil racists. Some whites are evil racists. That needs to be recognized and taught. An American history that ignores that is a false history. An example of pseudohistory that needs to be exposed, denounced, and refuted is "The Lost Cause of the Confederacy." To teach that is to teach lies.


But to teach truth would include not only that some whites were (and are) evil racists but some whites were (and are) not evil racists. American history, all history, is not black and white (bitter irony of the cliche acknowledged). There are good people and bad people. And even good people sometimes do bad things. Is it racist to recognize that for all the good that Dr. Martin Luther King did and said, he also did some bad things as well - like being unfaithful to his wife? That for all the bad that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did as slave owners, they also did some good things and that both the good and the bad need to be recognized.


Can we admit that being white in America gave us some privileges that others did not have?


I have yet to have it clearly stated just what privileges I have being white. Without a doubt, POC have been discriminated against, and that has made being successful harder and generally speaking they have had more to overcome. That discrimination and the effect of that discrimination needs to be worked against.


But does that mean that white privilege means that whites automatically succeeded? I don't think so. Brian, did you achieve whatever measure of success in life that you achieved without hard work, without effort, simply because you are white? (And are you an evil racist simply because you are white?)


Another often overlooked part of our history was the massacre of Chinese. I knew of the one in Rock Springs, WY (1885), where he had lived, where 28 (and some reports list 40-50 killed); but when looking for information on this, I discovered a 1881 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles, and one in Eastern Oregon in 1887.


There are dark events in American history and they need to be acknowledged. Is that the entirety of American history? Is that all that is important to recognize about American history? Must we either only teach the good things about America or only teach the bad things about America? Shouldn't we teach and recognize both? Isn't that the way with every country and every people, that they have been and done good things and bad?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2022, 10:14:41 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2022, 04:20:02 PM »
My problem with CRT is not that it teaches the often sordid history of racism, racial injustice and violence, and the history of systemic racism in the USA. My problem arises when all of US history, society, and government is to be considered only in terms of racism, that every trend of American history, culture, legal and economic structures is explained only in terms of racism. And that the primary if not the sole determination of a person's character is their race.

Race and racism has been an important factor in America. But not the only one. Dividing up America into good races and bad races is racist.

How do we counter the belief that whites (especially those from norther Europe) are the good race and all the others are bad?

Do we do that by inculcating the belief that whites (especially those from northern Europe) are the bad race and all the others are good, the darker the better?

White Supremacy is bad and needs to be counteracted, I whole heartedly agree. But do we drive out racial stereotyping by simply substituting other racial stereotypes?

To counteract "White Supremacy" means that whites are knocked down a few pegs. To level the playing field means that those who have had advantages might have to give them up.

Quote
How do we teach American history and not turn the whites (at least some of them) into the evil racists that they were?

You put your finger on a key point here, a crucial point. Some whites were evil racists. Some whites are evil racists. That needs to be recognized and taught. An American history that ignores that is a false history. An example of pseudohistory that needs to be exposed, denounced, and refuted is "The Lost Cause of the Confederacy." To teach that is to teach lies.

But to teach truth would include not only that some whites were (and are) evil racists but some whites were (and are) not evil racists. American history, all history, is not black and white (bitter irony of the cliche acknowledged). There are good people and bad people. And even good people sometimes do bad things. Is it racist to recognize that for all the good that Dr. Martin Luther King did and said, he also did some bad things as well - like being unfaithful to his wife? That for all the bad that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did as slave owners, they also did some good things and that both the good and the bad need to be recognized.

Perhaps simply stated: We teach that we do not live in what's often called, "a black and white world." There's a whole bunch of gray in the real world.

Quote
Can we admit that being white in America gave us some privileges that others did not have?

I have yet to have it clearly stated just what privileges I have being white. Without a doubt, POC have been discriminated against, and that has made being successful harder and generally speaking they have had more to overcome. That discrimination and the effect of that discrimination needs to be worked against.

But does that mean that white privilege means that whites automatically succeeded? I don't think so. Brian, did you achieve whatever measure of success in life that you achieved without hard work, without effort, simply because you are white? (And are you an evil racist simply because you are white?)

White privilege means that whites don't have as difficult time succeeding as others. I'm certain that if I were black, life would have been more difficult for me. One example might be: would the congregations have called me as their pastor if I were Black? (None of the seven congregations I served had any Black members.)

Frankly, I didn't have work all that hard. Studies came easy. My folks had their own business, so I didn't even have to apply to work there. They paid for college and grad school for my brothers and me. We didn't struggle financially to get through college. I don't believe any of us had college debts like our children did.

Quote
Another often overlooked part of our history was the massacre of Chinese. I knew of the one in Rock Springs, WY (1885), where he had lived, where 28 (and some reports list 40-50 killed); but when looking for information on this, I discovered a 1881 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles, and one in Eastern Oregon in 1887.

There are dark events in American history and they need to be acknowledged. Is that the entirety of American history? Is that all that is important to recognize about American history? Must we either only teach the good things about America or only teach the bad things about America? Shouldn't we teach and recognize both? Isn't that the way with every country and every people, that they have been and done good things and bad?

