Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quote for Day: "Why Is It an Animal Being Shot Gathers More Empathy Than Black People Being Killed for Nothing in America?"

Anthea Butler of the department of religious studies at University of Pennsylvania, commenting on the widespread outrage of Americans at the shooting of Cecil the lion by dentist Walter Palmer . . . . 

In his L'Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes (1770), Abbé Guillaume Raynal noted that Parisians would go to the theater and shed copious tears for characters who died on stage. They'd then retire to coffeehouses to drink coffee and eat pastries made from sugar produced through the massive sufferings of enslaved people in the West Indies, and never give a thought to those sufferings as they enjoyed their after-theater refreshments.

Raynal wrote,

Les tourments d'un peuple à qui nous devons nos délices ne vont jamais jusqu'à norte cœur.

The shooting of Cecil the lion by Walter Palmer disgusts me. But I think that Anthea Butler is right on target with her observation, and that Abbé Raynal puts his finger on the mechanisms that allow us to ignore the sufferings of people on whose misery we depend for our own comfort.

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