In the first article in this series I introduced the rising phenomenon of the of the self-loathing white person. Basically, a white person who believes white people ought to feel guilty for being white because they somehow need to bare the shame for all of the atrocious things white people have allegedly done to non-whites. In this article will examine several key historical events people often cite as evidence that white people are inherently more evil then non-whites. My hope here is that with the addition of contextual information many self-loathing white people might appreciate that history is a complex subject and not something one can make broad generalisations about, especially about their own identity or the need to make cultural reparations.
1. The Crusades
Whenever an ethnic middle-eastern person feels like they’re on the receiving end of racism from white people they often ‘remind’ white people that they started the crusades. Many white people fall for this and even go so far as to equate the crusades with early colonial ambitions for the European nation states. The utter ignorance people have about the crusades is appalling, but considering how scared the Australian government is about people becoming informed about ethnic issues, it isn’t surprising that most white people don’t know about their own history for fear white people might grow up with some self-respect and challenge any ignoramus who suggests the crusades are evidence of the white-person’s congenital racism.
I only have room for a couple of paragraphs here so I can’t go into full detail about the crusades but here are the key facts every white person should know about the crusades.
The Arabs invaded Christendom (what Europe was called at the time), conquered and enslaved the overwhelming majority of the Christians in the world at that time. The Arabs forbid Christians to enter their holy places or to worship freely, they were in fact either forced into slavery or had to pay a submission tax (the Jizya). Alternatively convert to Islam, that cute cuddly religion we all love. The Arabs effectively put an economic blockade on the mediterrean with the explicit goal of conquering Europe. Thus the Crusades were a defensive action against a ruthless efficient and determined conqueror. The Crusades were not only a major military defeat for the Europeans but they were an immense psychological defeat as well because it confirmed the feeling at the time that Europeans were an inferior race. This feeling of European inferiority continued for centuries and can be seen in the play Othello by William Shakespeare where the hero is an African and the villain an Italian called Iago whose insecurity about his self-worth fuels his jealousy for the superior Othello. Shakespeare put it clearly: white people couldn’t defeat Islam, a black man had to do it for them.
It would not be until the 18th Century that Europeans would begin to refer to themselves in positive terms, they were the black people of their day: they considered themselves backward, savage and everyone else was wiser and more advanced than they were. The works of their Greek and Roman ancestors were now only being preserved effectively in Arabic. Such was their humiliation.
The historian Thomas Madden expressed this succinctly, “The Crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world… The crusades were no more offensive than was the American invasion of Normandy… If the Muslims won the crusades (and they did), why the anger now? Shouldn’t they celebrate the crusades as a great victory? Until the nineteenth century that is precisely what they did. It was the West that taught the Middle East to hate the crusades.”
The next time you’re told to feel guilty for the crusades remind them kindly that Europe lost the crusades and that the crusades were only a half-hearted raiding party compared to what the Mongols did to the middle-east afterwards.
2. The European Diaspora
The next one is why did the Europeans have to leave Europe and conquer everyone else?
As I just explained about the crusades, Europe’s armies had been soundly defeated by the Arabs and even worse, the Europeans now felt there was nothing they could do to stop the Muslims from invading and conquering Europe. These were desperate times and desperate measures were needed. Economically Europe had been under sanctions from the Muslim world for close to half a millenia and a safe route to the East was desperately needed to end this centuries long humanitarian disaster. To make matters worse, in 1453 the city of Constantinople was conquered by the Turks and thus ending the Roman Empire’s 2,000 year existence. With the fall of Constantinople the Turks opened up a fourth front against the Europeans. Spain, Italy, the Caucasus and now marching on Austria: four aggressive Muslim armies bearing down on Europe. It is important to note that any white person caught by a Muslim was immediately enslaved at the time.
There had never been a lower point in European morale. However, just when it seemed as though European history was about end before it could properly start, that’s when two enlightened leaders of Europe directed two of the boldest (and most desperate) moves in all history. One of these monarchs is one that most people already know of: Queen Isabella of Spain who financed Christopher Columbus’ expedition to find a western route to the east to get around the Muslim blockade of Europe. But there was another one, and his story is more important for understanding why the Europeans left Europe: his name was Henry the Navigator of Portugal.
Portugal was a country on the front line fighting the Muslim invaders, they had had some early success and Henry was part of that. But Henry realised that the military situation against the Muslims was ultimately hopeless unless they got some help from outside Europe. Henry had heard rumors of an ancient Christian kingdom in Africa. Henry realised that if Portugese sailors could travel out into the atlantic and then swing back East towards Africa they could get past the Muslim slaving fleets and discover this lost kingdom and more importantly, they could get help from them against the Muslims. These brave explorers, and they were brave considering how primitive their ships were, never found this Christian nation in Africa, but they did discover a way around Africa to India and thus ending 500 years of sanctions.
