Sunday, December 23, 2012
Big Christmas lunch
Suz and Russell put on a traditional Christmas lunch today that also featured what has become a family tradition: A secret Santa event plus a mystery present event. Everybody brings along a wrapped $10 present for the latter event and people draw lots to select a present one after the other. And presents can be claimed from previous lot-drawers, which is always a high-spirited event.
And after that we had the kiddy present event, where only the little ones got presents. For that I gave Sahara a "First Bible", which was a rather kiddy-proof collection of illustrated Bible stories. Susan reminded me that I had given her a book of Bible stories when we sent her to the Catholic schoool in Gordonvale -- which she had good memories of. So Saharah's "First Bible" got a good welcome.
Russ cooked some good ham and roast pork and after the present hi-jinks we had a variety of dessert offerings. I plumped for the trifle as usual.
Simon was seated across from me at the dinner table with Joe and Paul also in close proximity. Simon's British background makes him surprisingly politically correct for a military man so we had an interesting discusion when we somehow got into mention of Africans. I made some observation about the high rates of African crime and Simon asked me to what I attributed that. I replied that it was ancestral, which agitated Simon a bit. He had been told all his life that it was "poverty" that lay behind disruptive black behaviour and saw that attribution as a moral issue: To see any ancestral influence was immoral.
I replied along the D.P. Moynihan lines that you are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts -- pointing out that every African population everywhere was poor and crime-ridden, regardless of the quite varied social and government arrangements under which they live. So that can be seen as a problem regardless of your opinion of its genesis.
Someone had apparently told Simon that Brazil was an example of a society without racial frictions depite its large African and mestizo population -- but I pointed out that wealth and poverty are highly correlated with skin colour there too, with blacks at the bottom, mestizos in the middle and whites running things. That seemed to wrap things up for Simon
I am quite sorry that I appear to have distressed him but "facts are chiels that winna ding", as the Scots say. And facts have the last say as far as I am concerned. Paul was quite pleased that I just presented the facts in a calm and dispassionate way as he sees no moral issues in the matter either.
The festive table
Ava Marie was looking pretty in her red frock
Everybody loves Dusty but there's no love like mother love