Federal Apologies

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Federal Apologies

Postby superglucose » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:29 am UTC

Subtitle: Help me dear god I'm scared.

So there's this site... selectsmart.com, where they have this quiz that tells you which candidate shares the most of your views. I'm very proud to say that McCain was my highest, and my second lowest was huckabee! Yes, I would support Hillary Clinton before that creep... anywho I'm getting off topic.

One of the questions is "22. What would be your ideal candidate's position on SLAVERY REPARATIONS? (The specific actions regarding reparations for slavery include the government apologizing to slave descendants for their hardships, and awarding them financial and/or other compensation.)"

Upon reading this I literally started laughing, and my girlfriend actually looked at me and was like, "What's so funny? Are you ok?" I... took the concept of our federal government wasting its time passing bills that apologized to slave descendants "for their hardships" (notice that we aren't apologizing to anyone for slave's hardships, no, we're apologizing to the decendents for the decendent's hardships, though that just may be an unintended interpretation, it's the one I'm going with) as a joke.

Please tell me our federal government isn't trying to hand out money to random people because once upon a time someone paid by people who are a part of our society took them from their homes.

This concept is scary, especially with the fact that the US government is RUNNING OUT OF MONEY. By the same token, we should send checks to every single person in Nicaragua, because we had a hand in their hardships. And how about the iraqis? Afghanis? Vietnamese? South Koreans? Any other part of a long, long list of nations we interfered with during our policy of containment?

Have we actually sent out checks for this, and secondly, is it likely we will continue sending out these checks? And if we are, are there politicians out there I can support who'll scream, bitch, moan, and wail until these checks stop getting sent out?
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby 22/7 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:19 am UTC

While I'm not personally sure where I stand on the issue, lemme throw in my two cents on a couple of the things you hit on here.
superglucose wrote:notice that we aren't apologizing to anyone for slave's hardships, no, we're apologizing to the decendents for the decendent's hardships, though that just may be an unintended interpretation, it's the one I'm going with
I think at this point apologizing for slavery is "a day late, a dollar short." However, the hardships created by slavery certainly existed in the US during the civil rights movement, why wouldn't they still exist today? Surely you don't believe that the playing field is equal for people of different skin tones in the US?
superglucose wrote:Please tell me our federal government isn't trying to hand out money to random people because once upon a time someone paid by people who are a part of our society took them from their homes.
It's probably more about the hundreds of years of slavery, and less about the hundreds of years of kidnapping.
superglucose wrote:This concept is scary, especially with the fact that the US government is RUNNING OUT OF MONEY.
Surely you meant, "is out of money"? I'm not sure where the present tense would come in here.
superglucose wrote:By the same token, we should send checks to every single person in Nicaragua, because we had a hand in their hardships. And how about the iraqis? Afghanis? Vietnamese? South Koreans?
Not to be too callous about it, but no, we shouldn't. They're not US citizens. While it'd be nice to help them out, too, our first priority has to be us. Much in the same way that, when an airplane loses cabin pressure, the adult must put their own mask on first, and then the mask of the child next to them, if we are to help people in other countries, we must first take care of ourselves. How do you financially help a third-world country when you have no money yourself? (deficit spending, I suppose)
superglucose wrote:Have we actually sent out checks for this, and secondly, is it likely we will continue sending out these checks? And if we are, are there politicians out there I can support who'll scream, bitch, moan, and wail until these checks stop getting sent out?
No offense, but if you're going to get yourself a waste of money to bitch about, check out the ridiculous amounts of pork that get added to bills all the time. "We've got a bill to pass here that'll raise the Congress's salary by 3% next term, and has $245 million in pork attached to it. All in favor?" "AYE!" I'm not usually much for giving the executive branch more power, but allowing pork to be added with immunity and not allowing a line-item veto is ridiculous to me. [/anti-pork rant]
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:14 am UTC

22/7 wrote:
superglucose wrote:By the same token, we should send checks to every single person in Nicaragua, because we had a hand in their hardships. And how about the iraqis? Afghanis? Vietnamese? South Koreans?
Not to be too callous about it, but no, we shouldn't. They're not US citizens. While it'd be nice to help them out, too, our first priority has to be us. Much in the same way that, when an airplane loses cabin pressure, the adult must put their own mask on first, and then the mask of the child next to them, if we are to help people in other countries, we must first take care of ourselves. How do you financially help a third-world country when you have no money yourself? (deficit spending, I suppose)


