Rep. Steve Cohen from Memphis, Tennessee, has introduced a non-binding resolution (H.Res.194) next week “apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans,” according to John Breshanan at The Crypt. Cohen represents a majority African-American district in Memphis. The resolution, which was introduced at the beginning of the 110th Congress (image from wallyg), makes no mention of reparations, but it does state that black Americans “continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow — long after both systems were formally abolished…” The resolution also acknowledges that an apology “cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help Americans confront the ghosts of their past.” The resolution has 120 co-sponsors.
What do you think about the resolution? Drop a comment.
It’s political symbolism of course but symbolism is important in politics and culture. An official statement of regret and admission of guilt might help to marginalize the apologists for slavery (yes they do exist). Anything that undermines the capacity for self serving denial on the part of white folks can only be a positive developement.
A lot will depend on how the debate, if any, over the resolution goes. I suspect that it won’t get the time of day from most of Cohen’s fellow Reps., who will likely view it as mere electioneering on his part, which it may well be.
It will be interesting to see how much effort he actually puts into pushing this resolution.
Fat chance. With todays’ attitudes of racial animus with all of its creepy implications and pervasiveness, and the enduring nature of this hostility, as per the post above for example, this apology will never happen to such a mass audience such as Black Americans as would be rendered bythe national government. I mean they can apologize to the Japanese Americans and Native Americans, but apologize to Blacks Americans for our collective institutional marginazation and dehumanization?! And now to make us “seem” human, and, therefore, worthy of an apology. I don’t think so. Nice try though. Maybe in 100-200 years it could possibily happen. But to these folks, who know no embarassment when it comes to humanizing Blacks or treating us as such, generally, and specifically for that matter. Nah. Ain’t gon happen.
Resolution in the ‘House’ was approved. We’re partly there. 1/3rd of the way. Now for the “whole” national government, including the Executive Branch and US Senate to make it real and complete. Followed by “all” of those states who partook, aided and abetted this ignoble institution, slavery. Then we can deal with the 100 year horror of Jim Crowism.
Geez! The slavery apology resolution is non-binding. I guest we still have a looooong way too go. Damn!
I think damali ayo’s conceptual piece on reparations says it all. I blogged about it here.
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