The case for reparations

It's been interesting to witness another great divide occurring in American society, this time over the tinderbox known as #ferguson. It is one of humanity's great tests, and we are failing.

At issue of course is racism, a cancer so deep in our species that we deny it even exists. How can it not exist? White people brutalized black and brown people on this land for more than four centuries. The costs have been back-breaking, and the aftershocks have in no way diminished.

The white race has yet to make amends. We have not come even close.

Reparations have always made sense to me, and I'm hoping the conversation will begin to gain traction. Because until we deal with this, we'll have to live with this.

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Comments

Lots of people don't agree,

Lots of people don't agree, and many just want black people to behave. For example, here's a piece by a black writer who says "legitimate racial issues" are being overrun by street violence and looting.

My view is simple: unless white people find a way to formally and monetarily make amends, all bets are off.

No to reparations. Nice idea, but ...

Any money that might go to reparations should go to supporting the education of minorities (e.g. higher pay & resources for inner city teachers), the policing of fair housing practices, repairing the public safety net, opposing the resegregation of our schools and college scholarships for minorities. A form of affirmative action is ok as well.

On a more personal note: My family came to the USA after the Civil War, all were lower class Irish and German immigrants. The Irish were treated only slightly better that Blacks. I do not want any of my tax dollars going to lump sum payments for reparations.

I am totally in favor of the supports listed in the first paragraph. Teach a man to fish ... etc.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Keep Reparations on The Table - Deserved - White Supremacy

Stop using "race problem", we got a problem with blind, embedded and invisible to the owners thereof a real problem: white supremacy.

The history of white supremacy took its present for in 1676 given Bacon's Rebellion against then Gov. Berkeley. A mix of whites, blacks and natives killed about 400 of the settlers and ran the Governor off. Determined to keep it from happening again, and worried about the alliance of multiple races, laws isolating the blacks began to be passed until in 1730, there were a firm set of laws keeping the races apart, really apart, and basically setting up slavery as our people have known it. BUT, the laws carefully put in place a mezzanine layer of middling whites, merchants, slave drivers, preachers, teachers, etc. separating the slaves and the rich plantation owners. This middle layer was there to control the blacks, "servile insurrection" being a rabid fear of the entire upper class - many refugees from Jamaica and Barbados with their many slave uprisings and killing of whites. This enlisted the middle class into keeping the slaves in their place, as slaves. For example, an average citizen had a public duty of "patrolling" for blacks and slaves at night, riding all night, corralling those found off the plantation, and even entering slave quarters and whipping uppity slaves.

White supremacy was put in place, with laws and all, to control the blacks! The middling white layer was convinced he had a stake in keeping blacks down. This attitude survived the War to Free the Slaves into Jim Crow. It became embedded in the Southern psyche, deeper than folks realize, and is still there. So anyone who says they are not affected or complicit is wrong. And Wall Street loved the plantation owners and slavery, and made billions from it! The anti-union stance in NC was in large part an effort to avoid the Fusionist Progressive movement of the early 1900s with blacks and whites working together - keep the races apart. They would inevitably find they had common interests, against the power structure.

The racism and white supremacy is so deeply embedded that people have no idea they are infected - like the Teabillies. And when challenged on it, they resort to every stupid and malign reply known to man and woman. It has been so pervasive it is like the air and water!

And, yes, I am for general reparations and specific reparations like for Wilmington.

wafranklin

 

I have a personal stake in this

I know for a fact my ancestors owned slaves, I've seen the census records. At the time the census was taken, they only(?) owned three slaves, but that may have fluctuated some.

No matter what the historical revisionists say, slavery was widespread and engaged in by much of the Southern population. True, a high percentage of slaves were held on large plantations, but almost everybody owned a few. Like my family did.

If post-Civil War policies combined with changed attitudes had made amends for all that exploitation, I doubt we'd even be talking about reparations now. But the policies have been inadequate and the attitudes really haven't changed much. There's still a widely held belief amongst whites that blacks are inferior, and that belief translates into shut doors and bleak futures.

I like Persondem's Ideas about where such resources should go. But I also know that having access to capital is really the only way for many of these folks to improve their economic situation. I just don't have any brilliant ideas on how to deliver it. Interest-free long-term house/business loans? I don't know.