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Senate Backs Apology for Slavery
Resolution Specifies That It Cannot
Be Used in Reparations Cases
By Krissah Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 19, 2009
The Senate unanimously passed a resolution yesterday apologizing for slavery, making way for a joint congressional resolution and the latest attempt by the federal government to take responsibility for 2 1/2 centuries of slavery.
"You wonder why we didn't do it 100 years ago," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), lead sponsor of the resolution, said after the unanimous-consent vote. "It is important to have a collective response to a collective injustice."
The Senate's apology follows a similar apology passed last year by the House. One key difference is that the Senate version explicitly deals with the long-simmering issue of whether slavery descendants are entitled to reparations, saying that the resolution cannot be used in support of claims for restitution. The House is expected to revisit the issue next week to conform its resolution to the Senate version.
Harkin, who called the Senate's vote an "important and significant milestone," said he wanted the resolution passed yesterday to closely coincide with Juneteenth, a holiday first celebrated by former slaves to mark their emancipation.
This recent willingness to deal with the nation's difficult racial history has come about in part because of President Obama's election, said Rep. Stephen I. Cohen (D-Tenn.), who began pushing for an apology more than a decade ago when he was a state senator and pronounced himself "pleased" with the Senate vote.
Still, Cohen said, "there are going to be African Americans who think that [the apology] is not reparations, and it's not action, and there are going to be Caucasians who say, 'Get over it.' . . . I look at it as something that makes people think."
Even among proponents of a congressional apology, reaction to yesterday's vote was mixed. Carol M. Swain, a professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University who had pushed for the Bush administration to issue an apology, called the Democratic-controlled Senate's resolution "meaningless" since the party and federal government are led by a black president and black voters are closely aligned with the Democratic party.
"The Republican Party needed to do it," Swain said. "It would have shed that racist scab on the party."
Now they need to apologize for what they did to native americans as well.
It might just seem like useless words to some, but really, it is the right thing to do, and that makes it worth doing IMO
Originally posted by ricco78
seriously i get feeling that most of the people in here are some white supr.
like that nutjob killed the guard in that museum...seriously.
Originally posted by octotom
reply to post by Darkblade71
I remember in high school learning in both my US history classes and English literature classes that, it is more or less a two way street with the Indian thing. Sure, there were white men that did horrible things to innocent Indians. Likewise, there were Indians that did horrible things to innocent white men. Perhaps they should apologize too?
The natives were defending thier land, which was taken in the name of the US Gov. You do have a point, but the way the us went about killing natives, such as small pox laced blankets etc was totally wrong, forcing them to march in winter to other areas etc. Thats my point I guess, but yeah, it was a war, and all sides are to blame for attrocities.
It's the right thing to do if you were somehow involved. As it's been pointed out, no one alive was a slave and no one alive owned a slave back then.
I'm not sure exactly why people want to apologize, but maybe they're thinking that something happening 150 years ago is holding black people back? I personally would think that a black man being elected president of a the country that used to have slavery in some parts would be enough of an apology--and it would show that black people don't have to stay in the slums and wallow in their misery.
Well it is the US gov that is apologizing, not the man on the street, the Gov was involved. Therefore, they should do just what they did, apologize.
None of us alive today had anything to do with slavery, but our gov continues on and was involved.
Sorry this all is in a quote box, not sure exactly how to fix it
[edit on 20-6-2009 by Darkblade71]
The natives were defending thier land, which was taken in the name of the US Gov.
You do have a point, but the way the us went about killing natives, such as small pox laced blankets etc was totally wrong, forcing them to march in winter to other areas etc.