2009 just might be the year the United States officially apologizes for slavery, which was abolished in 1863. Yesterday, the US Senate approved a resolution that acknowledges the wrongs of slavery.
Words can never take back this shameful part of American history or repair its enduring effects, but an official apology can focus attention on injustices, and perhaps impact present government policies and modern moral obligations. The US government has offered apologies and monetary compensation to another group of Americans — in 1988, Congress voted to apologize to Japanese Americans interned during World War II and granted $20,000 to each person who survived internment.
The current resolution closes the door on reparations for the descendants of slaves. President Obama agrees. While explaining his opposition to monetary reparations on the campaign trail last year, Obama said the best way to combat the legacy of slavery was to provide good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed.
Do you think an apology will have any impact?