Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations

By Roy L. Brooks | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
OPPOSING ARGUMENTS

In this final chapter, I shall address many of the most significant arguments advanced in opposition to slave redress. Some of my answers have already been stated. They are contained in the previous chapters of the book and, thus, require little more than a brief explanation and cross-reference. New responses are discussed more extensively. 1

1. The whole notion of atonement seems opportunistic and morally arbitrary, because African tribes played a major role in the enslavement of blacks, and no one is asking them to apologize.

There is no moral equivalency here. As one commentator has noted, “it wasn't the [African] locals who instigated the [transatlantic slave] trade, or who supervised the appalling cruelty of the Middle Passage, or who later worked the victims to death. Nor was it really the locals who profited by the business, except in the short term. ” 2

Also, some African nations have in fact apologized for their predecessors' participation in racial slavery. For example, the president of Benin, Mathieu Kerekou, sent a delegation to the United States to extend an apology for his country's role in the African slave trade. In a visit in 2000 to the capital of the former Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, Benin's minister of environment and housing, Luc Gnacadja, stated: “We cry for forgiveness and reconciliation. ” But even if no African nation apologized for slavery, that

-180-

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Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1 - The Purpose and History of the Black Redress Movement 1
  • Chapter 2 - Harms to Slaves and Free Blacks 20
  • Chapter 3 - Harms to Descendants 36
  • Chapter 4 - The Tort Model 98
  • Chapter 5 - The Atonement Model 141
  • Chapter 6 - Opposing Arguments 180
  • Epilogue 207
  • Appendix 1 - Selected List of Other Atrocities 213
  • Appendix 2 - Summary of the Negotiations That Led to Germany's Foundation Law 218
  • Notes 221
  • Selected Bibliography 273
  • Cases 299
  • Statutes 303
  • Index 307
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