June 22, 2009 | | Comments 4

What The Senate’s Apology For Slavery Really Means


by Demetrius D. Walker

You probably missed it, (I know I did), but the United States Senate issued a formal apology for slavery a few days ago. [Begin Sarcasm] Thank you Uncle Sam!  This news made my Juneteenth shuckle buck all the more livelier, as I not only celebrated my ancestors learning of the 2 year old Emancipation Proclamation, but now the great-great-great grandsons of their slave masters unanimously concluded “My bad.”  So now that the federal government has come clean after 144 years, I guess everything is all good.  Break out the tea and crumpets, chicken and watermelon, gin and juice… celebration time Negroes! [End Sarcasm].

Recognizing four hundred years of injustice a century and a half later does nothing to fix the fabric of a nation stained by slavery.  Let’s take things into perspective; in a court of law, when you confess to a crime you are forced to serve your debt to society and/or pay a substantial fine.  What does the Senate’s apology mean if it is not followed by social or monetary dividends?  Absolutely nothing!  America changes by zero percent as a result of its recent acknowledgement of slavery.  To paint the picture even clearer, your Uncle Sam kidnapped your parents, murdered your extended family, raped your sister, whooped the black off your back, and then told you to shut up and live a normal life.  After living for years with these mental, emotional, and physical scars Sam comes back and says “Hey dog… I did some pretty jacked up stuff to you back in the day.  I’m sorry.  We’re cool now right?”  Umm wrong…  Either you help me fix these mental, emotional, and physical scars or I believe you’re full of crap Sam.  As a matter of fact, I kind of want to triangle choke you for insulting me with this empty apology!

Remarkably, Sam isn’t the only uncle that needs to get choked into submission around here.  Tom makes me angrier.  Mr. Pimp Hop himself, Russell Simmons, added traditional house Negro commentary via the Huffington Post saying “This was a day that many of us have dreamed about for our entire lives… I urge you all to take a moment to recognize the importance of the actions of the United States Senate.” Come again Russ… “a day that many of us have dreamed about for our entire lives?”  Where can I sample the magical gummy juice you’re sipping bro?  On my list of things I dreamed about my entire life I would say “Black president” was probably in the top 10 (behind quantum teleportation and Beyonce).  The Senate apologizing for slavery – not even in my top 500.  I sincerely hope there were no Black people out there waking up every day hoping for an apology from the US Government.  Blood Diamond Simmons further added The pain has lasted for the past 144 years, and now with our government taking the right step in apologizing, I know that we can begin to heal.”  Really?  This is what begins our healing process?  Before Thursday, us Negroes had to walk with our heads down, but now that the Senate has apologized we can hold our heads high and move on…. Riiiiiggght.  Russ, I know you’re trying to set yourself up for a political career but c’mon buddy, cease with the tomfoolery.

If the United States would like to formally apologize for slavery it should methodically implement a system of educational equality.  Schools in underprivileged communities should receive additional funding to improve the facilities, curriculum, and quality of life for students most at risk of becoming health, jail, and death statistics.  Pushing urban high schools to a perfect graduation rate and a 100% college matriculation rate should be the focus. (If you think I’m being idealistic check out Capital Prep in Hartford, CT).  Closing the achievement gap is the only way the United States Government can convince me that it is sincere in its apology for slavery.  Anything less would be uncivilized.

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  1. JC says:

    In order to correct a problem, one has to first adknowledge that there is a problem in order for corrective action to be taken. A friend of mine said to me just today that the difference between ignorance and stupidity is that the ignorant do not understand the wrongs of their actions. We call ourselves dangerous because we along with whatever support we had, have taken the steps to nurture and develop our very capable minds.

    So let us understand that the admitting that what happened was wrong was the first step in rebuilding. Don’t get me wrong, a simple apology is far short of what our people deserve as a consulation for 100+ years of slavery. However, from my perspective much damage has been done. The infastructure has been tainted to the extent that change will not come from a dumping x-amount of dollars in schools. The change begins on more of a micro level, the household, family, and community. Poverty is a black hole and a child will not have the opporntunity to develop with monetary pressures early in life, simply stated. The emphasis of the child with monetary pressrues will be MONEY not education.

  2. Rube The Gifted says:

    I agree that an apology is not enough and many people are sayin reparations reparations but no amount of money can suffice the pain and sufferin we hav been through we need our own state or some kind of valuable resource we can utilize to rebuild our communities and become more productive in this society I dont think we can rely on this wretched system to heal our wounds the apology was not enough but theres more to be done because our forefathers suffered to much and we must rebuild. We are Kings and Queens.

  3. TNC says:

    Hey all,

    Just some quick random thoughts…

    Yall probably missed it, but the Senate actually issued a formal FUCK YOU to every brotha and sista and anyone that believes in social justice, as the Senate said rather bluntly that this “appology” could not be used as a basis for claiming reparations. Thus, they have effectily passed legislation ensuring that justice will never be served in this country.

    And they did it with a Black President in office for good measure. The white man and his woman are as slick as they’ve ever been with their post racial society propoganda.

    I can’t say I’m suprised… While I think Obama is an amazing president, his hands are pretty much tied in cases such as these. I just hope he can pass healthcare reforms and continue to make strides against climate change.

    It’s time for black people to wake up and realize its time to look inwards. To one another. It’s time for us to seek automony and self sufficiency. A nation within a nation. Think Black. Buy Black. Build Community. Move back into black neighborhoods. Be Black. Together.

    Instead of working for the man and making his pockets fat while we fight eachother for the scraps he brushes off the table. Moving into his neighborhoods. Learning his history. Seeking his acceptance. Convincing ourselves that we share the same goals in life.

    Thats why I respect the Dangerous Negro Brand so much. They stand on their own.

    It’s funny. I now sympathise with the kids that refuse to “talk white.” Its reflective of a much greater problem that many kids sense but cant yet identify…

    It’s not that theyre against achieving. It’s that theyre against the system that teaches them to be something theyre not. One can obviously gain freedom through education. I have. But our education system is not designed to make us free.

    The real problem is that we as a people have not created a suitable alternative for ourselves. Thats why so many are misguided.

    Study the history of integration in this country and see if it really helped us. Especially with regard to education.

  4. I read that he was quite keen do a Home and Away appearence :O. do you know if this is true? There’s a bit of me that kind of hopes this is true lol.

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