Thursday, June 18, 2009
The AP is reporting that the Senate has passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation.
"Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin first introduced the measure years ago but wanted it passed Thursday on the eve of Juneteenth - a day of celebration commemorating the end of the Civil War and the release of African Americans from slavery. He said the House is to take it up soon and that a formal celebration will be held next month in the Capitol Rotunda."I might substitute the word "ceremony" for "celebration" for the Rotunda event, understanding that Juneteenth is indeed a celebration. Once the measure has passed the House, perhaps it would be fitting if the First Lady and her mother were present in the Rotunda, since they are descendants of slaves in this country (though President Obama is not). I can imagine that the event will be positive and dignified, but also somber in some sense.
Perhaps it would also be fitting to have a few descendants of Union soldiers attend the ceremony, as a part of the background, since the Union Army provided the muscle that was necessary to unlock the shackles, at great cost in blood.
Unbelievable. If anyone in the U.S. Senate really cares about slavery, perhaps they should focus on Mali and arab slavery throughout the Saharan generally. The much misunderstood Darfur situation is at it's root a problem of slave raiding. Grander things like slavery apologies should be left to the poobahs of the Senate. For me, an average citizen, I merely hope to avoid becoming a slave myself (to the goddam government!).
"E81: Perhaps it would also be fitting to have a few descendants of Union soldiers attend the ceremony"
But that might make white folks feel good. You misunderstand: this event is all about making white folks feel bad.
We care about slavery caused by the American people and the American laws.
Like all nations, our priorities are self-interested, then if we have excess resources, we will be a little altruistic.
I don't believe in reparations through money, land or other means since that would be too expensive. Too bad for descendants of slaves, but slavery wasn't limited to blacks, but all ethnic groups have been slaves at least once in history. There is really no total justice and it isn't served uniformly. Only through strength can you ensure your survival and avoid great harm.
"Perhaps it would also be fitting to have a few descendants of Union soldiers attend the ceremony, as a part of the background, since the Union Army provided the muscle that was necessary to unlock the shackles, at great cost in blood."
Thanks for that. Even President Obama forgets that Americans, some of them immigrants right off the boat, paid a very high price to end slavery, and still managed to keep the Union whole.
I apologize for not understanding who is apologizing for what to whom and also for not having any really good ideas for what I should personally, as a patriotic gesture, apologize for.
I always thought an apology was to correct a wrong and seek forgiveness. "I'm sorry. I accept your apology and forgive you" seems so ridiculous when the issue is something so horrendous as slavery. I also thought that for it to work you had to have the participation of the one doing the wrong and the one wronged.
And who is it that is to be forgiven? Those long dead? By now, many of us are related to those who supported and fought slavery. Are we both good and bad because our grandparents were?
Maybe all of us who had no choice in how we got here are owed an apology.
This is picking at a wound, not healing it. This is style over substance, a diversion from the many crazy things which are being done on our behalf. This is political theater. This is nurturing a tribal grievance so it will be with us forever.
This obscures the good which has been done (duly noted at great cost for many) and confuses the priorities in the work remaining. It is a dour note with which to inspire a nation troubled by a dangerous present.
There. Any minute I'm going to say what I really think.
Amusing fact: Obama can come to the ceremony and represent the slaveholders. One of the minor things I learned about this strange man during the campaign was that his mother was descended from at least one slaveholder.
(His father may have been, too. East African Muslims often were often assistants to Arab slave traders.)
In the Grand scheme of what is going on in America. This apology is an absolute Joke and means nothing. But when your leadership in the Senate is a bunch of headless hearts nothing else needs to be said.
TH--noting the comments especially from pieces of dogshit like Mr. Ed, feeblemind and Dawnfire, I think privately you and me have and will agree that some white men STILL just don't get it. I feel bad, somber, for you...for having to tolerate these clowns for the sake of rightie solidarity on other matters or blogposts.
Hey Chrissy, when do I get an apology from Dinkins, Brown, Sharpton, Farrakhan and Jackson for Crown Heights? In fact, I ought to get an apology from *you* - you had more to do with Crown Heights than, say, Joe Lieberman had to do with slavery.
"Is this how you leftists come to consensus? Insulting people who don't have the correct opinion as 'dogshit' who 'don't get it' and shouldn't be tolerated?"
As a matter of fact, DF, that *is* how they come to consensus.
When did people start thing they needed to apologize for something that someone else did?
But while were are going there how about this food for thought. Since the Republicans freed the slaves, while the Democrats fought to keep them, it should be the Democratic Party that does the apologizing. The Republicans belong to a party that never supported slavery.
Sorry, first sentence should read, "When did people start thinking they needed to apologize for actions that were not their own?"
Seriously, last week a friend apologized for something that someone else did. It was a very strange moment. I certainly wasn't raised like that. Is it an East Coast cultural phenomenon?
Much of the commentary seems focused upon the meaning of apology, whereas Christopher's beef is with slavery's demerits. I'm confident that the Horse, et al, do not endorse slavery, nor are insouciant toward its devastating consequences. They are rankled by the notion of apologizing for the actions of others. Seems to me that much of the air in this debate would be released if the word "regret" had been used. No doubt, the anti-reparations folks would remain suspicious. But it defuse much of the discussion.
As for me, I sometimes say I'm sorry (instinctively) when someone runs into me. Solid midwestern manners married with a measure of philosophical confusion. Go figure.
