The Florida Legislature has formally apologized for slavery, according to a New York Times article on Weds., March 26, that said a “profound regret” was expressed.
Florida joined five other states by issuing the request for forgiveness: North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey.
Charlie Crist, the governor of Florida, said a “significant step” was taken and he is “open to evaluating whether broader reparations for slavery would be worth pursuing.”
Various people believe other states should follow the same route and acknowledge the enslavement by showing their remorse. But what is an apology really worth?
Will an apology erase the hundreds of years of slavery? Will an apology make everything better and remove the lasting effects?
The answer is, an apology will not change anything.
Although it’s a good start, it cannot stand alone. Something else needs to be done.
The country cannot simply get over slavery with a simple “we’re sorry.”
The effects of this tragedy are still lasting today. Countless people still feel they belong to a superior race, looking at blacks as lesser people. Now it’s said that blacks can do just about anything because of the opportunities afforded to them. But it’s harder to succeed when people are pushed back for so many years and prejudice is still apparent.
Slavery has a bigger impact than people may recognize. Blacks were held back for centuries and grew accustomed to unequal lifestyles.
Blacks struggling to succeed in this society are climbing a mountain with a glove on one hand and oil on the other.
Many black people struggle to get to a certain point of success and “sorry” will not do them much justice.
No specific value can be placed on the numerous years of slavery and oppression, but money seems like the best form of compensation.
Comedian Dave Chapelle did a skit on his comedy show about receiving reparations for slavery. He made jokes that blacks will spend their money carelessly on materialistic items.
Whether that person buys cars or starts a small business with their money, it’s better than an “I’m sorry.” Giving scholarships to teenagers and financial help to parents in need seems more appropriate.
No matter how sincere the apology, at the end of the day, that’s all it is. It will not erase the hurt and will definitely not erase the history.
Crist mentioned that he’s willing to look further and find out if reparations are needed. Reparations should be given so that blacks can be productive and truly have equal opportunities.
However, the ultimate compensation would be for blacks every where to finally have their well deserved respect. But, discrimination still exists and probably is not going anywhere, any time soon.
Actions speak loud and clear, so until a big move is made, an apology is nothing but a bunch of words.
What happened to those 40 acres and a mule, anyway?
Skyy Sandifer is a sophomore magazine production student from Miami. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.