Reparations Rally Aug. 17, 2002 Washington, D.C.greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
According to THE VOICE which is a weekly African-American newspaper here in Richmond, Va, there is a reparations rally planned in Washington, D.C. on August 17, 2002. The writer of this article points out that our African-Ancestors never received compensation for slavery after the civil war. I don't expect any reparations. As a matter of fact, I don't even expect a simple apology from the US government. As I recall former congressman Newt Gingrich was also against the US formally apologizing for slavery. Imagine that, someone can't even say that I am sorry after doing something wrong.
I do think that my great grandfather, John T. Jordan who was born on Oct. 15, 1860 and his parents John and Julia Jordan should receive a posthumous apology. Why? It would say a lot about the moral fiber of this country if the congress of the US could simply confess that this country sinned against Africans by enslaving them. Confession of sin also allows for healing of relationships between individuals and restoration of relationships with God.
I would like to see reparations in the form of financial aid to low-income African-American communities in the form of community housing development, scholarships, job training, substance abuse counseling, and other needed areas. I think that this country has a moral reprehensible stance when it sends billions of US dollars to foreign countries like the 3 billion a year Israel gets when its own citizens are dying in the inner city. Yes, I support reparations because I believe that the next great scientists to discover a cure for cancer or a great preacher is probably going to be born in those poor low income African-American neighborhoods.
-- Anonymous, April 24, 2002
This is ridiculous. What you seem to forget is that no white (or other color) people alive now have ever had a slave. 99.99% of all people I know are not racist. I am not racist. Demanding that I pay you for something I didn't do and for something that didn't happen to you is ludicrous. It's racist actually. It's blaming whitey for whatever your problems are. I already provide tax money for poor neighborhoods, white, black, native American, Hispanic, or otherwise. To say that the African Americans of this country deserve something that other people don't is racist. What about paying reparations to poor Mexican immigrants? Why do you have to constantly blame others for your problems? Maybe you had a rough life in a poor neighborhood, but I assure you it was not because of me. I grew up in a poor town in rural Montana. I got out and made something of myself and blamed nobody for anything that went wrong along the way. It's also an insult to African Americans. It's like a sympathy gift. It's in effect saying "hey, we haven't done so well, so please, out of sympathy, help us out" when the same people will proudly (and rightly) say that African Americans are every bit as good and equal to other races. Don't insult them with fake pity.
-- Anonymous, August 12, 2002
I am so very tired of people saying that African Americans are just looking for somebody to blame for their "misfortune." If you were a poor guy living in Montana and pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, great. But what you fail to realize is that you are benifitting from a system of inequality. The system favors people your color and does not favor people of my color. This is not to say that blacks cannot "make it", but we have to work 100 times harder to do so, and this all goes back to slavery. Whites in this country were given a head start when it came to power and wealth. And that head start was at the expense of black people.Whites benifitted from our blood and suffering. And today, that head start has put you 10 steps ahead of black people as well as other minorities as well. The power structure gives you a leg up, while using the same leg to kick us down. For so long, we could not get decent paying jobs,good resources for our schools or even vote. Meanwhile, you could simply "pull yourself up" by your bootstraps and get somewhere. So good for you, that's great.But just remember that it has a lot to do with you being "the right color". We are simply asking for a piece of that American Pie that your ancestors forced ours to bake,which you still to this day benefit from gorging on.
-- Anonymous, August 13, 2002
Marissa, May I suggest you change that "we" to "I", because you also can not lump all "black folk" into the reparations bag. Some black folk like myself do not support reparations and will not accept such if they are offered. Someone has said that the "playing field" is not level; which is true; it will never be level. Take a flat plate and try to balance it on a sharp point. That will demonstrate how difficult it is to keep the playing field level. I contend that black folk like myself are now on the field and it is up to us to learn the rules that we are willing to play by and "fight like hell" for that which we deserve or is rightfully ours. In the immortal words of that great soul singer James Brown: "I don't want nobody to give me nothing, just open up the door and I'll get it myself." Our forefathers, including, yours truly kicked the doors open. Now go get it! BUT if you believe in reparations, by all means fight for and accept them. We can disagree without being disagreeable.
-- Anonymous, August 13, 2002
Oddly enough, following the civil war, congress seriously considered reparations for freed slaves and President Grant wholy supported the idea. The problem arose as Washington was trying to ease the south back into the union. There was already great resentment against the north by the south. Rich Southerners were very angry at the lost of property, which included their slaves. Most rebels who fought during the rebellion were actually poor uneducated whites who owned little property. Following the war many southern whites were virtually on equal footing with the freed slaves as far as education and property. There to follow was reconstruction where the mass of poor whites stood to lose more ground to the freed slaves. To appease the south, reparations to freed slaves was shelved. The problem to date would be the identification and documentation of the slave descendants. It might be interesting to note, that in the event reparations were to be made, how many whites would be entitled to them today. During this time, records reflect a number of slaves having the appearance of their slave masters- green eyes, blonde hair. Many assimilated into the white population.
