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Thread: Barack Obama says he opposes slavery reparations, apology

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    Default Barack Obama says he opposes slavery reparations, apology

    Obama says he opposes slavery reparations, apology - Yahoo! News

    Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama opposes offering reparations to the descendants of slaves, putting him at odds with some black groups and leaders.
    The man with a serious chance to become the nation's first black president argues that government should instead combat the legacy of slavery by improving schools, health care and the economy for all.
    "I have said in the past and I'll repeat again that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed," the Illinois Democrat said recently.
    Some two dozen members of Congress are co-sponsors of legislation to create a commission that would study reparations that is, payments and programs to make up for the damage done by slavery.
    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People supports the legislation, too. Cities around the country, including Obama's home of Chicago, have endorsed the idea, and so has a major union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
    Obama has worked to be seen as someone who will bring people together, not divide them into various interest groups with checklists of demands. Supporting reparations could undermine that image and make him appear to be pandering to black voters.
    "Let's not be naive. Sen. Obama is running for president of the United States, and so he is in a constant battle to save his political life," said Kibibi Tyehimba, co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. "In light of the demographics of this country, I don't think it's realistic to expect him to do anything other than what he's done."
    But this is not a position Obama adopted just for the presidential campaign. He voiced the same concerns about reparations during his successful run for the Senate in 2004.
    There's enough flexibility in the term "reparations" that Obama can oppose them and still have plenty of common ground with supporters.
    The NAACP says reparations could take the form of government programs to help struggling people of all races. Efforts to improve schools in the inner city could also aid students in the mountains of West Virginia, said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau.
    "The solution could be broad and sweeping," Shelton said.
    The National Urban League a group Obama is to address Saturday avoids the word "reparations" as too vague and highly charged. But the group advocates government action to close the gaps between white America and black America.
    Urban League President Marc Morial said he expects his members to press Obama on how he intends to close those gaps and what action he would take in the first 100 days of his presidency.
    "What steps should we take as a nation to alleviate the effects of racial exclusion and racial discrimination?" Morial asked.
    The House voted this week to apologize for slavery. The resolution, which was approved on a voice vote, does not mention reparations, but past opponents have argued that an apology would increase pressure for concrete action.
    Obama says an apology would be appropriate but not particularly helpful in improving the lives of black Americans. Reparations could also be a distraction, he said.
    In a 2004 questionnaire, he told the NAACP, "I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, 'We've paid our debt,' and to avoid the much harder work."

    Taking questions Sunday at a conference of minority journalists, Obama said he would be willing to talk to American Indian leaders about an apology for the nation's treatment of their people.
    Pressed for his position on apologizing to blacks or offering reparations, Obama said he was more interested in taking action to help people struggling to get by. Because many of them are minorities, he said, that would help the same people who would stand to benefit from reparations.
    "If we have a program, for example, of universal health care, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because they're disproportionately uninsured," Obama said. "If we've got an agenda that says every child in America should get should be able to go to college, regardless of income, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because it's oftentimes our children who can't afford to go to college."
    One reparations advocate, Vernellia Randall, a law professor at the University of Dayton, bluntly responded: "I think he's dead wrong."
    She said aid to the poor in general won't close the gaps poor blacks would still trail poor whites, and middle-class blacks would still lag behind middle-class whites. Instead, assistance must be aimed directly at the people facing the after-effects of slavery and Jim Crow laws, she said. "People say he can't run and get elected if he says those kinds of things," Randall said. "I'm like, well does that mean we're really not ready for a black president?"

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    This thread should get really interesting.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    the whole reparations thing is a bit silly. Where's my reparations for 2000 years of persecution?

    Oh, im not going to get any because hey.. i wasn't alive then. Neither was anybody else who wants reparations.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    This thread should get really interesting.
    Let us pray. Those NOT religious-pray harder!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    I look at the whole reparations thing like this. On one hand, I understand why some people are pressing the issue since it was part of the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves. And then the issue died down, until the U.S. opted to give reparations to the Japanese for internment during WWII. But, to be blunt, the government will NEVER pay out reparations for slavery, so why beat a dead horse? (Now, if somebody cut me a check, that's not to say I wouldn't take it. I'm not crazy.)

