This week, the United States Senate passed a resolution that apologizes for slavery. It’s pretty sad that it took well over one-hundred years to get to this point, but at least it’s something. It should be noted that Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow both co-sponsored the resolution.
To be sure, a Senate resolution can’t under the reality of dehumanization and oppression–or the legacy of slavery’s contemporary manifestations–a fact that the Senate recognizes:
Whereas an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed and a formal apology to African- Americans will help bind the wounds of the Nation that are rooted in slavery and can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help the people of the United States understand the past and honor the history of all people of the United States;
The Senate resolution apologizes for both slavery and Jim Crow:
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the sense of the Congress is the following:
(1) APOLOGY FOR THE ENSLAVEMENT AND SEGREGATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS.
(A) acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws;
(B) apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws; and
(C) expresses its recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and calls on all people of the United States to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices, and discrimination from our society.
Of course, the kicker:
(2) DISCLAIMER.–Nothing in this resolution–
(A) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or
(B) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
It’s disappointing that the resolution excludes the prospect of reparations, but that is likely to be an ongoing battle that needs to be waged by progressives and radicals.