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Except that Western civilization as in the minds of it's inhabitants likely wouldn't have existed without the subjugation and exploitation of those other societies, including but not limited to: China, India, the Middle East, most of Africa minus Ethiopia, and even some parts of Europe, and much more recently, South America.

The West has largely won because it won a lot back in the day, and that inertia builds up and continues to favor us.

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> The West has largely won because it won a lot back in the day, and that inertia builds up and continues to favor us.

FWIW, Japan went from a feudal society to a world dominating power in the span of like 60 years. China has done something similar in the last 50 years. Whereas countries right next door in SE Asia have not made any similar progress. I'd say that's all pretty contradictory evidence for the hypothesis that the reason the West is doing well now is because it has done well in the past.

Also, your focus on European colonization is extremely Eurocentric and kind of strips non-Europeans of their agency. The rest of the world existed and had stuff going on before the Europeans became sea-faring nations. The Arabs conquered most of the Middle East in the late first millennium and later colonized part of Europe. Then the Turks took their place several centuries later and almost successfully invaded Europe (actually, they successfully invaded Constantinople, which was part of Christendom; present day Turkey used to be Christian territory). The Chinese have been a civilization for something like 2500-3000 years. The Indian subcontinent has an extremely ancient civilization and parts of it were colonized by Muslims well before Europeans even knew it existed.

And, finally, how does this theory of European Colonialism being the most important world event that ever happened explain differences in outcomes between the U.S. and Canada on one hand and, say, Brazil and Mexico on the other? All four countries were colonized by Europeans, after all.


>> The Arabs conquered most of the Middle East in the late first millennium and later colonized part of Europe... Then the Turks took their place several centuries later and almost successfully invaded Europe (actually, they successfully invaded Constantinople, which was part of Christendom; present day Turkey used to be Christian territory).<<

Indeed.

Moreover, the Maghreb, the Levant and Asia Minor (North Africa, East Mediterranean coastal countries and Turkey today) were inarguably "Western" (Roman, Greek, Phoenician and Judean) before the Arab and Turkic invasions.

Bantu peoples were sold as slaves for millennia, until late into the 20th century, from the east coast of Africa by Somalis to Arabs and Indians. Muslim Barbary piracy (from the Tunisian and Moroccan coast) terrorized and devastated European coastal towns for centuries. There are entire extinct populations from the Baltic region who were literally sold down the Volga River to Muslim Turks and on into the Middle East, who were particularly valued for their blond hair and pale skin. There are surviving populations of pale people (whom most Americans would classify as "White") still suffering from the effects of their ancestors having suffered genocide and slavery, some at the hands of slavers who would be considered "People of Color" today.

No. The idea of slavery and genocide being a sin, of being morally wrong, is a recent Western idea that is not even today a universal, global cultural value. If "sins of the Father" is actually a thing, then it spectacularly makes no sense to divide the world into "White" (descendants of slavers and colonizers) and "People of Color" (descendant of slaves and colonized).

While such a division might arguably be a reasonable case to make given specifically US History, attempting to impose this racial world view on other cultures and nations is yet another example of the very American cultural imperialism that these same people decry.


There is no realistic scenario where one civilization does not dominate others.

Macro-history is fundamentally about the rise and fall of civilizations - the undesirable elements of this are consistent, but Western tradition and enlightenment has also given us democracy and science, and put us in a collective position where we are so relatively prosperous that we can look at the past with an inflated sense of shame.


Failing to see how this is responsive to parent’s observation that white privilege is a thing.

Maybe you’re arguing that if the enlightenment never happened we wouldn’t have the set of egalitarian political values that cause us to give a shit about that. But even if that argument were true: the enlightenment did happen and we do care. And you’re not really articulating any reason we shouldn’t.


I was just giving their observation some context.

To address the idea of white privilege directly: - It's increasing racial awareness and conflict. - It's a blunt instrument that doesn't take into account the myriad of circumstances each individual faces (such as financial wealth, mental health and physical height).

To provide a counter example to parent's, I'd rather be a rich ethnic minority unfairly stopped by a cop, than an ethnic majority person living in a trailer park and addicted to meth. The ethnic bigotry in this example isn't excused, but it's not the main concern.

Perhaps, all else being equal, one could argue that 'white privilege' matters.

But all else will never be equal. And the one place where equality really matters, it already exists - the law.

Notions of privilege could at least attempt a full accounting at the individual level, rather than dictating in broad strokes.




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