Yesterday, at a BBQ in a park with some people I've never met before, a guy was talking about his holiday in India. During the story he expressed his admiration for the acceptance of people in lower castes in regards to their social status.

I almost lost it completely, to me the acceptance of their inequality is a major reason why this inequality still exists. In large parts of the world the situation of the lower classes did not improve until they became vocal and demanded equal rights. A person that is told from early on that he is to blame for the situation that he is in and in fact should not complain because that would anger the gods, is in a serious disadvantage. As long as he is shackled by this religion, he will be shackled in poverty.

To have admiration for a slave that accepts his enslavement is an odd thing. I have much more respect for a slave that shouts to be heard and fights to improve his situation.

The old saying that power only yields to power is unfortunately true, let's hope that the people in India of the lower caste systems will one day find the power to be completely free. I do know that the Indian constitution has outlawed discrimination based upon caste, in reality however, (especially in rural communities) it is quite common.

The admiration that the guy uttered really pissed me off, and I retorted in an angry manner, too bad, if I could have held my composure I might have explained my point of view better.

Am I the only one so frustrated by this misplaced admiration?

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Comment by Gary Huckleberry on June 14, 2010 at 8:54am
I recognize publicly as many faults "or whatever they are called" LOL .. that I have. At least the ones I am aware of.. I am sure there are others that I have that I don't know about! The equality term, not unlike "God", has thousands of definitions, and quite often is stretched beyond the "equal rights" concept, and then creates a stampede! I don't mind being truthful because I am not employed right now! Plus I don't have a PC,... I've a Mac!! LOL. I regret that my honesty is painful to some, but not as painful as, for example, remaining "God-fearing" or in some other fictional behavior affecting belief. One of the best favors I was ever "blessed" with was in high school, another student said to me -regarding theism- "You believe in THAT B__ S___!" -- I thought everybody did .... and recalled that 3 years later when I made my "escape"!
Comment by Gary Huckleberry on June 14, 2010 at 7:43am
My unpopular Concept is this: There are no two things in the universe that are equal (except for numbers) and it is impossible for a brain to have even one single thought that doesn't discriminate, because every definition discriminates it from every other. The person that rapes your daughter is not equal to the person that feeds your family. Nonetheless, we all SHARE the same life with each other and the plants and animals. The ABUSE of any life (we are not talking self-defense here) is not acceptable. Like Phil's comment below, caste, station, or place in society are often used as excuses for abuses. Sometimes "equality" is used as an excuse for abuse (including preference), and in the USA that is very common. The only people that desire to be "equal" are the inferior ones. The superior ones have no interest in it. A person's real value is determined by what one does "to improve life conditions", .. not by caste, account, title, religion, or anything else. NO ONE deserves abuse, and abusers are on the negative side of the value scale. It is important to note that an orange will never equal and apple, though they both are fruit.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on June 6, 2010 at 5:43pm
Phil: By "use", did he mean rape?
Comment by Rob van Senten on June 6, 2010 at 5:33pm
Prog Rock Girl
I can't fault people for being happy. I can see the two being related but I don't think that being happy with fewer material comforts is the same as passively accepting being treated like dirt.

Neither can I fault them for being happy. The resilience of some people in difficult circumstances is admirable and never seizes to amaze me.

It's not the (lack of) material wealth that is the issue for me, it's their social status and the discrimination and abuse that follows from it. Phil gave a good example of how this lower social status can cause harm, unfortunately this is not just an incident it's quite common.

So to answer your question, it's not the same thing although there seem to be some similarities. Being happy despite a lack of material wealth is admirable, to passively and actively assist in the discrimination of yourself and your fellow human beings (such as your children) which causes grief and suffering is not admirable.

P.S. I'm not trying to blame the victims, I'm just saying that I do not admire the behavior of acceptance of social inequality. I can understand that religious indoctrination and a lack of education can seriously limit the possibilities the victims have to break free from the system. They are victims that are forced to perpetrate in this injustice.
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on June 6, 2010 at 3:33pm
It is a lot like earlier days here when there wasn't as much racial and gender resentment...the reason of course being that women and minorities "knew their place". Fighting for equality brings about many positive things, but it will lead to more upset.

I've been to India a few times. Some of the families I met would be considered poor by our standards (had about one electric item--fluorescent light--in the house, slept on a floor, went to an outside pump for water) but they had family and community and did not seem unhappy. Do you think this is the same thing or similar? I can't fault people for being happy. I can see the two being related but I don't think that being happy with fewer material comforts is the same as passively accepting being treated like dirt.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on June 6, 2010 at 12:52pm
Oh, and that's not to mention their teachings on homosexuality.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on June 6, 2010 at 12:52pm
No, you are not the only one frustrated by this misplaced admiration. I am hoping to learn how to keep an even keel when someone clueless acts approvingly of some cult, or damaging religious belief.

There's a fundamentalist Christian cult known as the "Twelve Tribes" (alternately as "Island Pondies" in Vermont) who believe in the curse of Ham, or Cham. Here's some of what their leader "Yoneq" says:

If slaves were mistreated in the days before the civil war, it was ...

I suggest people living in areas where this cult has taken root read what "Yoneq" has to say. This is a dangerous cult. An emotionally vulnerable friend joined, and haven't heard from him since.

What I'm finding disturbing is that a site started by ex-cult members has been suspended. The Wikipedia article appears to have been seriously edited by one or more members of the "Twelve Tribes". They look all hippie dippie, so a lot of the "alternative" crowd gives them a pass. They don't deserve it. They preach that women should be subservient to men, and that blacks should be subservient to whites.
Comment by Loren Miller on June 6, 2010 at 11:56am
A bit too reminiscent of the "darkies" accepting their place in the antebellum Deep South. The same phenomenon, displaced by 170 years and 10,000 miles. The question becomes: is there a force within India sufficiently dissatisfied with the status quo and moved to act to actually DO something about this? And if so, will it require an Indian Civil War to correct, or can millennia of the caste system find a peaceful means of dissolution?



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