Updated: May 13, 2020
Happy Juneteenth! I'm sure many of us are aware that conversation will be taking place today regarding whether or not the government should pay reparations to us since we are the descendants of slaves. I've heard much conversation around this topic, and the one that bothers me the most is the dialogue that includes "the people who are alive now are not responsible for slavery." I wish I could quell that way of thinking, but you can't fix everyone. So I will just blog about it...LOL!
While it's true that no one alive is responsible for slavery, it's also true that the benefits and detriments of slavery are still being felt today. Hundreds of years of free labor has allowed certain people to pass down generational wealth, while others are stuck behind the eight ball. Imagine working for a month without any pay, while your employer keeps the wages you should have gotten. Some of us live paycheck to paycheck, so a month without pay would surely have a negative effect on our quality of life. I'm sure that just one month of withheld wages from every person that works for your current employer would give your employer a favorable advantage against the competition. In today's world, the employer would not get away with this, and more importantly, most of us wouldn't keep working for the company after we missed the first paycheck. Now imagine this scenario played out over hundreds of years, but the difference is that you can't leave because you're treated as property owned by another person. If you tried to leave, you would be hunted down, beaten and forced to go back to work, if you weren't killed.
So while no one alive is responsible for slavery, I don't see anyone alive revoking their advantage or wealth that was handed to them as a result of the hundreds of years of free labor. While there is no amount of money that could ever repay for lost time, lost history or lost ancestry, the least that the government could do is apologize to us monetarily. I mean really....they are sitting in Washington DC, a city with buildings and monuments built by slaves!!