My Genes Apologize to Your Genes

It’s become popular during the past few decades for individuals believing they have come connection to a group of dead men judged by hindsight to have harmed other groups of dead men, to apologize for the offending activities of the deceased they believe they’re responsible for to living people it didn’t happen to.

My granddad had a cap and ball pistol he inherited from his granddad.  The butt had a lot of notches carved into it, which probably meant the weapon had been the instrument of the untimely deaths of a good many people who might otherwise have lived longer.

Genetic karma?

The man pictured above owned slaves in his lifetime, fought in wars and feuds.  He was the great-grandfather of the man below, my biological father.

But his daughter was the mother of this man:  Cole Younger.  Killer, bank and train robber, rider with Quantrill during the Civil War.

Meanwhile the same genetic pool was spreading itself across the continent like some sexually transmitted disease.   Cherokee, Choctaw and other tribes sneaked into the mix.

So here’s the problem: 

I want to make all this right with all the people in the gene pool derived from the dead people who were wronged by the dead people within my own gene pool.  I’d like to offer them an apology for the ugly stuff those who share my gene pool did to them.

For instance, the guy with all the hair on his face was part of the ugliness perpetrated against the Cherokee and Choctaw and the Trail of Tears.  Naturally, if I’m to rid myself of the overwhelming guilt I need to apologize to some group of living people those painful things did not happen to.  Cherokee and Choctaw, preferably.

But, whoooowah!  The people on the Cherokee and Choctaw side of my gene pool are me.  How can I convey my regrets to the Cherokee and Choctaw in me from the guilt-laden Anglo side?  And can I assume without fear of error that my Cherokee and Choctaw genes don’t include someone who did something to some other group I need to absolve?

Is there some living group of people out there seething over something that didn’t happen to them, but happened to their ancestors as a result of some offense committed by holders of the Cherokee Choctaw genes?

And what’s all that turmoil and guilt churning around in my gene pool doing to my cells and whatnot?

Just to be on the safe side and try to set things right I think I’d best give myself a present as a gesture to calm things down.  Yeah, I think I’ll eat an orange or banana.

Old Jules


21 responses to “My Genes Apologize to Your Genes

  1. I hope YOU
    must not be
    a killer,
    bank and train robber
    to get your weekly money …

  2. You can’t please everyone & seeing that is the case – I don’t even try!! 😉 So if I have offended anyone – well, they can just get over it —- or not…

    • Good morning guttermutt. I apologize to you for having offended me possibly at some future time, or maybe some ancestor of yours offended some ancestor of mine. My deepest regrets. Gracias, Jules

  3. The sins of the fathers pass on to the sons
    Unto seven generations
    And not just privilege and freedom
    Come from being born an oppressor’s son
    Now I don’t blame the man who gave me my name
    He only did what he did to survive
    But the Karmic web
    Of the disenfranchised dead
    Tell me to pay for his crimes

    • Good morning to you multiconstruct. That’s pretty nice, though I’m not drawn to the underlying concept. Worthy piece of wordsmithing to kickstart the day. Gracias, Jules

  4. I’m not apologizing for the bad my ancestors did. I wasn’t even there.
    Hell, I’m not even going to apologize for the the bad I did.
    I’ll concentrate on not doing it again.

  5. Pingback: My Genes Apologize to Your Genes « Four Blue Hills

  6. I’m somewhat of a history buff…or what ever. Wish you would have put some names with the pics. I googling Cole Younger I find the name of one of my ancestors in the family tree of the Youngers. Sullivan, a very prominent name in the early to mid 1800’s from Tenn. and Missouri.

    • Hi Billy Bob. Thanks for coming by. Old Jules is a pseudonym and I’ve deliberately kept my family name out of the blog. My reason for doing it is that I have a couple of books I’ve written still on the market and I don’t wish the blog to seem a platform for promoting them. I do recognize the Sullivan name. Likely as not you and I are related back there somewhere. Thanks for stopping in. Gracias, Jules

  7. I’m a little offended by your post. You turning something profound to something trivial. Of course, it’s not about ancestors of the perpetrators apologizing to the ancestors of the victims. It’s a symbolic gesture meant to convey that the descents understand – that both sides understand each others’ history and background, and allows old wounds to be buried, so that entire cultures can move on.

    • Hi tmso. I appreciate your visit and comment. You and I will disagree on what it’s about. From my perspective it’s a meaningless gesture, a rhetorical trick intended to persuade the gullible that those doing the apologizing are ‘sensitive’. I’ve been around Native Americans most of my life and to the best of my knowledge I’ve never done anything intentionally to any of them to cause them harm nor to diminish them. I had nothing whatever to do with the decision to drop the bombs on Japan, nor with the decisions to rape Shanghai, Nanking, bomb Pearl Harbor, none of it. If I attempted to apologise for anything having happened I had nothing to do with it would be a cruel farce, an arrogant assumption.

