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Reparations issue still simmers

November 05, 2008

Re "So long, slavery reparations," Opinion, Oct. 31

Walter Olson's epitaph for reparations for the descendants of African slaves in the United States is premature. Although the issue may no longer appear in the daily news, it is most certainly buried in the American conscience, destined to resurface.

Olson argues that black servitude was largely redressed by "social welfare, education, housing and urban programs." This may have been the intent, but it certainly was not the result. Before the ink was dry on the authorizations for many of these programs, a backlash emerged claiming reverse discrimination.

Soon, every "minority," from the physically challenged to gay rights groups, shared in the crumbs that had been originally set aside for the descendants of slaves. As statistics indicate, the vestiges of slavery and its aftermath -- segregation and discrimination -- persist in African American communities across this country.

People who seek reparations for African Americans are not "anger-mongering." They are citizens of conscience who believe that black people, who have contributed so much to this nation without compensation, are worthy of consideration for recompense similar to that granted many Japanese American and Native American citizens for past injustices.

LeGrand H. Clegg

Compton

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