Germans feel guilty for something that happened long before they were born. As far as I am aware Americans do not actively feel bad about what happened to the Native Americans.
From Quora, in answer to What do Germans feel about Holocaust movies, international student Johannes Adams gave an intriguing answer. His parents are German, though he was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He’s a citizen of both Germany and the US and is fluent in both German and English.
Shame is an emotion that almost all Germans will feel when considering the last 100 years.We are ashamed of what our country, our forefathers and possibly even our grandparents did. And for good reason.
The Holocaust will forever remain a crime that words cannot, and should not be able to describe.
But here for me exists the main problem, and please bear with me even if it sounds morally disturbing and despicable. The German people have embraced their past, doing their best over the last 70 years to make amends to humanity and work towards a peaceful world .
We Germans accept the crimes of our people and country, allowing the collective guilt that exists already to pile up without an argument. We carry it, without protest, we feel guilty for something that happened long before we were born. As far as I am aware Americans do not actively feel bad about what happened to the Native Americans, in my experience my friends get quite hostile and defensive when I broach this topic. I think every current country and its people have something to be ashamed of, but usually these things are omitted from text books and generally hushed up.
But for the Germans, we continue to be told by all how horrible we were…
Germans should continue to feel differently towards the Holocaust even as history will continue to obscure and grey the horrid events of the past. Likewise I believe that the general trend of making 3rd generation Germans feel bad for things that they had nothing to do with must stop.
On the primary point: I think he is right that Americans don’t, and apparently never have, collectively felt guilt over the genocide of the American Indians or slavery or internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. It’s just not who Americans were/are. They are a “let’s move on” sort of people.
The truth and reconciliation process, in South Africa after apartheid, and in Rwanda after the terrible genocide of the mid-1990s, isn’t the American way, I don’t think. Had it been so, perhaps the problems of previous generations might have been ironed out, and we would not live in a country so racially polarized, still.
When I was growing up in the AME Zion church, there was a part of the liturgy called the Prayer of Humble Access, which we said every time we had communion; in our church, that was the first Sunday of the month. The prayer has long Anglican roots; the 1662 revision, which is at least a century after the original, reads: We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. I have to say that that line about the crumbs under the Table always bothered me as a child. It’s supposed to be a humble prayer, not a groveling one.
Conversely, there’s a good Lenten hymn called Ah, Holy Jesus. The second verse: Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee! ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I was denied thee; I crucified thee. Damn thing tears me up every time. EVERY TIME. I have to wonder if it’s the music that makes it more moving for me, whereas I find the prayer pedantic.
Probably. We do a lot of music in our current service, such as the psalter, and while I’m quite fond of it, at least one woman in the congregation finds it stressful because she’s trying to get it right.
RULE 1- You can only say Guilty or Innocent.
RULE 2- You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!
RULE 3- Copy and paste this into your notes or blog, delete my answers, type in your answers and tag to your friends to answer this.
1. Asked someone to marry you? Guilty
2. Ever kissed someone of the same sex? Guilty
3. Danced on a table in a bar? Guilty
4. Ever told a lie? Guilty
5. Had feelings for someone whose feelings you can’t have back? Guilty
6. Kissed a picture? Guilty
7. Slept in until 5 PM? Innocent
8. Fallen asleep at work/school? Guilty
9. Held a snake? Guilty
10. Been suspended from school? Innocent
11. Worked at a fast food restaurant? Innocent
12. Stolen from a store? Guilty
13. Been fired from a job? Innocent
14. Done something you regret? Guilty
15. Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Guilty
16. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Guilty
17. Kissed in the rain? Guilty
18. Sat on a roof top? Guilty
19. Kissed someone you shouldn’t? Guilty
20. Sang in the shower? Guilty
21. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Guilty
22. Shaved your head? Innocent
23. Had a boxing membership? Innocent
24. Made a boyfriend/Girlfriend cry? Guilty
25. Been in a band? Guilty
26. Shot a gun? Guilty
27. Donated Blood? Guilty
28. Eaten alligator meat? Innocent
29. Eaten cheesecake? Guilty
30. Still love someone you shouldn’t? Innocent
31. Have/had a tattoo? Innocent
32. Liked someone, but will never tell who? Guilty
33. Been too honest? Guilty
34. Ruined a surprise? Guilty
35. Ate in a restaurant and got so bloated that you couldn’t walk afterward? Innocent
36. Erased someone in your friends list? Innocent
37. Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)? Guilty
38. Joined a pageant? Innocent
39. Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who really meant what they said? Guilty
40. Had communication with your ex? Guilty
41. Got totally drunk on the night before exam? Guilty
42. Got so angry that you cried? Guilty