The case for reparations to blacks

Tom Jackson
May 23, 2014

If you have any interest in American history, or provocative ideas,  I urge you to take time to read Ta-Nehisi Coates new article, "The Case for Reparations."

Coates' piece argues that given the amount of damage done to blacks over the decades by a racist power structure, an honest discussion about possible reparations is the only way to clear the air. 

Here are a couple of interesting paragraphs:

Broach the topic of reparations today and a barrage of questions inevitably follows: Who will be paid? How much will they be paid? Who will pay? But if the practicalities, not the justice, of reparations are the true sticking point, there has for some time been the beginnings of a solution. For the past 25 years, Congressman John Conyers Jr., who represents the Detroit area, has marked every session of Congress by introducing a bill calling for a congressional study of slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for “appropriate remedies.”

A country curious about how reparations might actually work has an easy solution in Conyers’s bill, now called HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. We would support this bill, submit the question to study, and then assess the possible solutions. But we are not interested.
 
I'm not necessarily the kind of person you'd expect to recommend this article. I am fed up with seeing every possible criticism of Barack Obama dismissed as "racism." (Some of the criticisms may be racist, but not all of them are.) Exhortations to "check your privilege" leave me unmoved. Pastor Darden's playing of the race card in the firing of Nicole Ard did not impress me. 
 
But it also seems naive and dishonest to insist that history has ended, to claim that slavery and racism left no mark on the present day. Coates makes a powerful case. I don't agree with everything he wrote, but he is forcing me to think.  I urge you not to simply react to the word "reparations" but to read what he actually has to say. 
 

Comments

Dr. Information

A White person is 2x as likely to die by a black person (violence) than vise versa and there are plenty of more whites in this country than blacks. Yup, racism exists against whites.

deertracker

Black people do not need reparations. What happened cannot be undone with reparations. This article is simply to get a rise out of the usual suspects. Let it go. Just give us the same opportunities as everyone else and we will take it from there.

The Good Doctor is 100% correct. Well after and still goes on today.

Steve P

Lets make it a level playing field in 2014, do away with all affirmative action and separate groups. Why should any one be given points or an advantage just because of their race, that in it self promotes racism.
NAACP should change their name to; NAAP, (National Association for the Advancement of All People). The more any race separates the more divided we are. All ethnic groups and races can find injustice throughout history. If reparations were needed for slavery, then only those who were slaves should be eligible.

deertracker

Affirmative action has been extremely helpful to whites. Extremely. It's not really an advantage when that same group of people have been oppressed for decades. NAACP is fine just the way it is. You may not like it but it serves a purpose and in no way has a negative effect on whites.

I'm all for a "level" playing field. Needs work yet to get there though!

Steve P

Your views reflect separation of the races, aka racism.

Where has affirmative action been "extremely helpful to whites"?

freespeech1

Back in 1988 when I got out of the military I took the state highway patrol exam. scored very well I might add, but was told I could not be excepted due to the fact I was white. So your statement is wrong. AA caused many not to get jobs that were highly qualified, so we dumbed down the requirements and people got jobs that weren't the the best of the best.

SamAdams

Merely giving everyone the same opportunities doesn't equal the same outcome. In fact, it doesn't equal any outcome at ALL if some choose to disregard those opportunities either by ignoring them altogether or by being too lazy to take full advantage of them!

I'm the last person to shame anybody who DOES take advantage of opportunity and who DOES work hard! My criticisms are solely for those who demand equality of OUTCOME when, in fact, ambition and talent AREN'T equally present in everyone; and even more so for those who apparently think the desired outcome is their DUE!

You do not, and have never, appeared to be the kind of guy I'd accuse of any of those latter traits. At the same time, I don't believe you can deny that there are too many out there who do exemplify those things! And I don't believe that either of us should have to pay for their voluntary shortcomings.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"I urge you not to simply react to the word 'reparations' but to read what he actually has to say."

Truly reading and attempting to understand those with whom you disagree does more to bridge the gap of miscommunication and either help you to comprehend their point or give you every tool you need to have them understand and embrace yours. Thank you, Mr. Jackson.

Contango

Re: "read what he actually has to say,"

Reads like attempting to practice 'doublethink.'

Rather difficult when:

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Big Dog's back

I waited to comment to see how long it would take the white wingnuts to say something stupid. Didn't take long.

Steve P

piddle should receive reparations if he goes back under his rock.

Stop It

Screw it. I'm gonna hunt down Attila the Hun's relatives and sue the ever livin' crap outta them for running off my gypsy forefathers and mothers. Who in the hell do they think they were, anyway?

Contango

@ Mr. Jackson:

I spoke with a South African (SA) expat a while back.