Yes, cheques should be sent to these countries, and more, to be spent on their citizens. The US fucked them up, either as nations or as individual people, and it should pay, through the nose if necesary, to fix up their lives. The parent/child depressurisation analogy is false. The parent didn't cause any harm to the child, and must ensure that the child is taken care of by first seeing to their own needs. The US is not a parental protector of these places. It (in many cases) destroyed the very fabric of their societies, installed puppet governments, invaded, bombed, whatever. In short, America owes these places in a big way. It should be cutting cheques as fast as it can. and if anyone feels like arguing that the US economy would collapse if they did this, so doing it is a bad idea for all concerned, well, the US spends a lot of money, year in, year out. It should go without some of the things it spends on to facilitate payments without ruining itself.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Iv » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:55 pm UTC

Money is one thing, it always ends up with people shouting to each other when millions are at hand. But if apologies were never made, they surely would be a classy thing to do. I wouldn't take them too seriously however. Facts are almost a century old by now. Hasn't there been some declaration of that sort during the Civil War ?

Here is a propositional draft : "This government strongly opposes any sort of slavery, anywhere. Nothing justifies that sort of treatment inflicted upon a human being. Our endorsement of it in the past has been a mistake and a cause of suffering for many. We are deeply sorry of that and will try to correct this by always thriving for equality and fairness upon all human beings / US citizens."

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby ZeroSum » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:14 pm UTC

If the government says or does something, anything, they'll openly criticized for what they didn't do. However, if they do nothing, then the questions of what they should or should not do will be left alone.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:31 pm UTC

ZeroSum wrote:If the government says or does something, anything, they'll openly criticized for what they didn't do. However, if they do nothing, then the questions of what they should or should not do will be left alone.


That doesn't strike me as a good reason to not do the right thing:

"How are you dealing with your history of violent exploitation of minorities, and institutionalised racism?"

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby ZeroSum » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:51 pm UTC

When it comes to a corporation or government whose public image is very important it's a very good reason not to do the right thing. Doing the right thing hurts it. Not doing the right thing doesn't. Easy choice. It's a good reason, not a Good reason.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Indon » Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:24 pm UTC

Well, as an individual with rather strong nationalistic beliefs, I think that we'd do well to help out people - any people - in our country who is in a bad position. And it seems to me that with measures like affirmative action, we've been trying to do just that, and that measures like this could not only act to equalize people in our nation whose ancestors have been disadvantaged, but also people who have been disadvantaged much more immediately by socio-economic factors out of the government's control (though I feel existing systems need to be adjusted to better perform these functions).

So as such, I don't feel there's any need for reparations, though it may be good to just definitely admit we screwed up about slavery.

As for other countries, I don't feel we owe them much of anything, though helping them may be situationally good for us, as economies become more interdependent as they continue to expand, and we're no exception.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:58 pm UTC

noone alive today is a slave, or owns slaves (or at least i should hope), so reparations are essentially a way of swindling someone for their money through guilt, and should be illegal.

same with the holocaust.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby 22/7 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:16 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Yes, cheques should be sent to these countries, and more, to be spent on their citizens. The US fucked them up, either as nations or as individual people, and it should pay, through the nose if necesary, to fix up their lives. The parent/child depressurisation analogy is false. The parent didn't cause any harm to the child, and must ensure that the child is taken care of by first seeing to their own needs. The US is not a parental protector of these places. It (in many cases) destroyed the very fabric of their societies, installed puppet governments, invaded, bombed, whatever. In short, America owes these places in a big way. It should be cutting cheques as fast as it can. and if anyone feels like arguing that the US economy would collapse if they did this, so doing it is a bad idea for all concerned, well, the US spends a lot of money, year in, year out. It should go without some of the things it spends on to facilitate payments without ruining itself.

First of all, I never claimed that we were in some kind of parent-child relationship with these other countries. My analogy stops at the "in order to help someone else, you must first help yourself" step. It should not be taken any further. And I still don't believe that cutting checks is the way "make right" the wrongs we did to them. Aid, yes. Checks, no.
segmentation fault wrote:noone alive today is a slave, or owns slaves (or at least i should hope), so reparations are essentially a way of swindling someone for their money through guilt, and should be illegal.

same with the holocaust.
I'm sorry, but what? I do believe that there are still holocaust survivors? And how is the holocaust being used to 'swindle someone for their money'?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:33 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:First of all, I never claimed that we were in some kind of parent-child relationship with these other countries. My analogy stops at the "in order to help someone else, you must first help yourself" step. It should not be taken any further. And I still don't believe that cutting checks is the way "make right" the wrongs we did to them. Aid, yes. Checks, no.

