Reparations And African American Slaves Essay, Research Paper
If the United States government were to support the reparations to the descendents of African American slaves it would be an admitting of their responsibility. This is an issue that the United States government does not want to bring back to the forefront. To them, slavery is an occurrence in history such as the Vietnam War, which is not easy to tell about without editing. What is done is done, and bringing up possibilities of any type of reparation would stir up a negative outlook on government, even if trying to make amends.
Currently, it would be less likely for the U.S. government to take any action on the issue of slavery. Besides funding reasons, there is also the fact that reparations may bring more racially diversifying programs into affect. The citizens and government of the U.S. have continuously worked towards equality and diminished racial discrimination. Affirmative action is a state program that has created benefits for multiple ethnicities. Singling out descendents of African Americans slaves with reparations would create a bigger distinction than just differences of race, but also that they are the sole minority receiving compensation because they are a certain color. Government is suppose to take a stand on this issue, because it is covered under civil rights, but because is not an ongoing issue, it will not be attended to. Making a decision for reparation based on skin color is solely a racial issue that government will not take sides on.
Timing may also be a factor of why government should not take any action. If enacted immediately after the abolishment of slavery, there would be fewer problems on distinguishing who is to pay, and who is to receive it. This would also be a complete justice, with those that committed the crime being punished. Where would the justice be if reparations were made today, making those not directly reprehensible of slavery pay those who were not directly victimized by slavery. This is less of a reparation, but more of a reprisal where ?one crime is committed by a member of one group against another group, so the second group gets vengeance on an innocent member of the first group.?(Koukl, pg. 2) This is why trying to solve this problem with monetary compensation to slave descendants is more unreasonable now than before. The U.S. government at that time chose to neglect making any type of reparations, and will disagree with it today.
Slavery is an unethical practice, and this wrongdoing should be acknowledged. The U.S. government is not taking blame for this practice nor will take it upon themselves to make up for its citizens that did enslave African Americans. This is not the first time where our nation has acted immorally and was pushed to make amends. Native Americans received compensations from the U.S., as did Japanese Americans who were imprisoned during the Second World War by the Roosevelt government. All of these reparations however did occur after the formation of the U.S. government and the constitution that set the guidelines for governing. The thirteenth amendment officially labeled slavery an unlawful practice. Government is not supporting reparations, which as in the constitution, does not make them responsible for any of the previous wrongdoing of our early government, which was made up of states following independent rules and regulations. It is actually our current instilled government, based on the constitution written by the founding fathers, which brought about desires for more equality. Reparations for Native Americans and Japanese Americans who were imprisoned are justified because this was done after our citizens, as well as government had already determined it as wrong. Randall Robinson, an advocator for reparations for slavery brought up that, ?governments who had no direct links to the regimes that wronged their citizens have paid large monetary reparations for crimes.? (Karina, pg.1) Today, the German government is still paying Holocaust survivors for the crimes committed under the Nazi regime. Making the U.S. government pay for reparations is not the same. The early colonization of America was based on British society. The laws and practices were not those of the United States, and were what American?s wanted to be reformed and improved.
The U.S. government should not instill reparations. If anything, government should continue its funding and aid to those in need. Welfare and other monetary benefits given to those qualified are not based on skin color. Slavery has had it?s affects on the its descendents, especially in small pockets of areas in the south, where education levels and trades practiced have not progressed as in other non-African American areas. Government can supply this aid out of their monetary and advancement needs, not just because of repayment from losses through slavery. This would not be racially based funding if government were to also aid other needy minority groups, as well as whites.
Until the pressure to do something becomes overwhelming, government will avoid taking up liability for the mistreatment of African Americans. They will also shadow the issue of reparations, as well as how America was made. How many people are aware of the fact that eight of the first 12 presidents were slaveholders? Are people also aware of the fact that immediately after the civil way, freed slaves were given confiscated land, but were later deprived of it when President Andrew Johnson allowed former Confederates to reclaim their property. (McGruder, Pg. 4) Government is aware of their losses, but can something be done for African Americans without taking away, or causing conflict among other minorities and whites.
Presently, the federal government acts according to the public?s interest. Civil rights cases are still common within government, but will the issue of reparations of the descendants of slaves be substantial enough for government to want to give it attention. No matter what is done, African Americans will always be seen as the victims of slavery, and whites will be those always guilty of it. This guilt by association through skin color will never fade, no matter what type of reparation is made.