A bill before the legislature would require some of Massachusetts oldest banking, financial and insurance companies to look deep into their history — and the histories of subsidiaries and predecessor companies — to uncover links to the slave trade, as a condition of doing business with the state.
Are we SERIOUSLY considering this? Did several other states REALLY pass this kind of crap? I have to admit to agreeing with House Republican leader Rep. Brad Jones, who “called slavery ‘a historical stain that is never going to be erased,’ but said the proposal sounds more like an academic or historical project best undertaken by a university rather than state government.” Doesn’t our state legislature have WAY better things to be doing with their time and MY money than research this? I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks any major company in this country doesn’t have some ties to the slave trade if you dig back far enough. It was a major business from before Europeans even came to this country–if you think not one tribe of Native Americans didn’t turn their hostages into slaves, you are sadly mistaken. I’m not condoning the practice; it was and continues to be a blemish on the world and the US, but how about looking forward, to those problems faced by African-Americans due to generations of slavery and prejudice against their ancestors. How about trying to further reduce prejudice and discrimination that’s still happening in many areas. I just don’t see how this knowledge will be of any use to anyone.
I guess it all comes down to priorities–I feel that all branches of the government has better things to do (like successfully restructure the Mass Highways and MBTA to save the taxpayers’ money) than ‘study’ something that has no real bearing on society because it’s not going to change the past. Please do try to explain it to me though.