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US Moves to Apologize For Slavery 145 Years Later

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?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
GKitty GKitty 8 years
If that's your belief. Only in America!
GKitty GKitty 8 years
Do you know what "strange fruit" is? It's lynching. I watched my grandmother grieve herself to death over the loss of her brothers. She was house bound for 40 years. I have various family members that self medicate, some are war vets that never fit back in socity after their discharge, some passed for white so they could have a desent life, I never saw them again. All I'm saying is, don't take things for face value, it's easy to blame. You can't speak for a race of people, we all have a story to tell.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
The issue for you is the self hate that comes through every other word you spit. The excellent word, is your false gratitude to the white people in your life, as it is. The actions of your father is the first hurt you experienced. The people closest to us can really bring the pain. This is not your pain to bare, the actions of your father was of his own self hate. The needle marks is what he used to heal his BLACKNESS in an era that tried to extinguish us. This was before your were born, pray for him. He went the way of a lot of black men that could not take that America. Your denial of that truth will never make the suffering of black America a lie.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
If you could look past your personal excellent life experience, and comment with in the range and scope of this discussion, you may not only find out why you don't SEE anything may even respect the opinions/experience of other people including your own brother. Your one dimensional rant says more about YOU and it's not a good look. Try walking in the other persons shoes.
Blackwidowchick Blackwidowchick 8 years
This is a very sensitive issue and there will be a lot of different opinions about it. I don't know what "providing better schools in the inner city" have anything to do with the legacy of slavery. Low income knows no prejudice when it comes to race. There could be white people in those bad schools who have to go there because they cannot live anywhere else. Also even if you put better schools everywhere (which I think they should because every child regardless of race or income has a right to a good education) it is up to the child to take advantage of that. If a black child chooses to ignore school and run the street you can't blame that on "slavery's legacy" because many kids of different races choose to do that, what is your excuse then? Also, how does one extend an apology for something they did not do? America is the land we live on, it did not create slavery and the people who did are not alive today. I am mexican and white and I think that was a dark era of our time that I am glad is over, just like the holocaust, but everyone who is alive today had nothing to do with it, how do you apologize then? Do you apologize for your own ancestors actions? What if you don't know them? With that being said why don't we all apologize to everyone our ancestors wronged? What about mexico's land being taken away (california and texas), do we apologize for that too? I don't want one, because it is over. It is important to know where you come from and your history, but if we keep clinging to bad things in the past and hold bitterness and resentment we can never be a united nation and racism will always exist. Besides I don't think a mere apology will fix the horrors of slavery. Those people are in heaven now and I think all they would want to see to make up for it is all of us getting along and their descendents being equal members of society.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
Awesome. How your home life is an example of black and white relations in America is...awesome.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
I beg your pardon, This conversation between Hause and I has to do with HER belief that blacks are affirmative action/welfare pimps. My reminder to her is that she too, has benefited. I have been subjected to her race rants for over a year now and had enough. You're right I didn't like and I hissed back.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Wow I feel like I just walked into a room full of pissed off cats. No doubt the issue of race(ism) runs generationaly deep and to this day unfortunately holds grip on our identities and how we relate to each other oddly enough as the human beings we all are. I know I gonna take heat for this. Haus said: “It should be something that’s not even thought about or considered. But you can't have that when you have policies that reinforce the thought that the color of your skin is your biggest identifying factor and that it should be a DECIDING factor in some cases.” IMO the point of logic is accurate. We should all strive to reach this reality where color doesn’t matter even while we’re submersed in a culture of racism because it is the only destination where we’ll actually be able to lay our burdens down. We will never be at rest with this issue as long as pain and anger rather than wisdom is our guide. Suggesting that a white female has no right to be idealistic about better race relations when her race/sex has been the largest benefactor of affirmative action is suggesting that she should just shut up and play the status quo…that is unacceptable. One because what she is suggesting is certainly nothing horrible in fact it’s perfect and secondly where would people of color in the U.S. be today if white people simply shut up and played the status quo over the past hundred years, not far I’ll tell you that much. Yes, people of color fought tooth and nail for their rights but we must give due credit to the