If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Healing apologies?

Sorry for the absence. It's been rather mundane around here lately. I thought I would have something blogworthy on Saturday, considering we had three birthday parties--one of which was for nine 5-year-olds--plus regular business. The only thing of note was that the little girl's birthday party was calm and serene compared to the other kids' parties we've done. I have managed to get a load of sewing done, and for once I have five days' grace before the next rendezvous! I must be making progress; it's only my fourth rendezvous, and I'm not sewing until it's time to go.

I did find something in the news this morning that I'm genuinely curious about. There is a resolution in the Virginia House of Delegates which proposes that the state apologize for slavery. On one side are two delegates who are directly descended from slaves. On the other is a delegate descended from French Huguenots who thinks an apology is political correctness run amok; if slavery is apologized for, will they also apologize to the descendants of the Indians whose land was annexed by settlers?

Would an official apology would actually be beneficial to the people living today? Having lived in North Carolina for thirteen years, followed by two years in Virginia, I have met people who are still bitter about slavery. They were never slaves, many were born during or after the civil rights movement; they still hated white people because whites owned blacks two centuries ago. They didn't care that my ancestors didn't own theirs. I came to realize that they hated my skin, not me personally. They just chose not to see past the hate.

I don't know what to think about this. I'm a peacemaker by nature. If an apology would make things right, I'd say go for it. I'm also a realist. I don't think an apology is going to change racist attitudes. In fact, I think it would make things worse. An admission of guilt would justify the racism. Maybe I'm only seeing the white perspective. However, where would the two delegates who were descended from slaves be right now if there hadn't been slavery? It's a safe bet that they wouldn't 'be', period, but assuming their grandparents and parents had found each other, might they be starving or at war with another tribe somewhere in Africa? Would they rather be there instead of in the Virginia House of Delegates? I'm not trying to justify the slave trade. I think it was evil and unjustified human suffering. But I know that God makes good come from bad. What we do with that good is up to us.



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