He told me that he had moved to the U.S. so that his two children could escape that country's affirmative action and have a chance at a good education.

His son is a medical doctor. He said that because of affirmative action, his chances in SA of getting into medical school would have been zero.

Oppression is where you find it.

deertracker

I hope you didn't fall for that line of bull. He came here for the same opportunities that were being denied to Blacks in SA. Is he legal? Would you consider them African Americans?

Speaking of oppression!!!!!!!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apa...

Contango

Re: "line of bull."

And now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction in SA and whites are being oppressed.

Where's the "bull"?

Even the country of Zimbabwe is rethinking their racist and economically detrimental policies:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20...

deertracker

Your friends are the true definition of African American. Agree? The playing field may not be level but it never was.

Contango

Re: "it never was"

And never will be because the largest minority group in the world is the individual.

No amt. of social engineering and central planning will ever make it fair and equitable - someone's ox will always be gored.

Not unlike Zimbabwe, in the U.S., Detroit is an excellent example of what happens when there is white flight due to racist policies.

freespeech1

If you talk to any educated people from Africa they will tell u that they are embarrassed by American Black's. I worked with many African engineers and every single one stated that american blacks whine too much and act foolish and were an embarrassment to them.

Contango

Re: "embarrassed by American Black's."

I'll second that!

I hung out with some Ethiopians in college. They were insulted when they were mistaken for American blacks.

deertracker

I'll third it. The only issue I have with their perception is they think they had it harder.

America Blacks are just as insulted when they are mistaken for Africans also. Eventually they learn that Black is Black in America!
How come South Africans............nevermind!

Contango

Re: "they think they had it harder."

If you include the FACT that most of the black Africans are educated and articulate, they had to work for it and did have it "harder."

Whiskey in a Teacup

Africans are probably not aware of much of American history. Did u know that after the Civil war ended blacks were employed in minstrel shows and we're portrayed as buffoons and lazy and silly as a way to provide entertainment. For most white America this was the lens blacks were seen through and was used by blacks to gain acceptability. Ironic, eh?

thinkagain

What a great idea, take from innocent people who weren't involved in slavery and give to people who were never slaves.

stayfit

Pay Reparations?

Let's give native Americans reparations for Trail of Tears and taking of land. Let's give Asian Americans reparations for internment camps during World War II. Let's give women reparations for being discriminating against for jobs and rights to vote. Let's bankrupt this country for every injustice that has took place in recent history. Let's give homosexuals reparations for not being allowed to marry and still not being allowed to marry.

Overall, make it one big class action lawsuit and have the government shell out billions of dollars and issue 90 percent of the population checks of $10.00.

queenjhb

Let me see, I'm Irish, English, Scottish, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, German, Native American, I guess I'm really happy to be an American, because ,in all of the above countries that is what I am to them. I am an American.

Whiskey in a Teacup

What does it matter if the conditions they faced in their country of origin were equally deplorable? __and so therefore they should be content to be faced with nothing more than being disadvantaged ? I disagree with reparations but seriously you would deny that whites had priveledges because of their skin color? Some of you speak as if the inequality toward blacks ended when slavery ended and yet my parents speak of the day schools desegregated. We can recall stories of civil rights movements from our mouths, not just history books. Don't be foolish, many of you have greater intellect than that.

Nemesis

Why don't we just go back to making the Egyptians pay reparations to the Jews for Ramses enslaving them, and work forward from there? I figure with Anglo-Saxon ancestors, I'm due something for the Norman conquest, with Scotch and Irish blood the English owe me, and with German ancestors, Italians owe me for the Roman's treatment of the Visigoths. Mongolia will owe reparations to anyone with ancestors from anywhere in Eurasia east of the Danube.

The Constitution prohibits making people pay for the crimes of their ancestors.

herbie_hancock

They already created reparations, Roosevelt approved it back in 1935...its called welfare.

Nemesis

BRILLIANT!!!

Whiskey in a Teacup

Herbie _ cute, but lacking knowledge. Actually, "poor laws" were established shortly after our nation was founded, when people were choosing to come to America, and they were provided cash and / or job placement. Assistance programs (welfare) continued throughout the 1800's, long before slavery began and ended. Cash assistance and various programs to help poor families have been around since pre Civil War era.
In 1935, Roosevelt enacted the SSA, and ADC was implemented as part of the New Deal. The aid was intended primarily to help single white women who were not expected to work >>>
but blacks didn't qualify until the 1960's after the Civil Rights Movement and the rules were expanded to include black woman.
Eventually Congress enacted rules of its own because the previous rules still disqualified black woman because of the "man in the house" rule which was eventually criticized because it promoted divorce and discouraged marriage.
No matter, the majority of recipients who received welfare were white woman while black families chose to continue to work.

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