We Don’t Need Another Sorry: Pay Us What You Owe Us!

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In recent years, there has been a growing trend of institutions and organizations issuing apologies for their historical involvement in slavery. Yale University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States, is among those that have publicly acknowledged their ties to the institution of slavery and expressed regret for their past actions. While these apologies may be well-intentioned, many in the black community argue that they are not enough. What black people truly need is not another apology, but rather reparations for the centuries of exploitation and oppression they have endured.

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Say it a second time for the people in the back

As Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated, America has given the negro a bad check. This metaphorical “bad check” represents the broken promises and unfulfilled commitments that have characterized the relationship between black Americans and the rest of society. For centuries, black people have been systematically marginalized, discriminated against, and denied the same opportunities and privileges as their white counterparts. The legacy of slavery continues to impact the lives of black Americans today, as they continue to face systemic racism, economic inequality, and social injustice.

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Apologies, while a step in the right direction, do not address the root causes of these disparities. What black people need is tangible reparations for the harm that has been done to them. This could take the form of financial compensation, educational opportunities, healthcare access, or other forms of restitution that seek to rectify the injustices of the past. Reparations are not about assigning blame or seeking revenge, but rather about acknowledging the historical wrongs that have been committed and taking concrete steps to address them.

Yale University, as an institution with a long history of benefiting from the labor of enslaved people, has a moral obligation to confront its past and make amends for the harm it has caused. While issuing an apology is a good first step, it is not sufficient. Yale must take concrete actions to support black students, faculty, and staff, and to address the systemic inequalities that continue to exist within its walls. This could include increasing financial aid for black students, hiring more black faculty members, and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives that promote equity and justice for all members of the university community.

In conclusion, while apologies for slavery are important, they are not enough to address the deep-seated inequalities that continue to plague black Americans. What black people truly need is reparations for the harm that has been done to them, both historically and in the present day. Institutions like Yale University have a responsibility to acknowledge their past wrongs and take concrete steps to rectify them. Only then can we begin to truly heal the wounds of the past and move towards a more just and equitable future for all.

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