Is An Apology For Slavery Enough?

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Florida apologized last month for the state's role in slavery — a history the legislature called, "shameful." Marvin Dunn's grandmother's father was a slave in Florida, and he's left wondering why he doesn't feel any better, given the apology:

Maybe it's because the apology is a meaningless act that only a dolt or outright racist would oppose. It cost the state nothing and of course, there was not a word about the thorny question of reparations. As one of the African Americans to whom the apology was aimed, it was not enough.

Dunn wrote an op-ed in Sunday's Miami Herald, laying out four specific steps that he believes would make the apology meaningful. What do you think? Does an apology make any difference? Should states go further?



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As a Floridian, I find Governor Crist's proposal for reparations irresponsible when the state is having trouble funding basic services like Medicaid and education. Furthermore, as a taxpayer, I find it morally repugnant that I may be assigned financial responsibility for slavery when all of my ancestors wore blue uniforms in the Civil War, and one, Colonel William Frishmuth, spent a great deal of his own money to outfit an African-American Pennsylvania regiment.

Sent by Henry Cheney | 2:26 PM | 4-7-2008

I think that before anyone discusses reparations, The people in the U.S. should discuss how policies during slavery, jim crow, and during the 1900's gave white Americans a huge head start in life when compared to black Americans. The federal government's FHA denied loans to black American and mixed American communities while building almost exclusively white suburbs during the 1930's and beyond. This was also a time when the America government built the interstate system and how millions of jobs were created mainly for white men. Then there are all kind of unions that were started, growing, and expanding during this time period as well and almost all non-white Americans were excluded. All of the actions taken together created the American middle class today while also creating the disparities (life expectancy, education, income, unemployment, housing wealth, etc) that exist today between whites and black Americans.

Sent by McDonald | 2:41 PM | 4-7-2008

One proposal for reparations that would be meaningful and productive would be to give full enfranchisement back to felons, at least those who have served their time in prisons and completed their debt to society. Since a higher proportion of African Americans and other people of color are imprisoned and lose their voting rights along with other privileges of citizenship such as social welfare assistance and eligibility for college loans, restoring the right to representation of all Americans would be a positive step towards reparation to the present generations of African Americans. This would demonstrate sincerity and a true love for democracy. It would also eliminate the opportunity for denial of voting rights and other crooked practices at the polling stations. Let Florida lead the way for other states of the union.

Sent by Bush | 10:46 PM | 4-11-2008

its easy not to want to give,african americans money for the wealth that was stolen for free labor,and still going on today, by the lynching of the black families of america.billions of dollars goes out of america, to other countries on a yearly basis. not any coming back in any form that profits the american public. not one trucking company or any warehouse any sears,macys, any television station own by and african american,due to racism still going on in america.a movie a tv show, showing the so called social economic gains of blacks are an out right jock. and they are jockers dancing for the boss, and singing for their own need there own hollywood there own supermarkets, there auto dealerships.not being robbed by the courts and banks.with high interest rates. and to tell there own history of what they know of it.not ann colier telling she has had enough of this race talk during the just got civil rights in the 60s after Dr.Martin being killed. the Jews,irish,english,and every other ameria have all profitted of unequal wealth,through that slavery.with there publication of hate and the violance still instutionalized,from that liberty of the coler of there skin,we cant hide our skin and fit apologize is a jesus christ asked the jews then .you agree that your fathers murdered the prophets,you are just as guilty for you agree they was your fathers.its the same here. repay the Japanese for there part in the attack on america, help rebuild there land.rebuild germany ,iraq etc. but not to build up your own country men who do not and have no where to go,but america where 26 billion dollars are spent by that group,but not one cent comes back,imagine if money was paid to the of spring of them slaves,how much of it would stimulate the economy,in their own communities, the business started, the independence of those let out though the institution of a slave mentality.white or black.its about the money,just as any business,would tell you ti the bottom line,i,e. money!

Sent by Mr.Mitchell. | 9:42 PM | 4-16-2008

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