Funnily enough though, the legend was true: Ethiopia (an African Christian Kingdom) had in fact survived the Muslim conquests unbeknownst to Europeans for a thousand years.
3. The Conquest of the Aztecs and Spanish Inquisition
I’m not going to deny that the Spanish inquisition or the unprovoked war of aggression against the Aztec people were atrocities, but I will point out a few things: The behaviour of the Spanish was exactly the same as the mentality of the Muslims they’d been fighting so hard to push out of Europe. In fact, even today, I think it’s healthy for us to be suspicious of many people in our society who claim to be secularists yet every chance they get they push to turn Western countries into the very countries they fled from. Perhaps it is no longer necessary to torture and kill people like the Spanish inquisition did, but the Federal Police and similar organisations around the world would be considered incompetent if they didn’t keep foreigners under surveilance. That’s not racism, that’s just common sense as the recent discovery of Russian spies under deep cover in the USA proved. Also, in the 350 years the Spanish inquisition ran it killed only about 3,000 people. Coincidentally as many people who died in two hours on September 11, 2001.
As for the conquistadors, officially 530 Spanish soldiers, lead by Hernan Cortez, defeated the vast Aztec Empire in less than two years. If you believe that you’re going to be in for a shock. Firstly, while most people are aware that the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice, in fact allegedly 50 people were slaughtered to welcome Cortez in the Aztec capital city of Tenochitlan, however, most people don’t realise just how “annoying” the Aztecs were. The Aztec Empire was supreme and had no serious foes, but the Aztec army would routinely make unprovoked attacks on other native American tribes for two reasons: to keep their soldiers battle hardened and to make sure they always had a good supply of human sacrifices. In short, the Aztecs were arseholes, even by medieval European standards. It is therefore not surprising that when the Conquistadors, despite the whole twelve firearms they had with them, couldn’t defeat the Aztec army outright they made alliances with the peoples the Aztecs had been bullying for years and created a coalition of native armies to fight the Aztecs. After winning, the conqistadors wrote back to Europe telling them how brave and awesome they were and didn’t mention the fact they had native help when it really mattered. I mean, who wants to ruin a great story with the whole truth? They won and they were the only ones who could write so they told the tale of their bravery and might have embellished it a bit… ok, alot.
Some other fun details: Cortez, who lead the expedition of 530 soldiers to attack the Aztec Empire did so without orders and was therefore in fact a mutineer working outside of the authority of the Spanish King. Also, despite what many people think, the brutality committed in the name of God in the new world did appall many people in Europe at the time, such as Michel de Montaigne. But things were different then, there was no rule of law like we know it today and consequently when the Spanish sent troops to arrest Cortez he simply murdered them and continued setting up his own rogue state. Eventually the Spanish crown had to bribe Cortez to weaken and undermine his power and pry the state of New Spain from him. Considering that Cortez only had 530 troops and he conquered an Empire far greater than Spain at the time, the implication is that one Mafia family could have taken over an entire country given the same opportunity and perhaps that’s what we should take from this experience. We should also keep in mind that disease is what ultimately destroyed the Aztec Empire and not superior European technology or numbers.
We should also remember that this was a primitive religious era and not the sophisticated, learned and well regulated societies of the ones we take for granted every day. Expecting them to live up to our moral standards is harsh, but nonetheless, they were probably far less violent than what isolated reports of missionary violence would suggest. Not to mention the fact that I challenge anyone reading this to not feel outraged when 50 grown men are sacrificed by having their still beating hearts hacked out of their chests with an obsidian blade while fully conscious, which is allegedy what happened when the Aztecs met the Conquistors to ‘welcome’ them. With a welcoming like that, maybe we should be relieved that the Aztecs didn’t sail to conquer Europe? Unless of course you believe all morality is relative…
4. The Slave Trade and Women’s Rights
I don’t want to spend much time on this, but every time I hear someone say “we enslaved black people” I want to clamp them in irons. Everyone kept slaves back then, I mean everyone. A civilised society without slavery was not viable until the industrial revolution, it was as simple as that. At the time the blacks were enslaved, most slaves in Europe were white and the white slaves always out numbered the black slaves. Don’t you think those convicts who came to Australia weren’t slaves either. Russia still had about a hundred million white, Russian, slaves at the dawn of the 20th century. China today still practices the same form of slavery where the people living in the country regions subsidise the living standards of the people in the cities for no direct benefits to themselves. In short, if you don’t have machines to do the work, you have slaves to do it. Sweat shops are only a step up from slavery and sweat shops exist because those countries accept treating their own people like machines. We make a big deal of black slavery and that’s possibly because white people are embarrassed to admit they’re nearly all descended from slaves themselves, instead they brag about any noble ancestors they might have had. In reality, very few us white folk didn’t have recently freed slave ancestors. Don’t forget either that the black people were, sold to the West by their own people, and the Arabs, yet white people tend to get all of the blame, but as I said in part one: this strategy of guilting white people for imaginative crimes is worth over $100 billion annually in foreign aid.
