I'm prepared to apologize and I have, personally, to a degree. But I believe a "tangible amends" needs to be made. For us to just say were sorry for such inhumane and brutal treatment of other human beings isn't sufficent. If you and your family were kidnaped,(I'm assumeing your a White American) taken to a foreign land, sold on an auction block, your wife to one slave holder, your children to another, forced to work without pay from sun up to sun down 6 and even 7 days a week. Subjected to cruel, blood drawing punishment for behavior deemed unpleaseing to your master (even dismemberment for repeated attempted escapes). You were not allowed to learn how to read or write. Your daughters, sisters, and wife could legally be taken and used by their master as he desired. This wasn't practiced by all slave holders but it was not uncommon. This treatment went on generation after generation(hundreds of yrs) and then your finally freed into a cruel and hostile land where your held in contempt and despised (prehaps occasionally pitied) by your former captors. An attitude of superiority lives in the heart all of your fellow countrymen. (to a greater or lesser degree) Your are patronized by them, and expected to be grateful that they set you free. Instead of them being sorrowful for ever having enslaved you in the first place. No real apology of any import has been made even 140 yrs after your peoples release from wrongful enslavement. Instead you had to fight tooth and nail to even begin to attain the equality of the other citzens of the country, your ancestors and thus you were brought to. Yet still 140 yrs later a festering tension and hard heart still lingers within those whose forbares brought you and your families to "Their Land" so they could have "unpaid laborers" All of those yrs of slavery and oppression took it's toll on you and your people. No reimbursiment has been made for all your yrs of unpaid labour. In fact no tangible amends of any kind has been made. The majority of your people still struggle to rise from amoung the poorest in the nation. How would you feel? I, as a white a American, would feel passionately outraged if such a senario played it self out in the life of me and my people. What magnifies this, is, that the largest precentage of slave holders were professing Christians, regular church goers. It stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that any of these things could be affirmed in any way within the the text New Testiment.
A defense of malice is never justifiable. But when people are treated in the way described above, history teaches us, that human beings become "malicious". Some measure of ill will or hard feelings will inevitablly manifest itself amoung people who have suffered such oppression and injustice. It is the exception not the rule, when people who suffer so much injustice and oppression that they can avoid harboring animosity towards those who perpetrated it against them. The answer to clearing away that animosity is for the perpetraters to make a genuine apology and to make restitution for the wrongs that they have committed. I've expressed that the passage of long periods of time, since the original offense, have seriously impacted the ease with which such a resolution could be reached. Nonetheless it remains the only solution. Though now we have a more difficult task then we would have had, had we dealt with it in a more timely fashion. After all, over 140 yrs have passed, during which time the offense was very inadequately addressed and thus, instead of bringing the healing and reconciliation that could have begun those long yrs ago, the bitterness and hurt has been allowed to grow and multiply, taking us down a winding road that forks off in many directions, one that will require great diligence to navigate our way back through. This will require effort and sacrifice from both parties envolved. One party will have to ask genuine forgiveness the other will have to give it. One party will have to make restitution that will come from a true heart and not just a token offering so we can say "ok we did our part" the other will have to recieve it acknowledging that the wrong is finally being righted and now they too must release their offenders from the wrongs that were done to them and their people and seek true and harmonious fellowship with them. This will be a prossess that works it's self out over time and not an instaneous occurance - for both parties. All we can do is begin this journey.
I for one am willing to begin , to be part of making restitution and to give a real and meaningful apology. Not just an intellectual accent to the wrongs that have been done(ones that may not have originated with me but, been passed to me unwittingly, down thru the generations), but to see birthed in my heart a genuine contrition. Then take the steps to see restitution made. It's a lot easier to "think about" then it is to "carry out". In expressing what I have here I am beginning. I pray I'll I have the courage to continue, and that many others will as well.