Gettin' Dis'd and Gettin'
Paid: Rectifying Injustice
RODNEY C. ROBERTS
The slave trade and its progeny of racial injustice are excellent examples of far-reaching, unresolved, and massive injustices. Although the U.S. didn't, much of the global community acknowledged these injustices in 2001 following the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR), held in Durban, South Africa. The participants acknowledged that “slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity … and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent, and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences.” Moreover, it was strongly reaffirmed that “as a pressing requirement of justice, that victims of human rights violations” such as these, be assured of “the right to seek just and adequate reparation.”1
The importance of these issues to hip hop is reflected in the words of Chuck D. Performing “Down to Now” with The Last Poets (Time Has Come), he describes how we came from Africa in ships, with most of us dying along the way. He asks what the tax would be on the horrors of the Middle Passage, and what
1 Report of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination,
Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa (31st August-8th
September, 2001), U.N. Doc. A/CONF. 189/12 (2002), http://www.unhchr
.ch/html/racism/index.htm, pp. 11, 24.