Talkin' 'Bout My Reparations...  

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raoul gonzo
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August 28, 2008 4:03 pm  

...With apologies to The Who. Sung to the tune of 'My Generation"

Governor try to keep us d-d-down,
Talkin' bout my reparations.

Just because we're sittin in t-t-town.
TBMR

Da gubmit owes me 'cause we got sold.
TBMR

I hope I get paid before I get old.
My reparations.
My reparations, baby.

Why don't all you jus' be p-p-payin'.
TBMR

And don't try to understand wha we be s-s-sayin'.
TBMR

I got no job so I can sit all day.
TBMR

And we get louder the mo' you complain.
My reparations.
My reparations, baby.


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DL
 DL
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August 28, 2008 4:22 pm  

Did you not read the article in today's paper? It's not about the money. You seem confused on what ACRRA's position is, so I will offer you some unsolicited advice - instead of posting on the board hiding behind a keyboard, why don't you go out to government house and talk to the guys yourself and voice your concerns?


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Betty
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August 28, 2008 5:41 pm  

Thats the great thing about america, what offends DL doesnt bother me at all. Everyone can have their opinion and voice it. I think the guy's nutty too and no desire to talk to him.


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islandtyme
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August 28, 2008 5:53 pm  

Our Gov gave him a very nice move it letter & tis true, theres no way to determine how much???
And if they would put as much energy into making this island better NOW..... reap far more rewards! Including more money then they could ever imagine making this a real paradise the whole world would like to visit.........
The Danes left you a beautiful island and endless possibilities!


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trw
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August 28, 2008 7:24 pm  

yes i thought the gov's letter was very gracious and i really liked the fact that even the gov wonders who is more at fault,and i really love that for once, in print,from a blackman,he asks about the tribal kings over in africa that sold their own people into bondage.


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antiqueone
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August 28, 2008 9:49 pm  

If the Danes are gonna give us reparations, can I get some for the invasion and pillaging of my homeland by the Vikings? They were close to Denmark.......or can I get reparations for the costs my ancestors incurred by helping the underground railroad? Or am I being politically incorrect again....


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sugarlander
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August 29, 2008 12:47 am  

DL - I read the article in today's Avis and, while ACCRA raises a number of issues, reparations does seem to be THE central issue.

As I newcomer to STX I think to myself "They can't be serious can they?" This subject of reparations comes up from time-to-time on the mainland but it's generally regarded--even in the African American community--as a fringe position.

islandtyme summed it up poetically when he said that ACCRA could help them selves by channeling their energy in a more productive way,


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trw
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August 29, 2008 1:54 am  

i have had many hours today to contemplate this one and i guess DL it still all boils down to me, why is no one going after the tribes over in africa for selling their own people into bondage, you know when i tell a rude/crude story and people laugh who is more to blame, me for telling it or the people laughing that heard it. very fine line there dude, and i guess if you saw the last whoopie goldberg special on hbo you'd know full well what i'm talking about(her very last joke)


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DL
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August 29, 2008 2:06 am  

DL - I read the article in today's Avis and, while ACCRA raises a number of issues, reparations does seem to be THE central issue.

As I newcomer to STX I think to myself "They can't be serious can they?" This subject of reparations comes up from time-to-time on the mainland but it's generally regarded--even in the African American community--as a fringe position.

islandtyme summed it up poetically when he said that ACCRA could help them selves by channeling their energy in a more productive way,

I disagree with you. For example, I recently graduated from Brown University and reparations was a central issue during my four years there, not just some "fringe position." Why would an Ivy League institution waste time dealing with fringe positions? On a related note, the University investigated its past with the Brown slave trading family in Rhode Island and published a report documenting the University's commercial ties to slavery. Many of their responses to the report could be defined as "reparations" such as:

"maintain a vigorous commitment to recruiting and retaining a diverse student body with a focus on African-American undergraduate and graduate students, strengthen outreach and resources to the most economically disadvantaged communities, move to need-blind financial aid for international students, pay particular attention to recruitment of students from Africa and the West Indies, maintain a commitment to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and staff"

As a newcomer to St. Croix, instead of being judgmental of an unfamiliar place, how about you learn something new and go visit them at Govt House and explain your position?


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trw
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August 29, 2008 2:10 am  

well thats was nice blah blah blah but what about the tribal kings selling their own people off into slavery or will that somehow be justified into "the european powers made us, we would never sell our own people?"


