87 Comments

I agree. Remembering the condition of slavery is relevant so that we can grasp the progress we have made and look forward to future progress.

For me, Passover is similar. We recount the slave days to heighten the blessings of liberty. "Once we were oppressed and now we are free" is the repeated refrain in the Haggadah. Was not Martin Luther King doing the same thing in his "I Have a Dream Speech?"

Being Jewish, we always add, "Let's eat." LOL

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The challenge is that our culture seems to elevate "victimhood" at the moment.

Black people are using their ancestors being enslaved to claim victimhood.

Rural "white" Americans are using AA, DEI, CRT to claim victimhood.

Religious are saying they are victims LGBTQ people converting their kids to LGBTQ.

LGBTQ people are saying they are victims of Religious people when a person won't marry them or a baker won't bake them a cake.

Gen-Z is saying they are victims of corporations and people with power. This one is very amusing because they promote their victimhood while using iPhones, buying from Amazon and taking an Uber.

How did victimhood become a badge of honor?

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I wonder if anyone still listening to this lively debate might consider that black Americans who grew up in California, a state where there never has been slavery, might have a different opinion about reparations and slavery than black Americans who live and whose families remain in the Deep South.

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There was a time when Blackness equaled enterprise. I came of age in this time in a southern suburb in the 1970s. Anyone who defines Blackness as "victimhood" in the year 2024 doesn't have the best interest of young impressionable black children in mind. https://twyman.substack.com/p/black-enterprise-magazine-or-how Victimhood as a mindset for anyone should be rejected out of hand. Personally, I prefer Blackness as enterprise, triumph over adversity and a duty to achieve because we have more opportunities than our parents and grandparents.

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I agree. But that doesn't mean burying the history. It's there--it has something to do with the present--but at the same time, crawling into the past and lying down there is also no way to live.

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I agree. A child born after war, genocide, or other horrific injustice is joyful and unscarred by the past. New life brings new hope that inspires others to look forward to a better future. We should avoid speaking in a way that perpetuates a cycle of resentment in our children that would lead to future conflict. We should talk about history to understand what brought us to the present. And slavery is part of that history; we just need to keep it in perspective.

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A clarion call to learn from the past, live in the present, and look to the future. Thank you for your clear and reasoned thoughts.

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We know most families, with few exceptions, don't continually build their wealth from generation to generation, so this formula is based on a privilege of fanciful wealth growth. The reality is children fight over inheritance, some inherit unequally (sons historically received more), some gambled earnings away, some went bankrupt, some lived on the inheritance and spent all of it, etc. Poor southern whites are also owed under this thinking since free (slave) labor shut out poor whites. This could go on forever. I sometimes think this obsession with past slavery is due to comparing oneself to the ancestors who survived slavery and falling short of their toughness.

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I don't know the calculations on giving reparations to the surviving descendants of the more than 200,000 mostly white men who died on the side of America to free the slaves in the civil war. Probably not as much as the slave's labor, but you should probably subtract from their earnings their food and shelter, although those were dreadfully meager. (I used to be an accountant) I agree we should be thankful for what we have and move forward to work for the success of ourselves and our neighbors.

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Good article. And yes, we must resist the reenactment element of grievance which is made easier by chromatic differences between descendants of slaves and others. I do notice that the Left is peddling a super depressing narrative especially for Black women. Also, whoever came up with DEI has made progress more difficult because forcing non-white people to have as their profession/position explaining to whites why the unwhite should be part of organizations that formerly excluded such people is absurd.

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So you write an entire essay on not talking about slavery instead of just not talking about slavery? Seems counterintuitive. Nonetheless, slavery is part of American history. Academics have made careers out of researching and writing on American slavery. Why should we let go such an integral part of American history?

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I am mostly a fan of FBT than not. But Lord, this op-ed was unforgivably weak.

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Agree 100%. We have to move forward and not keep tripping on what's behind us. Plenty of big issues to work on rather than furiously flaming the embers of prior racism (I think that's Baldwin) and chasing disparities.

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Also there is a lot of racism still in the matrix as we speak that white people like myself do not even witness everyday.

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I wonder who his intended audience is because it sure as hell ain’t me

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One other thing. Maybe they keep slavery in their hearts because they love their loved ones and it hurts to see them basically raped

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