View single post by remember the 54th
 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 06:44 pm
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remember the 54th
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I hate to sow what likely will be considered more seeds of discord, but gentlemen, this apology is absolutely necessary and long overdue. Many white Americans, perhaps due to concern that they themselves will be unfairly blamed for the "peculiar institution," often discuss slavery ambivalently. Most would agree that chattel slavery was/is "wrong," but that same majority typically (certainly not in all cases) refuses to acknowledge the sustained psychological, economic, social, academic, and political impacts of the institution. Each American, regardless of his or her prefix, is affected by slavery in dozens of ways every day. It would literally require at least a dozen more posts for a person with only a moderate knowledge of the subject to even begin to do that discussion justice. Since, for now, we haven't that much time, I will give you a cursory overview of slavery's economic legacy:

Slavery: 1619-1865 (in North America; longer in parts of South America and the Carribean)
Jim Crow Segregation: 1877-1965
Realization of Civil Rights Act: late 1970s-1980s
African American gains go on the decline during the Reagan Era (Reaganomics) due to rising unemployment, poverty, imprisonment, and drug use.

Institutional Racism (I.R.) in home ownership via:
Land Ordinance of 1785
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
Mexican Cession of 1848 (review the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo)
Gold Rush of 1849
Homestead Act of 1862
Practice of "redlining" even amidst the G.I. Bill during the 20th century

All of these laws/policies, whether official or unofficial, helped create a very wide schism between property owning whites and largely landless blacks. Even as of the new millenium, blacks had an average wealth of about $6,000, while whites had an average wealth of $88,000 according to separate studies done by United for a Fair Economy and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

As I said, it would take at least a dozen posts to discuss all the ways slavery continues to impact us as Americans. If you don't realize what those effects are, it may be because they do not negatively impact you.

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