Time to pay up | AspenTimes.com

Time to pay up

To turn away from local politics, I have been concerned with the plight of Blacks in this country. Starting from the first ship in the early 1600s to modern times, Blacks in this country have gone through enslavement, “Jim Crow,” racism (to ‘justify’ their enslavement and oppression), and government experimentation. Meanwhile, many corporations and America itself used this oppression of Blacks to generate profit, which secretly helped America become a world power. Even today, Blacks have to deal with such vestiges of slavery as credit card id checks, racial profiling by police departments, disparity in sentencing in the justice system, poor schooling, and even seeing the Confederate flag flown on top of some state buildings (or that flag incorporated into some state flags), a symbol of a country which made slavery part of its constitution. And long before some Americans got to experience terrorism from 9/11, Blacks got to experience the racial terrorism brought to them through race riots, lynching, and the destruction of their property. The crime of all this is so great, that some people have given up or simply tried to pretend that these things never happened. What I would like to point out is a way to fix the problems created and correct these past transgressions toward Black Americans.

In 1865, General William Sherman granted each freed slave family 40 acres and a mule, which was rescinded by President Andrew Johnston (the only impeached American president in history). Subsequent efforts of national reparations have been brought up over the years and have been blocked by government officials. Since 1989, Representative John Conyers (D) of Michigan has introduced bill HR 40 into Congress for study. This bill would allow for a study to correctly identify the problems that slavery and “Jim Crow” caused to Blacks, and would then recommend to Congress how to fix these problems. From this, money could be applied into the inner city school systems to raised the education levels, and also through business loans create business opportunities for Blacks, thus creating a higher class of Black Americans in this country. This in turn would also help out other Americans as well, such as Hispanics and poor Whites. This reparations idea would help to fully restore human rights to the descendants of enslaved people in this country. We would also get back to working to fix the problems of race in this country, a serious dividing factor. The only way to fix a problem is to not try to ignore it but actually work to fix it, and Congressman Conyers’ HR 40 bill actually works to fix these problems in our American society.

If you want more information on this subject, go to the Explore Bookstore on Main Street in Aspen, and order a copy of Randall Robertson’s book “The Debt: What America Owes To Blacks” (Web site; http://www.TheDebt.net). You can keep an eye out for the upcoming Andrew Kole show on local Grassroots TV on this matter as well. You can even ask your Aspen city councilmen to join with the city councils of Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, and Dallas in asking for federal hearings on reparations to Blacks. Reparations for Black Americans is truly an American idea who’s time has come.

Ramon Duvernay

Aspen