The Root of the Problem
This post is based on an article from Time Magazine, Thursday, Apr. 26, 2007, written by Orlando Patterson. The article gives interesting detail of the earliest European settlers in America, at Jamestown.
I have always said that slavery was economically driven. There were Africans that had come over with the earliest settlers, but they were indentured servants, just as many white people were. In fact, at this early stage, blacks and laboring whites interacted on intimate terms. In the 1660's all of this changed and the holocost of American Slavery began. African slaves became cheaper to buy than paying white indentured servants and were seen as less rebellious. By 1662 the children of all slave women were declared slaves in perpetuity. Christianity ceased to be an obstacle to enslavement, and by 1669 a
master could legitimately kill his slave while inflicting punishment. By the end of the 17th century a black person was presumed to be a slave. The white élite, fearful of an insurrectionary union of white servants and
slaves, actively promoted racism and a racially exclusive popular
democracy as a way of dividing and ruling black and white workers. By
glorifying whiteness and restricting the electorate to whites, a bond
of racial solidarity emerged between all classes of whites predicated
on the permanent exclusion of blacks.
Although slavery did not began as an all black thing, due to economic forces and the white, elite's desire to create a new social order, we became the 'bottom-rung' of society. This grave injustice perpetrated against blacks, has enduring social and economic ramifications that can be seen in our society today. Just think, if you were racing in a marathon, but you were not allowed to start for 1.5 hours after everyone and your course was made more difficult by the creators of the race..... How long would it take for you to catch up, if you could!!
We as black people in America, have been put in that position and though we can't blame others for how we are now, we can certainly acknowledge that the institution of slavery was forced upon us and that it is the root cause of just about all our social and cultural problems. I believe that many of our ills are a result of environment and social pathology.
for example, you put any group of people (white,asian, etc.) in a place with very few resources and little hope, you will eventually have members of the group fighting one another to gain the limited resources for their immediate group or family. The majority of black people are not more that a generation or two from poverty!!! Our collective history is one of poverty, sub-par and hostile living environments and denial of education. These factors, while not excusing the fact, weight the balance in favor of human nature taking over and you find people acting in ways that we all find unacceptable!
Should we get Reparations?
I say Yes. I don't know how it should be determined or should it be monetary or not, but something needs to be done. They gave Reparations to the Jewish people. Why not us? Our society, as a whole has been negatively effected far beyond that of the Jews.... they managed to get their own country! Blacks in America have been made late starters in the grand social order of America. We have come a long way and are in better positions to access wealth and other resources, but most of our wealth and influence is held by our athletes and entertainers. While that is great, without the athletes and the entertainers we would be even lower on the collective wealth scale, we still have more to do!
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