Recent events in the US-not just the election and re-election of Barack Obama as the first African American US President but films such as "Django Unchained" and "12 Years A Slave" have focused national and international attention on America's "peculiar institution" and more to the point, demands for reparations by the descendants of said slaves.
This is far from an academic talking point, a group of Caribbean nations are pressing former slaveowning nations such as France, Spain and the UK for reparations(before anybody asks, Obama is on record as OPPOSING the idea of reparations).
I admit that I was in favour of reparations at one stage but this is before I began to seriously think about it. Firstly the idea of asking Americans(or for that matter, Britons, Frenchmen or Spaniards) to pay up for a practise that ended long before they were even born) is of questionable ethics, secondly the amount needed to compensate the descendants of slaves in just America alone would run into trillions( and even AMERICA isn't that rich- a bankrupt US is not going to be much use to its black citizens or its citizens in general).
Secondly: why should only European societies be asked to fork over money-what about those Africans who colluded with the enslavement of their brethren or societies such the Arab or Muslim nations who maintained slavery long after white nations abolished it( Saudi Arabia for one only abolished slavery in 1962 and Mauretania in 1980)?
Thirdly(and linked to my first point) which white Americans should be asked to pay up(and who defines who is "white"? What about African Americans fair enough to"pass"?) What about those Americans whose ancestors arrived in the US long after the conclusion of the Civil War( say a Polish , Italian or Jewish American whose ancestors could NOT possibly have owned slaves in the South)- the Bible may say that a son should pay for the sins of his father, but what of his great-great-great grandfather, or of a daughter for that matter. .
So what do YOU think?