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'Rosa Parks Act' would bring pardons

Discussion in 'The OT' started by AcuraCL, Mar 17, 2006.

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  1. AcuraCL

    AcuraCL Godfather

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    State mulls bill to absolve those arrested under segregation laws

    MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Alabama lawmakers are considering pardoning hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who were arrested decades ago for violating Alabama's segregation laws.

    The idea of a mass pardon gained traction after the death last year of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who had refused to give up her bus seat to a white man half a century earlier.

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/03/16/alabama.pardons.ap/index.html
    *******

    Some idiot in the MD legislature wants to compel (by legislation) the current Governor to "apologize" for slavery. Someone who had nothing to do with slavery, to people who never suffered under the actual institution.

    THIS, this proposed Rosa Parks Act, is IMHO what meaningful reparation is all about.

    I personally think it's a great idea.

    Any dissenters out there?
     
  2. Capmeister

    Capmeister Large Hairless ApeCutting Edge: ECHELON '08

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    They should have been pardoned long ago.

    As for apologizing for slavery---anyone who owned slaves should.
     
  3. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

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    And perhaps any legal entity that allowed it---as the state of Maryland did. And that BTW is what the bill in Maryland would require---an apology for the state's role in allowing slavery.

    But I see this differently from reparations. I would not favor cah reparations now but the pardons are long overdue.
     
  4. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    At first glance it would seem this is the least we can, and the right thing TO, do.

    The piece does not detail exactly how this would work. However, if I had been arrested in the bus boycott, or other acts of civil disobiedience during that period, I might view my "record" as sort of a badge of honor and am not sure if I want it "expunged". I'm also a little wary of any attempt to erase or rewrite history. Of course "pardons" may not necessarily do that. But it does imply the acts were something needing to be "pardoned", something needing to be "forgiven". That's not how I see it. An official apology may be in order, but a pardon has an entirely different connotation. This also lifts some of the burden of culpability from the state for the wrongs of segregation without an admission of responsibility for those wrongs. To my mind at least, it's pretty much an empty gesture, something government and politicians are very good at.

    Reparations for slavery are another matter. I mostly agree with the argument "none of us were alive when it happened". However, legal slavery was an integral part of the western settlement of this hemisphere for nearly 400 years, profoundly effecting, and AFFECTING, the whole of the societies involved. And those effects did not end with the Emancipation Proclamation nor the civil rights movement and/or legislation of the sixties and later.

    The ancestors of those descended from slaves received some pretty horrendous, immoral and inhuman treatment from their masters(often OUR ancestors), including but not limited to "genetic engineering" to produce stronger slaves, more fit for the purposes they were intended for. As well as discrimination and repression of "smarter" slaves, those who might commit the "slave sin" of for instance learning to read and think for themselves. The results of these policies are still being felt today, socially and economically, by the descendents of slaves and their masters, although the results being felt by each group are usually quite different.

    Direct reparations are probably not advisable or even feasable. But it needs to be acknowledged that ending slavery in 1865 or passing civil rights legislation in the sixties didn't end the problems it caused. A certain amount of "affirmative action" is certainly reasonable and the least we should do as a society. The "amount" and method being the only things debatable.

    The legacy of slavery is still with us and very well may never become simply "history", at least for the foreseeable future. It robbed millions of not only their freedom and lives, but also their dignity, culture and heritage, which essentially had to be rebuilt from scratch. "Freeing" them or passing laws hasn't rectified those facts, nor "pardoned" them.

    A pardon implies a wrong was committed. A pardon forgives that wrong. It might be more appropriate in this case for Alabama to consider pardoning itself for the wrongs Alabama committed. Those now being considered for pardon did no wrong to be pardoned for!
     
  5. SamC

    SamC Hall Of Fame

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    Affirmative action is racism. In modern times its mostly rich white people telling poor white people to step aside so rich black people can be advantaged. It is repugnant, racist, and fundamentally un-American. I never met anybody for AA who ever gave up anyting of his own, or that of his children, for the "disadvantaged."

