I know already that if you are of European decent, and after you read this article, you will probably feel that this is just another hate mongers attempt to roust white people and make them feel guilty for something that happened a long time ago. Actually, you couldn't be further from the truth. My mother raised me without a hate bone in my body. Unfortunately, the truth hurts when seen from another perspective. I know all too well from personal experience. All through high school, I was forced to sit through American history as a requirement only to learn that my race's only contribution to this society was to pick cotton. No one else, no other race in the classroom was more humiliated than I.
Reparation is a subject seldom approached amicably. Many supremacist and supporters of supremacy rights believe that the reprobate bring upon themselves the righteous destruction to which they are doomed. I suppose they too are still angry about slavery. You see, it was hard in the South for white people to find any work. Most of the farm work on the big plantations was done by slaves so white people couldn't get jobs.
Seriously, in 1865 General William T. Sherman made a promise that when the war ended, freed slaves would receive "40 acres and a mule." Needless to say this promise was never kept. Black people worked 246 years and did not receive anything for their labor, except to be rapped, beaten, and murdered. Image if you will, a mother unable to assure the safety and security of her children, or a father unable to protect his family and keep them from harm.
Helpless parents could only sit by and listen to the anguish cries of their young being sodomized by the adult slave master penetrating their youth without regard for the life of that child. Even in today's society there are predators that prey upon young girls and boys. You don't need to ask yourself if those people existed during slavery. Not only did they exist, but they also had a full rein of terror upon the nations children.
Even the children born of slaves and slave masters, if darken in skin color, were rejected and treated as property. If man would enslave his own child, of what chance did anyone else have.
Today, many children do not know what it is like to be spanked. When I was a child, getting whipped was the norm in our household for misbehavior. My mother was brutal with the switch and the belt. The pangs rippled across the back and about your legs until your mind wandered, taking leave of your body, in absent of self. It wasn't until I was into my thirties, I realized that my mother was only following a tradition of child rearing, learned by her mother.
Richard Wright, a famous writer wrote about the life of black people post slavery; explained that black families beat their children unmercifully because if they did not, the white man would probably kill them. In essence they beat them to save their lives.
Crippled, mentally handicapped or old slaves could be put down like a horse with a broken leg. Slaves were not viewed as human beings. They had no rights and no agency of protection from the cruel cold hands of their masters that lay upon them the whips and the judgments of death. For those that did not hear the bells of freedom ring, did life in a hell manifested on earth. Imagine serving a life sentence because you are who you are.
If you take a critical look at history, you will know that the prisons were designed to contain unruly white men because the blacks were already in prison, in life. However, the prisons of yesterday have become the plantations of today.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Needless to say my friend, reparations will probably never come in a way you would expect it to come. Heirs and benefactors from the fruits of our labor on the backs of predecessors, will never feel a responsible, harmonious or otherwise, for the sins of their ancestors.
ASK AND YE SHALL NOT RECEIVE...
President Bill Clinton... told a prominent Jewish advocacy group that he supported its attempts to get compensation for Holocaust victims and their families. He made the comments at a reception after presenting World Jewish Congress president Edgar Bronfman, with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Reuters).
The Indians are compensated for their land. Backers support tribal gaming because they would rather see Indians self-sufficient rather than on welfare.
The federal government will provide compensation to certain victims of the September 11th disaster under the new "September 11th Victim Compensation Fund" (H.R.2926), if the person applying for such compensation is willing to give up the option of bringing a civil action in court (filing a lawsuit).
Japanese-Americans interned during WWII in 1988 received an official apology from the U.S. government as well as a payment of $20,000.00 per person for each person interned.
Black people in America lost their lives and any legacy that our ancestors could have left for us to pass down for generations to come. It is now up to those of us today, to create the legacy for future generations, unburdened by the immediate threat for our very lives.
YOU CAN'T ASK A MAN TO GIVE AWAY HIS KINGDOM
Regardless of how the Europeans obtained their fortunes, you cannot ask a man to give away his kingdom. Are you going to leave your life's savings to the neighbor's child? If reparations are to be given at all, it must be an individual effort upon each and every American that feel deserving of being compensated for crimes committed against them.
"You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you're free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates or opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates .... We seek not...just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result" (President Johnson, Lyndon B: Howard University. 1965).
We as black people are only asking for the start that our ancestors never had. We as black people only need the opportunity to succeed or fail, which ever the case may be. I too can't image what a race of people would do with that kind of money, after never having money before. I only suspect that it will end up back in the hands of the giver.
Realize if you will, when you look around on your job, how many of us do you see? I am always amazed when white woman tell me how lucky I am because I am female and black. I ask them to look around and see how many of me there are, and then repeat that statement. It behooves me to hear a white man talk about how he is being discriminated against because of affirmative action.
I'm here to tell you folks, that when I sit in the lunchroom and read the EEOC notices on the wall, I laugh because if you hire no conflict you will have no conflict. I am usually a temporary employee and not an employee; therefore there can be no conflict if one should arise.
Growing up, if a job ad wanted me to type 60 words a minute and I did, the employer then required 80. I walked into an agency to get a job and was told by the clerk before he knew what I wanted, that there were no maid jobs here. I have been sent out by the unemployed agency only to be told, in so many words, that people would not want to work with me.
In my early 20's a white man reluctantly hired me in Las Vegas Nevada as an employment counselor. The reason I say reluctant is because if a black applicant came in, we had to put a dot at the top of the application to signify race. Many employers did not want to interview blacks. I came of working age in 1972. That was not that long ago. If it's been like that for me, I can only image what it was like for those before me.
If you were to compare my experience to an accounting procedure, I would be LIFO. (Last in and first out). I believe that employers should take into extra consideration when your employment record is not as complete as your white counterpart. An employer would literally have to call you a nigger in front of millions of witnesses that would be willing to testify before the EEOC would back you up. You and I know that it is not going to happen. When the gays decided to come out of the closet, the bigots went in.
Do you wonder how we are surviving? How many black applicants have you not hired? Are there no wonders why the types of crimes are being committed? Are our prisons not filled with so many black people? Can you honestly say that all the men and the women in prison are guilty of some crime against humanity?
The argument against reparations for many is engraved into the soul like thread into a cloth. White friends of mine cannot envision that I might get something they will not. White women with black men that have interracial children, feel that we need to stop crying about spilled milk.
Many black people themselves have come to believe in a false sense of equality. Some have distanced themselves from black neighbors, coworkers, spouses and friends. They have bought into the myth that black is inferior, but not them. There is no greater proof than Michael Jackson.
We have many wealthy black leaders and wealthy black families in this country and I just don't see their contributions to the black underclass. However, it's not their responsibility either. You can donate all the money you want to help feed the poor, enrich the universities, or ease your conscious by any means of contribution that is your God given right, but until businesses are built in economically distress communities and jobs are created, it means little of nothing to me.
Every black person on this planet is ignoring one very important fact. That together, we have the means to solve our own problems. We need to establish a trust in human agency so that we can begin investing in each other. We cannot afford to behave niggardly, thinking that someone else is getting something more.
As long as black people try to integrate into a society that has already established legacies, blacks will continually be viewed as an inferior group. Until the black elite stop trying to first live like other Americans, and begin to create like other Americans, legacies that will be passed on to generations, there can be no resolutions to the way blacks are perceived in a global and world community. In a democratic society driven by commerce, blacks that only seek positions without creating positions will continue to be viewed as the underclass of society.
"It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep."
"Message to the Grass Roots," speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).