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a bill where the government apologizes to blacks for slavery

Published:

by Eric King
Memphis, TN (WHBQ FOX13 myfoxmemphis.com)  --  Right now, a bill going through the United States House of Representatives asks the federal government to formally apologize to African-Americans for slavery.

 

Men and women, old and young were ranked with horses, sheep, and swine, all holding the same rank in the scale of being.

 

“More than 130 years ago, Fredrick Douglass described the bloody plight of African-Americans enslaved for more than two centuries,” said State Representative Steve Cohen of Memphis, who is a sponsor of the bill.

 

When we talk in terms of time, years run together.  Centuries are easier to count. So, now more than three centuries after the first slaves were chained, the United States government stands on the verge of apologizing.

 

“It would be an apology by the government for having the institution of slavery and the jim crow laws that followed for another hundred years,” said Cohen, who says there's a bill going through congress that would acknowledge the mistakes of the past, and formally say, as a government, “we're sorry.”

 

But how will the rhetoric of a written apology translate into reality?

 

“I think it's certainly a nice gesture,” said Tomeka Hart, of the Memphis Urban League.  “For some people i think it will make them feel better if the government is saying they're sorry, but the apology is nothing if we're not still looking at the realities people live in and what do we do the help change the mindset.”

 

While words are used to make apologies, “I don't think a verbal apology would help out with much,” said Derek Sheridon.

 

The efficacy of an apology may be measured by action.  “It's nice to give that gesture to acknowledge a wrong that has happened, but how do we move forward,” said Hart.

 

Formal apologies for slavery aren't unheard of.  In fact, several states including Arkansas and Alabama neighbors have them on the books.

 

But should this bill pass, it would be the first time such legislation has appeared on the national level.

Entry #1,196

Comments

1.
Comment by c*aramel - July 6, 2007, 11:18 pm
An apology would be a first step to make amends to the descendants of those abused by the peculiar institution of slavery. It was against the law for slaves to be educated, marry at will, hold property, vote, etc. all the rights we accept today as if it were always the case. I believe the next step should be to allow college education at public colleges free of charge for slave descendants with financial need.
2.
TenajComment by Tenaj - July 6, 2007, 11:34 pm
Why dont' they create a bill to put a limit on outsourcing our jobs, and affordable quality healthcare. I'm sure many of us can name a few issues that need attention. Why don't they spend their time creating legislature that will create jobs and help the average American feed their families, have affordable living.

There are things that the average American can not afford anymore... taking the family on a vacation every year, having children without it being a hardship, being able to afford gas. Why don't they get rid of those bills that allow industry to jack the prices up at the expense of the American people. You guys out there who like to have a cold one -Beer is going up.

I think there are way more important things that need attention.

Congress need to get their ducks in a row. Seem to me there is other legislature they need to clean up first. Concerning blacks, I would ask - why is there still the bill in congress to allow blacks to vote. Why do they still vote on that? It comes around every zillionth years but it's still exist and they still vote on it. Why is that bill still needed? Why haven't it been thrown out of the legislature? That should tell you something about the quality of an apology from Congress. That should tell you something about their mentality.

You know what that apology remind me of - remember the Mars Attack movie when those aliens pretended to be friends and peaceful when all the time they were cracking up while they killed people.

We need to take America back because Congress seem like to me they are aliens. Because what matters is not the color of your skin but whether you have money are not.
3.
truecriticComment by truecritic - July 7, 2007, 12:02 am
I agree there are far more important issues to address. The ones that really deserve the apology are the slaves and they have passed on. There were Indians that deserved an apology as well. Personally, I am sorry those things went on.

But I do think we have to concentrate on actually helping the living people, regardless of skin color. I don't think any group needs to stand out and receive special benefits.
4.
TenajComment by Tenaj - July 7, 2007, 12:20 am
I disagree c*aramel said... allow college education at public colleges free of charge for slave descendants.

I don't think blacks should get anything because of slavery. We all have our demons and have been enslaved and violated in some kind of way. Yes it was a "spiritual rape" that lasted for generations but we are all responsible for our souls.

There is already free college education to everyone, anyway.   Anybody in this country can get a free college education if they are smart enough. There is free information out there for anything you want to do. It's up to the person to do it. I believe people should work for what they get. They will appreciate it more. It builds good character. I know there are many children who don't even stand a chance but you have to start somewhere for change. It takes generations of doing the right thing to see change.

