I have been reading a lot about civil rights people who tried to sue large companies that profited from the slave trade such as Aetna, CSX (railroad), New York Life, AIG, J.P. Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank and Fleet Boston, back in 2002. These companies have admitted to the income they made from the slave trade and some have even apologized. Yet they feel that they should not be held liable because in the words of Aetna, “We do not believe a court would permit a lawsuit over events which — however regrettable — occurred hundreds of years ago,” “These issues in no way reflect Aetna today.” And of course it’s obvious that the court didn’t allow the suit or you would have undoubtedly heard of the payout by now.
Yet Swiss banks paid out more than 8 billion dollars to Jews whose families were damaged financially by the holocaust. Most of the people that were maligned had been killed in the concentration camps, so it stands to reason that their families were paid on their behalf. Yad Vashem noted that a fund was set up by the Swiss, as was a Hungarian fund for compensation of Holocaust victims and their heirs. So we see that a horrible wrong was set right by the perpetrators of that wrong. No one says that the Jews should have forgotten about the holocaust or that it was in the past and they should just move on.
These are the words that are constantly told to blacks who would like to see someone pay for the wrongs that were committed by these and other companies upon our families. But, as Aetna says it is regrettable yet it was so long ago and this doesn’t in anyway reflect what is going on with Aetna now. How would people react to a person who murdered someone 20 years ago yet they haven’t committed any similar crimes, come back and says “hey I know that I committed murder however unfortunate, but it occurred about 20 years ago, so this crime in no way reflects the me of today.” Would that be good enough for them to now be exempt from paying for their crime? Of course not, I have seen people put in jail after 50 years of living without committing another crime.
I find that it is interesting that no one has a problem with a white race (the Jews) getting reparations, talking about anti Semitism and actually having holocaust museums, speeches etc. Yet it was so long ago shouldn’t they now be told to move on? I feel that the only time race issues need to be put in the past is when it deals with blacks or Native Americans. Sure people will say well look at the Jews they are doing well. Yes let’s look at how well they are doing. For one thing they immediately got away from their tormentor’s and had a state created for them using someone else’s land, as there is still debate over whether that was or was not theirs to begin with. They were paid reparations so they had something to start over with. They are receiving a large stipend from the United States to continue living well.
So I don’t think that blacks and Jews are even comparable in their situations. I think that if right after slavery was over blacks had been given their own state away from our tormentor’s and reparations we might have had a fighting chance. Yet the Jews in Israel never had to endure Jim Crow, the KKK or discrimination on such a large scale as we see in America with blacks from whites. They had troubles don’t get me wrong. Yet they are in a better spot than most blacks at this time even counting terrorism, since most blacks are living with our own terrorism from overzealous cops who shoot blacks so many times blaming it on contagious shooting. Other forms of terrorism like racial profiling, police violence, racism in our daily lives from work to the grocery store.
Where does this leave us? Well the government of the United States promised the black community reparations of 40 acres and a mule. They have reneged on a debt, so the debt is still owed. I understand that people feel that they had nothing to do with slavery so should not be punished. If you leave a debt unpaid and you have no life insurance, the company will not just say oh well the debtor is gone so we don’t get paid. That company will make sure to get the money from your estate or your family. So why should this debt be any different? Is it because the debt is owed to blacks for their forefathers who have a bill outstanding with the United States? Yet here are all these people constantly talking about fiscal responsibility and how we as a people need to be responsible and repay our debts. Maybe what I am taking from the governments non payment of this debt is that it isn’t really so important to pay back debts especially if I don’t care about the people I owe a debt to.
So sorry AT&T I don’t care much for your company or any of your employees and others receiving your services, so I guess you can just eat my bill, thanks. Now I am sure everyone reading this will think that I need to pay AT&T as they have given me a service three years ago and sent me a bill for closing a cell phone account. Running up that bill was unfortunate and regrettable yet it occurred over three years ago and it in no way reflects who I am as a person right now. I would never run up a cell phone bill now. So how come this can’t work for me? What would happen if everyone decided that the bills they owe no matter how old no longer reflect who they are as a person right now, should they be exempt from paying them back? I bet the government would have a little something to say about that and probably bring back jailing debtors.
So unfortunately I don’t have any hopes of my forefather’s debt ever being repaid. I believe that this if nothing else shows the disdain that America feels for its black population. I am sure that most people feel that America’s support for the holocaust heirs getting retribution and reparations was completely justified. Yet it would be fiscally irresponsible and much too expensive to force companies and even the government who were all involved to pay a back debt to the black heirs of the American slavery holocaust even though we felt it was responsible to see that the Japanese got repaid for being forced into internment camps. Not to mention it is fiscally responsible to enter into a never ending war spending billions upon billions of dollars and it isn’t even helping us as a people. The irresponsibility of this government and its population is ridiculous to say the least. Unless the debt of reparations payments the government owes has been absolved by ALL blacks, then this debt is still outstanding and the interest is adding up tremendously.