History has consistently shown that slavery has diminished the quality of life for African Americans and simultaneously enhanced the quality of life for White Americans. From institutionalized racism to blocked social and economic opportunities, African Americans are often excluded of African Americans.
Apologies cannot compensate an entire race of people for all of the social and economic ills they face as a result of their enslavement. They cannot address the residual effects of slavery. They cannot provide job opportunities to a race of people who are experiencing high unemployment rates. Apologies without action from the very systems they helped to create. Had it not been for slave labor, many corporations would not be where they are today and for these companies to acknowledge their involvement in slavery and then simply say ‘Oh, I’m sorry”, is to downplay their role in perpetuating the degradation are nothing more than a futile attempt to correct a wrong by pacifying the wronged. Instead of apologies, these companies could give back to the African American community by donating to HBCUs, investing in minority businesses, offering more minority scholarships, or launching initiatives to increase their number of minority employees. These companies include:
1. New York Life
New York life found that its predecessor (Nautilus Insurance Company) sold slaveholder policies during the mid-1800s.
2. Tiffany and Co.
Tiffany and Co. was originally financed with profits from a Connecticut cotton mill. The mill operated from cotton picked by slaves.
Aetna insured the lives of slaves during the 1850′s and reimbursed slave owners when their slaves died.
4. Brooks Brothers
The suit retailer started their company in the 1800s by selling clothes for slaves to slave traders.
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