Scene: continuation of previous entry.  Jordan and long-time friend Rock Man return from coffee break.  The conversation has been about the societal impact of removing the Confederate Battle Flag from most public property.  Suggest you first read entry #142.

More about author and the general content of the Blog, Entry #1.

War of Northen AggressionRock Man: “As we were discussing the War of Northern Aggression…I mean the US Civil War.”

Jordan: “When we first moved south, I was amazed at the number of people who called it the War of Northern Aggression. It’s as if the Confederacy was an innocent bystander.”

Rock Man: “OK, back to the topic at hand. Yes, I think we should study the Civil War and study the facts as we know them, not as we want them.”

Jordan: “There are some ugly scenes on both sides. But no matter how one cuts it, any time part of a country votes to secede, the other part of the country views it as a treasonous act. And why honor those who commit treason? Those who tried to secede are the enemy.”

Rock Man: “Wonder how the Germans…and Japanese…educate children about WWII?  Are they still in denial like many southerners seem to be?”

Jordan: “I’ll give you data point of one, which is always dangerous…except in soldier_previewWashington. When I was in grad school, several of my classmates were from Germany. After a number of months and several social events…”

Rock Man: “I thought that place on the Charles River in Cambridge was an academic institute, not a party institute.”

Jordan: “Like I said, after a few social events, my wife asked one of the students from Germany the very question at hand – ‘How was WWII taught in German schools?'”

Rock Man: “And?”

Jordan: “Very different perspective than what we were taught and the perspective of most of the documentaries I’ve seen.”

Rock Man: “No doubt there are some legitimate differences in perspectives but what was the primary difference?”

HolocaustJordan: “The Germans downplayed the Holocaust. Very much downplayed it, to the point where my classmate knew very little about it.”

Rock Man: “So southerners are not the only ones guilty of revisionist history. But your observation about German schools was a long time ago.”

Jordan: “Agreed. And in fairness, I think in recent years, the government of Germany has made much more public acknowledgment of actions leading up to and during WWII.”

Rock Man: “But have the German people changed their attitudes? Do they still think they are the Aryan race?”

TurtleneckJordan: “Tougher question. My answer, which likely is a bit biased, is the change in attitude toward Jews and others sent to the camps has been limited at best. Clearly some have changed attitudes…and people who are the most open toward others are probably younger. But I find it amazing how many Germans still have that air of superiority. You can feel it when you’re around them.”

Rock Man: “Let’s give them a break and say attitudes will change even more over the next few generations.”

Jordan: “I hope so but I wonder. Look how Germany strangled Greece in the bailout.”

Rock Man:  “That conversation is for another time.”

Jordan:  “Agreed.  I brought it up to make the point about willingness to change and work with others who might be different.  However, to me the more complex and difficult question is ‘Why should Germans change their attitude?’ What’s the incentive?”

Rock Man: “Because the attitude of superiority is wrong.”

Jordan: “Wrong by whose standard?”

Rock Man: “Civil society.”

Jordan: “Rock Man, what have you been smoking? People have little reason to change attitudes, even those who are racist and bigoted. Besides, if you’re a bigot or racist, the other group is at fault, not you.”

Rock Man: “But you don’t think like that do you? So why should the racists and bigots?”

Jordan: “But what if I did think like that?”

Rock Man: “Then I’d say, ‘You’re a racist.'”

Jordan: “And I would respond, ‘So what?'”

Rock Man: “This conversation is troubling. You’re implying…not implying, you’re stating that the racists and bigots are not going to change. Right?”

Jordan: “Not going to change without some reason to change. Pulling down the Confederate Battle Flag from public spaces and/or being called a racist is not enough incentive to change.”

010114_1941_20RockMans1.pngRock Man: “Then what is an incentive for change?”

Jordan: “The other side has to change. You’ve got to change.”

Rock Man: “You talking about me changing or the black community changing?”

Jordan: “Maybe both but the black community for sure.”

Rock Man: “I like this conversation even less. I need some fresh air. Can we take a break?”

Jordan: “Yes, we may take a break. I need one also.”