    Its good to see the state of Alabama make up for the crimes that the party of Wilson, Roosevelt, and Truman did when it held, for 100 years, 99.9% of the elective public offices.
     
  6. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    Un-American?:scratchin

    As opposed to what? Slavery? Aggressive wars? Warrantless wire-taps?

    Which means, unless you only know "mostly rich white people", affimative action has very little impact on anyone except those it is meant to benefit. Colin Powell has admitted he would never have acheived his position had it not been for affirmative action in the military. Clarance Thomas benefited as probably did Condeleesa Rice, if not from the letter of the law, at least its spirit. A spirit you believe to be "un-American"!

    Many Democrats as well as many Republicans fought for civil rights, some at the expense of their elected offices. At least Democrats have not repudiated these principles to exploit the resentment in Alabama and Mississippi and Georgia, etc. in their now admitted "southern strategy".

    No one should be proud of the history of racism in this country, before or after the Civil War, or before or after the civil rights movement. The question is what are we going to do about it? Your answer seems to be that we've done enough already! Oh, excuse me. We WILL have done enough once we've "pardoned" those who put their conscious and principles on the line and got arrested for it. My, how magnanimous of us all!
     
  7. Bogy

    Bogy Hall Of Fame

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    How do you feel about paying back the millions siphoned from Native American Accounts by the Federal Governent. It goes back decades, even more than a century. If the people directly affected, and the people who did the siphoning, are no longer alive, does that mean the contracts involved are null and void? Does it mean the families and tribes that have been affected have no legal recourse for restitution?
     
  8. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    Ah, but the tribes at least had the foresight to get a contract(treaty) in writing, even if they were coerced into signing and even if very few of the clauses favored them. They are just now cashing in on the few clauses that did!:contract:

    Slaves and their desendants OTOH have no such leverage. Probably because no lawyers were willing to advise or represent them for the fees slaves could afford!:( So because they don't have anything in writing, the general consensus is screw them and their children and grandchildren and all generations to come. They didn't get it in writing so they don't deserve anything and we don't owe them anything. The rationale is they should just follow the American Dream like the Germans and Jews and Irish and Poles who came before them. The difference IS, all those groups came here of their own free will in search of that dream. Slaves were forced to come here and live a nightmare for generations.
     
  9. JM Anthony

    JM Anthony Child of the 60's DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Tell that to the first women Fire Fighters and Police Officers, many of whom were white, and had to put up with plenty of abuse on the job.
     
  10. durl

    durl Hall Of Fame

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    You can't apologize for something you didn't do. You can express sorrow, but you can't apologize. That idea needs to be dismissed. And reparations? Forget that. Even IF it were possible, there would be so much fraud that it would be laughable. And how much would Africa have to pay for it's role in capturing and selling fellow Africans? I don't mean this to sound harsh, but I wonder if we should give those whose ancestors were slaves the opportunity to be sent back to their homeland free of charge. I mean, that's the most sensible way to correct the wrong that was done.

    On topic, I'm all for pardoning people who were convicted of violating segregation laws. Makes good sense to me.
     
  11. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    You can "inherit" debts, either individually or as a society. The estate of your dead parents or grandparents is subject to any liabilities they may have incurred against that estate. And certainly future generations will not be able to claim the current federal deficit is something they "didn't do" and escape repayment.

    And leave Africa out of this. That primative tribal societies and individuals partnered in capitalism with Europeans and Americans in the slave trade is irrelevant to our own responsibility. And at least in my opinion shouldn't be the standard we measure ourselves against.

    And sending anyone "back to their homeland free of charge" is equally nonsensical. These "descendants'" ancestors were ripped from their "homeland" against their will and had their futures forever altered as much as 500 years ago. And for 500 years, Europeans and Americans have benefited from these heinous acts. It hardly seems equitable at this point to simply say "your services are no longer needed, here's a ticket 'home'."

