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Repremation

Essay by   •  December 12, 2010  •  1,953 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,507 Views

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Imagine being out in the fields hunting with your father. It has been a long day and a spitted warthog hangs between you. All of a sudden you are ambushed! An enemy tribe attacks you and your father. You fight using your makeshift spear but are overwhelmed by the number of tribesmen. You are hit in the head with a rock and fall unconscious. When you wake you are being loaded into a great wooden monster. You cringe in fear as you and your fellow captives are herded into this great wooden beast. You scream in protest at the white men who have chained you but they just beat you on the head with their rifles. You are taken into a dark and disgusting hold. The prisoners next to you are screaming in fear. The smell of waste and vomit permeates everything. As a white man chains you down below you think of your family and realize you are never going to see them again. Sleep comes slowly because of the cries of pain and misery; the rocking of the floor eventually puts you to sleep. A long time has passed. Your days consist of sleeping in your own filth, eating a disgusting porridge, and rarely seeing outside your hold. But one day the hold is opened and bright light blinds you. You are lifted to your weakened legs and led outside. The land is alien to you, and white men are everywhere. You are paraded in front of a great throng of white people. The humiliation is great as you are poked and inspected. Eventually you are shackled and loaded onto a horse-drawn cart. The ride is long and uncomfortable and the destination more frightening. You have no idea what is going to happen to you and are very much afraid. You come to a great house and are taken to the fields around the house. You are given into the custody of a great white brute. He puts you into a small cottage with other black men. You have a very difficult time understanding their languages but eventually they get a message across to you: You are a slave, and will live the rest of your days as one.

This horrific experience happened an innumerable amount of times to the unfortunate victims of slavery. For 400 hundred years families, and sometimes entire communities, were herded onto ships and taken to the America's and other distant lands to be sold into bondage. The sad tale of African American's hardships in America does not end there. After slavery was abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation African Americans were treated as second-class citizens. The inabilities to vote or own land were rights blacks were denied. The "Jim Crow" laws acted as inhibitors to the development and prosperity of the African American community and stayed in place until the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century. After segregation was outlawed the black man was finally counted as an equal in America, five centuries after first setting foot on her (Randall).

Of course the first emotional response to such a grave amount of injustice is outrage. Millions of men, women, and children taken from their homes, transported on ships on which the inanimate cargo received better treatment, and sold to other men as objects. This horrifying and sad fully truthful scenario would disturb anyone with a conscious.

The Mosaic Law demanded that when a fellow man was wronged he be monetarily compensated for the injustice, and the black community feels the same way. Now an old issue is getting an increasing amount of attention: Don't African Americans deserve reparations for the suffering and injustice their people have gone through? Reparations are defined as resources offered in return for harmful acts committed against a population (Reparations For African American Slavery). The offering of reparations is an acknowledgment of responsibility, and an attempt to correct the wrongs of the past, as well as an attempt to repair the damage of the wrongs of the past. The African American community likens their situation to that of the Jews and Japanese Americans. The Israeli government has received nearly 100 billion in German marks for the crimes against Jews during the Holocaust. The American government has also monetarily compensated Japanese Americans for the wrongful internment of their peoples during World War II (Merida). So, the black community asks, "where is our compensation for centuries of free labor and suffering?" Initially, after hearing of the brutal suffering and injustice during slavery, one would agree with this statement. But the situation is more complex than that, and after taking everything into account, the realization that the debt has been paid.

The African American community is the most prosperous black community in the world. The amount of educational and vocational opportunities is more numerous in the United States then any other country. Some of today's black communities clamor for reparations, but reparations to the black community is neither just nor wise. This is true for several reasons: those who would pay are innocent, further victimization of the black community would only bring more damage to it, and the debt has been paid, more than once.

All those who are responsible for slavery, directly or indirectly, are dead. Their immediate families are dead. The only existing entity that benefited from slavery is the United States government. Today's black community that demands reparations demands it from the United States of America. The lowest monetary estimate for damages are around twenty-four trillion dollars (Reparations For African American Slavery). Though some estimate that to repay damages regarding slavery would cost around 900 trillion (MeWhorter). Even for the wealthiest country in the world that amount is too much. Should the payments even be attempted it would fall at the feet of innocent taxpayers. Only one in five whites of the Antebellum South owned slaves. Even if that ratio was applied today the resulting amount of white Americans couldn't possibly pay the damages. It also would not be fair to tax the many immigrants of this country. Millions of today's citizens of America descend from immigrants who had absolutely nothing to do with slavery (Laermont). Should they pay to? Those groups of people who the black community likens themselves too, were paid directly, or to their direct family if the victim had died. This applied in both the case of Jews in the holocaust and Japanese Americans who were interned. The German government continues to pay the Israeli because as a race they were intentionally being exterminated, and as a race they have come together as a nation. This does not apply to today's black community. The last slave or immediate family member of a slave is dead. So why should today's blacks receive money for suffering they did not endure? The question is easy to answer...they should not. The black community also believes there has been long-term damage caused by slavery and

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