OPINION/RACE RELATIONS

The Reparation Situation

Did you hear? Black people finally got a long over due apology from the government. Kinda. The House of Representatives, not Congress or any other branch, passed a resolution on Tuesday, July 28, 2008. It apologizes for the slavery of black Americans and the subsequent laws (Jim Crow) that were discriminatory. It only took 146 years. I don’t think Japanese Americans had to wait that long for their “We are so sorry that we did those bad things to your people” acknowledgement.

Why an apology now? If you want to move forward in a productive manner in any relationship, an apology is a nice place to start towards healing past hurts. It may not change much, but perhaps it just acknowledges the truth, that something was done that was wrong and/or hurtful.

The relationship between America and black Americans DOES need some healing.

No, it may not be any white person’s fault that is alive today, but it decreases the sting from that slap in the face that black people have continued to get from the day after Juneteenth. The message given on June 20th in 1865 was you’re ALL free so now just get over it.

You may be thinking what I am thinking. What took this apology so long?

The government has resisted giving an official apology for fear that the reparation train would roll into town and black people would say “show me the moo-lah”. (yes, I say moo-lah)

Is it reparation time?

Is it time for black people to get that big fat reparation check that Dave Chappelle joked about? Am I going to see black people lined up at the Cadillac dealership or the Apple store spending all of their dough? (yes, I still say dough)

Is the government finally going to give us what they promised us 146 years ago? Do I need to make room in the driveway for live stock or do I need to move to my free 40 acres of land located in Pelahatchie, Mississippi somewhere?

What kind of reparations could make things better?

In my opinion, the only reparations that could be given in this country that may right some of the wrongs of the past would be education. Slaves were denied an education during slavery, so let’s start there. Provide free college education, regardless of economic status, to the ancestors of slaves.

Truth be told… this country should have given black Americans an apology a long time ago and reparations should have come right after the chains were cut.

At this point an apology doesn’t move me and reparations will probably never happen. I do care about the truth. I want to make sure that history is correct and that people know that this country was built on the blood, sweat, tears, backs, lives of black people. Just an acknowledgement…maybe some credit for our contribution. It will probably never happen.

But remember…its Always Love.

Tell me what you think.

Do you care about an apology for slavery from the government?

Do you want reparations?

Do the ancestors of slaves deserve some type of reparation?

ReNina Minter is a former elementary school teacher who followed her passion and earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology. Minter is now a Certified Life Coach. Check out her website at www.CoachReNina.com. Her editorials are exclusive to Urban Thought Collective.


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Comments

August 5th, 2008 at 10:05 pm Tawnie says:

ONE & HAPPY UTC IS BACK!

August 5th, 2008 at 10:16 pm Tawnie says:

No I don’t want reparations. Me getting a new IPod isn’t going to take away the centuries of pain. I’d rather all the money go to a museum or something.

August 5th, 2008 at 11:11 pm sarasmiles says:

I had not heard even heard about the apology. That’s crazy. Why wasn’t that front page news in the black papers and radio?

August 6th, 2008 at 12:14 am kamalp says:

I want my 40 Acres! I don’t care! I want it on behalf of my ancestors who got cheated and beaten!

August 6th, 2008 at 1:01 am Elsa Harkins says:

I like the free education idea. Imagine a wonderful black college that was open for kids who had a desire to get that degree where the very best Cornell Wests and Michael Eric Dyson’s and Maya Angelou’s taught and the degree really meant something and was not ghettoized and was FREE to black people in the name of our enslalved ancestors. When hell freezes over.

August 6th, 2008 at 2:46 am wallruss says:

I’m not against reparations per se. I just don’t think we ought to wait for or lobby for them. That we have and likely are being treated unfairly is not new business. I just think that energy should be spent making the lives of our families and people better. I appreciate and accept the apology but it doesn’t make the plight of Black people better in any usable way. What in that so-called apology did the House say could be done to repair the damage done?

August 6th, 2008 at 5:30 am Phillip Giddings says:

nothing can Help What They have done and in turn What We Have Done To Ourselves but IF we can Make it Sure that the schools are clean, the teachers are top notch, they ain’t sharing books and they aint’ getting shot at then that is payment

August 6th, 2008 at 6:48 am Tina says:

We have always heard about it but now it seems like reparations may become a reality. We really need to think long and hard on this as a people. What would we accept as a proper reparation for what generations of our people have gone through?

August 6th, 2008 at 7:17 am Lottie Markus says:

I agree… Education is the only way to genuine equality. When the child in rural Mississippi gets the same rights as the one in the suburbs, then that is progress we can see! Access, education, opportunity - that is the best gift we can receive, because just “thank you” and here is some money can never be enough.

August 6th, 2008 at 7:28 am Edwardo Jackson says:

Free education is a fine idea. I believe we should get some sort of reparations, whether a la the Japanese-Americans with cold hard cash or the Native Americans with so-called sovereign land with a different set of rules. Either way, the US government still could never fully repay or repair the damage done when they built this Third World agricultural backwater into the world’s leading industrial power off the backs of African slaves. While I do believe gestures, monetary, tangible, and otherwise do matter, like Wallruss, I’m not camping out by my mailbox or putting any energy into lobbying for reparations. Even though it’s small, the apology - the very LEAST America should do - is a step in the right direction.

