Historical injustices—How should they be viewed?

Picture of a black family during slavery.
Roots” is the story of one black family as it journeyed from Africa through generations of American slavery and found eventual freedom."

But why did this ‘fictionalized history’ stir the interest of so many?

While there undoubtedly are several reasons, perhaps the most profound is that they were struck with the full impact of what it meant to be a black slave.

A great historical atrocity was ‘brought to life.’ 

Actually, in recent years many books and plays regarding the plight of oppressed minorities have appeared.

Extensive research into the circumstances that led to the genocide or extreme degradation of one people by another has been done and the findings compiled.

Of course, these ‘new histories’ may have their own theories and prejudices.

But, for the most part, they starkly reveal past events so shocking that some find them difficult to read.

Perhaps, as never before has the extent of human’s inhumanity been studied.

What we learn from historical injustices?

Sadly, in studying history, one is forced to realize that there have been many great injustices, many holocausts.

Numerically, the treatment of the Africans captured and taken by ship to the Americas, ranks as one of the greatest.

However, with many atrocities it is difficult even to estimate the numbers killed.

How large were the native Indian populations of the Caribbean islands and the American continents?

Yet, in time, “the aboriginal Indian population [of the Caribbean islands] suffered total extinction.”

Consider, too, the North American Indians.

It is generally believed that their numbers were reduced from millions to a small fraction of that.

Today, many of the ‘battles against the Indians’ are more realistically viewed as massacres.

In turning to recent history, we find that the number of known atrocities leaps upward.

Can we view the world as more civilized in our century when we consider the exterminations carried out by the Nazis?

Documentation of Nazi policy reveals a calculated plan of genocide, not only against the Jews, but against the Slavic peoples  and others.

It is believed that over a million non-Jewish Poles were murdered, as well as over a quarter of a million Gypsies.

And these cold figures cannot convey the full impact of the horrors of the concentration camps—starvation, beatings, “medical experiments” (often sterilization), and frequently the gas chambers.

 And that such injustices have occurred in many places on this earth testifies that such evils cannot be viewed as the mark of any one race or nationality.

Hate has no one color, language or flag.

Realizing this helps us to avoid taking an extreme position when confronted with such shocking history regarding racial or nationalistic hatred.

If a once-persecuted people take the attitude, ‘Just wait until we are on top; we’ll get revenge for our fathers,’ what is accomplished?

Only a continuance of atrocities!

Rather, we must try to understand what did happen.

For example, a British documentary, “The Fight Against Slavery,” showed, as reported in one magazine, “that slavery was a crime not merely against blacks but all humanity.

Guilt must be shared by both races, since many slavers were Africans.”

Too, generalizations about any event or situation are dangerous.

In the worst of times individuals were affected differently.

For example, under slavery, some blacks were treated well.

Others were chained, raped, maimed and torn from their families at whim.

The remaining question is: How, with the guilty long dead, can those responsible be punished?

 If one would persecute all white people, many innocent people would be hurt.

On the other hand, the opposite extreme—‘that’s no concern to me; it’s all dead history’—also is unwise.

Must persecution come against one’s own family for one to recognize how dreadful it is?

Should not what minorities have suffered help us to show compassion toward them?

Since many injustices have come out of myths as to racial or social inferiority, can we afford to adopt such fictional thinking?

Beyond such self-examination, there is another personal benefit gained by taking an honest look at the past.

Authentic history clearly proclaims: Many times human has not loved or cared for his or her fellow-kind.

Rather than weep for what has overtaken only one people, a person would be wiser to show concern for all the poor masses of humankind who have suffered tyranny after tyranny.

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Why is the world filled with hate and violence?

A protester kicking a riot policeman.

People are inherently selfish.

And selfishness, if not kept under control, can turn into hatred.

As if natural selfishness were not bad enough, human society actually trains people to be selfish!

Generalizations, of course, do not always apply, yet certain attitudes are too prevalent to be rejected as simply aberrations.

Are not politicians often more interested in winning elections than they are in helping their constituents?

Are not businessmen often more interested in making money, unscrupulously if necessary, than in preventing harmful products from reaching the market?

Are not clergymen often more interested in being popular or in gaining money than in guiding their flocks along paths of morality and love?

Games and violence

Video games featuring violence teach young people to solve problems the selfish way—simply eliminate the enemy!

 Hardly an attitude that fosters love!

Over a decade ago, the U.S. surgeon general warned that video games posed a threat to young people.

 He said:

Everything is zap the enemy. There’s nothing constructive in the games.”

 A letter to The New York Times noted that many video games “pander to the basest instincts of man” and added:

They are cultivating a generation of mindless, ill-tempered adolescents.” 