-- Anonymous, August 14, 2002
What most of you don't realize is that what is being proposed as reparations is not individual whites giving money to individual blacks, but corporations and entitities that benefitted from slave labor owning up to their corporate strong lines. It would not cost the average white person a single thing. At the core of many issues surround reparations is the belief by whites and blacks alike that black people deserved to be treated as they were. Slavery was a necessary evil that helped indoctrinate savage Africans into civilization. With that as the prevailing belief among Americans from slavery's inception to today, don't expect money, too much energy or an apology.
-- Anonymous, August 14, 2002
What Jazzman, Marissa and others have stated here is exactly on target. The unfortunate thing is that some form of slavery and injustice for blacks especially black men still goes on today. It is just hidden in subtle innuendoes, perpetuated by so called "liberal thinkers"--both black and white, and like the Pledge or Allegiance, justified under the guise of "Liberty and Justice for All".
But never fear in the words of three songs: "God is the Ruler Yet", "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel? Then why not every man"? Therefore, no matter what they test, "We (I) will survive"!!
-- Anonymous, August 15, 2002
A good source for understanding reparations is "THE DEBT" by Randall Robinson.
Peace and Blessings! Brenda
-- Anonymous, August 15, 2002
Another excellent book that would serve African-Americans and Whites who REALLY want to study this issue is 'Black Labor, White Wealth - The Search for Power and Economic Justic, by Claude Anderson, Ed.d, Duncan & Duncan, Inc., 1994. This book outlines laws and regulations on the State and National level which prevented Blacks from attaining education, job-training, licensing, property, and even to cross state lines without a permit. United States Legislation stiffled ex-slaves and their descendants to such an unbearable degree, it is no small wonder the state of the African-American condition today. To truly understand, one would have to do a bit of research to make a true contribution to this subject. White America needs to accept the fact that they are the masses. The masses are blindly led by the minority with no real clue as to the real agenda, hence Enron and the Bush connection. White people have THE vote but are not much more versed in the issues than their African-American counterparts. They go on about the daily lives manipulated by the unseen powers just like the rest of us. The exception is that when it comes down to the comfort level or comfortable existence, whites by far benefit more from the agendas of the minority. It has and will continue to be the mindset and motivation that is "in the best interest" of the "ruling class". Because of the unconsciousness of White America, many opportunities for harmony and progression among the races will never be. White people who haven't read a book or honestly discussed race relations with knowledgeable sincere Black folks, should not make uninformed comments that further deliver their own people into a fog. Accept the fact that Black communities you pass by are not in the desparate states you see solely at their own doing. Don't delude yourself that you more-often-than-not live in a more organized and clean and highly valued community because of your hard work ethic. White racist Zoning boards and the regulations that have been upheld till today are to be thanked for your simple pleasures. How is it that accross the nation, property is so clearly divided amongst the races? Have you accepted that ALL Blacks belong in impoverished neighborhoods because they are waiting for a hand out? If you have accepted this idea into your heart, then you are a racist. If Blacks accept that White people are so earnest in their endeavors and are without blame. Then they are victims (and according to what I just witnessed on CSPAN - proud of it!...black scholars being paraded on so-called televised news-media speaking out against reparations. Pitifully, nervously, and incoherently stating their case). Look at this way if you were continually robbed and knew the perpretator but concluded that they didn't mean it and should not have to serve any time for their crime, then you are a victim. If you know your father was dealing some unscrupulous business and the fancy house and car and schools that you attend were all a fasod created on the backs of the victims of his crimes. And you accept the advantages that that unscrupulous business afforded you. Then you are by moral and legal right, an accomplice. All of White America knows that they have benefited from slavery. Simple. They are not and never have been willing to collectively make amends. When black children were to be admitted into all-white schools, it took the armed forces, not to protect the children so much as to hold back the angry racist white mob who had all intent to stop the integration with bodily harm. The real reason I see that any individual would oppose reparations for slave descendant is fear. Fear that one group may surpass another economically. That fear is accentuated by the fact that the crime has gone unpunished and morally we pass onto our descendants our debts. Perhaps as different groups have feared throughout the history of 'civilized' man, is that the enslavers may become the enslaved as retribution for their sins. Yet as children of the millineum, we can strive for harmony amongst the races. Humanity's oppressive cycle can be broken by whites making atonement for their sins, their fathers' sins, and the inheritance of blood money and wealth. Whites have in their subsconscious that they are the inheritors of the earth and have justified their ravenous behavior with religious text and legislature and political dogma. I don't think the average white person is even concerned with money as much as they would be humbled by the act of supporting reparations. A person's humility or lack there of, is the foundation of their actions. Let's us go back to the history books and the legislature again, shall we?
