Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Forty Acres and a Mule

"There is no longer any need for affirmative action."

In order to build the wealth of our nation, or rather, in order to allow individuals to build vast sums of wealth, Americans, specifically white ones, enslaved those of the African continent.  After a long bloody civil war, justice *cough* prevailed, and those who were removed from their homeland and forced to toil under the whips of their ever wealthier white counterparts for generations were freed.  They were, for this crime against humanity promised "forty ares and a mule," except not exactly…

This was never a Congressional act, but rather just a promise made by General Sherman- Special Field Order #15, that some 400,000 acres be allocated to some 40,000 freedpeople.  The mule was never actually mentioned.  By 1866 Congress had debated, passed and had vetoed one version of the Southern Homestead Act.  Later they amended it and passed, then over-road Johnson's veto.  This bill opened some 46 million acres of Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and Florida in 80-acre parcels to homesteading.  Few in the South advertised the bill, resulting in only some 6,500 applicants.  In the end, some 1,000 received actual and grants.  So, as payment for having been uprooted, dehumanized, and enslaved, most were turned away empty handed.

Instead, they faced sharecropping, and today guess how many tobacco companies are black owned?

Money, according to the Supreme Court is both speech, and thus influence.  Ultimate power is found in wealth, not the piddly musing of mere earnings.  You can be a valedictorian, become a doctor, and even get to be the surgeon general, but don't expect to pull down more than a few million a year, unless you write a book that lands on the best seller that nets you $10 or $20 million.  Still, there are those in this country to inherit billions.  How is an individual who starts the game with zero dollars and no land supposed to compete with those who inherit both lands and holdings?

In Brown v Board of Education, we were told that, 'separate is not equal.'  All public high schools, rural to the inner city are supposed to be equal.  So if African-Americans make up 12-14%, shouldn't this number be reflected in higher learning admissions?  When it does not, shouldn't we enact policies to fix it, especially given this historical 'short' America has offered these forced immigrants?

This is to say nothing of the clear and present racism that permeates America today.  Don't we owe the children of those we forced to be here, an opportunity to become educated?

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