Posted by: zhak39 | May 3, 2007

Since I’m Already Here–For What It’s Worth

There has been some discussion locally about the idea of state governments apologizing for the institution of slavery. Some local blogs have chimed in (sorry, you’ll have to google it yourself) and our local paper has printed some letters for and against. I did take the time today to offer this on our local paper’s interactive editorial page.

As a caucasian woman whose ancestry can be traced to the more recent hejira from Sicily to the deeper lines of Iroquois and 17th century English adventurers, I offer this.

I acknowledge that slavery in all forms is wrong and reprehensible. I acknowledge that great suffering occured to individuals who were forcibly removed from their homes, transported in abhorrent conditions and sold as product. I affirm that the institution of slavery as it occured in the United States of America and as it continues to occur on this earth is an embarrassment and an abomination.

I acknowledge that there have been systemic and multigenerational effects stemming from this morally unjustifiable practice. I recognize that there have been changes and some progress made to rid our society of practices that were legally and/or socially acceptable but were unjust. I also recognize that this process is not complete.

I regret that the history of the human race is marked by instances of human beings mistreating other human beings. As a citizen of a country that purports to recognize equality among inhabitants, the fact that this dehumanization was raised to the level of a legal institution is incredible.

I cannot change the past nor can I offer hope for the future. I affirm at this time, that in this, the present moment I will treat all beings with respect and kindness.

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