An Example For The U.S.

–A legal decision in France could serve as an example for the U.S. past with slavery–Quite recently France’s highest court did something many thought it would never do. It recognized the state’s responsibility when it deported or facilitated the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews during WWII. For those who may not know, during a portion of that war the French government set up in Vichy collaborated with Nazi Germany. While that led to the conditions that would make people like Charles de Gaulle and others national and international heroes, it also set the stage for the arrest, internment and deportation of Jews. From 1942 to 1944 it is estimated that 76,000 Jews were rounded up by the Vichy authorities and sent to concentration camps. Although the main transit camp of Drancy was under the overall control of the SS, it was run by the Paris’s police force. Some 63,000 people were sent to their death from there.
It is a historic ruling ending legal timidity, and many taboos, for until then the idea that France as a government had been responsible for institutionalized anti-Semitism and its consequences was not an accepted topic.
If France can begin to confront its past, maybe the United States, now that it has elected an African-American president, can begin to confront its role in slavery.