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DL
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August 29, 2008 2:13 am  

why is no one going after the tribes over in africa for selling their own people into bondage,

Who said they weren't? ACRRA represents more than repair and reconciliation with Denmark. They had a delegation go to Ghana in 2006 for that very purpose, and they started a relationship with the government over there with the aim of opening opportunities between VI and Ghana.


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trw
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August 29, 2008 2:35 am  

well then why is it that this bit of info is never in the papers it's always denmark did this to us and denmark did that to us, on a daily basis we hear the whining and complaining(sp) about denmark and nary a word about tribal chiefs, and so to me it looks as though ACRRA is just trying to brush that bit of info under the rug, and once again it is not ACRRAS responsibility to deal with foreign powers over this issue with public monies, if ACRRA wants to pursue this issue it needs to be done with crucian funds from private individuals and not public funds from taxpayer dollars, it's as simple as that. and DL as long as you choose to be a victim and i choose not to ba a victim we will never find a common ground on this subject


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dntw8up
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August 29, 2008 5:37 am  

"...I recently graduated from Brown University and reparations was a central issue during my four years there, not just some "fringe position." Why would an Ivy League institution waste time dealing with fringe positions?..."

Academia has historically birthed and and nurtured fringe positions. The vast majority of Americans who identify as socialist are academics. The "ivory tower" is a metaphor for academia, and references intellectual interests pursued apart from practical considerations. Like socialism, reparations is an academic exercise lacking practicality.

I choose to live in the Caribbean in planning for my infinite future, to try to grow accustomed to the heat...


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Trade
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August 29, 2008 10:27 am  

I would assume Denmark has more money than the African tribes. In most crimes, the source is usually gone after, not the consumer i.e. drug dealers are more hunted than drug users, prostitutes selling their bodies are busted far more frequently than the johns, etc. but naturally the claim will be that if there were no customers, the whole thing wouldn't have happened. However, it's a very shameful thing, I would think for their own to have sold them. There has been slavery for eons & not all slaves were black. It's still going on today. And not a whole lot of outrage over it, either. I suspect it would be better to concentrate on improving your own lot rather than looking for some big payoff.

I'd admire the whole thing a lot more if any money gotten from reparations would be put into improving the schools and/or providing scholarships but education has not been a priority here unfortunately for all the little kids who are little sponges ready to be filled. That's what's truly shameful - that these pompous politicians babble on & on about the "Youth" while lining their own pockets & the schools don't have books. Adelbrain's biggest fear is to have educated voters.

~Trade~


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NormanPaperman
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August 29, 2008 11:24 am  

Raoul's song was funny.


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DL
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August 29, 2008 2:05 pm  

well then why is it that this bit of info is never in the papers......and nary a word about tribal chiefs, and so to me it looks as though ACRRA is just trying to brush that bit of info under the rug,

it's always denmark did this to us and denmark did that to us, on a daily basis we hear the whining and complaining(sp) about denmark

ACRRA's protest at Government House is about the VI government's lack of support for reparations in their dealings with Denmark. The VI government is the immediate issue at hand, not Denmark.

and once again it is not ACRRAS responsibility to deal with foreign powers over this issue with public monies, if ACRRA wants to pursue this issue it needs to be done with crucian funds from private individuals and not public funds from taxpayer dollars, it's as simple as that.

The government can give money to whatever non-profit organization they choose. ACRRA has already said it does not want the money if it is a burden on the government's finances and withdrew its request.

and DL as long as you choose to be a victim and i choose not to ba a victim we will never find a common ground on this subject

Just say you don't understand. It's okay to not know everything.

I'd admire the whole thing a lot more if any money gotten from reparations would be put into improving the schools and/or providing scholarships but education has not been a priority here unfortunately for all the little kids who are little sponges ready to be filled.

It's not about money being used to improve the schools, you can't just throw money at the problem.

That's what's truly shameful - that these pompous politicians babble on & on about the "Youth" while lining their own pockets & the schools don't have books. Adelbrain's biggest fear is to have educated voters.

So what does that have to do with ACRRA and the reparations movement? Most of the people in ACRRA are against the same status quo you're referring to.

I'll leave you all with a little excerpt from a Danish column entitled "Please Apologize to the West Indians" translated from Danish:
"But, as it happened, it was not demands and admonitions that emanated from the agenda of the West Indian visit. The surprise was a new air of reconciliation and tolerance. The great-great grandchildren of enslaved Africans have chosen an approach that will open doors far more effectively than any march of protest. They want to use goodwill as the pile driver of friendship. They are going to dance their way via our hearts and onto the polished floors. They reach out their hand - not to grab the check of cool cash normally associated with the concept of Reparations - but to shake hands on a new historic relationship, purged of any tinge of hate, racism, or revenge."


