As should every country involved in the slave trade.
Well, there are still slaves in some countries, not like the slaves in the US in the bad old days, but I think every country involved in the slave trade that has ended and involved enslaving Africans and Native Americans for the rich, should apologize.
I think a form of slavery that continues today in the US involves illegal immigrants working in sweatshops or farms. Every cent they earn goes to rent, the coyote, food, "Two rolls of toilet paper in one week?", and then a little bit to their family or children or legal status. If they complain, they can be deported or arrested.
But, I'm thinking about the slavery that "ended" with the Civil War.
Yes, former slaves were free, but free to do what? In the south, their formerly rich owners were bitter and started a gentleman's club, you may have heard of it? The bitterness led to countless deaths, 'seperate-but-equal' everything (the Pentagon has twice as many bathrooms needed for its offical capacity because it was built before the law changed. Flush them all at once, and the government will be higgledy-piggledy. But you didn't hear it from me.), and general suckiness for most of the former slaves.
Sharecropping was a way for the rich to enslave poor white and black people - no discrimination there!
Every state that had slaves should issue an apology, along with the country as a whole. Just a measure next February for black history month (eyeroll) saying, "Hey. Slavery sucked and we're sorry. And even though it's been officially over for 140 years, we still have a way to go to true equality. This apology is a step forward."
I don't see why there's a resistance to an apology.
Actually, I do see it from my mom and sister. "I didn't own slaves, nobody in my family did, why should I apologize?" They probably didn't on my mom's side. I think her mother's family emigrated to America in the late 1800s or early 1900s. They're Czech, and one of my grandmother's relatives, had, in her diary, a handout so old and brittle, but so scary - it was a prayer in praise of Hitler.
As for my dad's side, it's possible on his father's side, but not his mother's. She's only a generation or two from Germany.
So my mom and dad did not own slaves and knew no one who did. Your mom and dad didn't either. Your mom and dad weren't slaves, your grandparents probably weren't, but I do know there are some people who were born at the turn of the last century that knew people who'd been/owned slaves.
But abolishing slavery didn't abolish racism. There was 100 years of institutionalized racism after the war. A middle school that's in the county, but close to Memphis was a high school in my mom's day, the black one. And I think they didn't desegregate until a few years after the Brown ruling. Just pictures of the high school in Little Rock. The governor of Arkansas came to the school and said no. And out of the 9 students that eventually got in, only one or two ended the year. The rest quit, most likely due to harassment and threats.
An apology is a gesture. It won't be completely worthless, though. It will acknowledge that the United States made a mistake (in the past) and we're working to correct it.
Opponents say it's an empty gesture, we know slavery happened, get over it already. But we can't get over it - there are still racist stumbling blocks in place (but like sharecropping, they've spread to other races, including whites, but that's class warfare if you mention that poverty is hard to escape), though not government backed anymore.
I told my mom that she wasn't hurt by Jim Crow laws, and neither were her parents. But my black classmate, her black coworker, their parents and grandparents were. It takes generations to achieve equality or come close.
An apology for slavery will not be an empty gesture, but a sign that we know we made a mistake and we're working to correct it.
Maybe some politicians are scared of it because they don't want to admit it happened, or that it has any relevance today. But it does, because it didn't end 140 years ago, or even 40. Racism still exists, and slavery is pretty obvious cause.
It won't hurt anyone to say I'm sorry. How can it?
By leading to reparations?
The best reparation I can think of would be money for education from pre-school to college, from the federal level, so a school in a poor district (black or white) can have the same things as a school in a richer one, and so we'll all have the opportunity to go to school after high school, because a high school diploma can't get you what it used to, unless you join the military.
But I'm not a politician, just a blogger who got 3 hours of sleep and spent the night looking at lefty cartoons and a long post on Pandagon about a Virginia state senator's opposition to an official apology, and the 100+ comments that followed. This one guy had this idea that all the liberals at the site were saying black people should do nothing until someone gives them something, when he was the only one saying it, not endorsing it, but saying that's what everyone else said, when they didn't.