A lot of the folks on my twitter timeline said that they were tearing up after watching the video of Miss Virginia, and they were feeling proud that they voted for America's first black president.
Miss Virginia has had quite a life. She was born in the South in 1909; she remembers the country being led by President Hoover; she remembers using kerosene instead of electricity; she remembers using a well for water; and she remembers seeing a Ford automobile for the first time. [Source]
Sadly, when Miss Virginia was coming up in America, there was no civil rights for black people, so I can only imagine the unspeakable indignities that she suffered here in the "land of the free."
"I tell you, I am so happy," she told President Obama.
"A black president, yay, and his black wife."
Go on and shake your feet Virginia. You deserve it.
Finally, after reading about Virginia, the following article is apropos:
"Let's say you're driving down the street and someone rear-ends you. You get out of your car to assess the damage. The person who hit your vehicle gets out of his car, apologizes for the damage and calls his insurance company. Eventually, you receive a check for the harm done.
Now, let's say that for years, if not generations, your family and families like yours have been damaged by your country's political and economic system -- by law and widespread practice, with the intent of benefiting families not like yours -- then the checks for the harm done would be called reparations.
Beginning with more than two centuries of slavery, black Americans have been deliberately abused by their own nation. It's time to pay restitution.
Black activists and intellectuals have been making that point with increasing volume over the last few years, turning what was an obscure thought problem into a political issue. The question of reparations has even entered into the Democratic primary, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) struggling to explain to black voters why he has built such a strong social justice platform on every issue but this one.
Sanders was put on the spot last month when a reporter asked him if he would support reparations as president. "No, I don't think so," he said, describing the likelihood of congressional passage as "nil" -- as if those odds normally stopped him.
Every year since 1989, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has introduced the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. As the name indicates, H.R. 40 does not require reparations. It simply calls for comprehensive research into the nature and financial impact of African enslavement as well as the ills inflicted on black people during the Jim Crow era. Then, remedies can be suggested.
Every year, the bill stalls.
Fifty-nine percent of black Americans think that the descendants of enslaved Africans deserve reparations, according to a June 2014 HuffPost/YouGov poll. Sixty-three percent of black folks support targeted education and job training programs for the descendants of slaves.
Most other Americans still aren't listening.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, perhaps the most prominent voice now pushing reparations, laid out why black Americans deserve even more than repayment for slavery in a sweeping 2014 article, "The Case for Reparations." The exploitation didn't stop with the Emancipation Proclamation, so any restitution must reckon with the discrimination that followed and deal with the living victims of these ills.
Last month, Coates criticized Sanders' decision to shy away from the issue:
If not even an avowed socialist can be bothered to grapple with reparations, if the question really is that far beyond the pale, if Bernie Sanders truly believes that victims of the Tulsa pogrom deserved nothing, that the victims of contract lending deserve nothing, that the victims of debt peonage deserve nothing, that that political plunder of black communities entitle them to nothing, if this is the candidate of the radical left -- then expect white supremacy in America to endure well beyond our lifetimes and lifetimes of our children.Let's change that -- let's bother to have the hard but necessary discussion of what black Americans are owed for what was taken from them. If reparations ever come, what would they look like?" [More]
The author goes on to say how reparations would be paid for and who would be eligible to receive it.
I know one person who would be eligible, and she was dancing at the White House last week.