Ok, maybe I took that to a slightly absurd level, but I think it is still useful. The analogy becomes that the parent would die (or pass out) before the child could be helped if the parent didn't see to theor own needs first, and the child would get no help at all, related to the US economy and the other nations respectively. I argued that with the amount the US sends on all sorts of things evey year, this is not necessarily the case, as it would just need to cut spending elsewhere to make a massive difference to some people who thanks only to the US really need help. This would not result in the death of the US economy, followed by the cessation of all payments of any kind.

It is very important, both for the US and for it's victims that the compenstion be just that. Not aid, but reparations for past wrongs. Aid is about compassion, compensation is about accepting guilt and doing The Right Thing. I hope that's a bit clearer than just stretching your analogy too far.
segmentation fault wrote:noone alive today is a slave, or owns slaves (or at least i should hope), so reparations are essentially a way of swindling someone for their money through guilt, and should be illegal.

same with the holocaust.
I'm sorry, but what? I do believe that there are still holocaust survivors? And how is the holocaust being used to 'swindle someone for their money'?


Seconded. Plus there very much are slaves in the world. And in the US too, even though the may well be paid a pittance to make it strictly legal.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby The Spherical Cow » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:35 pm UTC

Rather than making a pointless gesture to the descendants of slaves1, it would make much more sense to spend money on solving today's problems. Sort out the educational system, the medical system, the social security.

Is a few thousand dollars to one person going to make a difference to everything in the long term?2 No. It will get spent, give them better clothes, better medical care, better food. But only briefly. Once it's gone, the poor society people live in still there. People don't need hollow gestures of apology when they can't afford medicine for their children.

Do we have to pay reparations to every new descendant that's born? If we start handing out money, it quickly spirals out of control. What about the Native Americans? Do they not deserve money? Maybe the UK deserves money for what it lost when the colonies rebelled against it.

We acknowledge that these things were wrong (not including the War of Independence), but throwing money at the problems of the past does nothing for the people of today.

[1] Does each black person need to prove they are descended from slaves? Not every black person in the US is, how do we figure out who gets what? How do people afford the research needed to prove they are related to a slave?

[2] Of course, this is assuming the person claiming isn't already rich. Who are of course the people who are more likely to be able to afford to prove they are descended from slaves.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby 22/7 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:45 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Ok, maybe I took that to a slightly absurd level, but I think it is still useful. The analogy becomes that the parent would die (or pass out) before the child could be helped if the parent didn't see to theor own needs first, and the child would get no help at all, related to the US economy and the other nations respectively. I argued that with the amount the US sends on all sorts of things evey year, this is not necessarily the case, as it would just need to cut spending elsewhere to make a massive difference to some people who thanks only to the US really need help. This would not result in the death of the US economy, followed by the cessation of all payments of any kind.

Ay, there's the rub. If we can't keep our government from spending millions of dollars to fund research into whether drawing an x on your opponent's chest will hex them, why exactly do you think that we'll "cut back" on other areas of ridiculous spending?

And the issue that we're skirting here still stands, our responsibility, first and foremost, is to our country.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Masuri » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

I'm not sure what the right answer is, honestly.

I have a really hard time with the idea of reparations for something that occurred so very long ago. I also have a hard time with apologies for it. No one living had anything to do with any of this, so how can we be held accountable or feel responsible? I most certainly don't. My family came here after slavery was abolished. Should my tax money go to this cause? I think not.

On the other hand, the legacy of slavery is still felt in our country. It's not something we can or should ignore, and addressing it effectively is imperative. I think that we've given it the ol' college try but we're still sadly lacking in some areas. What would work better than what we are doing? I have no idea. But I do know that cutting checks is ridiculous. "I'm sorry your great, great, great, great grandmother was a slave. Here's 100 dollars to make you feel better." WTF?

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

wait.

i cant believe there are people here defending the notion of "people of your race had once enslaved people of my race, so give me reparations even though not you nor i were alive during this time and even though things are significantly different now."
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:17 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:And the issue that we're skirting here still stands, our responsibility, first and foremost, is to our country.

And to the actions of that country, past and present. Recently the enmity of foreign nations toward America has been thrown into relief by events in the Middle East. I believe that it is self evident that America as a whole (economically and militarily) would be safer if were making friends in the region, rather than enemies. The US economy is a house of cards, based on foreign debt and military spending. At the foundations of that house are the Iraq War and Saudi oil. If the US were really enlightened about security, especially the economic kind, it would be making friends in the Middle East, not losing them.

