August 19th, 2009
10:09 AM ET

Slavery needs more than an apology

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/10/art.ghana.cape.castle.door.jpg caption="The 'door of no return' at the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Slaves would exit this door and board ships bound for the western hemisphere."]

Katrina Browne
Special to CNN

The Senate voted to apologize for slavery on June 18. The House apologized last summer. The first family - descendants of Africans, of enslaved Africans and of slave-holders - visited a slave fort in Ghana.

These were historic occasions, and they occasioned the kind of hue and cry that always accompany the subject of slavery and whether we still need to reckon with it.

I believe we do need more reckoning, and a little more love and a little more logic would help that process.

Logic first: There's this quasi-math problem in which things don't add up. Many African-Americans naturally feel as if there is unfinished business from the past, while many European-Americans (and others) don't think they should inherit burdens from a past not of their making. So there's this generational equation to be worked out, and it will take big hearts, eager hearts, to do so.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Raw Politics
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Dolly

    Enough is enough. I'm tired of the whining. My ancestors as Native Americans endured horrendous life experiences. We moved on. So...either move on, shut up or get out.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  2. michael lyman

    Slavery is the ultimate irony for decendants here in the US. If there relatives were not taken here in chains, they might well not even be alive, or they could be in a tribe in one of those wretched countries that don't do anything for their people.
    Actually, they should thank their lucky stars that their relatives were brought to the US. While these people endured the indignity of being a slave, their relatives are now living in the best country in the world for economic opportunity, and equal rights.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  3. Mike in NYC

    (Come on, folks. If you're not going to post comments, why even ask for them?)

    Wed., 8/19, 10:52 EDT

    August 19, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  4. Babs

    Oh for heavens sake... Let's get over it and move on. It was a part of history which hopefully we will learn from and hopefully never reapeat. It's the same thing about the Holocust. It was history and we should learn from that. However that being said and taking words from a song from South Pacific "We have to be carefully taught' Adults need to teach – not preach to thier children, that these evenets have happened but they can change it we are taught not to hate someone becasue of the color of their skin or theire religion. Saddly if these so called prominent adults who keep bring up the hatered, racsim etc they couldn't be in the lime light.. Put all types of children in a room, they will play togethr and have fun it's only when the parents/adults start with hatred.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  5. RLWellman

    There are no slaves legally in America. President Lincoln freed them. Why is it we need to keep paying for this? If any slaves are still living, then maybe something more is owed them. However, we do not need to keep paying for certain people that believe we still owe them something because of what happened 100 years ago!

    August 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  6. Mike in NYC

    “… commit to finding solutions …”

    Browne doesn’t use the word “reparations,” but it’s still there.

    The reparations crowd is getting nervous. Do they feel white guilt slowly slipping away? Are they worried that the shrinking national pie will makes whites less amenable to their exhortations? It takes a lot of gumption to ask whites, many of whom have lost jobs, savings, mortgages and a goodly measure of hope for the future, to continue to give resources to others that could have been spent on their own children.

    Why is it that only whites feel it necessary to apologize for slavery? Africans, Asians and Latin Americans all practiced it, as brutally – and more so – than Europeans did, and no remorse has been forthcoming. Europeans were enslaved by non-European invaders, and hundreds of thousands of whites came to the New World as indentured servants who were treated no better than slaves by their co-ethnics.

    The sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of young white Northern men, and with it their posterity, made the abolition of slavery a reality. Since the 1960s, over a trillion dollars in wealth has been transferred from whites to blacks in the form of entitlements overwhelmingly paid for by whites. If these don’t constitute reparations, nothing ever will.

    August 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  7. Jim

    The Slaves were not the only group- Don't forget the NATIVE AMERICANS

    August 19, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  8. DeathofFreedom

    The Holocast needs an apology, the Indians moved to reservations by this government needs an apology, the jews need an apology. I am tired of apologizing for something I never did and most Americans today have not done, slavery, there is much misery and wrong doing that took place many years ago and this country has come a long way and still we have to apologize for slavery. How many years, how many generations, what about the Africans they should apologize for selling their people to begin with and America has apologized for buying people. Indians were sold, their children taken and Americanized, they were given reservations and have government health care, it is terrible how the Indians have been treated. Stop with the slavery bit it is old and enough is enough.

    August 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm |