What if White Americans talked about great inventions the same way they talk about slavery?
- Invention is universal – it is not just white people who have invented things. It is common to all of mankind: Arabs, Mayans, Chinese, Egyptians, Polynesians, etc. Even manlike creatures millions of years ago invented things! So it is highly misleading to only bring up white inventors as if no one else has ever done it!
- Black people did it too! You do know that black people invented things too, right? It was not just whites!
- My family never invented anything - so I can hardly take credit for all the great inventions of the past. My family was not even in America when Bell invented the telephone and Edison invented the light bulb! And even most whites who lived in America at the time did not invent anything either!
- It is ancient history, you are living in the past – get over it! The light bulb was invented over a hundred years ago. Even the computer was invented nearly 70 years ago. It has nothing to do with the present. So why even talk about it? Get over it and move on.
- It was the times! The great inventions that made the modern world belong to a particular period of history. White people are nothing like that now.
- Inventions do not make economic sense – white people never made much money from their inventions. Gutenberg died in poverty! So it is not as if anyone alive benefits from them. Whites got to where they are through hard work and clean living, not through inventions made before anyone alive now was born.
The main difference between slavery and invention is that one is considered immoral, the other not. One was also more widely practised than the other: there were far more slave owners than inventors.
But in many ways they are the same: both helped to make America rich, a wealth it has built on and still enjoys. Both largely took place in the past and yet have shaped society in ways that affect America still.
Many whites want to claim and take pride in the good things from their past – inventions made, battles won, rights fought for, etc – but then act as if the bad things have nothing to do with them – like slavery, genocide and rights not fought for. But you cannot have it both ways.
Likewise, if the great inventions are proof of the great intelligence of whites, then slavery and genocide are proof of the great evil of whites. You cannot claim one without the other.
Or: If slavery and genocide came about through the workings of human nature under a particular set of circumstances – if anyone else would have done the same thing – then the same goes for the inventions too.
Either way history has made America what it is – it did not drop from a clear blue sky, ready-made, one afternoon in 1970 or something. It came out of a particular past that was partly good and partly evil.