It appears to me that US policy at present is not driven by considerations of security, or even long term interests, but by the conviction that it can do whatever it wants, for any reason, and no consequences will be forthcoming. A policy designed to safeguard US interests would be very different to
    1) Invade Iraq
    2) Continue Paying Off Saudi Arabia
    3) ???
    4)Security!!!

The two posts above:

Slavery is only a couple of generations gone. It's past existence still affects the living conditions of people born long after it, because they were born into artificial poverty created of the slave underclass. And if you immigrate into the US, you take with all the good things responsibility for the bad things. The freedom you enjoy was partly built on the backs of slaves, and so you have bought into that along with everything else in America.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:17 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:wait.

i cant believe there are people here defending the notion of "people of your race had once enslaved people of my race, so give me reparations even though not you nor i were alive during this time and even though things are significantly different now."


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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby The Spherical Cow » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Slavery is only a couple of generations gone. It's past existence still affects the living conditions of people born long after it, because they were born into artificial poverty created of the slave underclass. And if you immigrate into the US, you take with all the good things responsibility for the bad things. The freedom you enjoy was partly built on the backs of slaves, and so you have bought into that along with everything else in America.

Yes, okay, but I don't believe that throwing piles of money at each person would solve anything. Nor would it actually make up for slavery. It can't be made up for. We can only try to do what is right now. Which I think means sorting out the system to aid the poor - regardless of their heritage.

Also, not every person descended from slaves are going to be poor. Do they not deserve reparations because they've clearly been unaffected by their heritage - they don't live in this 'artificial' poverty?

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Indon » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:i cant believe there are people here defending the notion of "people of your race had once enslaved people of my race, so give me reparations even though not you nor i were alive during this time and even though things are significantly different now."


I steal your car in broad daylight with you watching. Five minutes later, I drive it home and kill myself, willing the car to my kids.

You take the car from my kids, because it's your freaking car. They aren't guilty of taking it, but that doesn't matter.

Now let's take it a step further. You're an elderly man and I steal your car in broad daylight with you and your son watching. I commit suicide and you have a fatal stroke.

So now your son is taking the car from my kids, because it would obviously have gone to him, so it's his freaking car, even though no parties needed to be present in the actual car theft.

Extrapolate.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Akula » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:32 pm UTC

My ancestors were forced into indentured servitude building railroads in order to escape a famine, and also faced intense discrimination for decades after.

I DEMAND REPARATIONS!!!
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:36 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Incredulity is not an argument.


im sorry, it just makes no sense for people who were never slaves to demand reparations from people who never owned them.

Indon wrote:Extrapolate.


youre fighting over a 100 year old car when there are much better cars out there.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:41 pm UTC

Only if you restrict your information to those facts.

When you take in the information that wealth and social standing have strong inherited factors (if your father was rich and educated, you will probably be rich and educated), the picture changes.

For example, in light of that information, creating an entire underclass of artificially poor, artificially uneducated people, for the profit of the overclass, suddenly has lasting repurcussions. People generations down the line who have never been held by those artificial constraints are still poor and uneducated as a consequence, and people generations down the line who never directly profited from the enslavement are still reaping the benefits.

Is the picture beginning to emerge?
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:44 pm UTC

Belial wrote:For example, in light of that information, creating an entire underclass of artificially poor, artificially uneducated people, for the profit of the overclass, suddenly has lasting repurcussions. People generations down the line who have never been held by those artificial constraints are still poor and uneducated as a consequence, and people generations down the line who never directly profited from the enslavement are still reaping the benefits.


i dont buy that. there are plenty of successful and educated african americans.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby The Spherical Cow » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:47 pm UTC

Now, I don't believe individuals are strongly affected by their distant heritage. I think that someone who lives in poverty is not restricted there because their great-great-grandparents were slaves - it's because of the state of the system in which they currently live. If we can improve that, they'll have better opportunities to do better for themselves and their slave ancestry becomes irrelevant.

They may have started in that lowly position because of their slave heritage, but getting them out of it is connected to current events.

Now the advantage of this is that it's a long-term solution, and aids everybody who lives in poverty, not just those who would win the genetic lottery under reparations.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:48 pm UTC

Success does not prove an absence of disadvantage.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:50 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:Now, I don't believe individuals are strongly affected by their distant heritage. I think that someone who lives in poverty is not restricted there because their great-great-grandparents were slaves - it's because of the state of the system in which they currently live. If we can improve that, they'll have better opportunities to do better for themselves and their slave ancestry becomes irrelevant.


the state of the system affects more than african americans.

