Repayment for Pangs of Slavery - Reparations?
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
How do you stand on this Hearing on Reparations we saw on Capitol Hill on TV today? [Added by Griffin: Hearing by the House Judiciary Committee. Democrat from Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee wants to create a commission to look at a "national apology" for slavery and discrimination against African Americans, potentially including compensation.]
Sheila Griffin for Congress - FL 13th 07/06/2019 (Amended 07/29/2019)
Hi John. The Reparations Questions is Interesting. It took me a moment to answer. For Democrats, making a request or demand at this time, for the candidates to agreeing to “study reparations” is a ploy to gain votes; not a real discussion of individual Democratic (Dixiecrat) led southern states’ abhorrent history of stealing bodies and the soul of generations through institutionalized slavery and subjugation. Even now espousing socialism is a way to steal wages and decrease middle class as they are laden with the burden of massive taxation.
As an African American, I have been asked by some to just say yes to get money for pangs of ancestral slavery. The story of our family is that my great great grandparents hail from two separate slave plantations in the north western Florida towns of Madison and Quincy, known for their atrocities. Like Ocoee, Perry, Cedar Key and other places throughout the south, intimidation and death were a norm of oppressive policies and politics. Loss of land, business, churches, community and life continually dispossessed them of inheritance and plunged these communities and their generations into subordinate and economically inferior positions. Yes, the harm was great!
Once a harm is identified, the second question is who is the perpetrator. This is important!
Globally, the United States, and the State of Florida can, and in some instances has, issued an apology for our legacy of slavery. Yet, the harm those injured are entitled to compensation from the people who perpetrated the harm. Today, in the United States, third or fourth generations from slaves are asking a totally different question.
In the current climate, the issue is broad – asking:
a. Whether the government (national, northern, southern, eastern and western states), b. should be obligated to pay reparations to individuals ( persons of African descent, freed or slave heritage; immigrant, or colonizers) with melanin or percentages African DNA?
c. from the national treasury (whether or not their ancestors were involved in the subjuga- tion and stripping away of human dignity)
My answer is No.
I personally disavow any entitlement from such a non-descriptive question. While I do believe in governmental participation in developing policies to promote equity, equality and justice, they are usually accomplished through the removal of barriers and enhancements of opportunity for all, not emptying the national coffers for select populations. What’s next? - women, Indians, denominations, LGBTQ, Italians, Asians and so on it goes. Out nation has not been immune from those whose heinous acts follow their greed, but the government's mandate is to assure access and liberty for all.
Frederick Douglass, an acclaimed Black Republican wrote on "Race and Liberty in America" The Essential Reader, addressing agreement with the slave owner owing compensation directly to slaves.