Ending the Slavery Blame-Game

nytimes.com/2010/04/23/opinion/23gates.html?pagewanted=1&ref=general&src=me

To give an idea of what the article is about:

While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo, among several others.

Advocates of reparations for the descendants of those slaves generally ignore this untidy problem of the significant role that Africans played in the trade, choosing to believe the romanticized version that our ancestors were all kidnapped unawares by evil white men, like Kunta Kinte was in “Roots.” The truth, however, is much more complex: slavery was a business, highly organized and lucrative for European buyers and African sellers alike.

The people who are responsible for the slave trade are so long dead, what does it matter?

It matters because people want some money by way of reparations. Otherwise it doesn't make much sense except to history buffs. I think anybody who does even superficial reading knows that in most cases slaves had to be bought from Africans who made a lot of money in the process. There was no way a few slavers could invade African territory and just take slaves; they would have been annihilated by the indigenous rulers.

While we're on the subject 1-2 million Europeans were kidnapped and carried off into slavery in the Muslim world centuries before any European set eyes on a black African.
Arab corsairs raided Europe's coasts occasionally as far north as Britain and Ireland.

Many wound up as galley slaves. Nobles or the rich could have some hope of being ransomed.

So the question the article is asking is, if descendants of slaves were to get reparations, should Africans have to pay part of the price?

There was a program on PBS which ran about 10 years ago re. the slave trade in western Africia. Blacks in America tracing their roots can visit the forts where the slave traders waited for the slaves, captured in the interior by other blacks. After a selection process and spending time in the fort, they were packed onto ships for the Americas.

The spokespersons on the program were Africians who also did the tours for visiting black Americans. The spokespersons reported on how often they witnessed the visitors becoming so overcome by emotion that they had to leave the discussions. Why? Because they had never heard that it was fellow black Africians who had, during tribal wars or raids, captured their forefathers and sent them into bondage.

Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, was founded as a homeland for freed slaves. Many came from the US. Some ended up owning slaves in Liberia.

It’s also necessary to bring to light that Muslims were also involved in the slave trade in Africia. They did not cease until 1962 in Saudi Arabia. They were involved in Liberia and Ethopia into the 20th century. I’ve always found it strange that American blacks would become Muslims.

africanhistory.about.com/od/slavery/a/IslamRoleSlavery01.htm

Actually, there is a much more logical and immediate claim as to reparations for what happened after slavery was outlawed in the US. But it is not really a big campaign.

The issue of reparations is just a visceral emotional jolt which folks delight in resurrecting.

I know some people will disagree with me but I think some type of reparations should happen how and what I don’t know but as Americans we have to admit Americans who happen to be born black were pretty much screwed over in this country.

Then you start to think should reparations be given to descendants of free blacks that fought for the Confederacy; yes Virginia there was all blacks units in the CSA! Then you think what about the free blacks in the south that owned land that was taken away by the Union and given to whites.

After all wasn’t American Japanese compensated for land that taken away during WWII?

Then you think what about the former slaves that became Buffalo Soldiers that helped settle and protect the west. :thumbsup:

Man this is a mess and people want politicians to run our healthcare!!! :banghead:

Well anyway here’s a little history:

General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 15 to solve problems caused by the masses of freed slaves, a temporary plan granting each freed family forty acres of tillable land in the sea islands and around Charleston, South Carolina for the exclusive use of black people who had been enslaved. The army also had a number of unneeded mules which were given to settlers. Around 40,000 freed slaves were settled on 400,000 acres in Georgia and South Carolina.

However, President Andrew Johnson reversed the order after Lincoln was assassinated and the land was returned to its previous owners.

In 1867, Thaddeus Stevens sponsored a bill for the redistribution of land to African Americans, but it was not passed.

Here’s what a white priest explained to me: Every white person in America benefitted from racial discrimination against blacks in the US.

Because of various types of subjugation, white folks were able to take home more money (and get better health care) and support their businesses better and educated there families better. Thus the entire white community got a benefit and the minority communities were harmed unfairly. The effects of such discrimination surely did not end in 1964, either. Bad health, bad neighborhoods near toxic wastes and bad living conditions stayed bad.

And, despite the views of Scalia, it does not matter if the whites immigrated here after emancipation or not. European POWs in the US were able to be fed in accommodations which were barred to US soldiers! And it is well-known that unions in our major cities had clauses restricting membership to the relatives and descendants of union members. This perpetuated the relegating of minorities to second class status and kept them in lower paying jobs. So minorities had less money to leave to their children and grandchildren.