Belial wrote:Success does not prove an absence of disadvantage.


existance of a disadvantage doesnt mean that disadvantage is rooted from slavery.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby The Spherical Cow » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:52 pm UTC

I believe that was my point.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:58 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:
Belial wrote:Success does not prove an absence of disadvantage.


existance of a disadvantage doesnt mean that disadvantage is rooted from slavery.


Never said it did, simply said that "successful african americans exist" is not a valid argument against "African americans are disadvantaged due to slavery". It's a non sequitur.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:07 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Never said it did, simply said that "successful african americans exist" is not a valid argument against "African americans are disadvantaged due to slavery". It's a non sequitur.


but the fact is there are successful african americans, and it makes me wonder whats stopping an african american from being a productive member of society regardless of their ancestry.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Masuri » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:12 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:but the fact is there are successful african americans, and it makes me wonder whats stopping an african american from being a productive member of society regardless of their ancestry.


Well, gee. I am not sure what to say to that. Do you really wonder, or are you just being contrary? I mean, is this one of those questions where you know perfectly well what the answer is but you don't like it so you pretend it's not there? Or do you... really not get it?

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:25 pm UTC

Masuri wrote:Well, gee. I am not sure what to say to that. Do you really wonder, or are you just being contrary? I mean, is this one of those questions where you know perfectly well what the answer is but you don't like it so you pretend it's not there? Or do you... really not get it?


i dont get what slavery has to do with an african americans ability to become successful today.

i searched for cases involving reparations from slavery, and heres what one case is about:

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 35 million African-Americans. It seeks financial payments for the value of "stolen" labor and unjust enrichment and calls for the companies to give up "illicit profits." The plaintiffs are also seeking compensatory and punitive damages.


"stolen" labor? "illicit" profits? im sorry, but as immoral as slavery was, it was legal back then, making those claims void. if the company wishes to hand out reparations they may, but they in no way should be forced by the government.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby oxoiron » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:08 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:Now, I don't believe individuals are strongly affected by their distant heritage. I think that someone who lives in poverty is not restricted there because their great-great-grandparents were slaves - it's because of the state of the system in which they currently live. If we can improve that, they'll have better opportunities to do better for themselves and their slave ancestry becomes irrelevant.

Hear! Hear! Paying someone for something inflicted by people dead for generations upon people dead for generations doesn't fix anything. Changing a social system that places obstacles to success in front of most people of a given socio-economic class is a much better idea.
Akula wrote:My ancestors were forced into indentured servitude building railroads in order to escape a famine, and also faced intense discrimination for decades after.

I DEMAND REPARATIONS!!!

Ancestors from one side of my family enslaved ancestors from the other side of my family. I DEMAND REPARATIONS!!!

Wait a second... AH SHIT! How is this going to work?
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Garm » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:36 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:
Belial wrote:Never said it did, simply said that "successful african americans exist" is not a valid argument against "African americans are disadvantaged due to slavery". It's a non sequitur.


but the fact is there are successful african americans, and it makes me wonder whats stopping an african american from being a productive member of society regardless of their ancestry.


This is the same sort of argument that makes one wonder why poor people don't just go out and earn a bunch of money and become rich. Why it's because all African Americans are lazy and shriftless. The successful ones have obviously thrown off the bonds racial laziness and have joined the rest of the citizens of America in sharing the great capitalist dream. Ooooorrrrr not.

African Americans have been disadvantaged by slavery by being discriminated against and marginalized politically, socially and economically. There is an incredibly large social welfare network for white people that isn't availiable to blacks. They don't have access to a lot of the scholarships that we do. Standardized tests that determine our fitness for college are endemically disfavorable to all ethnic groups other than upper middle class white males.

Racism is alive and well in the country. I read about or hear about (or occasionally see on the news) people's recreations of "Black Like Me" experiments. Not much has changed. "The Bell Curve" is cited as canon in some places in this country and every day conservatives fight tooth and nail against affirmative action programs. I am against monetary reparations but something has to be done to even the playing field. Right now we have a society that supports a wide variety of systemic or institutionalized descriminatory practices. For the most part political apologies for these are nothing more than a method of soothing a politicians mind in regards to the fact that he's not doing anything real about the problem.

edit: I totally found a blog post about racism in modern day America. That's not surprising, really... It's just that I wasn't actually looking for said post. Check it out if you want: http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/01/13/karl-rove-sends-out-the-dogs-of-racism-with-his-wsj-op-ed-on-obama/
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Indon » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:i dont buy that. there are plenty of successful and educated african americans.


