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A Sentiment About Reparations for Slavery


We owe a debt that can never be repaid. The only way to compensate the descendants of the slaves and all the others who were mistreated in the past is to do our best to make our current society fair, just, equitable, color-blind, and prosperous. Those who have the most now owe the most to those who now have the least in terms of ending the suffering that still exists. If a descendant of the slaves has a fortune now, then she owes as much in reparations/compensation to her fellow human beings as anyone does.

It is most important and least understood by all that having money or possessions does not make you a good person and not having anything does not make you a bad person. Fortunes are created mostly by luck and inheritance, not personal effort or skill. Even the greatest athlete will admit that his skill is not entirely due to his own personal effort, but to his good fortune at having been born with a great body and being nurtured by a loving family.

We should all be thankful for what we have and glad to contribute anything beyond what we need for our own subsistence to help others in need.

(This note was also posted as a comment to a NYT story about the sale of 272 slaves in 1838 to help save Georgetown University from a debt.  Most of those who posted comments didn’t think we owed any reparations to identifiable descendants of slaves, either from that sale or those caught up in 250 years of legal slavery or the 150 years of de facto subservience and violence that still goes on in the South, especially Mississippi, Alabama, and Virginia but also including Chicago)

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