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African Salvery And Reparation Essay

2049 words - 9 pages

Ladies and gentlemen; I don't believe that anyone in thischamber would move to disagree with the idea that slavery was anatrocity, committed from the depths of the darkest parts of the humansole. Africans were seized from their native land, and sold intolives of servitude into a foreign land. Indeed, it was a tragedy onsuch a scale that cannot be measured nor quantified. And it is thisvery notion of unquantifiable tragedy which speaks to the matter ofreparations for slavery. To be quite blunt, reparations, even if theymay be deserved, are not feasible under any system or economic tangent- indeed such an undertaking would only not remedy the situation, butit would sink Africa and her people ...view middle of the document...

Does this sound like mending the deep runningwounds and damage done to Africa, or like a transfer of monetary fundsin order to "fix" Africa? Indeed, this idea of presenting money toAfrica in order to "apologize" for what we have done is nothing morethan a quick fix solution - it is not a long-term remedy for theunderlying structural damage. The very center of Africa has beenchanged, for better or for worse. Surface solutions, while some mayclaim they are "a good beginning" or perhaps just a token of ourapologetic state, will only further social damage and entrench abusiveAfrican regimes. A cognate situation with African Americans is withthat of Afrocentric history (Asante, 174); many suggest that perhapswe ought to provide black student with their own curriculum, such asto instill in them a sense of pride that will improve their education.The U.S. News and World Report comments:"The Afrocentric curriculum is usually presented as anattempt to develop pride in black children by giving them a racialhistory... But what kind of pride and self-esteem is likely to growfrom false history? And how much more cynical will black childrenbe if they discover that they have been conned once again, onlythis time by Afrocentrists? ... It is a sure-fire formula forseparatism and endless racial animosity (Leo, 26)"This author suggests that indeed, conferring upon youths of Africandescent their own "different" history will not only further the racialsegregation, but also provide them with a false sense of history,fueling the animosity. If the rest of the world were to suddenly stepdown and bestow upon Africa special privileges and grants, it wouldonly create a sense among the global village that Africans are'different' and require some sort of special assistance in order tosucceed. This type of compensatory system would not only beinsufficient to ever repay blacks for the injustice to them, but alsofurther the rigid separatism that plagues African Americans today -what they need is equality, not special programs catered to whatguilty-feeling Europeans feel they "owe" them.Aside from any philosophical or idea-based arguments againstreparations, there exist a number of logistical barriers to repayingblacks for their suffering. Immediate questions arise in the realm ofdistribution - it is intuitive that such reparations would bedifficult to distribute, much less to decide how much, or where toplace the funds or assistance. The questions are impossible toanswer: who was the most oppressed? Which family or group of peoplereceived the cruelest treatment - should they get the most money orassistance? Such questions cannot be decided, nor is it fair toquantify or compare the suffering of different people - if we startedto hand out assistance, some would invariably demand more than others.Some of African descent were never taken into slavery, nor wereoppressed by whites - even if one believed they are deserved ofreparations, it would be impossible for an international body...

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