Originally created 05/17/02

Reparations seekers should pursue their dreams instead



I see so much about reparations. What do we really want? Why do we want it? From whom do we want it? Would we be better off if we were paid for someone else's misdeeds?

If all wealth were redistributed equally to all persons of adult age, in 10 years the results would be the same as they are now.

I gained nothing from anyone's oppression. In fact, I may be due reparations myself.

Am I qualified if my mother died at birth because she worked too hard in cotton and tobacco fields for a landlord who called us sharecroppers?

Am I qualified because my dad refused to raise me and pawned me off to anyone who was interested?

Am I qualified because I grew up in a poor sharecropping family where my value was to be determined by how soon I quit school so I could work full time behind a mule?

Am I qualified because I changed schools 17 times in my 12 years and was ridiculed at every school because I had no shoes or decent clothes to wear, and because I couldn't play sports due to poor health brought on by malnutrition?

Am I qualified because I had no guidance counseling to help me choose a career?

Am I qualified even though I'm white?

The answer to these questions is, "no." I am not qualified because I refused to think that anyone could keep me from pursuing my dreams...

I have overcome some of the aforementioned atrocities. I am no longer malnourished. I am no longer a sharecropper, but I have held onto valuable lessons learned from those times. I no longer work in tobacco or cotton.

To those seeking reparations: Dream beyond your reach and be thankful for everything you have. Stop asking others to do for you what you won't try to do for yourself.

Jesse Smith, Hephzibah, Ga.



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