Wednesday, June 16, 2010

JDM on White Guilt

"I feel no guilt, shame or remorse for the social and economic oppression of the black, because I do not feel any personal responsibility for the past actions of political animals within the historic fabric of our country. I feel no guilt, shame or remorse for the gutted countryside in Kentucky and West Virginia, for the disappearance of the buffalo and passenger pigeon, for the poisoning of the soil and the water and the air. Man can always be expected to do the worst possible job with his environment, and with his relations to people of other races and of other nations. Were I to feel guilt, remorse and shame, it means that I was feeling guilt, remorse and shame for being a human being. Perhaps that would be a proper posture, but it is a negation of life to be ashamed of being the creature one is.

"I will feel my guilt, remorse and shame for the negative anti-life acts which, consciously or unconsciously, I commit. I will feel guilt, remorse and shame for my failure to take any kind of action in situations where action was an ethical imperative."

-- from a 1969 letter to Dan Rowan

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