Debate: Should Americans Pay Reparations to Descendants of Slaves?
With the settlement of the new America, slavery shortly followed. Around the sixteenth century, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began with ships traveling from Britain, to West Africa, and then to the Eastern coast of the present day United States. These Africans were transported in an unsanitary and abrasive atmosphere. When they arrived in the New World, the conditions were not much better. For three hundred years, they were forced to perform tedious tasks, work without receiving wages, live in shacks, and have no freedoms. Slowly, Africans' began to ascend the social ladder by obtaining emancipation, civil liberties and rights, respect, and finally, equality. Throughout the past four hundred or more years, Africans have struggled down a difficult path. Life was arduous for slaves, however, present day African Americans are able to live a life of happiness. Though present day life may not be simple, it does not equal in comparison to that of a slave.
While there are many reasons to support reparations, I support the rejection of reparations to descendants of slaves by the United States government and suggest that a sincere formal apology be arranged by the government.
One of the major arguments surrounding reparations is the fairness of allowing payment to other nationalities and not to Africans. Supporters of reparations declare that the Japanese and Jewish nationalities were given apologies and monetary supplements to compensate for their distress. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
Whereas the United States government has acknowledged and taken responsibility for its role in the unjust internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War and has undertaken to pay reparations to the internees and their successors and to apologize for the unjust abrogation of their rights (Restatement of the Black Manifesto).