A federal lawsuit has been filed against, among others, FleetBoston Financial, CSX, and Aetna, accusing them of profiting from the slave trade. Now, if memory serves, Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in 1863. If my math holds up, that's 139 years ago. So what is this about, really? Well, given that attorneys are talking about billions in reparations, it's clearly about money, and that is what upsets me.
Slavery was a horrible, inhuman system; of that there can be no argument. Even so, there has to be something, call it a statute of limitations if you must, to prevent this sort of egregious abuse of our legal system. No one who works at any of the plaintiff corporations was alive in 1863. Neither was anyone who would potentially benefit from any payment of reparations.
"These are corporations that benefited from stealing people, from stealing labor, from forced breeding, from torture, from committing numerous horrendous acts, and there's no reason why they should be able to hold onto assets they acquired through such horrendous acts," said Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, the main plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Those are all terrible things, and if any victims were still alive, Ms. Farmer-Paellmann would have a legitimate argument for reparations. That is not the case. Reparations in this instance represent nothing more than the possibility of some serious lifestyle enhancements for distant relatives of victims.
If Ms. Farmer-Paellmann and others were really interested in making a statement, they could require that reparation money be used to establish scholarships, endow museums, fund educational and health programs- things that would actually make a difference. Filing a lawsuit on behalf of 35 million African-Americans is a joke. Using this precedent, I and my millions of Irish brethren should seriously considering suing the British government. After all, the Irish suffered years of oppression under their rule. Sounds silly, doesn't it? It is, just as Ms. Farmer-Paellmann's lawsuit is.
Until African-Americans lose what they seem to view as their God-given right to victimhood, they will never be able to move forward. Slavery happened, and yes, it was a terrible thing. Thankfully, it ended 139 years ago; isnít it time for all of us to move on and begin working towards making this country a better place today? Sadly, playing the race card is still a very lucrative proposition, and playing the victim means never having to take responsibility for yourself. Enough already.
I think I'll sue the French. That Norman bastard William the Conqueror deposed my ancestor from the English throne in 1066, vastly reducing my earning potential. And, they'd probably just surrender, so it would be a quick case.
by Muad'Dib at March 27, 2002 7:42 PM
let's go back a bit further, and get some recompense from the tribes that profited immensely by selling their enemies into slavery...
after all, no competition means more for those who remain... more food, more resources, more of everything for the 'winning' tribe...
plus they got the gee gaws and pretty bits for trading the slaves themselves.
no big money there...
(I've posted this elsewhere in response to this issue...)
btw: how many are running that song through their heads right now... what was that on? Smoking OP's? sounds like it fits in two directions...
by jenn at March 27, 2002 7:42 PM
i think that if i owned stock in a company, and i do have a retirement fund from my state job, so maybe i do--anyway, supposing i owned stock in a company that was being sued for reparations. well, if i thought the amount they were being sued for would bankrupt that company, i might be concerned. after all, people of all colors own stock in that company, since people of all colors are on my union-negotiated retirement plan. but if i thought the company could afford it, hell, as a stockholder, i think i would actually encourage them to pay up. it's no crazier to me than somebody winning millions for burning themselves with a cup of mcdonald's coffee.
what concerns me a lot more is that the whole issue of reparations for atrocities done on some people's ancestors takes some of the spotlight away from slavery that is happening right now. that's right--there are people being enslaved in various parts of the world, today. go to www.iabolish.org and check it out.
by fertile_jim at April 8, 2002 7:01 PM