Perhaps part of my confusion stems from my failure to appreciate that it's the US Government, a public corporation, that's apologizing- not on my behalf- but on its own as a person under the law. I suppose a corporation, public or private, can apologize, thank, express regret, etc. It's not a collective apology- it's an personal to the entity, however odd that may seem. In that sense, it's appropriate for it to apologize for its own actions/inactions.
Does Obama need to apologize to Michelle, as he has oppressor ancestors on his white side but no legacy of American slavery on his black side? Do Malia and Sasha get half an apology each? This is a somewhat silly exercise in "feel good" but it sets up a more serious point. Now that we've elected a black President isn't it time to revisit things.
The Supreme Court will likely decide Ricci v DeStefano (New Haven Firefighters) in the next few weeks. The Court could decide narrowly on just 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, but the facts present the opportunity for a broader ruling -- certainly we can discuss it that way.
If you look back to Obama's time as a law professor, you can divine his views on Ricci. Obama would say that tests for positions like the fire department should only be for basic minimal qualifications -- e.g., can you read? Once you establish minimal competency, hiring and promotion should be done by lottery. It's different for jobs like law professor -- then you need an Ivy League pedigree. Jobs for the more equal pigs require talent, but not for the rest of the residents of Obama's Animal Farm.
I'm a bit familiar with these kinds of civil service exams. JC, a guy in my high school class got the #1 score on the NYPD sergeant's exam -- that wasn't easy. It's not an IQ test but you need a good brain to do well. You also need to internalize a mind-numbing amount of police department detail. To pass this test required committing hundreds of hours of unpaid study time. It's worse than studying the CPLR for the New York bar exam. But as a test it screened well for the future administrators/managers in the NYPD. JC went on to a successful career as a high level manager in the NYPD. In part, the sergeant's test was a screen for his commitment. He had to want it.
Title VII was adopted in 1964 to remove barriers, not to guarantee outcomes. As I write I'm looking at the amicus brief filed by the NAACP in the Ricci case, which argues that in this context "consciousness of race" shouldn't trigger "strict scrutiny" because Frank Ricci wasn't disadvantaged. There's a lot of parsing of "race conscious actions" -- which are OK -- and "race based actions" -- which aren't OK. If you label it one way, you get one legal outcome; label it the other way, the opposite -- that's the way Supreme Court jurisprudence works. Understand that the seminal Supreme Court decisions in this area -- Griggs v Duke Power (1971) -- is completely at odds with the clear intent of the 1964 Congress that adopted the Civil Rights Right Act, as Griggs injected "disparate outcome" into the analysis.
There's an issue in this case that affected the lower court rulings -- could New Haven legitimately overturn the test because it feared getting sued. Talk about bootstrapping an outcome.
So here's my radical proposal -- we should repeal the Civil Rights Act in its entirety. It's achieved its purpose. Government should get out of the business of policing for racial and gender based equality. This is one of several radical initiatives that would remake America as the great open society we once were. Back to the Future, anyone?
What say you Mr Chambers? Or do you think you've been more disadvantaged -- and thus deserve more from society -- than Frank Ricci?
You are correct, we are writing about the apology, since that is what the blog post is about.
Do not mind Christopher Chambers, he is troll who acts as if personal attacks advance the discussion, or something.
It is about blacks, whining. Making them slaves was the best thing ever done to them, given Africa's present and past train of horrors. The desegration case was the worst thing for them, because it robbed them of their self-reliance. I wish white people with common sense and intestinal fortitude, like commenters above claim to have, would just come out and say it, rather than polka around it in the comments. That makes you no better than these panderers and the misguided, misbegotten liberal Jews-as opposed to the ones fighting terrorism in the real world.
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Anon, that is why most of us ignore him. He pops in, insults people, throws out a few racist epithets and leaves. He rarely if ever returns to defend his opinions. He seems to be nothing more than a troll intent on wasting our time by trying to steal the spotlight away from the critical issue we are discussing.
A few questions for Mr. Chambers:
1. Who amongst the current living Americans who have never been slaveowners (or knew anyone who was) is going to actually apologize?
2. Who amongst the current Black Americans who have never been slaves (or knew anyone who was) is going to accept the apology?
3. If this leads to reparations, do we get to deduct the trillion or so dollars we have spent on Welfare, Affirmative Action and Armani-styled bullet proof suits for Obama?
4. If the apology is accepted, does that mean that Blacks are no longer victims and others can start to criticize them without being called racists?
5. My descendants came over from Ireland in the 1870's. If I join in the apology, can I get reparations for the Potato Famine?
6. Does this whole thing make you feel the LEAST BIT silly?
Mr. Chambers, your failure to respond will be taken as a general agreement with my attitude toward this abject foolishness.
Could we all get some serious government around here??? Maybe just a little???
To Mr Chambers,
This should be your issue -- I'm surprised youi're not all over it. So, the gauntlet's been thrown. If you don't pick it up you're nothing more than a class clown, and a not very funny one.
Present day US black political movements are morally and intellectually illegitimate -- they're all Al Sharpton-like shakedowns. This wasn't the world that MLK and Malcolm X were fighting for. Tell me where I'm wrong.
We're past the need for racial quotas -- and gender quotas too -- they should be thrown out. Mr Chambers, if it makes you feel better, in my view Princeton should be free to favor your kids over mine, as legacies and for being black. It's Princeton's call.
p.s. to Mr Chambers. You've got to start tipping your white waitresses ... and its 20%. Had you started a few years ago we could have grandfathered you at 15%.