I confess I’m divided by the Virginia General Assembly's action this past weekend to pass a resolution in the House of Delegates and the state Senate unanimously expressing “profound regret” for Virginia’s involvement in slavery. On the one hand, I’m pleased that the Commonwealth of Virginia, once the largest slave-owning state in the Old Confederacy, has publicly acknowledged its involvement in this despicable practice. On the other hand, how does this change anything?

As a resident of Virginia and a direct descendant of slaves, I don’t feel that this resolution has had, nor will have, any profound effect on issues of racism in our society today. I’m sure this was a meaningful, rather than an empty, gesture, but I wish the General Assembly had spent the time addressing important issues of concern to citizens of the Commonwealth, such as access to healthcare, job training skills, etc.

My fear is that this action, however well-intentioned, will encourage those who believe the federal government should provide slavery reparations or other compensation to African-Americans. Let’s hope this does not occur as I believe asking Americans who have no living
connection to slavery in society today to provide reparations to other Americans will only serve to divide rather than bring the country together.