slavery

Asheville reparations program sets aside $2.1 million for funding

How that money will be spent is still undecided:

The Asheville City Council approved a budget amendment on Tuesday to pull the money from city land purchased in the 1970s as part of the city’s urban renewal programs that took apart Black communities, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. The city council also adopted a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth, the date which marks the end of slavery in the U.S.

The City Council has previously said the reparations do not require direct payments but would mandate investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. City Manager Debra Campbell on Tuesday said officials have not yet determined what those investments will entail.

Where they got the money from is just as important as the money itself. It's a tacit admission that the City is responsible for actions taken over a century after the Civil War concluded, and that slavery was only one part of the systemic repression of African-Americans in our state. It's long past time we took a harsh look at redlining and other segregational aspects of the 20th Century. The City is holding a forum today (6 pm) where speakers will discuss the current challenges and take public comments (limited to 2 minutes per). Trying to set up a livestream for later down here:

White-splaining or Man-splaining? Yes.

Sometimes the biggest decision you make is whether or not to hit "Send":

Former state Sen. Erica Smith, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate, sent an email to supporters Tuesday after the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, a Black man. “I’m thinking about the literal millions of Black men and women who’ve been murdered, who were lynched and slaughtered with disregard, and never had their day in court, let alone a just ruling,” Smith wrote.

“Exaggeration doesn’t help. Gross exaggeration is worse. It makes you look bad,” wrote Schaul, who is one of more than 800 members on the committee, including 66 from Wake County.

Honestly, I hate getting involved in these things, but I'm also a precinct officer who struggles every year to get people to step up and help organize. Diversity is our superpower, and condescending stuff like this is our Kryptonite. If he had left it with the above, it would have been bad enough. But he didn't:

Orange County Commissioners approve resolution on slavery reparations

But it was not a unanimous vote:

“Even though the vote was 6-1, Earl McKee…was voting against one section. The way I had originally written [the resolution] he was fine with.”

McKee confirmed this on Thursday. "Let me be very clear,” McKee said. “I have no issue or concern with opening or continuing the conversation of if, how, should or when reparations should be discussed. The conversation should be how we ensure a level playing field without obstacles to anyone.”

The only way to "level the playing field" for a population that has been shackled, lynched, denied property rights, segregated, denied access to municipal water & sewer, and a whole laundry list of other discriminatory practices by government and the private sector, is to give them genuine, tangible resources. How you do that is of course the critical question, and I'm not sure the OC Commission is going to put the focus where they need to:

Monumental upheaval: Vance obelisk to be removed in Asheville

Honoring slave owners was never a good idea:

The Buncombe County Commissioners voted 7-0 on Monday to remove the obelisk erected more than a century ago in an Asheville square to honor Zebulon Vance, a Civil War officer and North Carolina governor who owned slaves, news sources reported. The Asheville City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to accept the recommendation on Tuesday.

In November, nine of the 12 members of the Vance Monument Task Force voted to remove the Vance monument. Two of the task force members called for repurposing the monument.

In place of my normal self-righteous rant, I will simply let Zebulon Vance himself explain why this monument needs to be removed:

Asheville approves reparation (steps) for slavery

slaveschool.jpg

Social justice can take many forms:

Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night to provide reparations to black residents and their descendants. The resolution also apologizes for Asheville's role historically in slavery and discrimination. The resolution does not give direct payments to descendants of slaves, but instead allocates money to areas that traditionally see racial disparities.

Those areas include an effort to increase minority home ownership and access to affordable housing. Investments will also be made to increase minority business ownership and career opportunities. Other priorities include closing gaps in health care, education, pay and fairness within the criminal justice system.

This all sounds fantastic, but it will take action more than words to make it effective. And those actions, when they do take place, need to be monitored closely to make sure already well-off (white) people aren't reaping the benefits. Film at eleven.

Wake Forest President apologizes for its treatment of slaves

Pay close attention, UNC Chapel Hill:

“I apologize for the exploitation and use of enslaved people — both those known and unknown — who helped create and build this university through no choice of their own,” he said.

“Our founder and all of the antebellum presidents owned enslaved people,” Hatch said, adding that many trustees were slaveholders and that students too “perpetuated slavery.” He said that slaves helped build and maintain the college and that as many as 16 slaves were sold to the benefit of Wake Forest.

This is an especially important step for Wake Forest to take, since the last few years have seen an uptick in White Supremacist harassment of faculty and students. Most of that has been via e-mail, but that doesn't equate to "harmless." It's just a different medium. This apology is only a part of Wake Forest's commitment for racial equity:

Must read: Saunders on Saunders

Some of our icons don't deserve adoration:

This resistance to reunification was organized by the KKK and in North Carolina led by Saunders. The KKK and the Southern resistance succeeded in defeating Reconstruction, and Saunders was one of the architects of that “victory.”

One of the reasons the UNC trustees named the building after Saunders in 1920 was his leadership in the KKK. There is no doubt about that. So it’s important to recognize the trustees of the university as well as the vast majority of lawyers and judges at that time supported the defeat of Reconstruction and the denial of rights to black citizens. These are the very individuals who should have supported “justice for all” under the United States Constitution and failed to do so.

Another Case for Reparations

We often talk about social justice at BlueNC, but we rarely talk about reparations. I'd like to take a step in that direction this morning. I'm not an expert on the subject and until recently didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. This article in the May issue of The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates helped me get over the hurdle of understanding the necessity of reparations.

Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

Part of what kept me from embracing the idea of reparations was the enormity of what needs to be done and the knowledge that it won't be enough.

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