-- Anonymous, August 17, 2002
I David Georgio, believe that the Reparations Rally that was held today is exactly what us African -Americans needed to hear. The white people most definetly OWE us black people a BIG Apology. The white people owe a great amount of money to those who were effected by slavery and the whole civil rights movement.Instead of putting all your time into the AFGHANISTAN man, the White man should be contributing his time into keeping the young BLACK children educated. They owe us that much right? Hopefully this march gave the white people something to think about today. To let you know that there's no STOPPING US NOW!.
-- Anonymous, August 17, 2002
Until we as a people take responsibility for our successes and our failures, nothing will be accomplished. It is time to stop blaming history and do for ourselves. Our forefathers, three years out of slavery, were founding colleges and here we are marching around asking for a handout. You are right, we are enslaved by our desire to have someone else do for us that which we ought to do for ourselves. If you want to be CEO of a company, start a company. What if the Tuskegee Airman had been marching instead of flying? What if General B. O. Davis Jr. had been marching at West Point instead of studying when he was shunned? You see I am from a generation that believed in God and then ourselves. The BOOK says: "As a mans thinks in his heart, so is he." If you believe you need reprations, you do. We claim God. but God does his work through people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for something.
-- Anonymous, August 17, 2002
As one of the organizers of the Millions for Reparations Rally in Washington D.C., let me first say that I am gladened by the dialogue that I have just read. So let me make my small contribution to this discussion. First, in the fall of 2001, in Durban, South Africa, at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, there was a historic declaration made to the world. The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Was A Crime Against Humanity, and as such, crimes against humanity have no statue of limitations. Secondly, in March of this year, an histroic Reparations lawsuit was filed in federal court against Aetna Life, CSX Railroads and Fleet Bank. These companies were charged with enriching themselves from the stolen labor of African people. I mention these two events for a good reason. African people, here in the United States, on the continent and in other parts of the diaspora are going to get Reparations. The movement is going to another level now with the Rally ending, having lit a fire to the Reparations movement. This is no time to debate with racist white people their convient illusions that somehow they have achieved their development independent of the enormous wealth and genius that was stolen from African people. This nation, and it's major corporations have benifited from the greatest criminal enterprise in the history of the world. From the western church right down to Wall street, whose wall was built to shield businessmen from the foul smell of human flesh being sold in Manhattan's harbor from which they were enriching themselves. Now for our confused or paid off brothers and sisters I simply insist that you take a could look around you. Our community will never catch up or have the ability to compete in the world without an enormous influx of wealth to asist us in our own sustainable development. Lets stay focused. Visit our website: MillionsForReparations.com or call our toll free number (866) 817- 5729. When we say "They Owe Us" we are talking about the rich, working class White people can not pay us, but they should support us. In labor, an injury to one, is suppose to be an injury to all of us. The rich who continue to benefit must pay.
-- Anonymous, August 19, 2002
Yesterday, I received my copy of the YPD Newsletter, ConnectioNews for Summer 2002. Inside was a summary of a sermon preached by the late Reverend David DeVeaux entitled "It's Time To Get Over It" from the text 2 Samuel 12:13 - 24. The points were: (1) Get back up; (2) Get a New Attitude; (3) Get to Worship; (4) Get Started Again; (Get Praising Him; (6) Get Over What You've Done and the Mistakes You've Made.
May I suggest that it is time to "Get Over Slavery". History tells us that we cannot right a wrong. The Bible tells uss that God says:
Romans 12:19-21 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Those who enslaved us are even now being repaid for all the wrong they did, as we too must do since all MUST stand before the judgement seat of Christ.
So it is time for us to get over it.
-- Anonymous, August 20, 2002
This discussion is exciting and important not only to us who have the means to share insights but the millions of African people, including those in Diaspora. As you may be aware, the same issue has gripped the air in South Africa also, as part of seeking to deal with the legacies of apartheid, discrimination and racism" crimes against humanity and their justification, a heresy.
My vantage point on this matter is that it is absolutely necessary that restoration of the exploited is realised. This is through reparations. It is biblical, a theological imperative.
What is unfortunate, is that, business which sponsored, aided and supported exploitative machineries of the state never wanting to account, as moral imperative. They say that business is just about profits. Consequently, the only language they know is legal courts' determination and judgement.
As we seek to be people of faith, confessing juste, peace and reconciliation, we must be thoroughly careful about what we say. Reparations is about justice, and justice must roll like streams of water. When justice is sought, it is unfair to come ad tell people get over it. That is not honest. In fact, it borders close to denying justice to happen for the exploited.
Forward with reparations
-- Anonymous, August 26, 2002
Interesting and thoughtful comments. For what its worth, I submitted a special article to the NY Times about reparations last month. My basic idea is the optimal political case and strategy for African American reparations must have an attendant quid pro quo - the end of affirmative action. If you are interested in reading the article in full let me know by a private email request. QED
-- Anonymous, August 26, 2002