Good stuff, R-ruh.

EJ

August 6th, 2008 at 7:39 am lolalove says:

i want money i gotta be real they need to break the bank to make up for this mess

August 6th, 2008 at 7:50 am Ed80 says:

I think this conversation is a waste of time frankly. Its never going to happen. Lets focus on reality fam.

August 6th, 2008 at 8:17 am Ashley says:

I agree with Wallrus and Edwardo. Really what does an apologize do we all know what the US has done to our people since we landed here. I personally wouldn’t mind a some cash or land but where is the government going to get that from? we would just be receiving the money back that we pay out in taxes and then be taxed on it again.

August 6th, 2008 at 8:49 am Blind Justice says:

earlier this year Austrailia president apologized to the aborigines for taking their children from them and forcing them to live remotely away from the civilized parts of the continent - and that didnt’ change a damn thing. people of color all over the world have the short end and i’m sorry doesn’t cut it at all never will lets move on as best we can and push to make our communities a safe and prosperous place

August 6th, 2008 at 9:04 am BigAaron says:

I wouldn’t even know what to do with a check. I’d feel so bad about how I got it: on the backs of slaves who never saw nothing for their lives. What the hell would you **do** with the money? Buy a house? A car? It’s blood money. We say we want it but really what would you do with it that would mean enough?

August 6th, 2008 at 9:13 am Nicole Malave says:

@sara I had not heard a darn thing about this that is a shame

August 6th, 2008 at 9:43 am Gerald Johnson says:

NOTHING WILL FIX IT

August 6th, 2008 at 9:44 am Kettle Blk says:

That Dave Chappelle was so hilarious and probably true we would all flock to the check cashing place like some fools who won the lottery!

August 6th, 2008 at 9:51 am Krista Wills says:

@Tina I agree how would they even go about calculatin gwho gets what?

August 6th, 2008 at 9:51 am Destah Owens says:

Education is a great idea. It would not only spare us the further indignity of allowing them to put a number (that couldn’t nearly be high enough) on the life of our ancestors, but will allow us unlimited earning potential through our academic pursuits. Knowing that there is a college waiting for them might be just the motivation that some kids need. I heard about this last week and was not moved either.

August 6th, 2008 at 9:56 am thelma says:

I agree with education - the great equalizer!

August 6th, 2008 at 9:59 am westcoast shortee says:

I was wondering what the heck Juneteenth was LOLOL

August 6th, 2008 at 10:00 am Nu yawk says:

i think ever street in this nation out to be named after a slave

August 6th, 2008 at 10:04 am TOPDOG says:

This is a tough one. We need something, by money may not be the answer

August 6th, 2008 at 10:10 am ReNina Minter says:

@Wallruss I agree that WE need to do things to make our lives and families better.

@Lottie It would be nice for us to have the same “access, education and opportunity”. Perhaps that is what we must never stop fighting for.

@Phillip “nothing can help”. If we were truly on a equal playing field that would help. It may be up to us to continue to fight for that. It is also up to us to grow as a people and stop doing harm to ourselves.

August 6th, 2008 at 10:15 am doumind says:

they couldn’t even give us the measley 40 acres so you know their idea of a reparation would be a stinging slap in the face

August 6th, 2008 at 10:33 am Saman Scissor Burton says:

I don’t believe that reparations demands will ever pick up steam within the black community let alone the white world. We are too divided in our views about the subject, and to pull it off would require a major national initiative supported by the black majority as well as our leaders and scholars. I simply do not see that happening in a present day context.

August 6th, 2008 at 11:22 am Luke 1980 says:

The fact that the apology resolution didn’t dent the evening news or even reach black people (lmbao) shows the level of committment that the US government has regarding this apology.

It should have been a full on televised ceremony with every black politician, leader etc present to accept on us Negros behalf.

As great as UTC is (I been lurking for weeks), I’m dissatisfied that I heard about this here!

August 6th, 2008 at 11:51 am Krista Wills says:

Luke for real though what the heck! Its all a formality - these kids today aren’t even learning about slavery they don’t get the big deal or realize the effects of what happened it is up to US to teach them!

August 6th, 2008 at 12:53 pm AfroDaddy says:

There is no amount of reparations that can erase the enormous deficit that black people face today as a result of slavery and Jim Crow. I do agree that an education credit would be a good start but the only realistic way to work out of this hole is by a sincere and massive investment by the government in fixing the infrastructure of the black community (neighborhood repair, school system upgrades etc.). Since this is not going to happen any time soon (even with Obama) we need to “do for self” and always look to do for other brothers and sisters who want to elevate their own position and that of our community.

August 6th, 2008 at 1:16 pm Bossy says:

This was very good opened up a lot of thoughts in me. Its something I am very conflict about on one hand we should have something on the other its like what can they really do?

