Of Apolgies, Reparations and Black People in America

The United States House of Representatives just recently issued an official apology to African-Americans for the harm done them and their ancestors by slavery, segregation and discrimination. Barack Obama declares that words are not enough he wants to see “deeds”. As co- sponsor of a bill establishing a commission to consider cash reparations to all black people in America, it’s not much of a leap to anticipate what is to come if he is elected. Enough is enough! With all due respect I reject the entire notion of apologies and reparations.

Who would deny that slaves suffered inhumanely, yet from Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation forward, the slave’s ignominy has been a singular blessing for his progeny. Yes a blessing, for as a result of the “peculiar institution” the descendant of slavery is a citizen of The United States of America. Regardless of race or creed or heritage, to be born a United States citizen is an act of penultimate grace envied the world over.

Every African-American having slave blood coursing his veins, were it not for slavery, would likely be an African. To be born black in Africa is to be virtually condemned to a life “nasty, brutish and short”. In Rwanda and Uganda warring tribesmen have butchered more than a million souls. In Darfur, the Arab Muslims systematically attempt to eradicate the black population. Throughout black Africa, violence, corruption, starvation and sickness are the rule rather than the exception. Offer anyone $100,000 and a one way ticket to any African nation in return for his US passport and you will get few takers.

African-Americans are a remarkable blessing to America. What are we without the influence of black culture? African American artisans and craftsmen labored to build this nation. The blood of black men is shed for America in every corner of the world. Today’s African-American has striven mightily and suffered abominable indignities to achieve what he has. Should Barack Obama be elected in November it will represent the culmination of that struggle.

I would be a repugnant fool to imply the climb has not been difficult, unjust and sorrowful, yet we mustn’t forget that this struggle is of a piece with America itself from the original settlers of Jamestown Island to the Irish to the new Vietnamese immigrant.

This nation and its people owe nothing at all to African-Americans save the rights and liberties guaranteed all Americans. The misery or infamy endured by the black community at the hands of American society has been more than offset by the blessings and opportunity of being a part of that society