- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 8, 2000

Clarence Page considers racial reparations a worthy discussion ("Why apologies still matter", Commentary, June 28), but what a can of worms that opens.Let's first picture many of today's black citizens, many of them descendants of American slaves: a civil engineer, a pharmacist, a doctor, a construction foreman, a farmer, a management consultant, a businessman. Middle class, living in good neighborhoods, driving good cars. Successful, in short. Yes, many are still poor, many are still in substandard housing, many are unemployed. But so are many whites and other groups more, in fact. But nothing in life is perfect.Now let's picture blacks still in Africa whose ancestors were not enslaved at least, not over here: grinding cornmeal in a bowl, living in grass huts with dirt floors, carrying tattered laundry in baskets on their heads, washing clothes on washboards at the river, still ravaged by diseases their American relatives long ago conquered.Now, tell me again: Which of these are talking reparations? When it comes to causes for complaint, the American black has nothing on the African whose ancestors stayed behind and out of the hands of the European slave traders. Who is better off today? Would a successful and cultured Clarence [P]age trade

laces with the man he would have been had his family remained untouched on the "dark continent"? I don't think so.Am I saying slavery was good? Certainly not. We all decry its cruelty. But what the slave trade made

ossible, many generations later, cannot be ignored: advanced lives well beyond what otherwise would have been.A second

oint: Let's assume "re

arations" are made, be they cash in the hand (read "lum

-sum welfare"), more extensive affirmative action

lans, "extra" rights denied to non-slave descendants name your favorite benefit. Are we to assume that once such "

ayments" are made we will never again be hearing gri

ing and com

laining from "black leaders" and their followers about "continuing discrimination" and "unlevel

laying fields"? Will this

ayment silence "slave" talk forevermore? Can the Confederate flag then be flown again? Will the Al Shar

tons of the world quietly retire?Yeah, that could ha



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