There is one thing about America - you can make it and write your own ticket if you are smart. Our economic system doesn't just affect blacks, it affects anybody that don't do the right thing. I think we should be concentrate on getting our government back, because we are all going down if things don't change.
5.
Comment by chowchow - July 7, 2007, 12:28 am
There is a little truth in all of the above opinions, but you have to walk in the shoes of the now living African Americans to be able to say whether or not an apology would make a difference. I have friends today who are not judged on their outstanding abilities but by the color of their skin. The USA still has a long way to go. God made us all. We all bleed red blood. The slaves might be dead, but the hurt, the scares, are still deep. God bless America
6.
emilygComment by emilyg - July 7, 2007, 12:35 am
Janet - you are a wise person.
7.
four4meComment by four4me - July 7, 2007, 1:36 am
I have no idea why we as a nation should apologize to any particular ethnicity unless they apologies to the nation as a whole because since the first steps into this country almost every ethnic group has been victimized. It was only the wealthy whom mostly survived un-scarred. And who got rich off the blood, sweat, and tears of many nationalities.
8.
Comment by pacattack05 - July 7, 2007, 6:48 am
Just about every country had slavery at one time or another. Not only that, but blacks had black slaves long before the white man showed up. There were even tens of thousand of white slaves too.

Not that it was right, but that was the mentality for not just a few hundred years ago, but for thousands.

To hone in on just one country is plainly wrong. They were all guilty of those horrible crimes.

I certainly didn't own any slaves, and my great grandparents didn't, so I won't appologize for something I had nothing to do with. As far as america...well, then all of the countries of the world will have to do the same to all the other ethnic groups. This will be quite difficult for some of them, since slavery still exists in ways of sex and labor. Not just in other countries, but they are being shipped here. Just recently I read a news report about Guatetmalan girls, and orientals being brought here for sex and labor. Infact, a university here, Florida Gulf Coast University, is planning to start a huge investigation on this very subject.

Not to mention that this government is progressing in the direction towards it's goal to enslave everyone, not just blacks. They're systematically wiping out the middle class, and soon will be leaving only the rich and the poor.

Don't believe me...do a search on the net. Just type in "Prison Planet".




9.
Rick GComment by Rick G - July 7, 2007, 9:46 am

There has been no accepted slavery in our lifetimes or even our grandparent's lifetimes for that matter, so what is the issue? What happened 175 years ago between our long dead ancestors was their business, not ours.

I'm certainly not going to apologize for something I didn't do. Just because I'm white doesn't mean I'm a slave owner or condone the practice. THAT's racism.
10.
Comment by jim695 - July 7, 2007, 1:43 pm
This is just another grandstanding ploy on the part of our politicians. Let them apologize; they no longer speak for the American people anyway, and I doubt this gesture will have even the slightest impact on racial issues in this country.
   When are they going to offer an apology to the Native Americans, whom we single-handedly drove to the brink of extinction? When will they apologize to the Japanese-Americans, whose entire families were mercilessly interred in prison camps during World War II? German POW's were treated more humanely than American citizens of Japanese descent. When are they going to realize that apologies aren't enough to make up for the suffering all those people endured?
   Sponsoring this legislation will not elevate Mr. Cohen to hero status, because it's simply far too little, and it comes much too late. The situation here can be likened to the kid who has a pressing school assignment to finish, so he looks for every distraction he can find to keep him from doing his homework. This country is in big trouble, and this legislation will have absolutely no impact on our current problems.
   If they were truly sorry, they would offer themselves to indentured servitude. They might actually learn something (God forbid), and I can think of no better use for an American politician at this point in time ...
   Jim
11.
time*treatComment by time*treat - July 7, 2007, 2:39 pm
I am wondering if mixed kids get half an apology. 20 acres and a large dog? Unless someone is born into money, an educated person (of any race) will usually get further than an ignoramous (elected officials not withstanding) in life. Unless someone has said what they are, I think most of us would be hard pressed to know what race someone is, here on LP. I think this is just a means of keeping the poor sub-divided so they can't figure out who their real adversary is.
12.
Comment by pacattack05 - July 7, 2007, 2:59 pm
That's right time*treat.

Take me for example, I'm definitely a mutt...lol One part Iranian, one part Iraqi, one part turkish, and one part russian.

What will I get? A parking lot and a mouse?
13.
TenajComment by Tenaj - July 7, 2007, 3:59 pm
Pac said: Just about every country had slavery at one time or another. Not only that, but blacks had black slaves long before the white man showed up. There were even tens of thousand of white slaves too.

Slavery in other countries was much different from the modern day slavery that eventually came to dominate the New World. For most parts of Africa, slavery was not based on race. For example, Egyptians enslaved whomever they captured, regardless of race.

Slavery was common to the Greek and Roman empires. Those that were enslaved were put to work in the fields and were used as personal servants to the wealthy. Menial work was not considered degrading, and slaves were given educational opportunities. Many slaves were scholars and skilled workers and masters of their professions. White slaves were indentured slaves that can work it off in 7 years.

The methods used by America slave owners were guaranteed to last 300 years.

