The United States is slave
to its past
Richard W. Whitrock
Slavery was and is one of the most despicable
acts by one human towards another. To take away someone's God-given right
choice is a travesty that cannot even
begin to be quantified. To put it into a catch phrase, you cannot put a
price on any soul. At least,
most people thought you couldn't.
A $1.4 trillion lawsuit was filed Tuesday
in New York against U.S. companies FleetBoston Financial Corporation, AETNA,
and others believed to have profited from
the slave trade by an individual claiming to represent all African-Americans.
$1.4 trillion is the cost of African slaves.
This happens to be quite a bit more than
the $0 that Jewish slaves are worth in Egypt, the $0 that Irish/ British/
insert-race-here slaves are worth to Romans
and the $0 that any other slave anywhere else is worth now.
Not one single person living in America
now owns slaves. The same can be said for most Americans' grandparents
great-grandparents, and usually much farther
back. By the same token, not one African-American is enslaved now, and
not one has
been enslaved since 1865.
African-Americans are not the only race
that has endured slavery. It would be a supreme challenge to find even
one race that has
ever existed on this planet that has not
at one point been subject to slavery. Where are this group's efforts to
avenge them? Why are
Africans worth avenging, but no one else?
Just the same, there is not one race that has existed on this planet that
has not practiced
slavery, so how can they be so holier-than-thou?
Why aren't they suing African companies, governments or persons that profited
from the slave trade?
This particular suit is not against the
government, but against companies that were supposedly built with slave
labor. Some of these
companies admit it. Others, like CSX Corp.,
didn't exist until 1980. Either way, the argument is that since these companies
from slave labor, all African-Americans
alive today deserve a portion of that profit.
Does anyone else see just how absurdly
ridiculous that is? First, $1.4 trillion didn't even exist back then. Taking
the sum total of all
money that had ever existed in America
up to that point still wouldn't equal $1.4 trillion.
Second, since when do employees have rights
to the profits of the companies they work for? Profit sharing didn't even
exist until the
20th century, and even now it is not exactly
widespread. Now some would argue that because slaves weren't paid, this
is just their
long-overdue paycheck. This is not quite
true, because slaves were technically paid in food and lodging (not to
say that the pay was
in any way comparable to the work performed).
Interestingly enough, the monetary payment
received by people doing similar work paid for little more than food and
sometimes not even that. The point is,
African-American slaves were not the only ones taken advantage of by corporate
Putting all that aside, however, there
are very few people alive who would argue about making reparations to the
actual slaves. Not
their descendants, who did not suffer
slavery, but those who did. That, however, is not possible.
Even allowing that their descendants should
be paid, the only people who should be paying out are the ones who owned
the people who committed the crime pay
for it instead of forcing innocent people to give up what they have earned
for something they
are not responsible for. This, too, is
The fact is, slavery was the single worst
thing members of this country have ever participated in. It was wrong then,
it is wrong now. It
is time for us to move on, grow and not
be slaves to that dark past. Lawsuits like this one only stop that from
happening and keep
America mired in slavery, finger-pointing
and whining. Lawsuits like these exacerbate the aftereffects of slavery,
such as racism and
discrimination. America cannot recover
unless we learn from our mistakes and move on.