Congressional Black Caucus Rejects Slavery Apology without Reparations
By News Staff
June 24, 2009
(Washington, DC) - When African Americans reached out for a handshake to accept the apology for slavery from the Senate, Senators returned the gesture by slapping us right in the face. Senate members have drafted an unprecedented official apology for the horrors of slavery and Jim Crowism, yet they included a resolution that attempts to avoid the issue of reparations for the descendants of American slaves. Congressional Black Caucus members' faces are flush from the stinging roundhouse slap. They feel spat upon, and the CBC rightfully demands an apology for the faulty slavery vindication from their colleagues in Congress.
The so-called slavery apology includes this blaring disclaimer: “Nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.”
Never mind that House members finally acknowledge publicly that our ancestors built the very U.S. Capitol building that Congress has used to pass laws that have historically crippled African American progress. The Senate’s apology seems to say never mind that the incredible edifices of power in Washington were built from the labor of the back of slaves. It says never mind that we built this country through our blood and sweat and made this country rich. Never mind that our efforts elevated the nation to world superpower status and made many of white American slaveholding descendants very wealthy. And never mind that many of the Founding Fathers were slaveholders who were able to acquire and maintain their riches because of their vast stables of free black labor.
Many members of the CBC — as well as many African Americans in general — believe that we are entitled to some form of financial retribution for the centuries of unspeakable inhumanity and brutality. “Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology,” Rep. Bennie Thompson said. “A number of us are prepared to vote against it in its present form.” Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.] told CQ Politics that “if that’s what it says, I don’t support it.”
When the United States government wrongfully rounded up Japanese Americans like cattle and herded them into concentration camps during World War II, the feds offered a formal apology AND gave them reparations. The government even gave reparations to Jews for the horrors of the Holocaust, even though the U.S. was not directly involved in that unbelievable atrocity. And get this, the United States even rebuilt Germany and Japan —our enemies during WWII — after the was over.