Wonderful and inspiring article/interview with John Hope Franklin in this weeks Indy: John Hope Franklin: Apologies aren’t enough.
But one has to wonder how far apologies will go in righting past wrongs. Is it the scab that, left unbothered, will heal wounds, or is it merely a quick-fix Band-Aid, slapped on to make the ugliness of injury just go away?
Franklin, who knows what it is to grow up in a world where one’s rights and equalities are constantly being questioned, refuses to let go. He thinks it’s not just time for somebody to apologize, but to do something about it.
“No one knows the price that I’ve paid for what I’ve gotten out of this world and this life,” he says. “My efforts represented sacrifices untold, indescribable. They don’t know what my mother went through to see that I had opportunities, and even the fundamentals such as food and clothing and so forth. They don’t know what my grandfather, on my father’s side, paid in terms of taxes so that white young men could go to the University of Oklahoma, where my own father could not go.
“And I don’t see any reason why I should get over that kind of exploitation of my immediate familyâ€”my father, my grandfather, my mother, and so forth. I see no reason I should get over it. I see every reason why there should be compensation, apologies, particularly in the hypocrisy it’s represented, in their saying on the one hand that all men are created equal, and on the other hand, them saying if they’re created equal, some are more equal than others.”