    You are correct that direct payment of "reparations" is not feasible. That such a plan is unworkable doesn't necessarily remove all liability from the society that benefited though. It's like saying a debt payable in dollars should be forgiven because the debtor can only pay in Euros. A reasonable system of affirmative action is one way. But the best way might be to fully fund inner city schools and job programs that will eventually allow full integration into mainstream society.

    My grandparents came from Germany and Norway and REALLY had nothing to do with slavery. However, they, as well as my parents and myself have received much advantage from a society that for 400 years before that benefited greatly from slavery. That the descendants of these slaves STILL are unable to fully access the same advantages is a responsibility we should at least acknowledge as real, And if we can, do our best to rectify it even if they don't have it "in writing"!
     
  12. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Again the legislation in Maryland has nothing to do with reparations and apologizes for something the state did do. You can be for or against it on other grounds but let's look at it for what it is not lump it in with other ideas.
     
  13. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    I fully agree in these cases the states should "apologize". But that is quite different from a "pardon". A pardon implies forgiveness for a wrong committed without acknowledging any wrong by the party issuing the pardon.

    In retrospect, most of these cases were precipitated by "wrongs" perpetrated and institutionalized by the various states over decades. The logic here is turned upside down. If anything, those being pardoned should be the ones pardoning the states. The first step being the states acknowledging and apologizing for the wrongs committed.

    Again, if I were the subject of one of these "pardons", I would refuse it, maintaining I had done nothing to be "pardoned" for!
     
  14. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

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    As far back as I can trace it, my family came here AFTER slavery was outlawed and with nothing on their backs. My great great great grandfather Rev Johan Jacob Valkenaar hit the beach at Ellis island in the late 1880s and kept going all the way to South Dakota.

    Another branch of my family only came here in 1936 from Puerto Rico with $3 to their name.

    Can anyone explain why I should pay anything? I've lived my life as best as I know how and managed to keep discrimination and racism to be nothing more than an entry in a dictionary to my kids. It's just not in them and for that, I'm thankful and proud. It's the way I was raised.

    That being said, I'm more for trying to help solve the inequities in OPPORTUNITY rather than outcome.
     
  15. Bogy

    Bogy Hall Of Fame

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    Do you know where he served in South Dakota?
     
  16. BlackHitachi

    BlackHitachi Godfather

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    Shhhh from Puerto Rico!! You can get paid too!! LOL No really i think its more to do with the so filthy rich Euro Hines 57's in the US they are talking about. You know the land owners that got rich off of free labor. Also the ones who did nothing and treated Blacks like dogs. The ones who made it illegal to own land vote read write. All the things this land was built on. The one's like that not you. your Balance in $0.00..
     
  17. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    None of my ancestors had anything to do with slavery either. That is, at least after Norway and Germany outlawed the practice. However, should your or my ancestors have emigrated from Africa and been black, AFTER 1865, it wouldn't have made much difference in the way society treated them. Immigrants from Holland(I'm guessing:D), Norway, Germany and certainly Puerto Rico faced a certain degree of discrimination also, at least the first generation. But if you're black, even if you got here last week, not only the first generation, but every generation after will face the same hurdles descendants of slaves have faced here for the last 140 years.

    My ancestors never owned slaves in this country and neither did yours. But they benefited from the slave-based society for at least 300 years previous. In addition, they(our ancestors) and we benefit from a permanent underclass we can eventually rise above. An underclass who WERE involved in the slave economy, they were the victims of it. And an underclass who for some can trace their AMERICAN ancestry back that full 300 years.

    I don't expect you to have to "pay" anything. I expect you to understand and sympathize with the fact full integration of blacks into American society didn't end with the Emancipation Proclamation. And since they had a lot more to do with the building of this great nation than either my ancestors or yours, I expect that completion of that integration, finally after 400 years, should be a priority of this great nation! I think we owe them that much. And yes, I believe there IS a debt still needing to be repaid! How we do that is debatable. The only thing we know for sure is it is not done yet!
     
