The Idea of Reparations

Topics: Slavery, Black people, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 5 (1976 words) Published: May 3, 2006
Imagine being out in the fields hunting with your father. It has been a long day and a spitted warthog hangs between you. All of a sudden you are ambushed! An enemy tribe attacks you and your father. You fight using your makeshift spear but are overwhelmed by the number of tribesmen. You are hit in the head with a rock and fall unconscious. When you wake you are being loaded into a great wooden monster. You cringe in fear as you and your fellow captives are herded into this great wooden beast. You scream in protest at the white men who have chained you but they just beat you on the head with their rifles. You are taken into a dark and disgusting hold. The prisoners next to you are screaming in fear. The smell of waste and vomit permeates everything. As a white man chains you down below you think of your family and realize you are never going to see them again. Sleep comes slowly because of the cries of pain and misery; the rocking of the floor eventually puts you to sleep. A long time has passed. Your days consist of sleeping in your own filth, eating a disgusting porridge, and rarely seeing outside your hold. But one day the hold is opened and bright light blinds you. You are lifted to your weakened legs and led outside. The land is alien to you, and white men are everywhere. You are paraded in front of a great throng of white people. The humiliation is great as you are poked and inspected. Eventually you are shackled and loaded onto a horse-drawn cart. The ride is long and uncomfortable and the destination more frightening. You have no idea what is going to happen to you and are very much afraid. You come to a great house and are taken to the fields around the house. You are given into the custody of a great white brute. He puts you into a small cottage with other black men. You have a very difficult time understanding their languages but eventually they get a message across to you: You are a slave, and will live the rest of your days as one.

This horrific experience happened an innumerable amount of times to the unfortunate victims of slavery. For 400 hundred years families, and sometimes entire communities, were herded onto ships and taken to the America's and other distant lands to be sold into bondage. The sad tale of African American's hardships in America does not end there. After slavery was abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation African Americans were treated as second-class citizens. The inabilities to vote or own land were rights blacks were denied. The "Jim Crow" laws acted as inhibitors to the development and prosperity of the African American community and stayed in place until the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century. After segregation was outlawed the black man was finally counted as an equal in America, five centuries after first setting foot on her (Randall). Of course the first emotional response to such a grave amount of injustice is outrage. Millions of men, women, and children taken from their homes, transported on ships on which the inanimate cargo received better treatment, and sold to other men as objects. This horrifying and sad fully truthful scenario would disturb anyone with a conscious. The Mosaic Law demanded that when a fellow man was wronged he be monetarily compensated for the injustice, and the black community feels the same way. Now an old issue is getting an increasing amount of attention: Don't African Americans deserve reparations for the suffering and injustice their people have gone through? Reparations are defined as resources offered in return for harmful acts committed against a population (Reparations For African American Slavery). The offering of reparations is an acknowledgment of responsibility, and an attempt to correct the wrongs of the past, as well as an attempt to repair the damage of the wrongs of the past. The African American community likens their situation to that of the Jews and Japanese Americans. The Israeli government has received nearly 100...
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