The Case for Compensation
When in the course of human events a government condones an injustice against a large
segment of its population, some form of compensation is due the victims of the injustice
or their ancestors whether the effects the injustice is seen or not.
However, when the effects of the injustice ARE seen, it should motivate one all the more
to seek a redress for the issue.
Freeing one’s fellow man from an oppressive government situation, while commendable
is not enough (especially in light of what this great injustice - namely slavery - has done
to them and their offspring).
To say one is now free and expect the newly freed people to go prosperly on their way
when they were in fact deprived of everything that most people in society would need to have a
fair start in life is NOT acceptable.
To correct an injustice done in society - a state sponsored injustice - means more than
just freeing one from the injustice, but it also means the giving of compensation
from the state for the injustice which the state incurred.
This compensation having not been made to the victims
themselves, must be made available to
their children which still suffer - in large measure - because of this injustice).
Any type and any kind of state sponsored injustice (which slavery was) its victims and or
children are due compensation of some type from that said state (Both North and South
had slavery at differing points).
The nature of that compensation should not only remedy the injustice, but it should give
the people - who suffer because of this injustice - what they need to make a new and fair start in life.
The very fact that this was NOT done 150 years ago does not relieve subsequent
generations of the responsibility. Especially when the effects of the injustice are still seen.
An injustice is an injustice.
Again, the evidence of the subsequent effects of the injustice are still with us to this day.
Generation upon generation did NOT have what they needed to make a
fair start in their lives. Hence the disproportionatly
high rates of most social problems in many Black
President Lincoln saw that the freed slaves would need something more than their
freedom to ‘make a go of it.’
He saw that land given to these newly freed AMERICANS would be something that
would help give them a fair start in life. Land that they themselves owned.
President Bush, 150 years later in his New Orleans eulogy at the National Cathedral made
mentioned of the effects of discrimination that was STILL going on in New Orleans.
"As all of us saw on television, there is also some deep persistent poverty in this region as well. And that poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from
the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us
restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above
the legacy of inequality."
He also, in another New Orleans address said something about home ownership (where
people own the land) being a great strength in our society.
“And to help lower-income citizens in the hurricane region build new and
better lives, I also propose that Congress pass an Urban Homesteading Act. Under this
approach, we will identify property in the region owned by the federal government and
provide building sites to low-income citizens free of charge, through a lottery. In
return, they would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a
charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. Home ownership is
one of the great strengths of any community, and it must be a central part of our vision for
the revival of this region.”
One can certainly infer from this the idea that the Federal Government should give
property to the poor to the end of correcting the continuing effects of injustice.
The thing about land ownership is that people who own property tend to take care of it
and tend to get the jobs (that is jobs with livable wages) necessary to help them make a
fair start in life and then they go on from there.
Land ownership IS the beginning of a fair start in the life
of any productive society.
President Lincoln saw this, and President Bush said something about land too.
The poorest of our land should be the FIRST candidates for such a corrective program
and then work up from there. The fact that such an injustice has not been corrected has
not relieved this society of their responsibility to correct this injustice. Especially in light
of what is still going on.
The Great Society, while it has it’s merits has failed in many ways. It needs
to be more than tweaked.
Injustice is injustice and should be corrected by more than
The Children of those who have and are suffering under the continuing effects of this
injustice should be given a ‘Fair Start in Life’ to make a go at it.
It’s the just thing to do.
Eventually ALL children of the victims of this injustice must be compensated in some
way. If not land then monetarily.
It should not be dragged out but be done soon. Very soon, for the sake of justice. Whether the children of the people who
have suffered under the injustice - in societies estimation - need recompense or not.
Injustice is injustice and deserves compensation.
Also remember, safeguards should always be kept in place that would keep “similar”
things from happening again (The Voting Rights Act - which President Bush just asked to
have extended - which keeps disenfranchisement from happening;
Affirmative Action which is also a legitimate and legal part of addressing past injustices
in Black employment) (and please note: Affirmative Action corrects an injustice.
It does not compensate for it. Compensation is not earned, it is given
There should also always be a safety net of services too. Americans - all Americans may
need help from time to time.