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Perspective: It's Time To Pay Our Debts, America

Susan Stephens

And now, a little lesson. The definition of oppression is “the systematic institutionalized mistreatment of one group over another for whatever reason.”

Whew! What a mouthful. I share this because among several comments Mitch McConnell made about reparations for slave families, he also argued it would be difficult to determine who to pay because "waves of immigrants" come to the country who have faced "dramatic discrimination."

OK, Mitch, far be it from me to give you a history lesson. Slaves were not immigrants. They were kidnapped people, brought here to be sold as property against their will, subjected to horrific brutality and experienced institutionalized systematic mistreatment then and now because of the color of their skin.

The election of President Obama was, what, reparation enough for an entire class of people whose ability to raise themselves out of entrenched poverty has been systematically undermined every decade, from Jim Crow to mass incarceration?

The wealth of this nation is built on stolen land watered with the blood of enslaved people and their children. When is enough enough? Our white privilege is always hungry and feeds off the suffering of those we choose to marginalize.

I guess McConnell’s comments just grated on me. How can we as a nation look at the overrepresentation of black people in poverty, failures in education, incarceration, low wage jobs -- and the list goes on. It’s time we paid our debt to black people.

Original sin? No, the second sin. The first sin was the theft of land from the original people but that’s another perspective.      

Here endeth the lesson.

I’m Lou Ness and that’s my perspective.

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