      But it would also convey something I believe to be a lie. In the same sense I can’t assume responsibility for the acts of dead men, others can’t feel the pain, sufferings and trials of dead men. We are all born naked.

      Thank you for the visit and comment. Gracias, Jules

  8. Hey Jules,
    This was an excellent article. It states clearly what I have always felt about these blanket appologies to various groups of people. I understand the idea of people wanting to understand the culture and point of view of another group but I would suggest that nobody knows what the people who were there for these slights felt. As time passes, old wounds heal. if they are not allowed to heal, the hurt goes on and on. People who dwell on the poor treatment of their ancestors are just maintaining an open wound. I think it is more productive to concentrate on how we treat each other now and let the past stay there. Museums that tell the story of a peoples past and the sufferings they endured are good because they educate us about the past. not so we can indulge ourselves in guilt but so we can learn to act differently in the future.
    I have no Native American blood that I am aware of (of course you never know). I feel a great sadness at the treatment that these Native peoples experienced at the hands of the White people who invaded their land. I have no illusions about the “American Heroes” that were a part of those actions.The White People who came to these shores and proceeded to move West were a self-righteous group of muderers and thieves. They took the land, killed and mistreated the indiginous people, raped the land for its minerals, polluted the Air, Water, and the Land. They placed these people on the worst land in the worst climates, restricted them to that land, told them the land was theirs and then forced them to abide by the laws of the United States, a nation we say they are not citizens of.
    But I have no need or desire to appologize for the treatment these people received 100 years ago. What I might consider is appologizing to them for is the treatment they receive now from the white nation they are forced to live surrounded by on land that they supposedly control autonomously but which the federal government feels free to impose its will on anytime they feel the urge.
    I have no desire to appogize to the 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis during WWII. Although I do have a thin stream of german blood, I wasn’t there; I didn’t do it. I would however like to say that the same motives that moved those Nazis then, are moving them now. Here. In America. There have been accusations that the Occupy Wall Street movement has been hurling ant-semetic slurrs at the Bankers on Wall Street. OWS says this is not true. Even if it was true, we can’t expect the OWS to have control over all of the thousands of protesters and we should hope they do not. I don’t know who these people are but I can guess at their intensions. They want to divide the movement by casting apersions on various groups to turn them against each other. But the time for such deceipt is long past. We know that many of the Bankers are Jews. And many are not. These Jewish Bankers have no more love for poor Jews than the wealthy non-jewish bankers have for gentile poor people. It isn’t about what race or nationallity you are. It’s about how much money you have and what hiddeous crimes and sins you are willing to committ to keep or gain that wealth.Don’t let them fool you. This is class warfare and the agreessors are the wealthy. It’s not hard to see. The middle class has been shrinking and the people in general have been getting poorer while the wealthy prosper. Do you think the nations middle class and poor impoverished themselves just to make it look like the wealthy are the culprits? I think not. I think the guilty group here is way beyond obvious. So if you are Jewish, pay no attention to the lies about OWS. Pay no heed to the rumors spread by wealthy men, bankers or not, jew or not. They are the enemy in this war. The Wealthy Republican Power Mongers not the rest of the middle class and poor of America. So be a Jew. Stand with us.Don’t let these American Nazis deceive you.
    Gee I may have wandered off subject a bit but I see the interconnection present between the treatment people have received in the past and that which is being meeted out to the people currently. i see that dwelling on past wrongs will only leave us open to new wrongs. Don’t forget the past. But place it aside for awhile so we can fight the new Nazis; the new American Heroes bent on the destruction of our nation and its people. Do something to benefit the people of this country. All the people. Even those who live on the Reservation. These New Fascists won’t stop at the gates. They will starve and kill off the current Native Americans as fast as their ancestors killed those earlier Native Americans. They will kill Jews, Blacks, Indians, Muslims, Anglos, Hispanic, Asian, and any other people they feel are superfulous to their conquest of the world. They will do it with guns, economic policy, starvation,disease and any other method they can find to use to accumulate more money and more power. Mostly they hope to work people to death by denying them health care, Social Security, medi-care, welfare, foodstamps and any other help to survive. They want to keep wages low to keep Americans constanly stuggling to achieve some measure of wealth and comfort, holding out the American Dream like a carrott before them. But they will never let us catch the carrott. In the process of running for the carrott we are running the treadmill that runs the factories that alows us to run the treadmill for enough money to get us home and back the next day to run the treadmill to make enough money to….etc. They will only grant us enough sustainence to continue to do the work that the wealthy are getting paid for. Let me correct a mistake. it’s not that they will do these things. they are doing them now Hence OWS. So my point? Don’t dwell on past wrongs. let’s work together to prevent future and present wrongs so we don’t have anything to appologize for tomorrow.

  9. This is a very interesting dialogue on this issue. Thanks to you, Jules, for bringing it up and to whomever contributed through their comments.

  10. Thanks Teresa Evangeline, for the visit and comment. Gracias, Jules

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