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Subject:  Re: Factor an additional 5% to RE - Reparations Date:  3/27/2002  5:10 AM
Author:  jesever Number:  64212 of 740032

I may get screamed at because my opinion on this is terribly politically incorrect, but I think one could argue the point successfully that most African Americans are better off today because their ancestors were slaves than they would have been had those same ancestors not been enslaved.

Now, I am not advocating slavery in any form, and I believe it's an incredibly shameful blot on our nation's history, and it would be very nice if we could go back and undo the abomination. But we can't.

The bulk of African countries, presumably where many African Americans' ancestors came from, currently have the lowest GNPs in the world. The per capita income in the bulk of African countries is less than $800 a year. Disease is rampant in Africa, especially AIDS (estimates say that probably 6.5 million Africans are HIV positive or have AIDS). Life expectancy in most of Africa is around 54 years, compared to about 74 years in the US. Infant mortality rates in most of Africa are much higher than in the US. Malnutrition is very much a problem still in much of Africa. 310 million people in Africa still don't have access to safe drinking water. Education spending in the US is 20 times that of Africa.
http://www.unicef.org/miscellaneous/balance.htm
Most African Americans, had their ancestors not been brought here in slavery, would either be subject to all those conditions, or would have at some point likely emigrated to the US like so many other groups did, seeking a better life.

While it might be argued that Africa might not have some of the problems it has now, had its population not been affected by the slaves being taken from the continent, the total percentage of people removed from Africa as a whole was somewhat low. Yes, I know that entire tribes became extinct because people were stolen to be brought to the US, and I know that many, many people died. Families were destroyed. Cultures were destroyed. It's a tragedy that I would not deny. But the effect on Africa is not limited to American slavery--colonialism by many countries has certainly had an obvious impact on the country. It makes more sense for the nations of Africa to sue the US, England, Belgium, France and the Netherlands for the damage those countries did the to the continent.

But I think it's a fact that most African Americans have a better life than they would have--now--because of slavery. So why pay reparations? I mean, does it make sense for my African American neighbor, who lives in a 5 bedroom house and who drives a Mercedes and his wife drives a Bentley, to receive reparations for what their families suffered because of the effects of slavery? Did they rise to their current level of economic success in spite of, or because of, slavery? It might make sense for African Americans to sue over the issue of American apartheid (Jim Crow) and actually benefit those who actually suffered through it, and a lot of those folks are still alive.

I just do not understand what this lawsuit intends to accomplish, except to divide our country along racial lines.

Janet
(ducking for cover and preparing for the volley of blows to come)
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