The debate rages on and I'm wondering what western Colorado thinks about the idea of reparations for descendants of slaves in America.

A congressional hearing on the issue was held this week in Washington, D.C. and it looks like there are great differences in opinion on the subject, which has pretty much become the norm in this country.

There are two sides to this. On the one hand, you have those that believe descendants of slaves should be compensated for the atrocity of slavery in our past. One U.S. Senator testified that  this country has "yet to truly acknowledge and grapple with the racism and white supremacy that tainted this country's founding..." Actor Danny Glover testified this week saying "this hearing is yet another important step in the long and historic struggle of African Americans to secure reparations for the damage that has been inflicted by slavery."

On the other side of the coin are those who believe that our history of slavery is shameful, disgraceful, and regrettable, but don't believe financial compensation is the answer to something that happened 150 years ago. They say we have tried to make things right by passing civil rights legislation, and that nobody alive today was responsible for what happened back then. The idea of reparations has been called unfair, difficult, and unconstitutional.

It is possible Congress could pass legislation that would establish a bi-partisan commission to study the issue. It could also be a hot topic in the upcoming presidential election.

So how does western Colorado feel about the issue? According to the U.S. Census, just 1.1% of Grand Junction's population is of black or African-American descent. That being the case, one might expect western Colorado to be largely against the idea of slavery reparation. However, this particular issue transcends racial lines. Not all whites are against reparations, nor or all African- Americans necessarily in favor of it.

Another question that comes to mind is this. If African Americans were compensated to make up for the horror of slavery, would that have any effect on the racial divide that permeates the American society on so many levels?  In other words, would it makes things better?

Please take the poll below and I'll give you the results in a few days.

[THE GAZETTE]