Thursday, July 31, 2008


Whether it was done in part for political advances (which is quite obvious), or done purely from the heart, Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, the only white lawmaker to represent a majority black district, led the House of Representatives to issue an unprecedented apology to BLACK americans for the institution of slavery, which subsequently lead to Jim Crow laws, where BLACKS were still discriminated against and treated as second class citizens. Cohen faces a threatening BLACK challenger in a primary face-off next week. (great timing Cohen)

The resolution, passed by a voice vote, was the first given by Congress, while there were proposals delivered before, they have stalled for a number of reasons, partly because of concerns that an apology would lead to a demand for reparations, and you know the closest that we will get to that are those stimulus checks.

Congress has issued apologies before— to Japanese-Americans for their confinement during World War II and President Clinton signed the "Apology Resolution" to Native Hawaiians on November 23, 1993 for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893. In 2005, the Senate apologized for failing to pass anti-lynching laws. Five states have issued apologies for slavery, but we never received one from our United States Congress.

The Cohen resolution does not mention reparations, it just commits the House to rectifying "the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African-Americans under slavery and Jim Crow." I am deeply interested in how they will go about rectifying the plight of African-Americans due to the institution of slavery and Jim Crow laws. Maybe they can start by appropriately funding the United States Public School Systems, or taking some of that Iraq War money and funding research for Cancer and HIV/AIDS, maybe they can even think of a brilliant plan that begins to combat homelessness, drugs and violence in the inner citites. Wishful thinking on my part, I bet. I pray to God that my pessimistic attitude is proven wrong. I just find it hard to accept an apolgy that has come 143 years after the emancipation of slavery and 44 yrs since the Civil Rights Act, and then on top of that, the apology was most likely the product of someone with alterior motives.

I am so grateful for the determination, persistence and ambition of my enslaved ancestors, and those who fought through those state and local laws that mandated segregation of public schools, public places and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms and restaurants. I am so glad that they thought enough of BLACK people to die and shed blood for our advancement. I am appreciative of an apology from our federal government, but it's a little to late for me to actually believe any of it. I'd much rather hear an apology from my BLACK people for the continuous BLACK on BLACK crime and the deleterious actions that prevent us from being the best that we can be. I just wasnt feeling this apology, but thanks for the belated gesture.

No comments: