3America Apologizes for Experimenting on Blacks... 25 Years Later
In 1932, a government program was begun in Tuskegee, Alabama to study the effects of syphilis if left untreated.
Spoiler Alert: It fucks you up.
Doctors assembled a pool of hundreds of black men with the disease and told them they were being used to test some experimental new treatments, but injected them with placebos instead. The subjects involved were never told they had syphilis, leaving them free to infect their wives and any subsequent children.
After four decades of skullduggery, information about the study was finally leaked to the press in 1972, forcing the government to stop the experiment in light of the fact that it was pure fucking evil.
How'd They Make it All Better?
After nearly half a century of destroying families by using bogus health care to subject them to a terrible disease, the U. S. government was prepared to offer some serious compensation to the victims in the form of... more health care, free for life (which realistically wouldn't be for very long considering all of them were carrying an untreated lethal disease thanks to free health care). To silence any doubters, the government pinky-swore that this free heath care was totally on the level.
As you may have guessed, this generous token wasn't quite enough to satisfy the unwitting participants of the longest non-therapeutic experiment on human beings in the history of medicine. They deserved a formal apology, which the government was only too happy to deliver.
Twenty-five years later. After virtually all of them had died.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton invited the remaining survivors to the White House, all of whom were between 90- and 100-years old. By the way, when we say "all" of the surviving victims, we're talking about eight people.
There were more people in the Waltons household.
Of course, Clinton couldn't be bothered to hop a flight down South for the day like the survivors asked him to do, and asked the elderly survivors hop on a plane and come to Washington instead. Only six managed to make it, but the President made it totally worth their time by making fun of how old they were and posing for some stock publicity photos. Because nothing says "I'm sorry" like letting everyone in the world know that you're 95 and have syphilis.
"STDelightful! But seriously, I'm not standing any closer to you."
2South Africa Offers Apologies--and Immunity--for Apartheid Abuses
Apartheid, or "apartness" was a system of laws in South Africa set in place by white settlers back in the 17th century that separated black and mixed-race people from white people. The laws were later expanded to include Asians, just to be sure.
We're guessing exceptions were made.
The different non-white races were segregated into separate neighborhoods (a term which here means "ghettos") and separate schools, and the ruling party even created race-specific jobs to ensure that white people never had to see them. Any blacks belonging to native tribes were denied all representation in the government, and if you were black and didn't belong to a tribe, one would be helpfully created for you. Those who resisted these injustices were beaten, imprisoned and murdered.
The most unfortunate were forced to meet Celine Dion.
How'd They Make it All Better?
The heavily criticized Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up to try and repair the schism between blacks and whites in South Africa. And to be fair, many apologies were made by the individuals responsible for perpetuating Apartheid and shitting all over basic human rights. However, these individuals only apologized once they were given immunity for all their crimes against humanity, which they were by the thousand.
Sort of like the bad guys in Lethal Weapon 2, only Danny Glover didn't shoot any of them in the face.
Another, more ridiculous problem arose when the commission heard from witnesses about the horrors and abuses they had seen during Apartheid. Many of the witnesses to violence, killings and acts of racism didn't speak the language, and since translators usually just laconically repeat what is being said to them, the intense emotion of the victims' words was lost. This lead to the entirely farcical attempt to have the translators actually imitate the witnesses, which in no way made everyone involved look like goosefucking morons.
"Great. Now can you do it like Christopher Walken?"
Wait, it got stupider. To show just how incredibly sorry he was over the whole mess, a former security minister for the white side of the Apartheid situation named Adriaan Vlok showed up unannounced at the house of Apartheid victim Reverend Frank Chikane. Vlok told him he needed to be like Jesus and wash Chikane's feet. This was apparently the only way he felt he could truly be forgiven for his wrongs.
What "wrongs" you might ask? Oh, just sending a death squad to try and kill the anti-apartheid activist two decades before. This symbolic gesture was so powerful in Vlok's eyes that he didn't feel the need to apologize to any of the other countless victims.