Sunday, June 26, 2005

THIS drives me crazy

From Rochelle Riley's editorial from this morning (Detroit Free Press) typos not mine:

Yet with the all of the apologizing, we fail to recognize the larger problem - that the legacy of slavery still haunts this country and until a single presidential administration or a single Congress has the courage to finally face that ghost head on, we will never get over race - not in Washington, not in Detroit, not in America, not in the lifetimes of grandchildren yet unborn.

A presidential apology?? That's the magic ticket? And, the apology by a man 140 years AFTER the end of slavery - has any relevance? You know, if someone came looking for me, and told me that I owned an apology to them because my great- great- great grandpa had once done a relative of HIS wrong- I could probably laugh over that one for a week. "But", the person would argue, "the affront and humiliation done by your great-great-great grandpa affected us for years onward. It affected our standing in the community, and we were unable to get good jobs."

Yet still - it would have nothing to do with me. There comes, with the passing of time, a point when things are just no longer relevant. The black middle class is one of the fastest growing demographics. My city is almost completely controlled by blacks- they have been the Mayors and the members of city council. They are the police commissioner and the police force. They are largely the business owners.

But, according to Riley, an apology is needed. You know, let's have our government debate this for a few weeks. They can draft, and redraft versions. Then they can all get dressed up and "present" the apology the World. That would be a fine use of governmental time and money.

It seems, some are more concerned with the symbolic gestures. Often totally empty, symbolic gestures. The truth of the matter, is that slavery was eliminated - and the cost was blood. Afterwards, blacks slowly fought for their rights, and eventually arrived in the position that they are in today; where they can be, and achieve, anything with enough hard work. The realities of the situation are not enough. She wants a symbolic gesture.