But Some Black Caucus Members Have Concerns
Washington – The Senate passed a resolution Thursday calling on the United States to apologize officially for the enslavement and segregation of millions of African-Americans and to acknowledge “the fundamental injustice, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws.”
The resolution, sponsored with little fanfare by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, passed on a voice vote. It now moves to the House of Representatives, where it may meet an unlikely foe; members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Several Caucus members expressed concerns Thursday about a disclaimer that states that “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.
Some caucus members think that the disclaimer is an attempt to stave off reparations claims form the descendants of slaves. Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said that her organization is studying the language of Harkin’s resolution.Other members said they have read it and don’t like it.
“Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “A number of us are prepared to vote against it in its present form. There are several memebers of the Progressive Caucus who feel the same way.”
Thompson and other caucus members noted that a 1998 apologythe government issued to the Japanese-Americans held in U.S. camps during World War II had no disclaimer and didn’t prevent them form receiving compensation.” (NOTE: No compensation has been given or is planned at this time).
“The language is unacceptable,” said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., “I’m a reparations man – how else do you repair the damage.”
I am only going to point out a couple of things. When you vote against an apology because you can’t get any money out of it, that tells me you couldn’t care less about the issue and care only about the money. Also, drawing parallels between Slavery and the Japanese American camps is a faulty comparison. There are still people alive today who were held in those camps. There are zero people alive today that were held in slavery, such that any money given would go to descendants that were not held in slavery.
Beyond these statements I withhold any further judgments on the issue and leave you dear reader to decide.
UPDATE: Another issue, any reparations given by the federal government would of course come out of tax money. Thus you would be punishing people who had no role in slavery.