  18. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

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    Bogy - I'd have to look for some old family reunion newsletters to figure out where, specifically, he settled down.

    jonstad - Oh I certainly DO sympathize. But the point is that most of the people in this country were exploited members of the underclass. My own Hispanic family has had to deal with it - not so much me to be honest. But the point is that, after all these years, I've been able to rise above that with hard work.

    Yeah, there are still some pretty damned bigoted people out there, but I look at the differences in the 'classes'. I grew up raised by a single mother who kept telling me, over and over again, that I COULD make it in this world. Yes, a single mother in the 1960s - talk about discrimination! I heard MANY stories about the kind of harassment she had to endure. And we literally came up from nothing - moving cross country with little more than the suitcases we carried. It *can* be done.

    But you need support. You need people telling you that you CAN do it. You need cheerleaders, as silly as that might sound. Why is it that the success stories in various minority communities are people who are just that - cheerleaders - while the less successful are being 'led' by people who consistently preach that they CAN'T make it because of 'the man' or because 'the government' isn't doing enough for them, or whatever..

    I don't give a damn WHAT color someone is or WHERE they are from and that's something I've instilled in my kids from Day One. What's worse is that I've seen people, most recently those from India, who deliberately ostracize themselves from being with others and then compain they're discriminated against. When I was working at Putnam, repeated invitations for some of the new immigrants to come to lunch with some of us were *always* rejected, no matter if it was a big group (which, I grant you, could be intimidating) or just a one-on-one. Eventually you just stopped offering.

    Caveat - these are my personal experiences and that obviously colors my views.
     
  19. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    Is that why we elected a cheerleader as President?(rimshot):lol:

    Sorry, I couldn't resist.:blush: That was just too easy.:grin:

    But point well taken. It certainly IS possible in this country for someone to make it from lowly beginnings through hard work and the encouragement of others. It's what we like to think of as the American Dream.

    And an hispanic single-mother in the sixties certainly had to face difficulties. Although it should be said in that era an hispanic single-mother was not considered unexpected or surprising. The real shocker would have been a single-mother named O'Brien or Swenson. This is not to cast aspersions on hispanics. I'm only relating the mood and consensus of the times. As hard as it may have been for your mother, and you, can you concede it would have been even harder if you had been descended from former slaves?

    There've been very few black captains of industry, political and social leaders in this nation. Are we to assume it's because there were none capable? Sitting at the back of the bus for the first hundred years didn't help, but the "American Dream" for most blacks is only now beginning to come into dim focus 140 years after their ancestors were freed from slavery. The road to riches for blacks was perhaps becoming a minstral or song & dance man. More recently, only since the fifties and sixties, has professional sports opened up as a path to the American Dream for blacks. Prior to that, there wasn't even any black movie stars. Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman would have had to be content as porters or factory workers, or maybe they'd have learned how to tap-dance! Michael Jordan and Steve McNair would have been lucky to work in a factory or pick cotton.

    We are NOT the egalitarian society we like to claim we are. For that matter neither are France, Germany, England or any others who make the same claim. But nobody flaunts it like US either. And, such disparate nations as Norway, Britain, India, Israel, PAKISTAN,:eek2: and most recently Chile, in macho Latin America have at least elected a woman as head of state. I know, Hillary's got a shot. But I'm not so sure she's going to make it. We're good at talking the equality talk, just not so good at doing the walk!

    I've already stated I don't think direct financial "reparations" are advisable even it they were workable, which I doubt. Despite existing laws, housing and job discrimination still exists but OTOH, how segregated would this nation still be if we didn't have them? I don't believe the occasional preference or dispensation, especially in education, is completely unfair or unAmerican, as some would contend, given our dubious history in regard to this particular minority. As far as that goes, I'm willing to give native-Americans more than an even break also.

    The history of blacks(and native-Americans) since Europeans arrived here 500 years ago is one of monumental oppression and extreme violence and cruelty, for the vast majority of that time institutionalized and codified into law. Is our answer really just that all that's changed now? All they have to do is work hard and look for encouragement where they can find it?
     
  20. BlackHitachi

    BlackHitachi Godfather

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    Man you really feel MY PAIN don't you!!
     
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