So yes, slavery was horrendous, it was bad. But ultimately white people ended the slavery of Black people. There was no black rebellion worthy of remembering, there was a civil war in America between mostly free white people that greatly benefitted black people but ultimately millions of white people shed their blood to free black people. Interestingly in the case of Liberia, the black people gave themselves freedom and then enslaved other black people, but I’ll talk more about that next article.
The same applies to women, they were property in every major aggricultural civilisation, except for south-east Asia (i.e. Indonesia), but don’t worry, the Muslims put an end to that before Europeans could. Women didn’t win their rights in a bloody upheavel, instead, public debate and reason convinced the majority of men that their relations with women were in error and they changed. I’m not saying that women didn’t work hard to free themselves, but it’s plain common sense that if men wanted to they could have brutally crushed the women’s liberation movement instead of ultimately embracing it. White people were the first socities ever to give equal rights to women and even today they’re almost unique in that way. As much as some feminists like to emphasise women’s issues over human issues, men played an important role in women’s liberation too.
As for the colonies, again, white people either voluntarily set their colonies free or they stopped using the brutal tactics that would have allowed them to keep those colonies. The Indians like to think they kicked the British out, but that’s rubbish, if the British wanted to keep India they could have simply exterminated Ghandi and his followers. If you doubt they would have been that brutal consider how brutal the British were to the Irish, their very own people, just 20 years earlier. But when white people shoot white people it isn’t racism, just as it isn’t racism when white people enslave white people, yet it is if they shoot and enslave non-whites? Agreed, horrible atrocities, but the term racism is probably being over applied. What’s more, I can’t help but think, as I write this, if maybe just believing in racism creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of making something racist.
Finally, keep in mind that many non-whites were furious with the Europeans because they forced them (without complete success) to abandon slavery, but that’s for next week too.
5. The Invasion of Australia
I don’t object to people who want Australian history books to refer to the European arrival in Australia as being an invasion, it was an invasion. But I do object to white people condemning their ancestors who were forced at gun point into chains and taken here as slaves. This is the problem with generalising about all white people, white people like everyone else, enslaved their own kind and exploited them. Africans sold their own people to the West and sending people to Australia to establish a colony by enslaving them up for committing petty crimes was no different. I also object to people who keep talking about the invasion of Australia as though it was a well organised and co-ordinated act of extermination. On many occasions white people were hung for crimes committed agains the aboriginal people right from the beginning. There was no organised central authority for the aboriginal people and they certainly had no legal system like the British had. So it came down to individual tribes fighting with individual communities of settlers both battling to survive over the scarce resources. Ultimately the settlers won using their superior technology and science, but it was a harsh case of kill or be killed. Then there was also the diseases again.
I just read a small aendote about the Massarce of the Gunai/Kurnai people. An unknown number of Aboriginals attacked a white settlement and at least 300 of them were killed. It didn’t say how many white people were killed, nor did it explain why it was a massacre instead of a defeat of the Aboriginals. Controversial yes, but if they weren’t Aboriginals, but white people, we would have called it a victory. I’m not denying that there were many massacres of Aboriginal people but I just wanted to illustrate how our biases can make us generalise about every encounter white and non-white people had. Again, there is this tendancy to hate the winner.
I’ve merely touched on these topics in this very short summary of 5 key events in “white” history, but I hope that I’ve raised enough interest for you to go out and to appreciate the sophistication and complexity of history and stop falling back onto pathetic arguments like “white people did this and white people did that” as though that actually means anything relevant at all to today’s world. If you want to learn more about these topics you could go to Wikipedia but most of my source material is actually from the wonderful series of publicly available lectures on iTunesU from reputable Universities. Particularly the lecture series from Berkeley University who have graciously put a large number of history lectures online. I recommend them for anyone who has to do a lot of driving or repetitive monotomous work.
Next time I will be pointing out examples of racism from non-whites to try and destroy this illusion that only white people are racist.
Click here for part three.