Guest Editorial: Sabotaging reparations

A serious discussion of reparations for Black Americans has been flirted with on and off for the past few years. Dollar amounts have been suggested, and some organizations are even meeting to question the nature of reparations—should they actually become a reality. The problem, though, is that for every vocal Black person who touts reparations, there is seemingly another who is talking about the impossibility of them actually being granted.

Previously, several groups have discussed the idea of reparations and have offered legitimate reasons as to why they are warranted. This has been a necessary move because many, MANY White people do not feel that Black Americans should receive reparations. One of their loudest protestations is that they feel slavery was something that happened in the very distant past, and that no one living today actually has slaves, so no one in the present is culpable; it all took place with their long-dead relatives.

And judging from an asinine opinion offered by a disingenuous governor of a southern American state, slaves benefitted from the “vocational training” they received during their servitude.

The above-mentioned excuses can be easily debunked: there are corporations today that garnered their wealth during the slavery era, and that is what gave them a heads up so they could prosper today!

Regarding the so-called “vocational education” slaves received, they were not paid to work, and since the majority of them worked on farms picking cotton and doing other non-technical chores, these jobs are not very relevant in contemporary America. The last time we looked, picking cotton hasn’t found a niche in modern America, and blacksmiths are not in high demand today.

To be sure, so-called “house Negroes” did gain skills working as servants, but the demand for maids and butlers is not as high as it was back then. And that field is hardly one wherein Blacks will be targeting those jobs today, considering the level of technological skills needed in today’s workplace. So much for the “vocational value” of slavery.

With that said, the biggest impediments to reparations for the actual repair that is truly needed in the Black American community are Black “naysayers” who are convinced we will never, EVER get reparations. These people have not been able to grasp the idea that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease!”

They say that the White man will never consent to reparations, and their sentiments are liable to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Even though President Biden discussed reparations, the idea was a hot-button issue until it just sort of fizzled, and few Black people seem to be willing to work toward pushing the subject. This is basically due to low self-esteem; they don’t really believe that if they [we] push for reparations, they are actually attainable!

Consider the following groups that have received reparations for maltreatment from America: The Japanese-American Claims Act of 1948 and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

Between 1948 and 1965, the former authorized payments totaling $38 million (which comes to somewhere between $286 to $374 million in 2014 dollars).

The latter offered Japanese survivors $20,000 each in reparations.

Forced sterilization: North Carolina sterilized about 7,600 people, most of whom are no longer living, but passed a $10 million reparations program that beginning in 2015 should have given the more than 177 living victims somewhere in the range of $50,000 each. Native Americans have also received reparations from America.

Today, there are more children being raised in single-parent households in Black communities than there are who come from intact homes; marriage seems to be going by the wayside in Black America, and Blacks are disproportionately incarcerated, maltreated by law enforcement; are discriminated in the workplace (remember last hired, first fired?), and more. There is certainly a need for “repair” in our communities.

Let’s face it, reparations are long overdue for Black Americans, especially when looking at the socio-economic conditions that seem to predominate. The fact of the matter is reparations will not happen unless they are fought for, and we can’t get around that. Message to naysayers: Stand down, relinquish your positions as saboteurs!!! A Luta Continua.

Reprinted from the Chicago Crusader

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