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Justice For All? Essay

1759 words - 7 pages

America has committed a terrible sin. It has once decided to own people as property and deprive them of their liberties and enslaved them based on the color of their skin. The United States must repair the wounds that have resulted from the social injustice committed against the African American community. Many have argued that this must be done through reparations. However, African Americans have faced a plethora of legal complexities in attempts to obtain legal reparations for past injustices committed against their ancestors. The problem that African’s face in their attempt to obtain legal reparations stems from their historical devaluation in the American legal system. Since the days of colonial America, it was not only law that African Americans were inferior to their Anglophone whites, but also custom (Westley, 82). The prejudice of early America, which has stretched to recent days, has handicapped African American’s ability to exercise their legal rights that navigation of the legal and public complex procedures has made it impossible for them to correct social injustice and obtain reparation
When Slavery existed in the United States, African’s were bought and sold as commodities at current Market values, like products or farm tools (84). Unlike their white counterparts, they were viewed as less then human, unworthy of any civil or legal rights. The civil war and the abolition of slavery that came with it did little to alleviate the prejudice and the suffering that Africans suffered during the period of slavery. The south circumvented the intent of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments that attempted to guarantee ex-slaves their rights by enacting Jim Crow laws that continued to subjugate African Americans (ferris.edu). Furthermore, the institution of slavery, aimed at reducing African Americans to a second class status, left a legacy of psychological harm that has resulted in low esteem in the African American community (Westley 84). The slavery period had ingrained the view of African Americans as less then human beings and did not deserve any legal rights.
The deprivation of rights to African American has made it difficult for African Americans seeking reparations to navigate the complexities of legal procedure. Time and time again, cases have been dismissed based on procedural grounds. Seekers of relief have been unable to achieve standing that allows them to argue their cases before the courts in order to obtain reparations. Before any case can be heard before a court the claimant must first achieve standing. This procedure requires the claimant to prove that the defendant has caused harm to him or her (86). However, the death of the African generations who slavery has harmed has made standing difficult to obtain, since decedents of slaves must prove that slavery has somehow harmed them, even though evidence has shown that descendants of slaves, has been harmed in some way such as by losses of inheritance due to...

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