The African-American experience has been far from stellar; the slavery experience was absolutely a terrible experience that subjugated an entire race of people and forced them to work for whites, under threat of mistreatment or abuse. At the same time, it has been nearly two centuries since slavery was legalized, and African-Americans have lived free almost as long as they were enslaved in America. I am against reparations for slavery, due to the fact that those individuals living today were not directly affected by the slavery that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. Through the slave narrative of Equiano, it is possible to see just how terrible the slave experience could be, while also noting the advantages some blacks were given even back then.
Equiano, despite being a slave, gained a fair bit of notoriety for acting as an experienced seaman during the Seven Years War. As a result of being a favorite slave of Pascal, he received an education and attended school in Britain. With the example of Equiano, it is clear that not all slaves received incredibly poor treatment. As a result, it is possible that some families are receiving reparations that do not need them; this is a waste of money that accomplishes nothing towards improving conditions for blacks living today.
Pascal made sure to sell Equiano "to the best master he could, as he told him I was a very deserving boy, which Captain Doran said he found to be true" (Carnegie, 2011). With this in mind, it is clear that some white owners attempted to treat their slaves well. While the institution of slavery was unfortunate, claims that all slaves were beaten and mistreated are false. This was a consequence of the times, and slaves like Equiano managed to overcome these incredible obstacles, making reparations for a comparatively advantageous life unwise.
In conclusion, there is no need to pay reparations any longer for African-American families, or at least it should be scaled back based on the extent of the setbacks that specific family received. There is only so much that can be done to pay back the black community for what was done to them; if this cycle does not end, one group of people will constantly be paying exorbitant amounts of money without stopping, all for mistakes that even those paying did not commit. It is unwise and culturally counterproductive to continue to blame people for their ancestor's actions, while benefiting from their own ancestor's struggles.
"SPECIAL REPORT: "Reparations for Slavery" Debate." Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2011.