Monday, April 30, 2012
Ich Wusste Nicht
Heard an NPR story about the Jim Crow Museum in Michigan:
Karafa explains why there's so much violence in the exhibit: "Jim Crow as a system wouldn't have worked without it — either actual violence or the threat of violence."
Visitors leaving the exhibit are visibly shaken. Rowena Hamel chokes up as she explains that she lived through the Jim Crow era in an all-white community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
"I can't believe that I'm 84 years old and didn't realize," she says. "I've learned so much today. How could I have not seen this? I must have just been blind to it."
I'm sure Rowena Hamel is a very nice person and truly learned a lot going through the museum. Still, I admit to a certain emotional response to her comments and the entire story.
Reflecting on this story of a museum teaching tolerance, I was reminded me of the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, built atop a Muslim cemetery. To their credit, the Israelis appear to have a good idea of what they're doing--many of them angrily told me Palestinians get what they deserve.
Before that, though, I couldn't help but flirt with Godwin and think of all those Germans denying they knew anything about what their regime was doing during the Holocaust. Then I wondered how people would judge us a few decades from now, having failed to resist our drone wars while buying products made by exploted Chinese workers.
April 30, 2012 | Permalink
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