Sunday, February 25, 2007

Virginia Apologizes for Role in Slavery et al

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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Joe Friday said...

I love the way your mind works!

It's like a fine watch, or a bamboo fly rod, only a zillion times better.

Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary!

Anonymous said...

Hearing appologies for slavery would give me closure. I and the world would acknowledge once and for all that what happened was wrong, Black people were not destined to be slaves as some Bible fanatics argue, and there is no point in making economic and legal arguments for why it was okay. The outlook on Black history would change because it would be acknowledged that it was just wrong. Yes, lets just forget the past and not bother with appologies for the genocide and torture and subjugation of people of African descent. Its just so unpleasant to bring it up. Lets forget that whole period and forgive every business and instution that benefited from slavery. I think they call that getting away from murder. Is it really so hard to appologize? Its not. Why are countries and states reluctant to appologize? Because they don't want to admit they did something wrong. Maybe deep down inside they didn't think it was wrong. Maybe they thought our ancestors deserved it...they didn't consider them humans anyway right? If there is no appology then there was no wrong.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartly, primarily because a blanket apology for the institution of slavery is virtually meaningless. Slavery, right or wrong, was a reality of the time, in more countries than the United States.

I don't subscribe to the apologist movement in general, but if an apology is due, it is for the Jim Crow period following slavery and the institutional racism/discrimination that has survived it.

In the final analysis, this sort of semantic gibberish is precisely what thwarts progress. An apology will never be enough; it has no teeth and its sincerity is dubious. Give me progress instead. Kill the biases. Refuse the White privilege.

Healing is not to be found in the past, but in the future. And that future is something that we all must strive for together.