progressive white idealists who spoke up against their racist white brothers and sisters as well and racism period. As for my opinion on affirmative action, it is a well intentioned but flawed policy. It is effective in achieving it’s intent for sure the only problem is the unintended results of a reverse discrimination are not beneficial to society and can be just as destructive as racism it self. Now as a man of color should I be content to reap a benefit although that benefit to (me) is a detriment to (us). No I should not despite the satisfaction and justice I may feel for my self in light of that benefit. Affirmative action is not the only human alternative to the problem and we should not fool our selves that it is by using our history as an excuse to do so. To all of you who have so colorfully illustrated the cancer that is racism in our society take heart that you and generations before you have diagnosed the problem well but my only concern is to mind the treatment so that we do not do even greater damage to ourselves by perpetuating the symptoms. It is one thing to wield the sword of justice but to wield a sword of in-justice to make way for justice is simply un-just.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
Thank you hypnotic for stating something that people forgot on here. They are far reaching implications of slavery whether people here or any where else choose to admit it. Slavery was a system that helped to build a the wealth of nations by denigrating native peoples and forcing servitude and abuse on a certain people. African were sold or forced into a horrific life that caused them to forget who they were raised to believe that they were and see themselves as less than human. These same practices and laws were implemented here in the US in ways that destroyed the family nucleus of newly made African Americans for generations and caused magnified colorism within a people. Men were bred with multiple women in order to pass on genes that made for stronger stock but were beaten and broken mentally, spiritually, and physically in order to keep them from turning on their owners. Books and pamphlet were published giving advice and tricks in order to keep a group of people subjugated so that they would not turn on people whom they out numbered; sometimes 5 to 1.Psychological warfare was used on a group of people, it is not erased or reversed in a generation or two. This had far reaching implications to a group of people who were no longer African but not really American. Racism is here. It is covert as much as it is outright. Sometimes it is hard for people to not look for the bad when we have been taught as a culture that many still view us as less than equal. As a African American woman I have been a victim of outright and covert racism. I see the effects that the past slave trade still has today. We can all say move on but until we realize that the effects have completely changed the course of history for a country and a large group of people and that IT STILL DOES, then we can move nowhere.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
My family is still put out over the forty acres and a mule thing. An apology is hardly sufficient. My family was run out of Mississippi in do the math.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
"Apologizing for slavery to people who have not experienced slavery, or even knew the people who were enslaved is not going to do much." I agree that an official Federal appology is symbolic there's no question about that. What I don't agree with is the audacity of some to suggest that it won't mean much. Maybe not to you it won't mean much and speaking for myself (strictly symbolic) however I'm not going to presume for one minute that it won't mean much for a ninety year old black women. For all the people who suffered Jim Crow laws. For all the people who marched for civil rights. For all the people who suffered and suffer racial descrimination to this day. I'm not not going to be so arrogant to speak beyond my self and say to them (oh it doesn't mean much).
GKitty GKitty 8 years
It's the only way to reach you.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Gkitty you are so funny, i can always count on you to bring the level down a notch.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
That's a "no brainer"'re not a descendant of slaves.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
"CG, I also have family in Gainesville, FL. To not experience subtle or blatant racism is to never experience the urge to use the bathroom" so what does that prove? that you have experienced it. not me.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
White America! Clans! Flagging! Have a slice of delicious vanilla-marshmallow icecream cake analogy.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
Haus and her clan feels it's their appointed duty to represent white America by any means necessary. No one is here to FLAGG anybody that dares to call them on it.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 8 years
Michaelann, dictionaries define words based on the majority's view of what a word means (often from the Western World's viewpoint); thus, credibility can be shaky at best sometimes. Hausfrau, to whom are referring to where you are made to feel ashamed of your skin color? Is it a by-product of the pathological sickness of racism of which we speak? I didn't read anything that would lead you to that conclusion. Unless, it's something that you feel. As for the topic of ignorance, it's a rightful argument when the same things are rehashed because many choose NOT to see those things at play. I think when you live within a group where race (and depending on the topic, sex/gender) isn't an daily issue (yes to many POC race is a daily reminder), one's perspective can be seen as ignorant or unrealistic.
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