THE BREAKING PROCESS
OF THE AFRICAN WOMAN

Take the female and run a series of tests on her to see if she will submit to your
desires willingly. Test her in every way, because she is the most important factor for good economics. If she shows any sign of resistance in submitting completely to your will, do not hesitate to use the bull whip on her to extract that last bit of b-word out of her. Take care not to kill her, for in doing so, you spoil good economic. When in complete submission, she will train her off springs in the early years to submit to labor when the become of age. Understanding is the best thing.

Therefore, we shall go deeper into this area of the subject matter concerning what we have produced here in this breaking process of the female n-word. We have reversed the relationship in her natural uncivilized state she would have a strong dependency on the uncivilized n-word male, and she would have a limited protective tendency toward her independent male offspring and would raise male off springs to be dependent like her. Nature had provided for this type of balance.

We reversed nature by burning and pulling a civilized n-word apart and bull whipping the other to the point of death, all in her presence. By her being left alone, unprotected, with the MALE IMAGE DESTROYED, the ordeal caused her to move from her psychological dependent state to a frozen independent state. In this frozen psychological state of independence, she will raise her MALE and female offspring in reversed roles. For FEAR of the young males life she will psychologically train him to be MENTALLY WEAK and DEPENDENT, but PHYSICALLY STRONG. Because she has become psychologically independent, she will train her FEMALE off springs to be psychological independent. What have you got? You've got the N-WORD WOMAN OUT FRONT AND THE N-WORD MAN BEHIND AND SCARED. This is a perfect situation of sound sleep and economic.

Before the breaking process, we had to be alertly on guard at all times. Now we can sleep soundly, for out of frozen fear his woman stands guard for us. He cannot get past her early slave molding process. He is a good tool, now ready to be tied to the horse at a tender age. By the time a n-word boy reaches the age of sixteen, he is soundly broken in and ready for a long life of sound and efficient work and the reproduction of a unit of good labor force.

Continually through the breaking of uncivilized savage n-word, by throwing the n-word female savage into a frozen psychological state of independence, by killing of the protective male image, and by creating a submissive dependent mind of the n-word male slave, we have created an orbiting cycle that turns on its own axis forever, unless a phenomenon occurs and re shifts the position of the male and female slaves. We show what we mean by example. Take the case of the two economic slave units and examine them close. http://thetalkingdrum.com/wil.html

So Pac, black man were still hung from the nearest tree in 1964. That has not been that long ago. The slavery you are talking about was a different type of slavery.
http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/slavery/a/slavery.htm

14.
TenajComment by Tenaj - July 7, 2007, 4:20 pm
Time*Treat said: I am wondering if mixed kids get half an apology. 20 acres and a large dog?

We had a Native America exhibit and brought in an expert speaker, lecturer to do a slide presentation and you might think the statement about being mixed is a joke but when the Native Americans were getting their tribes authenticated back in the 50s (the government giving them money and land) they were made to submit to examinations of having their facial features measured to make sure they didn't have Negroid features or any other. I couldn't believe the slides I was seeing.

And besides, when you think about the African - the woman were raped so much black people comes in many shades of color. I know a black man who went to UNC Chapel Hill when blacks were not admitted and he passed for white.

So, y'all jokes are colorless.
15.
justxploringComment by justxploring - July 8, 2007, 1:02 pm
It's already been said here, so I won't repeat it.   I had this discussion with a Black friend. First, I told her she comes from Jamaica and her family didn't even more here until 20 years ago. Second, my grandparents came here and struggled like everyone else and almost starved to death during the Great Depression. They never owned slaves. Sure she has & will always experience discrimination. So will I. Giving someone free gifts because she might have a harder time getting a job isn't fair to any of us and only creates more resentment.

There is no question in my mind that people are bigoted and the evil racism exists. Some people are always going to hate someone.

We need to come together as a whole. You might not think it's appropriate to post here, but this is written on the wall of the Holocaust Museum in Washington.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy.

When they came for the Jews, I did not speak, because I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic.

And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak."


Let's work together against discrimination, hatred and oppression and we will become stronger.





Back in the 60s I supported Affirmative Action programs and marched for Civil Rights. Today I think we need to concentrate on healing America as a whole.
16.
justxploringComment by justxploring - July 8, 2007, 1:06 pm
darn, I wish I could edit a blog comment. I must have written that last line before I pasted the quote from the Holocaust Museum and didn't see it, so I was very redundant. Oh, well...sorry.
17.
Comment by gopher07 - July 8, 2007, 6:17 pm
help out the people who are socially dis advantaged who dont collect social security ...people with bad eyes or hearing impaired that would make the world better give these people good jobs first ...some of this people are vets who served there county not in any wars just serviced volunteered .....our country is as mess and no one smart enought to fix the problem

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