284 years

The first documented use of slaves in North America occurred in 1581. Slavery was legal until 1865. In other words, slavery was legal for 284 years. In the absence of a better rationale for compensatory actions, shouldn't we at least spend that same amount of time working to right our collective wrongs?

Many conservatives believe it's past time for black people to stop getting special attention. They want to eliminate affirmative action and the voting rights act. They want to shred the safety nets that support poor people, a disproportionate number of whom are black. They want to resurrect the death penalty, which is also prejudiced against black people. The white separatist movement is alive and sick.

At some point in the future, our society may be in a moral position to overcome centuries of racial abuse and discrimination. That point has not yet arrived. Not when it comes to black people. And not when it comes to Native Americans.

We won't reach 284 years as a post-slavery society until 2149.

Comments

It took centuries

to build such a large population which was oppressed, subjugated and relegated, and as long as we implement half-hearted half-measures, it will take centuries to undo what's been done.

The funny thing is (it's not really funny), idiots on the right claim the CRA and VRA were unnecessary and counterproductive, yet they also claim racism no longer exists. Am I the only one who spots the horrendous lack of logic in those dual claims?

The truth is, they were necessary and productive, but bringing an entire population (or at least a representative portion) out of poverty and despair takes a bunch of grown-ups working towards a solution. You know, the kind of mature intelligent people who evaluate somebody wholly on their capability and potential, without considering what weird Uncle Zack used to say.

There aren't enough grown-ups around these days.