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stiphy
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August 29, 2008 6:39 pm  

"...I recently graduated from Brown University and reparations was a central issue during my four years there, not just some "fringe position." Why would an Ivy League institution waste time dealing with fringe positions?..."

Academia has historically birthed and and nurtured fringe positions. The vast majority of Americans who identify as socialist are academics. The "ivory tower" is a metaphor for academia, and references intellectual interests pursued apart from practical considerations. Like socialism, reparations is an academic exercise lacking practicality.

Stole the words from my mouth, great post 🙂

DL, that last quote is interesting but that's not the sense that many of us are getting from the folks sitting around in town. We are getting the sense that they are just looking for another handout. The word reparations indicates money not an apology so I don't think we are off base by getting that sense.

Am I pissed at the British for what they did to my people hundreds of years ago? No, their actions weren't done to me or my parents. Even if they were, life sucks, deal with it and move on. That is the issue I take with this whole exercise. It is a victim making exercise. I'm a firm beleiver that anyone who wants me to look at myself as a victim does so in order to control me. Its time people empower themselves. You don't have to wait around for someone else to acknowledge your hardships (in this case not even yours, but your great-grandparents which is ABSURD) if you are focused on eliminating those hardships through YOUR actions. Sitting around beating a drum isn't going to do the trick.

Sean


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Trade
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August 29, 2008 7:01 pm  

I agree with Stiphy & I frankly don't buy that it's not about money. Re the schools, we already spend more per student on education than most places in the States, if I remember the stats correctly from a couple of years ago but it's not going to education, it's going to padded payrolls & not the maintenance of the buildings or teacher's pay or directly to benefit the students. That's why I would like to see any money if there ARE reparations to go to scholarships. Education will help more people in the Virgin Islands all the way around with better jobs, more informed voters & MAYBE, just maybe some politicians that can get something done.

~Trade~


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Alexandra
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August 30, 2008 2:13 am  

My understanding is that slavery was no longer an active concern in the USVI in 1917 when the sale of the islands to the USA occurred. How were the people sold as slaves? Much of the island is owned/was owned by those black residents (who reclaimed their OWN reparations in uprisings against the Danish plantation owners and took the land, which is some of the most valuable real estate in the USA today) who had the option to vote to remain Danish citizens or become American citizens. As American citizens, they were given a whole lot of rights and benefits, which unfortunately devolved into so many living in public housing and on welfare. Had the Danes NOT sold the islands to America way back when, then the local residents would likely not have what they currently have and would not even be allowed the right to openly dissent to their position. So maybe they should sing the praises of those long ago Danish governors who arranged the sale to the USA. If they eventually win some kind of garbage reparations payment from the Danes, I hope the USA taxes them at 99% on the pay-out as reclamation for the public housing and welfare, etc. Or just ousts them from the public welfare system and they have to pay forevermore month after month for what they get free currently and the "reparations" dollars disappear within the first year and they wind up having to actually work for a living.

My paternal grandmother was a quadroon whose grandmother was emancipated in her early 30's and went on to marry a Frenchman and have a bunch of daughters (from them I get naturally curly hair {thanks!} and the unfortunate tendency to gain wait in my gluteus maximus, lol/groan.. although I do appreciate the comment heard recently from a Hovensa contractor who mentioned how the local guys were all crazy wild for a woman who was "blessed in the backside". 😉 ). Should I seek reparations from the USA for my many times great grandmother's (and her/our/MY several generations of ancestors') unfortunate time spent in slavery in the Americas? I find this subject ludicrous and offensive. Anyone alive today who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in their own lifetime has a case for seeking damages and reparations. To seek this kind of claim for ancestors many generations back is bunk. Get on with your lives and take responsibility for yourself. Wars around the world constantly change boundary lines and nationalities change in a heartbeat. The people protesting and demanding $$ from the Danes really need to go out and do something with their own lives worth a paycheck. I would guess that their slave ancestors would be ashamed of them for sitting back on their buttocks and whining and not working to better themselves. We each take what is given us as our lot in life and we can improve it or stagnate or sink into oblivion. I guess the USA is to blame for the current crop of people demanding reparations. They've been conditioned to expect a hand-out in life from public housing and welfare and food stamps and medicare and can't see any value in actually working for a paycheck. So maybe the worst sin of the Danes was to sell to the USA and not to Britain... who would have taken back the island and then taxed the residents into oblivion.

