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Thread: Apology For Slavery: How Convenient, But What Does It Really Mean?

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    another day... Ms. Hershey's Avatar Ms. Hershey is offline
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    Apology For Slavery: How Convenient, But What Does It Really Mean?

    By Anthony Asadullah Samad
    (August 5, 2008)

    *The U.S. House of Representatives issued an apology for slavery last week. Something some people have waited for some ten lifetimes, something others thought would never happen; what was once a significant event that would lead to progress in Racial Americana went largely under-reported.

    A slow news cycle that “went racial” in the race for the Presidency, in the same week went silent on the apology for slavery. Though slavery ended (officially) in 1865, Black Americans weren't officially made citizens until 1868, with the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    This year is the 140th anniversary of the social equality amendment. Political equality didn't come about until the passing of the 15th Amendment in 1870. Many subscribed, and I am one of them, that equality has never come about, largely because there was no repair of the conditions slavery produced. Many of the vestiges of slavery are still present in our society today.

    The income and wealth disparities, individual and institutional, that manifested itself out of essentially 300 years of free labor have never been made up. Some doubt that the disparities could be made up, as I'll address momentarily, so what does this convenient apology for slavery really mean?

    Reparations is still one of the most “touchy” subjects in the American public discourse, and it really no longer splits along racial lines as it once did. For instance, last week, Barack Obama reiterated his position against reparations, largely because it is an unsolvable dilemma that can never really be rectified.

    Not only is there no political will to address repairing the state of slave descendants, the quagmire of proving who would be “entitled” to slave reparations and what that would look like is even less compelling to sort out. Slavery is viewed as not just the reduction of human lives (and its natural rights) to chattel property (with no rights at all), but also the intense labor discrimination that not only took contract rights and wages from its subjects, but sexually exploited women for labor commodity sakes and reduced their life expectancy of all forced under the system of absolute control.

    What convolutes any discussion about slavery are the indebtedness issues that are framed in black and white. Those notions must be dispelled and resolved because all Blacks weren't slaves, and only 25% of Whites, at any given time in the history of America's enslavement period, owned slaves. Then there is the issue of where do you start counting from? 1555, or 1619? And where do you end? 1865, or until the direct descendent of a slave--which would be today? Then there's the question of what should one receive? Money. America doesn't have enough money. Really.

    Of the many turn of the millennium studies on reparations that have been done in the last ten years, just for slavery in United America, the minimum would be $4.1 trillion (African National Reparations Organization) in unpaid labor for black people born within the borders of the United States. Economist Larry Neal, in 1990, looked at slave labor expropriated between 1620 and 1865 and put a 1983 value at $9.7 trillion (adjusted for six percent interest compounded). Adjusted for inflation, Economist David Swinton put the number ten years later (1993) at $16.3 trillion, which he said at the time was more than all the wealth of America. That number in 2008 (15 years later) would exceed $30 trillion, which is why you understand America could never repay Black America for slave reparations, if it was just about money. There is also 300 years of lost opportunity costs, when the economic subjugation of segregation is factored in (which the apology also includes) where the absence of wealth and wages excluded Blacks from land grants, homesteads, schools, businesses and inherited wealth passed from generations to generations.

    The apology took so long because it was seen as opening the door to this conversation. Are black people who are descendants of slaves entitled to reparations? Absolutely. Will they ever receive reparations? It's doubtful. But then we thought we'd never see the prospect of a black President either, so anything is possible. But why the apology then, right now? It is a real effort to promote racial healing in this country? After repentance comes retribution in most wrongs where apologies are extended. This one appears empty since there is little political will for reparations.

    The Congressional Black Caucus had been demanding an apology for slavery for over three decades now. But their demand was viewed as being tied to the hidden motive of opening the door to reparations (which it was). Now Tennessee Congressman, Steve Cohen, the only white member of the House to represent a majority black district (six black candidates split the vote to replace Harold Ford, Jr. and Cohen walked up the middle) brings forth an apology resolution, which he actually introduced last year (2007), it suddenly gets traction in the House. The Senate has stated that it will not consider the House's apology resolution. Cohen also happens to coincidentally be in a run-off for his seat against a single black candidate, Nikki Tinker. And there, coincidentally, happens to be a black major party (presumptive) nominee, and white people want to know--can reparation ever become a realistic policy proposal in an Obama administration. Just another hurdle for Obama to address (and he has), and another reason to suspect that it was the only way reparations will ever be addressed. Now that we know Obama doesn't support it, where does the reparations discussion go from here? Noodle that one a minute.

    But at least we got the apology out of the way. Yeah, right.


    Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum (Urban Issues Forum) and author of the book, Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. He can be reached at Anthony Samad - author, public speaker, professor and activist.

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    Girl Crush Mrs. Campbell's Avatar Mrs. Campbell is offline
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    CQ83...Rasta P83... ItalDawta83's Avatar ItalDawta83 is offline
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    not ur friend... da_ice's Avatar da_ice is offline
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    not sure, but i was thinking. are groups like ANRO and NAACP plus others, are they going to join forces and file lawsuite against america for its role in slavery now that they come forward with official apology ???

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    T-MAKAA
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    If they send this to me in the mail, I will think over it.

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    Happiness Consultant Jahpikne's Avatar Jahpikne is offline
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    I just want some tax breaks

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    ~N.A.T.T.Y Valos~ Val3nie2debone's Avatar Val3nie2debone is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jahpikne View Post
    I just want some tax breaks
    I agree and a Federally funded 401k plan lol

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    Happiness Consultant Jahpikne's Avatar Jahpikne is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Val3nie2debone View Post
    I agree and a Federally funded 401k plan lol
    Word. or they could match three times our contributions

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    Girl Crush Mrs. Campbell's Avatar Mrs. Campbell is offline
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    How about starting with 400 yrs. of free education, to the university of your choice.

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    I'm a Libra Cool Bahamian's Avatar Cool Bahamian is offline
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    It means exactly that...an apology. Nothing more, nothing less. Black people must move on, and white people must stop feeling guilty.

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    Registered User marabunta is offline
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    This is the White Ruling Class doing what they ALWAYS do Best.........

    ........getting Something for Nothing.

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    Registered User BacchanalDiva's Avatar BacchanalDiva is offline
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    Allyuh here saying what allyuh want as if allyuh have african american forefathers...no tax breaks, federal 401K, free education or anything else for none of allyuh

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    Girl Crush Mrs. Campbell's Avatar Mrs. Campbell is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by BacchanalDiva View Post
    Allyuh here saying what allyuh want as if allyuh have african american forefathers...no tax breaks, federal 401K, free education or anything else for none of allyuh

    How can you be sure that none of our ancestors weren't sold to north america.

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    Happiness Consultant Jahpikne's Avatar Jahpikne is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by BacchanalDiva View Post
    Allyuh here saying what allyuh want as if allyuh have african american forefathers...no tax breaks, federal 401K, free education or anything else for none of allyuh
    The slaveships went through the Caribbean first so they have to prove some of my people never made it to America

  15. #15
    RAYDIANT THUNDA
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinky eyes View Post
    How can you be sure that none of our ancestors weren't sold to north america.
    North america didnt want caribbean slave dey were too badass,causin too much revolution so dey had ah ban on caribbean slave to de americas

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