|Recent polls show that 75.4 percent of African Americans think this country
should pay them reparations. Seven percent say, "No, what's past is past and
we should move forward instead of backwards," and 12 percent are for the idea
of compensation but don't think blacks living today are eligible for claims.
The "Black Voices" on-line poll also reveals: 66.3 percent of African
Americans think a formal apology by the government for slavery should
accompany reparations. While 12 percent said, "No. Today's whites weren't
alive during slavery and shouldn't apologize for something over which they
had no control."
Most blacks agree that slavery is a terrible stain on this nation's history,
we just can't all agree on what should be done about it 130 years after it
was abolished. But, in a democratic society isn't it the majority that
rules? If we follow American statutes, we should embark on that which is
popular with the majority of us.
The fact that slavery no longer exists does not change the historical fact
that today's white Americans are still reaping benefits of the early economic
advantage slavery provided them. Slavery, Jim Crow laws and institutional
racism have given whites an obvious economic monopoly. No matter what
integrationist blacks say, the fact that African Americans have shorter life
spans; higher rates of unemployment, incarnation and health problems; and
have less wealth accumulation, is a direct result of the effects of slavery.
While the majority of whites are resistant to compensating blacks for the
horrors of discrimination and enslavement, the majority of African Americans
make no broad-based, sustained movement for reparations. Is the reason that
many African Americans have been so concerned with assimilating into the
system that reparations has not been their objective? The gullible among us
still base their hopes on affirmative action programs, while the majority of
blacks agree we are entitled to reparations, but view the struggle to achieve
this goal as a pipe dream.
Isn't it time that the majority of blacks' opinion on reparations be heard?
When will we push the envelope in our interests? When will those African
Americans who worked so hard on getting Al Gore elected president unleash
similar gusto toward getting reparations?
Why hasn't that Black Majority marched and written letters for reparations
the way they have on the electoral political front? Do they know about H.R.
40 and what their personal actions can do to effect its passage? Congressman
John Conyers has continuously introduced this bill for the past 15 years, but
it has never had support like we've given to never-gonna-end "racial
H.R. 40 is a bill that would create a national commission to study the impact
of slavery and recommend measures to remedy damages done to African Americans
as a consequence of it. This bill has never garnered enough support to be
voted on by the full House of Representatives. Why? Because blacks have
done little more than talk among themselves about reparations.
If you are for reparations, when was the last time that you wrote to your
member of congress demanding his/her support of H.R. 40? Would you believe
that getting an apology and reparations payment is as simple as 12 million
registered African-Americans voters calling -but writing is better - their
William Reed is the author of "Who's Who in Black Corporate America." For questions or comments email him at email@example.com.