File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_2000/nietzsche.0006, message 40

Subject: Re: Living in History: Whites Owe Blacks $8 Trillion
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 16:53:09 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: George Sherwood <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2000 2:22 AM
Subject: Living in History: Whites Owe Blacks $8 Trillion

> >
> >
> >
> >June 13, 2000, 9:43PM
> >
> >Group seeks reparation for slavery
> >
> >Nation owes black descendants $8 trillion, advocates allege
> >
> >Copyright 2000 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
> >
> >WASHINGTON -- Despite stiff opposition and 13 years of failed efforts, a
> >group is continuing to press the federal government to pay trillions of
> >dollars to blacks to compensate them for what it calls the lingering
> >effects of slavery.
> >
> >The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America points as
> >the basis for its demand to the nearly 250 years of the American slave
> >trade and the continuing treatment of blacks as second-class citizens.
> >This inferior regard includes a criminal justice system that targets
> >blacks for harsher penalties and a corporate America that pays blacks
> >less than their white colleagues, said the organization, which goes by
> >the acronym N'COBRA.
> >
> >The Washington D.C.-based group contends that the federal government
> >owes about $8 trillion to the descendants of slaves.
> >
> >The 13-year-old coalition, which has been largely muffled in Washington
> >amid the din of larger, better-financed lobbying groups, plans to raise
> >its profile beginning today with a seven-day conference in the nation's
> >capital and a rally on the National Mall this weekend.
> >
> >Despite what the coalition calls newfound momentum for its cause, the
> >likelihood that Congress will approve any reparations money -- let alone
> >$8 trillion -- appears slim.
> >
> >Federal lawmakers have not even acted on a relatively benign piece of
> >legislation that calls for the creation of a seven-member commission
> >simply to study the issue of compensating descendants of slaves. The
> >measure, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., has languished in
> >the House for 11 years.
> >
> >But supporters of the movement are buoyed by the support of Randall
> >Robinson, who as president of TransAfrica Forum helped lead a successful
> >international call for the end of apartheid in South Africa. His
> >recently published book, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, is a
> >call for descendants of slaves to be compensated.
> >
> >The group's effort to gain reparations also has had recent success in
> >Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Washington, where city councils
> >have passed nonbinding resolutions calling on Congress to provide
> >reparations.
> >
> >"It is for the memories of our ancestors, the quality of the lives of
> >the living and the destiny of the still unborn that we work diligently
> >to close this chapter of history in a just way, giving voice not only to
> >the wrong but to the remedy," the coalition says in a mission statement.
> >
> >Robinson said the federal government has an obligation to compensate the
> >descendants of slavery.
> >
> >"The United States government sanctioned violations of the human rights
> >of African Americans with the imprimatur of law," Robinson said, noting
> >that slavery was legal until 1865. "In order to redress the injury, the
> >United States government must provide a fair forum for redress and pay
> >the debt it owes to African Americans."
> >
> >Robinson added that he does not hold living white Americans responsible
> >for slavery, noting that none has legally kept slaves and most abhor
> >that the practice ever existed. However, the government should be held
> >liable for the slave trade, even 135 years after it was outlawed with
> >the ratification of the Constitution's 13th Amendment.
> >
> >"It's not too late" to be compensated, Robinson said. "It is neither too
> >late in the sense that the claim of reparations for African Americans is
> >stale, nor is it too late in the sense that there is no one or nothing
> >left to compensate. It is never too late to seek justice."
> >
> >But opponents of the group's call, while decrying the horrors of
> >slavery, counter that blacks today are too far removed from the slave
> >era to warrant compensation. They also argue that the group's focus on
> >trying to right the wrongs of slavery detracts from the contemporary
> >problems facing blacks in many cases, such as poor schools and housing
> >discrimination.
> >
> >The coalition, in defense of its request for compensation, noted that
> >the federal government in 1988 issued a formal apology and paid $20,000
> >each to Japanese-Americans taken from their homes and held in internment
> >camps during World War II from 1941 to 1945. Descendants of the
> >centuries-old American slave trade, which flourished from 1619 to 1865,
> >are as deserving of compensation, the group said.
> >
> >Not so, countered Stanford University professor Clayborne Carson.
> >
> >The Japanese-Americans compensated under the 1988 Civil Liberties Act
> >were people who actually suffered the indignity of being uprooted in the
> >name of national security following Japan's 1941 bombing of Pearl
> >Harbor. But the slave descendants seeking recompense are many
> >generations removed from their relatives who toiled under the lash, the
> >U.S. history professor said.
> >
> >Rather than focusing on the distant past, the well-intentioned people
> >seeking reparations should strive to remedy the problems that continue
> >to plague black communities, Carson said.
> >
> >"What about getting reparation for the poor education, the poor housing,
> >the discrimination that's happening right at the moment," he said. "A
> >terrible wrong was done, but it's not to me a moral or ethical question
> >of righting a wrong: What is the best way of resolving the present-day
> >problems of black people?"
> >
> >So far the opponents of compensation have prevailed.
> >
> >And President Clinton has rejected calls that he formally apologize to
> >the descendants for the government's preservation of slavery as a legal
> >institution from colonial days until ratification of the 13th Amendment.
> >He did express regret, during a trip to Africa in 1998, for U.S.
> >involvement in the slave trade that emanated from that continent.
> >
> >Critics of his refusal to apologize to the descendants say Clinton fears
> >such a statement would add fuel to the reparations movement. But White
> >House spokeswoman Elizabeth Newman denied the allegation, saying the
> >president has worked hard to enforce civil rights laws and eradicate
> >persistent discrimination against all races.
> >
> >Dorothy Benton Lewis, the coalition's co-chair, said the 4,000-member
> >organization remains "undaunted" by its lack of success in securing
> >reparations.
> >
> >"You have to do what you have to do, no matter how long it takes," she
> >said.
> >
> >Lewis said she did not know how many descendants would be eligible for
> >compensation, adding that the calculation of beneficiaries would require
> >more careful study, perhaps by a congressionally delegated commission.
> >
> >At the conclusion of its conference June 20, the coalition said it
> >intends to file a lawsuit against the federal government to recover
> >compensation for descendants of slaves.
> >
> >---
> >
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> "Having resentment is like taking poison and waiting
> for the other person to die" -- Malachy McCourt.
> --- from list ---

A sign that victim culture remains strong. The public need for justification
but perhaps the private desire for a chunk of $8trillion.

	--- from list ---


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