Proper apology for slavery might have finished Fox News

The U.S. Senate’s resolution apologizing for slavery yesterday was “nonbinding,” unlike slavery itself, which was all about binding. The nonbinding part of the resolution means it doesn’t have to go to the president for a signature. In other words, the Senate in considering slavery has decided not to bind our first black president, which is a semantic victory if nothing else.

The resolution also includes a clause securing the government against any financial responsibilities for the thing it’s apologizing for, which of course was one of the most oppressive systems of financial gain in world history.

Too bad, because it would be worth the tax money to see the Fox Network talking heads explode at the announcement that our first black president would be awarding each black American family $200,000 in damages for slavery and that he believed the amount was fearfully small compensation for the pain suffered and the damages done!

Iowa’s Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin sponsored yesterday’s resolution, which “acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery, and Jim Crow laws” and “apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws.”

The Denver Post reports that members of the Congressional Black Caucus weren’t thrilled with the resolution and its lawyerly disclaimer.

Several CBC members expressed concerns Thursday about a disclaimer that states that “nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.”

The CBC members think that the disclaimer is an attempt to stave off reparations claims from the descendants of slaves…

CBC members said they’ve read [the resolution] and don’t like it.

“Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “A number of us are prepared to vote against it in its present form. There are several members of the Progressive Caucus who feel the same way.”

Thompson and other CBC members noted that a 1988 apology the government issued to Japanese-Americans held in U.S. camps during World War II had no disclaimer and didn’t prevent them from receiving compensation.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic | 720-432-2128 |

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