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The Cost of Freedom? Priceless.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

258514400 Research Topic English 132.16 Blackmon November 18, 2002 The Cost of Freedom? Priceless. Today in our modern society slavery is still both a controversial and sensitive issue to most Black Americans. In addition to that, the discussion of reparations is often carefully disputed. The term "reparation" is derived from its Latin root word "repair". Reparation is the act or process of making amends by means of compensation. The debate over reparations still stands because some people in this country believe that America owes African-Americans something - money - for the years of emotional rape, physical brutality and bondage that our ancestors experienced after being shipped to this land. While this may be reasonable, others argue that this country owes Blacks more than money. Respect, dignity, equality and a sense of pride are all indebted to African-Americans, and are much more important to a culture that has been oppressed for so long. Those opposed to reparations believe that the United States government should not consider paying African-Americans reparations as an apology for slavery because it will not repair anything. In early 1860, the continent of Africa was bombarded and individuals were shackled and shipped to a frightening new world. In this new world, African descendents had no rights and were treated inhumanly. As slaves, Africans were the property of the Europeans who started this country, and they could not get married legally, own property, testify in court, or learn to read and write. All of these injustices continued until the North, who agreed to antislavery, and the South embarked on the Civil War, which led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, the abolishment of slavery. ...read more.

Middle

The discussion of reparations also raises an important question; "Is there really a price for pain?" The answer is both easy and obvious, and the United States government needs to realize that slavery, like many other historical events, is an occurrence that has lasting effects that cannot be erased with money. Reparations will not reduce the percentage of black children born to teenage mothers. Also, handing out reparations will not reduce the number of minority gangs in this nation, the minority violence, or the alarming rate at which our young black people are dying on the streets at the hands of their fellow brothers. More importantly, reparations will not improve the self-defeating mentalities that so many generations of blacks have. Although Americans believe that money talks, reparations for slavery in this country will be impossible because freedom today is priceless. First, if individual reparations for slavery were made available to Blacks, no one would ever fully agree on who is "black enough" to receive these benefits. Not only will we stand divided in our opinions about the distribution of the money, we will probably never agree on "who's who amongst African-Americans." To emphasize this point, "it should be said that America is a country filled with people who are biracial, and even people who are immigrants directly from countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Jamaica who are considered black in this country" (Parloff 18). Right now, determining race in this country seems to be important because it is a part of the personal identity of an individual, and this is a country that has always stood divided along the color lines. Nevertheless, according to an article in Black Enterprise, one golden rule still stands, "one ounce of Black blood, and you're a Negro..." ...read more.

Conclusion

The money the government would distributing to individuals can be used as a tool to uplift blacks. The government can build new public schools in black suburbs and start housing complexes and fund school programs. Individual reparations for slavery will increase the chances of the money being wasted on things that will not enrich blacks. "Compensation for slavery will allow white America to place a monetary value on a struggle that they did not experience" (Stanley 18). Only our ancestors will ever truly know the cost of slavery, and most of them paid with their lives. In 2002, imagine a young black American receiving a government check intended to apologize for the past, and almost immediately, you can imagine them spending it on tennis shoes, platinum jewelry and new sound systems to go into their cars. Certainly some people would use the money to advance the black culture, but there is no guarantee. Imagine the risk of place "free money" in the hands of a culture that is already suffering the consequences and drawbacks of their own greed and irresponsibility. Instead of handing out checks, the government should further honor the dignity, pride and legacy of black Americans. Reparations for slavery in the form of checks dispersed from the government to the hands of each and every African-American citizen may sound catchy and ideal, especially to black Americans who struggle financially. But it must be remembered that everything has a cost, and contrary to what people may believe, accepting reparations from the United States government has far more drawbacks than advances. Before the past can heal, this country must figure out a solution that is both beneficial and dignified. Black Americans must be mindful of principles, morals and cultural values when it comes to accepting slavery reparations. ...read more.

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