It has been the failure to acknowledge those dark events in American history that, I believe is at the heart of the critical race theory. The white majority has often tried to keep education silent about those dark events that portrayed (some) whites in a very bad light.

Similarly, in another discussion, the "winners" of the theological wars have often tried to keep the "losers" silent. It even went as far as 12th century scholars changing the female Junia into a male, Junias, because they believed an apostle could not be a woman.

To counter the argument that she was esteemed by the apostles, rather than she was an esteemed apostle, John Chrysostom wrote about her in his commentary: "Oh, how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!" [Hom. Rom. 31). So, that view is not something novel in the 21st century.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2022, 04:40:08 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2022, 06:39:50 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.


It's not "race" so much as skin color. A Mexican-American friend states that he has had fewer problems than his darker skinned brother.. His brother has been pulled over by police for no apparent reason, but not the lighter skinned brother; but even he has been told, "Go back to Mexico where you belong," even though he was born in the United States and has represented the U.S. in international boxing.


I don't believe that we can really know what it is like to grow up a minority in America - especially a minority that looks different.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2022, 07:54:14 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.


It's not "race" so much as skin color. A Mexican-American friend states that he has had fewer problems than his darker skinned brother.. His brother has been pulled over by police for no apparent reason, but not the lighter skinned brother; but even he has been told, "Go back to Mexico where you belong," even though he was born in the United States and has represented the U.S. in international boxing.


I don't believe that we can really know what it is like to grow up a minority in America - especially a minority that looks different.
The point is the same either way. Once you make assumptions about people based on the color of their skin you have left the road of justice.

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2022, 09:08:30 PM »
Saw the movie today. It is a very powerful piece of cinema.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2022, 01:43:45 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.


It's not "race" so much as skin color. A Mexican-American friend states that he has had fewer problems than his darker skinned brother.. His brother has been pulled over by police for no apparent reason, but not the lighter skinned brother; but even he has been told, "Go back to Mexico where you belong," even though he was born in the United States and has represented the U.S. in international boxing.


I don't believe that we can really know what it is like to grow up a minority in America - especially a minority that looks different.
The point is the same either way. Once you make assumptions about people based on the color of their skin you have left the road of justice.


Or we are recognizing the injustices that took place historically because of the color of their skin (or national origins).
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2022, 02:02:51 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.


It's not "race" so much as skin color. A Mexican-American friend states that he has had fewer problems than his darker skinned brother.. His brother has been pulled over by police for no apparent reason, but not the lighter skinned brother; but even he has been told, "Go back to Mexico where you belong," even though he was born in the United States and has represented the U.S. in international boxing.


I don't believe that we can really know what it is like to grow up a minority in America - especially a minority that looks different.
The point is the same either way. Once you make assumptions about people based on the color of their skin you have left the road of justice.


Or we are recognizing the injustices that took place historically because of the color of their skin (or national origins).
It isn’t just to use injustice as a way of acknowledging past injustice. If someone looks at my children and concludes they need to be brought down a few pegs because they are white, that person is simply being evil.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2022, 06:54:13 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.


It's not "race" so much as skin color. A Mexican-American friend states that he has had fewer problems than his darker skinned brother.. His brother has been pulled over by police for no apparent reason, but not the lighter skinned brother; but even he has been told, "Go back to Mexico where you belong," even though he was born in the United States and has represented the U.S. in international boxing.


I don't believe that we can really know what it is like to grow up a minority in America - especially a minority that looks different.
The point is the same either way. Once you make assumptions about people based on the color of their skin you have left the road of justice.


Or we are recognizing the injustices that took place historically because of the color of their skin (or national origins).
It isn’t just to use injustice as a way of acknowledging past injustice. If someone looks at my children and concludes they need to be brought down a few pegs because they are white, that person is simply being evil.


Yes, it's evil; just like when whites have looked at POC and conclude that they are somehow less important people.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Emmett Till et. al.
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2022, 07:27:07 PM »
At issue is whether it is just to make assumptions based on race. If a white person grew up on the verge of homelessness and often lived out of a car, should federal policy assume, based on their skin color, that they need to be knocked down a few pegs? The minute you start dealing with identity groups instead of individuals, you've left the path of justice.


It's not "race" so much as skin color. A Mexican-American friend states that he has had fewer problems than his darker skinned brother.. His brother has been pulled over by police for no apparent reason, but not the lighter skinned brother; but even he has been told, "Go back to Mexico where you belong," even though he was born in the United States and has represented the U.S. in international boxing.


I don't believe that we can really know what it is like to grow up a minority in America - especially a minority that looks different.
The point is the same either way. Once you make assumptions about people based on the color of their skin you have left the road of justice.


Or we are recognizing the injustices that took place historically because of the color of their skin (or national origins).
It isn’t just to use injustice as a way of acknowledging past injustice. If someone looks at my children and concludes they need to be brought down a few pegs because they are white, that person is simply being evil.


Yes, it's evil; just like when whites have looked at POC and conclude that they are somehow less important people.
Agreed. It is evil either way. Nobody deserves to be judged by how much they look like the perpetrators or victims of past injustice.