House issues apology for slavery, Jim Crow

In a prelude of what will almost certainly be a serious drive for reparations, the House of Representatives apologized for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow" segregation.
The apology was delivered 143 years after slavery was abolished in this country so unless there are any 144 year old resident of the US, someone with an ounce of sense might want to ask on whose behalf they were apologizing?

If the House wanted to recognize the damage done by slavery - a "fundamental injustice" - that would be fine. But an apology denotes fault and frankly, I find the idea that I am at fault for slavery a little too much of a stretch. What this "apology" does is open the door for a debate on reparations - a nightmare that would degenerate into trying to figure out how black someone has to be in order to get the goodies. In addition to African Americans who can trace their lineage back to ante-bellum America, there are immigrants from Africa who came to these shores after slavery as well as millions of Americans with mixed blood. The logistics - and the debate over them - would be a parody of justice.

This is not a human rights issue. It is not an affirmative action issue. It is not an issue of justice. This is a pure political issue where one side is seeking to shame the other and get government monies in return. It's a shakedown gambit that we should resist now and forever.

Jim Crow is a different story as far as an apology is concerned. Not only are many still alive today who practiced segregation but benefited from it as well. And people in the north stood by and allowed their fellow Americans to exist as second class citizens in the south. The collective guilt we all should feel for the imposition of Jim Crow on African Americans is something expressed in that resolution yesterday and I agree with it.

But not slavery. We can condemn our ancestors for practicing it but apologizing on behalf of contemporary Americans is pandering, as the WaPo article makes clear:

The resolution, which passed on a voice vote late in the day, was sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a white Jew who represents a majority-black district in Memphis. Cohen tried unsuccessfully to join the Congressional Black Caucus this year.

"I hope that this is part of the beginning of a dialogue that this country needs to engage in, concerning what the effects of slavery and Jim Crow have been," Cohen said. "I think we started it and we're going to continue."

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is considering introducing a companion measure in the Senate, he said.

Cohen faces a tough fight against airline lawyer Nikki Tinker, who is black, in the Democratic primary Aug. 7.

Lawmakers are terrified of going on record against this measure which is why it was passed by voice vote. It probably would have passed on a recorded vote but at least then we would have been able to identify the panderers and call them out for their cowardice.

The article points out that the reparations issue is not far below the surface of this measure:

Congress has considered a similar apology for the slavery and Jim Crow eras, a gesture long sought by African Americans. Such efforts were always bogged down by concerns that the apology would prompt a greater call for reparations for slavery.

In recent years, black activists seeking reparations for slavery have gotten private companies, such as banks, insurers and railroads, to apologize for playing a role in bankrolling, insuring, capturing and transporting slaves.

In 2005, Wachovia Corp. revealed that one bank it acquired had put thousands of slaves to work on a railroad. That same year, JPMorgan Chase apologized for the role that a subsidiary had played in using 10,000 slaves as collateral and accepting more than 1,000 slaves as payments when owners defaulted on loans.

Several states, including Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Alabama, have issued apologies for slavery.

"They had a greater moral authority on this issue than the United States Congress," Cohen said. "I'm proud we did this as a part of this Congress."

"Moral authority?" Not hardly. What they had was pressure put on them by racialists who are seeking monetary compensation for something that can never be quantified.

Don't expect Obama to come out in favor of reparations. But I guarantee he'd never veto such a bill.