August 6th, 2008 at 1:56 pm Najee Ali says:

Great blog Sister ReNina. I think that a free education for at least 20 years for Black America would help. keep dropping the knowledge… Youngsta (:

August 6th, 2008 at 5:06 pm heatmizer says:

Land, education and a trust fund would be great. A gesture. Something to say, we’re sorry for destroying your heritage, family, way of live, for bring you here against your will, for discrimiating against you horribly and for making our country rich cuz we didn’t have to pay for your labor!

August 6th, 2008 at 5:52 pm hisherness says:

i suppose i’m to send everyone a check in the mail because my ancestors sold slaves, then? in what amount?

did you really, honestly, and truly just belittle the plight of other groups? did you just make a *competition* out of suffering?

fine. let’s play.

do you even realize how much reparation Africa and her children owe to the Near East alone, if you’re serious about reparations? Africans were enslaving Near Easterners for *thousands* of years, not hundreds, and you may believe the cruelty involved stands at the forefront of creative human atrocity to this day.

August 6th, 2008 at 11:45 pm Bam Saldana says:

Any response to HisHerNess Renina? There aregood points this person made. Helll-loooo?

August 7th, 2008 at 2:29 am Edwardo Jackson says:

Hisherness…This is where a lot of indignant non-black people go wrong. Nobody’s asking you, personally, to pay for the sins of white forefathers. Nobody is “making a competition” out of suffering or “belittling” other ethnicities and cultures who have similarly suffered at the hands of a slave trade. However shabbily, the Native Americans’ suffering at the hands of this government has been addressed. However meagerly, the Japanese Americans’ suffering at the hands of this government has been addressed. Yet the greatest atrocity this country has institutionally (and still institutionally) engaged upon outside of the genocide of the Native Americans has NOT been addressed and, until recently, barely formally acknowledged.
Slavery and suffering has not been exclusive to America or Europeans - we know all that. At issue with the lame-ass apology from the House last week - and in THIS column - is the suffering of Africans at the hands of Europeans in THIS country. As best I can tell, nobody’s “comparing” suffering of the races here. But by bringing up such a concept, that just speaks to the insecurity if not raging, latent white guilt that lurks beneath the faux-ignorance of non-black Americans to want to minimize the historical and present day ramifications of the institutionalized cultural genocide and systematic subjugation of an entire people purely for economic gain. Wrangling a half-assed apology out of the lower house of the United States Congress hundreds of years after the fact does not reflect on other the suffering or enslavement of other cultures or countries. And, I might add, it’s the bare minimum our government could/should do, not only because a descendant of slaves is about to run their tails, but also because it’s the conscionable, HUMAN thing to do.

You go play by yourself.

EJ

August 7th, 2008 at 9:41 am ReNina Minter says:

@Edwardo OH MY it looks like you said it all

@Hisherness I went online to other Blog sites before I wrote this article for UTC and I was saddened by the amount of anger from non Blacks. We DO NOT want a check from anyone personally. We are aware that we are not the only group in this world who has been enslaved or who has suffered at the hands of others. We are talking about what has happened to BLACKS in THIS COUNTRY. This country was BUILT by the free labor of BLACKS (who suffered and lost culture, lives, families and dignity). The same country that so many cultures enjoy (the melting pot of the world). Discussing this in comparison to how the government has handled other groups does not make it a COMPETITION. THE GOVERNMENT has given apologies more willing to other groups and reparations as a way to make things right. Black people DESERVE that same apology and ATTEMPT to make things right (even though we may never get it). I do not want a check from the government. I do believe an APOLOGY and acknowledgement should come from every branch of government and reparations in the form of EDUCATION given. NOT for me, but for the rape of my great great grandmother, by her slaveowner (a fact). And with all due respect your comment “let’s play” is insulting because this is NOT a game to me.

August 7th, 2008 at 11:48 am chica22 says:

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmn!!!!!!!
New found respect for our film critic Edwardo Jackson!!!!!
MONGO, JUMBO RESPECT!
Dropping KNOW-LEDGE FROM THE EDGE! I’m about to advertise this one!

August 7th, 2008 at 5:03 pm Jane Kennedy says:

Whew.
I’m like blown back! This was so on point Edwardo and ReNina I feel you why can’t non-blacks understand there has to be SOME COST, be it in pride, or something to atone for the mess that was created. WHY IS THAT SO UNREASONABLE???

August 7th, 2008 at 5:51 pm Darryl M. Bell says:

Point of information, I believe Hisherness is African and of color.

August 7th, 2008 at 6:50 pm Nicole Malave says:

LIKE EVERYONE IS SAYING MONEY CAN’T FIX THIS - BUT I THINK THAT WE CAN AT LEAST GET SOMETHING OUT OF BEING SCREWED AND TERROIZED LEGALLY FOR CENTURIES… AND THAT GOES FOR OTHER NATIONS AS WELL -

August 7th, 2008 at 10:41 pm ReNina Minter says:

Thanks Darryl for that information. I was not aware of that. That is actually the reason that I use the term “Black” to refer to those who have come through slavery. I have many African, specifically Nigerian friends who do not necessarily understand my passion toward this issue.