My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Extortion By Any Other Name. . .

The NAACP will target private companies as part of its economic agenda, seeking reparations from corporations with historical ties to slavery and boycotting companies that refuse to participate in its annual business diversity report card.

"Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery and engaging all parties to come to the table," Dennis C. Hayes, interim president and chief executive officer . . . "Many of the problems we have now including poverty, disparities in health care and incarcerations can be directly tied to slavery."

I don't know where to begin with this. Let's just start with the statement that I highlit. There are other ethnic groups in America that have been made to suffer horrible treatments--NOT AS BAD AS SLAVERY, granted (had to put that in bold to try to fend off the inevitable)--but equally atrocious. For instance, the Orientals who came over to this country in the 19th century were conscripted into a very slavery-like existence to build the railroads across the West; in addition, few Amarican actions short of slavery compare to the incareration of Japanese during World War II. And yet, with that horrible history and all, Orientals are now so much a part of the fabric of American life that they aren't even considered a minority any more. What's the difference? I don't know--strong family ties, an original culture that was less tribal, a cultural value for achievement. I'm not sure, but I do know that you would be hard pressed to find an Oriental who laments their state because of events of 140 years ago.

And, by the way, aren't poverty, which contributes to poor health care, and incarceration ALSO sad by-products of paternal absenteeism. Maybe Hayes ought to talk to Bill Cosby.

What's sad is that it's actually working.

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank recently completed an examination of its history and found that two financial institutions it absorbed years ago -- Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana -- had owned more than 1,250 black people until the Civil War, procured as collateral on defaulted loans.

The company apologized and officials said it will start a $5 million scholarship program for children in Louisiana.

Wachovia Corp. was accused by a Chicago alderman of lying last month when it submitted its statement in January stating it had no knowledge of any involvement with slavery. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company later apologized and indicated that it would create an education fund or contribute money toward black history education.

But, in a rare departure for the NAACP, one of theirs is actually pointing a finger at the political party most responsible for their condition in the 20th century.

The Rev. Wayne Perryman of Mount Calvary Christian Center Church of God in Christ agreed that pursuing the federal government is not a fruitful option. The Seattle minister has filed two reparations lawsuits against the Democratic Party, saying its role in defending slavery and opposing civil rights bills during the Jim Crow era deserves an apology.

"One of the problems in courts is that ... you have to show ... the government official who participated in it," Mr. Perryman said. "With the federal government the real problem is that it has never had a totally pro-slavery position, the Democrats did and supported it, while the abolitionists and Republicans did not."

If they were really interested in justice, they would target Robert Byrd, he of the white bedsheets. But, as encouraging as Perryman's approach is, I don't expect it to be widespread or even recognized by the black community at large. They've been so inculcated with the mantra of "Republican Bad", and so poorly educated by the government-run schools, that any recognition of the Democrat's ole in past abuses are unlikely to make a dent in their collective consciousness.

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