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.