Posted: October 17th, 2013
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Some people are not of the opinion that African Americans should be compensated because of the hardships their ancestors endured. They claim that they would never hold someone as a slave, and that their families did not have any slaves. They do not understand why reparation is important. Perhaps the fundamental question they should ask themselves is whether America would be the success it is today had it not been for the slaves. All the slaves were African Americans shipped from the countries against their will, and sold to the wealthy Europeans, who in turn brought them to America. They left their home, where they had freedom and property. They worked and toiled in farms and homes without pay. The farms became successful, and the industries grew because of their effort. The owners of the farms and the industries raked in a lot of money, and they did not have many expenses to pay since they did not spend much money on the worker’s wages or any other benefits. The African Americans were denied the rights to necessities such as education. They lacked the opportunity to grow and move on with their lives.
Many white people in America treated blacks with indifference and hatred. They tortured and insulted them, and they did not see them as humans. At one time, they were considered a third of a human being. The whites realized that giving the blacks the opportunity to learn how to read and write would liberate them. The white people did not want them to become economically independent. They knew that once the blacks had an opportunity, they would compete with them, and even surpass them in wealth. They ensured that they did not have access to education. This means that the blacks remained poor even after slavery was abolished. They did not know any profession, and some of them continued to work in farms as sharecroppers. Since they did not have money, they did not send their children to schools. Those who were fortunate enough to get to the elementary level did not continue to the universities. Few of them persisted, even with the problems of segregation, and separate and unequal schools. The trend has continued to this day. Many of the poor people in America today are blacks. Most of them have broken all the barriers, and they have attained success in different sectors. They have however not forgotten how their ancestors had to fight for freedom and equality (Martin & Yaquinto, 2007).
The African Americans should be compensated. When people do not pay for something, they do not know how much it hurts, and they are bound to repeat it many times. Obviously many white people did not support slavery, especially in the northern states. They did not own slaves, and they fought to ensure that the black people were treated as equals. Some of them fought in the civil rights war. Some black people owned slaves. They were in charge of slaves, and they were involved in the slave trade. No one can claim to live in slavery today, and this is the main reason why many white people are opposed to the idea of reparation. Not all the families benefited from slavery since they did not engage it (Salzberger & Turck, 2004).
When considering reparation, it is important to point out that the issue should not just be about the money. It is possible to compensate the people with money but still have the same attitude. The situation for the black community has changed tremendously since the sixties, when many of them died during the civil movement. Measures should be implemented to ensure that people are not judged based on the color of their skin. They should be given the same opportunity as whites in all areas. In other words, reparation should be about restoring the respect and human dignity of the African Americans. It is time for blacks to be regarded as Americans, and not just African Americans.
Martin, T. M., & Yaquinto, M. (2007). Redress for historical injustices in the United States: On reparations for slavery, Jim Crow, and their legacies. Durham, NC Duke University Press
Salzberger, P. R., & Turck, M. (2004). Reparations for slavery: A reader. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield
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