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Henry Louis Gates – On Slavery and Reparations

Think Professor Gates misses a half a dozen points here in this article, including the issues of generational slavery and Jim Crow being the actual driving issues behind much of the Reparations discussion…

So I believe Gates is wrong here on a number of points. After a snippet from the Gates piece, I will include a response by Boyce Watkins response, which isn’t very dissimilar to my reaction, except for the personal shot at Gates’ ego…

Ending the Slavery Blame-Game

THANKS to an unlikely confluence of history and genetics — the fact that he is African-American and president — Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to reshape the debate over one of the most contentious issues of America’s racial legacy: reparations, the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage.

There are many thorny issues to resolve before we can arrive at a judicious (if symbolic) gesture to match such a sustained, heinous crime. Perhaps the most vexing is how to parcel out blame to those directly involved in the capture and sale of human beings for immense economic gain.

While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo, among several others. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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