Apologize for Slavery?

by on January 19th, 2007

In response to some proposed legislation calling for Virginia to officially apologize for slavery, Frank Hargrove, a long-time state delegate, recently stated that “black citizens should get over it.” Hargrove also asked, “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?” Many Virginians share Hargrove’s frustration over the proposed legislation. Unfortunately, he chose to respond to it with remarks that would seem insensitive and anti-Semitic to most listeners or readers, although I honestly don’t believe that was his intention.

Many black lawmakers in Virginia’s General Assembly immediately took umbrage at the “get over it” remark, for obvious reasons. In addition, a Jewish delegate voiced his displeasure at Hargrove’s “inflammatory” remarks about Jews, stating that he was picked on as a child because of the misconception that the Jews killed Jesus. Indeed, Hargrove owes all blacks and Jews an apology for his careless, although hardly malicious, remarks. That’s an apology that makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is the proposed state apology that prompted Hargrove’s response. The time for Virginia to apologize for slavery would have been sometime some shortly after it was abolished. That way, Virginia could have issued the apology, on behalf of its former slave owners, to its former slaves, most of whom would have still been alive. But it’s too late now. No one alive now has ever owned a slave or been a slave, which makes the whole idea of an apology so silly. Who would be apologizing to whom?

Some would argue that it would be the state, not its citizens, apologizing to the descendants of slaves. But what is the state but its citizens? In this case, its white citizens, who had nothing to do with slavery, would be singled out. And what about the white kids who would be picked on because of the perception on the part of black kids that they bore some guilt for slavery? I guess that doesn’t matter. And what would be the point of apologizing to the descendants of slaves? They are not in a position to accept any apology. Their ancestors were the only ones who could have, and they are all dead.

Obviously, the goal of those who are pushing this legislation is to use guilt as a tool to shove it down the throats of every Virginian. If, somewhere along the way, someone gets annoyed and fires back, then there’s hell to be paid. They remind me of people who constantly browbeat others and then cry offense when the recipients of the browbeating finally decide to retaliate with a few choice words of their own.

As average citizens, most of us believe in fairness for all. We believe in equal opportunity and a level playing field, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or religion — but with no special rights or bending over backwards for anyone. That’s what common sense should dictate. But common sense often gets squeezed out by political correctness.

The purveyors of political correctness, including the liberal media, seek to inject irrelevant and/or obsolete issues into every debate. Instead of being peacemakers, they specialize in seeing only one way on every two-way street and setting one race, ethnic group, or religion at odds against another. They say it’s quite alright for Group A to offend Group B, or for Group A to have something special that Group B doesn’t have, but God forbid that either of those scenarios ever be reversed.

Most Americans are getting sick and tired of this kind of hypocrisy and race-baiting and they’re soon going to rise up and say enough is enough. They are going to demand that we finally let go of the sins of the past and start focusing on only one race — the human race.

Terry Mitchell