A video-game fan from Germany was honest enough to admit the truthfulness of this latter statement when he said:

While playing them I was transferred into an isolated dream world where the primitive slogan applied: ‘Kill or be killed.’”

Race and violence  

When coupled with racism, hatred becomes ever more sinister.

Racist feelings nourish what nationalism teaches children from infancy, namely, that hating your nation’s enemies is not wrong.

An essay by George M. Taber, a Time contributor, noted:

Of all the political isms of history, perhaps the strongest is nationalism.” 

He went on to explain:

More blood has been shed in its name than for any other cause except religion. Demagogues for centuries have stirred up fanatical mobs by blaming all their troubles on some neighboring ethnic group.”

Long-standing hatred of other ethnic groups, races, or nationalities is behind many of the problems in today’s world.

Xenophobia and violence

Xenophobia, fear of strangers or foreigners, is on the increase.

Interestingly, however, a group of German sociologists discovered that xenophobia is most marked where few foreigners live.

This seems to prove that it is more often caused by prejudice than by personal experience.

“Young people’s prejudices are fostered mainly by their friends and families,” the sociologists found.

Indeed, 77 percent of those interviewed, even though they endorsed the prejudice, had no direct contact, or very little, with foreigners.

Indeed, teaching the lesson of selfishness is not difficult, for all of us have inherited a measure of selfishness.

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When and how to help a child to start speak

Image of father and child.

From First Cry to First Word

Below are listed the stages through which many speech specialists believe that all “normal” children proceed on the way to speaking sentences or groups of words.

However, it is good to insert a note of caution here.

“Normal” simply means that this is what most children are doing within the time noted.

 But no child is a statistic or an average; every child is very much an individual.

Thus while all children who speak normally usually go through this pattern, the age at which they do so may vary considerably.

Also, recognize that heredity is believed to play a role.

So, in some families speech begins later than in others.

Keeping these factors in mind, let’s follow the pattern from first cry through first words:

1. From birth through the first month or so the baby’s sole vocalization will be crying with little difference in tone no matter what the reason for the discomfort.

Then, usually, from the fourth through about the sixteenth week the baby will “coo” and make “laughing” noises.

He will produce some (mostly vowel) sounds.

The crying will take on differences in tone. (Yes, mother is not just learning what baby means when he cries, baby is varying the tone when he cries.)

2. At or around the twentieth week what is called “babbling” begins.

The baby will string together “chains” of one-syllable sounds that often are the repetition of similar sounds.

The child usually enjoys making these and they will include some consonant nasals (such as m, n).

3. From the sixth month through the ninth the infant’s babbling will lead into what is called “sound imitation.”

This starts as “self imitation,” that is, the child repeats the sound he himself made.

Later he will begin repeating the sounds that an adult or another child makes to him.

4. During the tenth through the twelfth months the baby may begin actually to say short words, but normally this is simply repeating what adults have said; it is still imitation.

5. By the eighteenth month the infant will have a vocabulary of from three or four to fifty words and will increasingly show by voice inflection that they mean something, they identify something.

At this time the child may begin to use two-word utterances.

Usually little girls will start speaking slightly ahead of little boys.

And, as noted earlier, the individual child may linger at one stage and then rapidly go through another.

However, speech specialist Dr. Jon Eisenson contends:

 “Most children who are going to talk, perhaps up to 90 percent of them, say their first words by 15 months.”

Now in considering these stages perhaps the most important thing to note is: Children learn to speak by mimicking those around them.

Thus you play a major role in helping your child at each new level.

Aiding Vocabulary Expansion

The rate at which a normal child’s vocabulary expands is amazing.

It climbs from two or three words at year one to between 50 and 200 by age two, on up to around 900 by age three.

Why the big jump between ages two and three?

This is believed to be due to the fact that the child discovers questions.

Hence, the two-year-old now has a system to explore all language possible.

Because the question is the infant’s main tool, it is very important for parents (or any who care for children) to realize that the seemingly nagging query “Why?” is vital.

Discourage it and you discourage vocabulary increase and logical thinking patterns.

Besides your reaction to questions, there are, we might say, three responses to the early statements of a child that will have much effect on his progress in speech.

To illustrate: Suppose little Mary goes outside and finds a “flower” and brings it to Mommy.

How will Mommy react when Mary says: “Look, Mommy, flower”?

The negative reaction would be: “Go away, Mary, I’m busy. Take that weed out of here.”

The neutral reaction could be: “That’s nice, Mary.”

However, the positive reaction might be: “Oh, that’s a pretty flower, Mary. See, it has four petals.”

Obviously, here the mother not only reacted warmly to her daughter’s enthusiasm but went one step farther and added a new word—“petals.”

Thus, parents can view conversations with their children as opportunities to add new building blocks—new words—to their “world of understanding.”