What about white who never even met blacks? Chuck Yeager, a high school dropout from WV, became an officer in WWII. He was able to send an officer’s pay home to his relatives in the largely white state. This was a status which largely was unavailable to minorities during that war, so they sent less money home on a enlisted man’s pay. So, it does not matter even if whites here in America had been unfamiliar with black folks, they all benefited.

You could say that since 1865 white Americans had benefited from special treatment which was based on race. A sort of leg up like ‘legacy admissions’ to colleges, or, affirmative action.

Now, when you view history through that sort of lens, and realize that every day racial majorities in the US continue to benefit from racial discrimination, reparations begin to make a lot more sense.

As I tell my children when this comes up in conversation.

I refuse to be held responsible for a insult that I did not make nor make an apology to those who were not alive to be insulted.

That being said, there are many of us whose ancesters fought and died to end slavery and then again to ensure equal rights to those who had been so badly treated. My family was one of those. Though my family were poor they fed and sheltered those escaping from captivity. No one owes me for the losses my family took doing what was right before I was born and I do not owe anyone else for wrongs recieved to their ancesters by other people.

I was told once by a very wise woman, that you have two choices in life, you can live your life being the victim and blaming everyone else or you can rise above the past, take resposibility and be no ones victim.

No, you may not owe anyone for wrongs not done by you; but don’t fool yourself. Your level of prosperity may have been increased due to someone else being treated unfairly. Keep that in mind when you are trying to figure out what is ‘fair’.

You should also consider that I am a direct descendant of veterans of the Civil War and World War II. And I am not in favor of reparations.

Folks should just not fool themselves.

You know Beau you sound like the majority of my friends who I hang which, of course we’re all retired/active military when this comes up in the news, I say I think there should be some type of compensation you know like even maybe a tax write off because your families have been screwed over; I don’t know, I think something should be done?

Now when this conversation [rarely] comes up it’s usually at a barbeque and we’re slamming some brews—the attitude is; it’s over let’s move on.

Some I thought were hardcore conservatives until they voted for Obama!!! :eek:

I ask “Hey want up with that”? I was told, “Come on bro, we needed a brother in Whitehouse.”

It was too funny; I guess you had to be there. :smiley:

The funniest thing is that the lawyer who presented the suit for reparations in Chicago is of Haitian descent, so he would not be eligible for any payment, his forebears never having been slaves in the US. Another friend of mine is a lawyer of Nigerian descent and I told her she should pay me reparations for selling folks into slavery!

Did you know there have been similar calls for reparations from some Caribbean countries?

I wonder if there have ever been any lawsuits filed with England and Spain. I believe it was the majority of their ships that did the transportation of the slave trade?

Wow. Beau and I agree on a subject. Way cool.

While some people think that there should be reparations, the bottom line is there is no way it could ever be done fairly. First of all, to say that ALL white people benefited is unprovable. A person should not be “fined” without having been proven guilty. Isn’t ironic that those who supposedly want a color blind society think that those who look white should pony up for those who don’t look white? Second, what about people of mixed race? Should they just pay themselves? Barack Obama would not be eligible, but his kids would. What about Asian Americans? What about any non-white? Absolutely unworkable, not to mention a bit bigoted.

my prosperity??? I honestly don’t think I am fooling myself at all! ( sorry choking I am laughing so hard!) I’m sorry, i live on less than 1,000 dollars a month with five kids, unable to find a job, scraping and canning not to mention the jobs cleaning up dog poo in others back yards just to see ends meet I think I probably know more about what it is to go hungry so your kids can eat at the end of the month than you but then again a few of my nieghbors are doing the same so maby not. I owe no one anything! Not my prosperity nor my failures for gaining that prosperity.

carefull,dont use logic here! no its the victimization complex,mastered so much by the establishment…if I can convince you that when something goes wrong that you tried or did…it is not your fault…then dude,you become worthless to yourself and a danger to others!!! only a handfull of wealthy wasps owned slaves back then…the average white southener could just barely scratch out a living by hisself! the establishment needs to have a segment of the population they can always count on to vote their way regardless!!!we up here in knu yawk outlawed slavery on July 4th 1827…so whats the big deal…the solid south never lost the war…slavery and a low tariff is upon us…slavery as in abortion and a low tariff as in nafta and gatt…by playing the role of caring for the victims…big brudder shows he cares…and thus he gets the vote and stays in power for ever…enjoy…pas

Maybe we could just return the descendants of all the slaves back to their ancestral homes.

so what happens to those of us who are shall we say Multiracial? I am native American should I be placed in Vermont or Washington state? I am also Basgue, so should I be taken back to France and before that my ancestors escaped from the Progroms in Germany so should I not be taken back there? How about the Irish side of my family, why not transport me back to Ireland, not mentioning the part of who I am who is part African or a black Irishman, should I not be deported back to Africa or Ireland?

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