Sunday, February 25, 2007
Virginia Apologizes for Role in Slavery - AP
'Profound Regret' Is Warranted - Washington Post
It’s too late for apologies, but not because Whites lack sincerity in regretting the evils of slavery, or that Blacks aren't deserving. Rather, the country cannot afford the continuing distraction of the guilt exchange it encourages. Blacks too often default to moral strategies of good-and-evil followed by guilt tactics of advancement, which have repeatedly shown themselves ineffective.
The dance goes like this. Whites say they are sorry. Blacks ask what the group will be given to make amends. Whites offer some form of compensation. Blacks accept it, while watching their plight continue, only to say ‘not enough, try again’. Whites retreat, asking themselves when what they do will be enough.
The legacy of slavery, and the racism that followed, is broken motivation in Blacks. Too many of the group lack the fundamental drive to create something from nothing, starting with education. As Blacks have lived within a society that systematically blocks their chance to succeed, their attentions and resources have twisted to the role of ‘spoiler’, even if it means going down with the ship too. This must change.
Whites and Blacks need new leadership to acknowledge these difficult truths and stop playing the shame and blame game. Blacks don’t need to ‘get over slavery’, they need to put it in its relative context. Whites don’t need to amend their ancestors, they need to stop justifying insidious biases, derived from today's disparities.
Arguing over apologies, state by state, is a waste of time.
James C. Collier
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