Instead of trying to justify reparations, maybe Eugene Kane should be asking African-Americans if they have anything to be thankful for?

November 20th, 2006

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane again seems to be championing the idea of paying reparations to today’s African-American’s for the slavery some of their ancestors experienced in America almost 150 years ago. He says:

This country has never come face-to-face to the ramifications of what it meant to have enslaved black slaves for centuries, viagra sale malady and how much that impacted on the progress of black people in America today.

First let me say that slavery was an unmitigated evil. People should never be judged by the color or their skin. And I wish every black person in America success.

However, hospital in the spirit of the season, purchase I think it might be helpful to note that today’s African-Americans live in what the Human Development Index ranks as one of the top 10 most “developed” countries in the world.

Meanwhile, 29 of the 31 lowest ranked countries are in Africa.

Should today’s African-Americans be grateful that their ancestors were dragged from Africa in chains?

No.

Should they maybe consider the bill paid in full by the 360,000 Union soldiers who died to make it possible for them to live freely in a country that gives them almost limitless possibilities compared to what they would have had if they still lived in the countries of their forefathers?

I would say, yes.

Entry Filed under: Media,Milwaukee,Observations

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tim  |  November 21st, 2006 at 12:26 am

    I disagree with Kane on this reparations issue but it would also be wrong to say that the Union soldiers were fighting to free the slaves. Preserving the union was probably a bigger concern to them than any concern about the blacks. And what about the loss of their culture, languages and dignity of the slaves? I doubt that you would willing to lose all of that in order for supposed opportunities in United States today.

  • 2. Nick  |  November 21st, 2006 at 8:44 am

    Of course the more obvious point to make about Kane’s column is that the comparison he draws to the Brookfield case is hardly applicable.

    In the Brookfield case, the couple who enslaved that woman are being jailed for a crime which they committed themselves. In the case of the reparations that Kane so desperate wants to see, he is asking for people to pay for the crimes of others who have long since died.

    Why should people be asked to pay for a crime that they were never a party to? Maybe Eugene should be asked to pay reparations for every gang murder that occurs in Milwaukee. That seems to be just as fair as what he’s asking the rest of us for.

  • 3. Administrator  |  November 21st, 2006 at 9:30 am

    Was the end of slavery one of the results of the Civil War?

    Yes, I’m aware that the North didn’t begin the war with the express intention of freeing the slaves. (Although the South seceeded specifically because they believed Lincoln and the Republican’s were dedicated abolitionists.) I’m also aware that revisionist historians would like to posture the war as being more about farmers versus industrialists than about slavery. But I can’t believe anyone would deny that there was an explicit relationship between slavery, the Civil War, and the freeing of the slaves.

    Did those men die just to free the slaves?

    No.

    Did their deaths contribute to freeing them? Indisputably.

    Also, I don’t speak Gaelic or Italian, but I had grandparents who did. My immigrant grandparents willingly traded their languages and cultures so that I would be able to enjoy the benefits of being an American. They did it voluntarily (so the analogy isn’t exact), but to answer Tim’s question…yes, many people have been willing to trade their language, culture (and often their dignity) for the opportunity of becoming an American.

  • 4. Billiam  |  November 21st, 2006 at 10:21 am

    What I find disturbing, is that those like Kane seem to think only Blacks were ever slaves. Reparations? No way in… well, you get the picture. Next thing you know, those whose relatives came to this country as indentured servants will want reparations. Wait a minute… somewhere in my lineage.. you get the picture.

  • 5. The Asian Badger  |  November 23rd, 2006 at 8:59 am

    I wonder if Kane will make the same demands of Brazil, Mexico, France, et. al.

    I wonder if he will ever bring up the fact that slavery still exists in Africa today?

    Doubtful on both counts.

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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