    Now, with all that said, I don't see how reparations, or an apology, is going to help anybody. No one alive today was a slave. Just like paying out reparations/apologizing to the Native Americans won't give them back the land that was stolen from them. The way I see it, the true reparation/apology for slavery is to create a country that is truly equal, regardless of race. So, I agree with Obama's stance.
    Last edited by kingcap72; August 2nd, 2008 at 11:16 AM.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I think the Japanese thing was very different. That was done a century later. Now,on the other hand-no one alive today was either a slave,as King pointed out, or a slave owner. The 1800's worldview was vastly different from our own. For Pete's sake they did not have indoor plumbing. Enlightened thinkers were few and far between-with no internet to express opinions. No one could have read too much anyway!
    Obama has the right idea.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    The Japanese reparations happened because Japan became a major economic power and the WWII internment was a sore spot in U.S./Japanese relations. But you're right about a different worldview from the 1800's and now.

    Although, McJag, even with the internet, there aren't a lot of enlightened thinkers now.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Obama's right. It's giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish. Money toward an educational structure would have more economic and social payoffs than a handing out a stack of checks.

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    Silver Member Hummus's Avatar
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    I agree with Obama on this.

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I look at the whole reparations thing like this. On one hand, I understand why some people are pressing the issue since it was part of the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves. And then the issue died down, until the U.S. opted to give reparations to the Japanese for internment during WWII. But, to be blunt, the government will NEVER pay out reparations for slavery, so why beat a dead horse? (Now, if somebody cut me a check, that's not to say I wouldn't take it. I'm not crazy.)

    Now, with all that said, I don't see how reparations, or an apology, is going to help anybody. No one alive today was a slave. Just like paying out reparations/apologizing to the Native Americans won't give them back the land that was stolen from them. The way I see it, the true reparation/apology for slavery is to create a country that is truly equal, regardless of race. So, I agree with Obama's stance.
    Exactly. You know the militants won't like his position on this though LOL. They really don't like that Obama isn't a descendant of slaves, that's their main beef with him (besides the fact that he's not a civil rights leader in the vein of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton). I don't know why the hell they complain, they know they're going to vote for him anyway.

    No amount of apologizes and/or money will make up what slavery did to African Americans (rape, mutilation, general unspeakable acts, slave ship voyage, separatism of families, malnourishment, 'punishment', inhuman treatment, etc). The fact that most can't go further back than one or two generations in their family alone speaks volumes. This also causes a problem with Blacks who don't actually care (you know who those people are - see Chris Rock's stand up) but will all of a sudden be all for it for their selfish reasons. How is one supposed to figure out who should get reparations and who doesn't? Do American West Indian Blacks like myself count, or not because the slave ship of our Africans were sent to the Caribbean [first] instead? Are mulatto included?

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bychance View Post
    Exactly. You know the militants won't like his position on this though LOL. They really don't like that Obama isn't a descendant of slaves, that's their main beef with him (besides the fact that he's not a civil rights leader in the vein of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton). I don't know why the hell they complain, they know they're going to vote for him anyway.

    No amount of apologizes and/or money will make up what slavery did to African Americans (rape, mutilation, general unspeakable acts, slave ship voyage, separatism of families, malnourishment, 'punishment', inhuman treatment, etc). The fact that most can't go further back than one or two generations in their family alone speaks volumes. This also causes a problem with Blacks who don't actually care (you know who those people are - see Chris Rock's stand up) but will all of a sudden be all for it for their selfish reasons. How is one supposed to figure out who should get reparations and who doesn't? Do American West Indian Blacks like myself count, or not because the slave ship of our Africans were sent to the Caribbean [first] instead? Are mulatto included?
    My cousin being one of them. But like I told him, there are more pressing issues going on in the black community today like drugs, crime, gangs, etc that need to be dealt with. Focusing on getting reparations or an apology for something that didn't directly impact anybody today is a waste of time and energy.

    (And, yeah, I saw Chris Rock's take on this subject) LOL!

    And I said this in another thread, any black person that expects Obama to be a fiery civil rights leader is going to be disappointed. It ain't that kind of party. He's running for the presidency of America, not black America.

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    ^^In a way, dealing with those issues you just mentioned will be a 'reperation' in and out itself, kind of. I'm not trying to blame all our problems on The Man(TM) but they sure as hell didn't help.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^True. But it's like Obama said. People have to start taking personal responsibility for some of the problems in the community, rather than just always pointing the finger at The Man as the cause of everything.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Although, McJag, even with the internet, there aren't a lot of enlightened thinkers now.
    Or maybe BECAUSE of the internet!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    Or maybe BECAUSE of the internet!
    But without the internet we wouldn't get those enlightened rants about how we're all jellus of Jenni.

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