This kind of thing is actually important to black people. Well at least it is to me. It is gratifying and validating to hear one of the institutions responsible for passing discriminatory laws against African Americans in the past – laws that negatively impacted the lives of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents for example — take responsibility and apologize for racist actions. Unfortunately there are no reparations involved which is too bad. From MSNBC:

Congress has issued apologies before — to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II and to native Hawaiians for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893. In 2005, the Senate apologized for failing to pass anti-lynching laws.

Five states have issued apologies for slavery, but past proposals in Congress have stalled, partly over concerns that an apology would lead to demands for reparations — payment for damages.

As Dave Chappelle theorized back in 2003, wouldn’t giving black people $1 trillion to make up for all the racism help pull America immediately out of recession? Watch Dave’s classic modest proposal above featuring the now signature punch line: “I’m rich, biatch!” I don’t know about you, but nothing would make me feel better about the dark legacy of slavery & segregation plus the discrimination African-Americans face even today like the government buying me a new car. “And you get a Pontiac! And YOU get a Pontiac!” Reparations for African-Americans would boost the economy, Dave says and I concur. It’s a win-win, y’all.

Is it empty symbolism, you may ask? I don’t discount symbols which are powerful, especially when it comes to race in America. It’s good to see positive symbolism rather than negative symbolism come our way for once. And it instills confidence in our leaders when they can admit poor judgment and commit to better choices. Still, when the gov’t acknowledges oppressive, incorrect action — isn’t corrective, remedying action a reasonable expectation?

Thanks to Rep Steve Cohen who took Harold Ford’s old seat in TN for sponsoring this. He’s a white guy representing a majority black district. Can you imagine Harold Ford putting forward legislation like this? Yeah, me neither. Also, thanks to over a dozen co-sponsors from the Congressional Black Caucus for helping to make this happen.

“Today represents a milestone in our nation’s efforts to remedy the ills of our past,” said Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Agreed. Read more over at MSNBC.

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