“Sorry About the Whole Free Labor, Discrimination Thing!”

This was in the Hot Topics, but it’s worth the front page all on its own.

From reader PanAfya Editor:

From Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation and sent the measure to the House.

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.

The Senate has passed such nonbinding but highly symbolic resolutions before, apologizing for such things as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The resolution passed Thursday includes a disclaimer saying that nothing in it supports or authorizes reparations by the United States.

How do folks feel about these public apologies? On one hand, I think if the US government sets the precedent of apologizing (e.g., to those put in Japanese concentration camps) and one HUGE apology is necessary for Slavery and Jim-Crow. On the other hand, these do nothing to change the reality of life for black folks so why bother?

Thoughts? Feelings?

15 thoughts on ““Sorry About the Whole Free Labor, Discrimination Thing!”

  1. It makes me feel a little better. It doesn’t fix anything but it shows, maybe, a softening and greater understanding of the wrongs done by this country. Of course my Mom always says, don’t say sorry, sorry doesn’t do a damn thing. Besides, we’ve been looking bad, other countries, including England I believe, have apologized. Sometimes symbols are good,

  2. kisses from brusies don’t make them heal back as the Pharcyde would say.. and I agree.. I need a little more than sorry.. I need a general acknowledgement of how this provided a messed up foundaiton for the country the still screws us all today….and if you would’ve done this under a white president.. I would take it much more seriously….

  3. Nice gesture but… hmm, I think my sentiment is best summed up in the words of Ntozake Shange:one thing I don’t needis any more apologiesi got sorry greetin me at my front dooryou can keep yrsi don’t know what to do wit emthey don’t open doorsor bring the sun backthey don’t make me happyor get a mornin paperdidn’t nobody stop usin my tears to wash carscuz a sorry. ~from for Colored Girls

  4. I would like to know the political motivation for this apology. But i guess this is why it took them so long, because they know many Black Americans aren’t going to be satisfied with just a regular apology-lol

  5. At least once a year, I hear someone equate slavery with job opportunity. With all the revisionist history that occurs, it’s nice knowing that the government itself acknowledges that this was a horrible and inexcusable in our history; that’s more than we can say for Pat Buchanan or Soulja Boy.

  6. Well, it’s makes the congress critters feel good about themselves. The disclaimer is a nice touch. Really, this will just be fodder for right wing radio: "We apologized for it–can you stop throwing it in our faces now!"

  7. i’m pretty well read. or at least i thought i was. you’d think this "apology" would be everywhere. maybe i’m just caught up in new student orientation madness at my job but i haven’t heard shit about this until you posted it. so that there tells me that this is pretty empty. i also second OneChele’s sentiment.

  8. The US should apologize for the way the gov’t abandoned its new citizens for the next hundred years after slavery not for slavery itself. While it is true that an apology can not make up for the past it can’t hurt either.

  9. It’s never too late to say I’m sorry or thank you when it is due.Acknowledgment cannot change the past, yet it has a way, when sincere, of moving us beyond what happened then and into where do we go from here.Unfortunately, that disclaimer sits like a stinkin turd on top of what otherwise could’ve been a healing gesture. It feels like the Senators are giving us a friendly hug before vulgarly groping our butts.

  10. I think the sentiment could be well worth it, however it clearly doesn’t do anything about fixing the current situation that slavery and discrimination has put so many of us in. Can people today, our government, white people, be blamed for the slavery that happened so long ago? No. So I don’t necessarily think that they have any reason to apologize for it. However, I would like some recognition about the continued discrimination. Don’t apologize for a mistake made by just about every ‘advanced’ country centuries ago. Apologize for the hate that we encounter today and try to take further steps in ending it.

  11. Jesse:Why should the gov’t apologize for today’s discrimination? The gov’t doesn’t have anything to do with today’s discrimination. Even if the gov’t did what you ask, I doubt it will change one bigoted person outlook. Only time and education can do that.

  12. My feeling is kinda "meh"…and hey didn’t the Japanese who were put in camps get reparations. Reparations dammit! I want 40 acres and they can even keep the mule. ( I’m not really entitled to any of it, since I’m not descended from former US slaves, but still, in principle I want a shot at gaming the system for my 40)

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