Du Bois ultimately spent years backpedaling and defending himself in the black press, and whatever he was trying to say either was a mountain of pro-Nazi comments, or got buried under a mountain of pro-Nazi comments, which are the worst type of comments.
As for what he truly believed, he did probably hold some anti-Semitic views, and was especially frustrated that the Jews in Germany were not particularly vocal about the mistreatment of African-Americans. In retrospect, there were probably better ways to express that than doing the full Hitler publicity tour.
Tibetan Monks Were Feudal Tyrants Who Owned Slaves and Tortured Dissidents
If you've heard activists crying "Free Tibet!", there's a good reason for it. Before being subjugated under the tyrannical thumb of China, Tibet was a peaceful country led for centuries by Buddhist monks, most recently Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning human rights activist Tenzing Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. And if you've ever seen pictures of Tibet, you can't help but notice those monks lived in some spectacular houses.
"Shit, my Frisbee went over the side."
But Everyone Forgets ...
That's the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lamas lived with their many, many slaves. Before China took over, the political structure in Tibet was essentially feudalism, which you might remember from history class as a form of government so archaic that it was wiped out in the 1400s for being too outdated.
There were really only two classes of people in Tibet: the monks, known as Lamas, who lived in luxury, and the serfs, known as "literally everyone else," who had no rights and basically lived only to serve the Lamas. And the Lamas weren't necessarily the kind of quiet, benevolent hippies that Hollywood wants you to believe.
You'd think that guys discouraged from ever taking money would tone it down a bit with the gold.
First of all, taxes in Tibet were about as high as you would expect from a country in which every individual member of government lived in their own massive castle. The Lamas put a tax on everything, and we mean everything -- there was a tax for being born, and after that, just about everything you did after waking up in the morning, from keeping animals to attending festivals to leaving town, had a hidden price tag. Homeless and begging on the streets? Hope you're able to scrape up enough change at the end of the day to pay the begging tax.
Those who couldn't afford to pay their taxes had the option of, well, starving to death, at which point all of your debts (including your newly acquired death tax debt) would pass on to your family. Or you could take out a loan from a monastery with an interest rate that made loan sharks look like philanthropists.
"Before we figure out what you owe, you should know there's a math tax."
If serfs defaulted on their debts, broke the law, or attempted to flee, then they had one of Tibet's torture chambers to look forward to. Yes, "Tibet's torture chambers" were things that existed. Of course, Buddhism clearly disallowed the death penalty, but the Lamas found loopholes in the dogma that made things like eye-gouging, amputation, and tongue removal fair game. Tibetan monasteries reportedly had private prisons and carried handcuffs in children's sizes, in case you wanted to know if they had all the evil bases covered.
This obviously raises the question of why exactly it is we tend to think of Tibet as some kind of paradise. The simple answer is that, after the Chinese invasion, only the aristocratic Lamas escaped, dancing across the Himalayas like they were in The Sound Of Music, except the singing was tax evasion and everyone was an asshole. So the monks were the only people who were able to spread the word to the rest of the world about Tibet, and not surprisingly, they thought quite highly of it.
Zachary Frey is going to be a freshman at Cornell University this August. You can (and should) read some of his other awesome articles here.
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