February 25, 2007

Symbolic meaninglessness

OK, so we have the Virginia General Assembly issuing a formal apology for slavery (actually, it says "profound regret"). Missouri is also considering one. The article goes on to quote two Black leaders in Delaware who say that DE's own General Assembly should adopt a similar resolution. (Of course, the two leaders just always happen to advocate liberal/left positions! Surprise!)

"Why don't we, being the First State, take a giant step and freely apologize for all the wrong and inhumanity shown to African-Americans?" said the Rev. Maurice Moyer, former president of the Wilmington chapter of the NAACP. "This should be placed before the governor on down to all the political bodies in the state."

Harmon Carey, director of the Afro-American Historical Society of Delaware, said he thinks the apology ought to be made at the federal level, as well as by the states that condoned slavery, including Delaware.

Carey also said research should be done on whether reparations should be paid to blacks.

"An apology, symbolically, is commendable," he said. "But it falls short in practical terms to addressing some of the wounds still felt today from the institutions of slavery."

At least Carey wants something other than meaningless words, I'll give him that. I mean, does anyone really think that each state that condoned slavery apologizing for it will "help heal wounds," or whatever other euphemism you prefer? The ravages of the awful institution are taught to no end in our schools, and every February (at least) in PSAs Americans are reminded of the horrible bondage we used to condone. A formal apology from states would garner a lot of press, but its effect would be zero. Exactly what would it do, on a practical basis?

I think reparations are a bad idea for several reasons. One, it will further divide us racially than we already are. Two, the process by which descendants of slaves are determined will be wracked by politicking and endless funds for the "studies." Three, "leaders" like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (and others of a similar mindset) don't really want reparations because if they are paid, many [white] Americans will consider it "debt paid [in full]." What would they do as a result? They'd be without a job. For them, it's like how the need for affirmative action will never cease -- there'll always be "much more to do." Four, many Americans (rightly or wrongly) already consider things like affirmative action and welfare benefits a form of reparations.

Posted by Felix at February 25, 2007 11:22 AM | TrackBack

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Oh, but can't you imagine the bizarre photo op, with Al Sharpton receiving an oversized check from Strom Thurmond's children (in light of this morning's revelations!) ;)

Posted by: dan at February 25, 2007 11:50 AM

Were I a legislator in Virginia, i would have abstained.

I never owned slaves.

My family never owned slaves.

My party opposed slavery and segregation.

On the other hand, I'd encourage every Democrat to apologize -- and to condemn their party and its paramilitary terrorist wing, the KKK, in the resolution because of their active role in supporting and maintaining slavery, and imposing segregation and Jim Crow laws upon the black populace of the South.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at February 25, 2007 01:06 PM

Dan: Pretty bizarre stuff indeed.

Posted by: Hube at February 25, 2007 01:56 PM

Further, do we really want to put a dollar amount on human misery? Would any number be high enough?

Posted by: Duffy at February 27, 2007 11:17 AM