Slavery Reparations Are Wrong

Ladies and gentlemen; I don\'t believe that anyone in this
chamber would move to disagree with the idea that slavery was an
atrocity, committed from the depths of the darkest parts of the human
sole. Africans were seized from their native land, and sold into
lives of servitude into a foreign land. Indeed, it was a tragedy on
such a scale that cannot be measured nor quantified. And it is this
very notion of unquantifiable tragedy which speaks to the matter of
reparations for slavery. To be quite blunt, reparations, even if they
may be deserved, are not feasible under any system or economic tangent
- indeed such an undertaking would only not remedy the situation, but
it would sink Africa and her people deeper into the cycle of poverty
and oppression that they have so struggled to free themselves. While
the arguments against reparations may seem shallow or self-serving to
advocates of such a system, upon examination, the logistics of what to
give, and whom to distribute it to, preclude any potential benefits of
such a system of indemnity and requite. The point of the follow
critique is not to say that Africans were not mistreated, nor that
they are not worthy of reparations, but that perhaps reparations are
not an adequate solution to this situation, and indeed will only serve
to worsen.
Africa is a continent in dire straits. European colonization
and colonialism damaged the native structure and society - some might
say that this simply proves that European man caused, and ought to pay
for, the damages done to Africa and her people. However, I would
argue that simply placing a \'band-aid\' blanket over Africa, would
serve only to mask their problems, and relieve us of our guilt. It
was this same attitude that the early European missionaries took with
Africa - that they are not capable of dealing with their own problems
and situations. Authors suggest that reparations should take the form
of capital transfers and African status in the International Monetary
Fund (Mazuri, 22). Does this sound like mending the deep running
wounds and damage done to Africa, or like a transfer of monetary funds
in order to "fix" Africa? Indeed, this idea of presenting money to
Africa in order to "apologize" for what we have done is nothing more
than a quick fix solution - it is not a long-term remedy for the
underlying structural damage. The very center of Africa has been
changed, for better or for worse. Surface solutions, while some may
claim they are "a good beginning" or perhaps just a token of our
apologetic state, will only further social damage and entrench abusive
African regimes. A cognate situation with African Americans is with
that of Afrocentric history (Asante, 174); many suggest that perhaps
we ought to provide black student with their own curriculum, such as
to instill in them a sense of pride that will improve their education.
The U.S. News and World Report comments:

"The Afrocentric curriculum is usually presented as an
attempt to develop pride in black children by giving them a racial
history… But what kind of pride and self-esteem is likely to grow
from false history? And how much more cynical will black children
be if they discover that they have been conned once again, only
this time by Afrocentrists? … It is a sure-fire formula for
separatism and endless racial animosity (Leo, 26)"

This author suggests that indeed, conferring upon youths of African
descent their own "different" history will not only further the racial
segregation, but also provide them with a false sense of history,
fueling the animosity. If the rest of the world were to suddenly step
down and bestow upon Africa special privileges and grants, it would
only create a sense among the global village that Africans are
\'different\' and require some sort of special assiezce in order to
succeed. This type of compensatory system would not only be
insufficient to ever repay blacks for the injustice to them, but also
further the rigid separatism that plagues African Americans today -
what they need is equality, not special programs catered to what
guilty-feeling Europeans feel they "owe" them.
Aside from any philosophical or idea-based arguments against