Alexandra Bentley
Great House Real Estate
St. Croix, USVI


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trw
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August 30, 2008 3:09 am  

so this morning i was smoking outside with the phone at work and mr moorhead came walking up the street and so i said mornin and he said mornin back,hell we see each other every day DL,and i tell you what the man just looked awful,tired from sleeping on cement,so i asked him about his press conference and wished him good luck and he gave me the thumbs up thing,but damn i just felt bad for him this am and i suppose in my own perverse way i admire him because as much as i don't like his politics,i respect him for taking a stand,he's standing up for what HE believes in no matter how misguided i think that stand is. so then later about 10:30 i walked down to the corner with the phone to watch his press conference and he had about 10 people with him and a couple of reporters and i'm just standing there on the corner,and this white guy comes walking out of the real estate office there(not an employee by the way!!!!! i know them all) and as he's walking across the street he yells out"get a job like the rest of us" and kept walking up towards company street, well i, yes me, trw got really offended by that and i guess i kinda snapped and chased the @sshole up the street and started yelling and screaming at him and well i had a fit right there in downtown c'sted and people were coming out of the stores to watch hahahaha, i mean this dude just stepped on my last gay nerve and i let him have it,and this guy just took off running,lol now as much as i disagree with mr moorheads politics, you just don't have the right,(well i guess you do technically but common sense should prevail,right?) to shout out crap like that,it's offensive and just plain degrading and rude. and it amazes me how the stories i write about just happen to me i don't go looking for the damn things they just happen


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pt
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August 30, 2008 1:00 pm  

In his book about the VI William Boyer mentions the sale in 1917. He cites it as an example of how the Danes and the US Government ignored the residents of the islands, not consulting them via referendum or public discussion regarding the sale. Boyer says this attitude has been a theme in VI history. Maybe it was a hold-over from the slaveholder mindset - I would really agree with that and I agree with some of what ACCRA has to say,too.

It is all too easy to assume there are background mercenary motives involved. The issue deserves to be talked about, however, and I also agree reparations has turned into an academic plaything. I care about this stuff because I see it in my library job in a city far from the VI. One day some guy comes in complaining about being run out of a local restaurant because he was too crumby-looking (he was) and his kids were misbehaving (probably were a little unrestrained). The owner was of foreign origin and this guy says "My people built this country - what right does he have to treat me this way?" A typical "Yes, I agree, but..." moment.

I think Mr. Moorehead is on to something via my library guy but it' would seem hard to assign money-values to concepts which to some are as yet unformed. But that's what we are being asked to do. When all the philosophizing is over the final question is "How much is it worth?"

PT


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AllMashUp
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August 30, 2008 2:23 pm  

My ancestors along the Italian Mediterranean were captured by Barbary Pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa. Where can I sign up for reparations from Algeria and Tunsinia?


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pt
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August 30, 2008 3:05 pm  

AllMashUp,

Being an expert on the subject (!?) I would say "nowhere". Your people were not considered chattel in the sense of slavery as it developed in the New World. Here, your rights as a human being would have been in theory totally extinguished. The Spanish and Portuguese reserved the right of enslaved to be baptised as (Catholic) Christians and apparently they were even of required to do so. It was the British and others who took the concept of enslavement. and industrialized it.

My people were wage "slaves" in Europe, Ireland and the USA but their kids at least had the possibility of release through education and taking advantage of opportunities - their enslavement was not perpetuated to succeeding generations.

Slavery as we know it is a New World phenomenon. It was different in the Africa. I wonder what the Ghanaians must think of all these Americans coming over?

PT


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Trade
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August 30, 2008 4:45 pm  

While thinking has changed that slaves built the pyramids, scholars have found evidence of slavery in Egypt including the enslavement of the children of slaves. I dispute that New World slavery is unique. Doesn't matter anyway. Sins of the father shouldn't carry down for several generations. That's a slippery slope & really seems ridiculous when a black man will probably become President less than 200 years after slavery was abolished.

~Trade~


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A Davis
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August 30, 2008 5:02 pm  

While thinking has changed that slaves built the pyramids, scholars have found evidence of slavery in Egypt including the enslavement of the children of slaves. I dispute that New World slavery is unique. Doesn't matter anyway. Sins of the father shouldn't carry down for several generations. That's a slippery slope & really seems ridiculous when a black man will probably become President less than 200 years after slavery was abolished.

That we even have to call attention to his color points out that in 200 years, our collective hearts have gotten nowhere.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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