Viewers' Closing Thoughts: Slavery Reparations

Following are responses to Nightline's Closing Thoughts from Dec. 3, 2003.

America in Black and White

Read Ted Koppel's Closing Thought on Slavery Reparations.

Ted,

How can people and businesses be held responsible for what happened in the past? If your great grandfather robbed a bank back in the 1800s, should he be held responsible for it now? What kind of justice system is that?

I'm not a prejudiced person, but it seems to me some of the African Americans are seeking revenge through the reparations lawsuit. Maybe even some greed is involved. Look at the gains the black race has made. More needs to be done. We need to heal the hurts and move forward. What about all the white families who never owned slaves or participated in slavery or those who gave their very lives to free slaves in the underground railroad, the civil war and civil rights? Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson made tremendous strides in racial equality. Let's not move backwards.

Finally what about all the African Americans who have found success in sports, entertainment, music, etc.? There's a lot of multi-millionaires who are black. Things aren't perfect but they're a whole lot better than than before. I know about prejudice myself...I have muscular dystrophy. Here's a radical concept...forgiveness. I'm not suing anyone.

— Cal Crowe, along the beautiful Oregon Coast

First of all I think that it is important to know and pay attention to the past as African-Americans, because the past is a huge determinate in who you will become in the future.

I also feel like we as African-Americans are living in our own "matrix" and until we unplug ourselves and realize the true reality, which is that we are still being governed by, work for, and live by the same circumstances as in the days of slavery but in a different time period, then we as a people will never be able to move forward and leave this issue behind us. I think that reparations would serve as one small component of a puzzle with many missing pieces. It would show some kind of admittance and accountability on the part of the perpetrators. Still, reparations will never replace what we have lost as a nation. — Chastity CrowderDekalb, Ill.

For previous viewers' Closing Thoughts, see "Related Stories," above, right.

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