Plenty more than there used to be, indeed, after we started initiating affirmative action programs, which happen to counteract the effects of slavery on wealth and education, among other things.

There's perfectly good logic behind the reparations. I feel there happens to be a better solution which already exists, and can simultaneously address other, similar problems as well, being affirmative action and other programs designed to help the lower class.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Masuri » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:57 pm UTC

Indon wrote:There's perfectly good logic behind the reparations.

Hmm, care to elaborate? I think it's inane, personally.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:48 pm UTC

Masuri wrote:
Indon wrote:There's perfectly good logic behind the reparations.

Hmm, care to elaborate? I think it's inane, personally.


It's been elaborated above, posts to wich I take it lndon was referring. There is a reason black americans are still economically and socially disadvantaged. It's that slavery, and the black underclass that replaced i,t created a social order in which black people are poorer than white people. (In general.) Now, perhaps direct payment is neither sensible, nor the most effective way of repairing the damage. But few people are arguing that, and several are arguing that because the actual slaves and owners are dead, no one deserves anything at all. This is patently false.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Masuri » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:49 pm UTC

Oh.

I guess I thought those arguments above were no logical reasons to disburse payments and I thought he must have had some other ones hidden up his sleeve. ;)

Edit: Also, yes, I believe that no reparations should be made for slavery. I can't see that there's any equitable way of doing so at this late date. Rewarding people who were not directly impacted at the expense of those who were not directly responsible seems like madness to me. Far better to channel those tax-dollars into programs that will correct the inequities that exist now, which may or may not be the legacy of slavery.
Last edited by Masuri on Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:54 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Indon » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:53 pm UTC

Masuri wrote:Oh.

I guess I thought those arguments above were no logical reasons to disburse payments and I thought me must have had some other ones hidden up his sleeve. ;)


Well, they are logical reasons to give out payments, but there are also logical arguments not to, one of which I obviously subscribe to.
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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby The Spherical Cow » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:05 pm UTC

Dream wrote: But few people are arguing that, and several are arguing that because the actual slaves and owners are dead, no one deserves anything at all. This is patently false.

I don't think so. I mean, how far back do you want to drag back these things? Everybody's ancestors did things we wouldn't be proud of, or agree with. Everybody's ancestors got screwed over at one time or another. Everybody could argue that they should be compensated for their people's previous sufferings.

To say one group deserves repayment because of what happened to their ancestors is nonsense - it is irrelevant to them today, and solves nothing.

What is clear is that there are a whole group of people in America (and elsewhere) who are an underclass. Who are badly affected by poverty, and struggle to get the education and the chances to get out of it and make a success of themselves, providing a good life for their family. We need to make an effort to change that, to give everybody the best chances possible.

However, that is completely separated from the idea of compensation for slavery. Many of them may be there because of the repercussions of slavery and the resulting racial bias, but how they got there is largely irrelevant. Those who are not descendants of slaves have as much right as anyone to get the chance of getting out of poverty.

Today's issues are problems of now, not the past, and should be viewed and tackled as such. Doling out money for misdeeds occurring generations ago does nothing to solve anything.

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Re: Federal Apologies

Postby Dream » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:32 am UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:Today's issues are problems of now, not the past, and should be viewed and tackled as such. Doling out money for misdeeds occurring generations ago does nothing to solve anything.


I wasn't necessarily arguing in favour of cash payments, but against those who claim that because no one alive now was in slavery that they have no claim to compensation of any kind. Slavery was institutionalised, and was facilitated by the US government, on US soil. Any effects of that that are still extant today are the US government's responsibility. Yes, it's a much better idea to work for social change than it is to gouge money out of rich white people. But the white people are rich for a reason, and the black people poor for a reason. There is direct cause and effect, and thus liability, morally if not under law. If ayone in the US is living off a company that was built on the back of slave labour, their money is tainted, even if they kept no slaves themselves. They are not wrong or guilty themselves, it's just that the wealth they live on should not exist because it was built in violation of human rights.

So, cash payments solve nothing, and are a bad way to go about solving anything. But that doesn't mean the claims can't be made. They don't have to be paid, but the greivance is very legitimate.
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