This started as one of those “water cooler” discussions, one in which I was reluctant to participate because I knew that before it was over I would piss off somebody.
The group was multi-ethnic and the subject was should the US government pay reparations to the descendants of former slaves.
In my opinion, reparations is a subject with far too many variables to ever be seriously considered. What of those descendants with mixed race ancestors, do they owe reparations to themselves? Or how about those descended from free blacks who themselves owned slaves? The list could go on and on but I will not pursue it as this was not my sticking point.
Instead I observed that the history of American slavery can not be changed and asked, “how many of us would support slavery today?” And then after the chorus of “of course not,” the follow up question, “do you realize that there are well over thirty million people living in slavery right now?”
In as much as my flip phone does not readily lend itself to web searches I was not able to back up those figures at the time.
My point is this, we have a great many people constantly decrying the abhorrent practice of slavery that ended in this country with the closing of the War Between the States but who never offer up even an opinion on the very real slavery that is being carried out across the globe today, in real time.
And to a greater extent, we are all complicit in perpetuating this slavery. Check the map on the link above (and maps from other sources as well).
Not only do we all purchase goods manufactured in these countries, goods produced by hands held in bondage, but we might also ask how many of the nations shown receive aid from our government? How many are trading partners? Or enjoy most favored nation status?
On a personal level, great prices aside, where is the selective vetting of our purchases? And on a national level where is the outcry from our elected officials?
As long as we and our government can carry on business as usual with nations that allow, overtly or otherwise, slavery to exist withing their borders then the only conclusion that can be reached is that we are de facto state sponsors of slavery.
Maybe your member of Congress can explain why this is so.