This is best done by short statements, frequently repeating what the child said (if basically true) and then adding just a little more to it.

Too, it is good to remember that even when a small child makes what sounds like a statement he or she is often seeking support from the adult—asking in effect, ‘Am I right?’

Yet sadly, although extensive attempts might be made to help a child, it may become apparent that there is a serious speech impediment of one type or another.

What then?

Avoiding Extreme Reactions

Although his hearing is normal, and despite allowing for slowness at a particular age, it may be that your baby is not progressing as to forming words and linking them together.

What can be done?

Well, the worst reaction is to panic and go to either of two extremes.

The one extreme is to look upon the child as some sort of “freak” and excessively blame yourself or the child.

If a baby falls and breaks his leg, what parent would not rush him to a doctor to have it set?

But somehow “broken” speech is viewed as the child’s fault and so it is something to be ignored or to be ashamed of rather than something to be repaired.

It is true that often the home circumstances have contributed to the faulty speech pattern, but that is all the more reason to give real attention to both the child and the relationships within the household.

Frequently, speech therapists can quickly help a small child to solve a speech or language problem, whereas if allowed to live on that way, the difficulty may be so ingrained that it is virtually impossible to correct.

The other extreme is one of frantic dismay expressed in such a way that the child senses that he is the object of much anxiety.

He is made to feel that he MUST speak otherwise.

Especially with stutterers, this added pressure usually pushes them farther into the non-fluency pattern.

Rather, as with small infants discussed earlier, there is the greatest need for patience and tenderness on the part of parents.

Avoid constantly correcting and nagging; instead, try to get the young one’s mind off his speech problem.

Frequently, when his mind is turned away from the impediment, the child can speak normally.

In addition, it is important that older brothers and sisters be aided to see the need of treating the stutterer with tender affection—not always cutting him off when he tries to talk, thus inducing frustration and anxiety.

Such treatment of children is invaluable in helping an infant with a speech impediment and who thus is often also termed a “slow learner.”

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Common marital problems that destroy many marriages

Funny picture about divorce in marriage.

There is good news and bad news about marriage in today’s world.

The good news is that it really can be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling ways to live a life.

The bad news, however, is that many marriages are very unhappy.

 A young woman columnist, arguing against the very idea of marriage, said:

“When I look at marriages, mostly what I see is pain. And the thing about having pain is that it feels so good when you stop.” 

Do you feel marriage is a satisfying way to live a life or merely a source of pain?

The pain and suffering in some marriages cannot be denied.

They are seen in the high divorce rate in lands where divorce is permitted.

Why so much turmoil in marriage?

Common marital problems

One difficulty is that no one is perfect.

We all have quirks that can irritate others.

When we see individuals only occasionally, those quirks are not important.

But when we live with an individual in marriage, they can loom very large indeed.

They can result in destructive bickering.

Or the relationship can explode in violence.

Differences in personality, or in goals, can cause big problems.

What happens when a talkative individual marries someone who prefers to be quiet?

Or when one mate values material possessions more than the other does?

Perhaps the wife may feel she has lost face if her husband does not keep her in the same luxury she enjoyed in her father’s house.

Or the husband may spend long hours at work leaving his wife alone, causing her to feel lonely.

Drunkenness is another major cause of marriage breakup.

Some, in today’s permissive generation, feel that occasional infidelity can be beneficial.

But researchers say:

“Infidelity doesn’t work. Lots of people think an adulterous affair might spice up a marriage, but an affair was always a sign of real problems. It was never a painless thing.” 

Bearing this out, reports in many countries showed adultery to be one of the most prevalent grounds for divorce there.

Did you ever consider, too, the way the deteriorating economy can erode a marriage?

When both husband and wife go out to work—as so many do today—a family tends to drift apart.

And when a couple gets deeply into debt, tension, bitterness and recriminations often result.

Again, the modern tendency of people to ‘do their own thing’ works against the stability of marriage.

Couples find it difficult to adjust to each other’s likes and dislikes.

Often they expect the same freedom in marriage that they had while single.

Married people who cannot cultivate a giving attitude have a serious problem.

Then relatives can be a problem, especially in those lands where marriage is viewed as a union of two families rather than just two persons.

In such places pressure from relatives can be strong.

The husband’s mother may be so domineering that she, rather than the wife’s husband, is her head.

Or perhaps the girl’s own parents insist on telling her what she should do, instead of letting the young couple live their own life.

These are some of the difficulties couples may encounter when they get married.

Hence, we can truly say that marriage is still under assault, still under great pressure.

Will it survive? Yes, marriage as an institution will survive, because it truly can be “one of the most satisfying and fulfilling ways to live a life.”

But evidently individual marriages can also have unhappy outcomes.

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