Reparations for slavery

Essay by jgluvnaCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2002

download word file, 2 pages 3.5

Reparations for slavery, once a fringe issue touted by a motley mix of

black separatists, zealots and crackpots and that respected mainstream civil

rights leaders shunned, have now been slammed onto the nation's public-policy


Leaders of the NAACP, the Urban League and the Congressional Black Caucus

all agree that reparations have merit. Outside of President George W. Bush's

national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, no other prominent black dares to

publicly denounce reparations. Even some top white politicians, such as Chicago

Mayor Richard Daley, have given a passing nod to reparations as valid for

consideration. The Washington reparations march Saturday aimed to put pressure

on Congress and the administration to soften their resistance to reparations.

However, there is a simple reason Bush will not embrace reparations. He

reads the opinion polls, and they show that the overwhelming majority of

whites, other non-blacks and even many blacks think that reparations are a bad

idea. And the numbers aren't close. A CNN/USA Today poll taken after blacks

filed two well-publicized reparations lawsuits last February found that 75

percent of Americans said corporations should not pay reparations, and a

whopping 90 percent said the government should not pay reparations.

Reparations advocates have grabbed at every argument in the book to dent

the wall of public resistance. They offer assurances that black millionaires,

corporate presidents, superstar athletes and entertainers won't get a dime of

reparations money, that it will go to programs to aid the black poor and that

it won't guilt-trip all whites. They point out that Japanese Americans and

Holocaust survivors have gotten reparations.

These arguments still fall on deaf ears. The reparations movement can't

shake the public tag that it is a movement exclusively of, by and for blacks.

Despite countless speeches pleading for racial brotherhood and interracial

cooperation by...