Reparations are about making amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged. America as a nation has never made amends to Blacks and African descendants of slaves (Ados). People get fixated on the monetary aspects of reparations which are important, but not the only aspects of making things right for beneficiaries. America needs many remedies to solve racial tensions in America. Until we address inequality and unfairness in meaningful ways and the nation atones for its original sins, there will never be national healing in America. Never.
The sooner America figures this out, the sooner we can move on. If someone hits you, harms you, hurts your feelings, most of us who are sane and have manners expect an apology or a remedy. If you’re in a car wreck, you sue your insurer for damages. If you fall in the store, you expect to be compensated for your injuries. Blacks and American descendants of slaves just want to be compensated for their extensive injuries.
We just want to be made whole, no strings attached.
Money Is A Start Not The End
Money is only one piece of righting America’s wrongs. Without protection and education, reparations still won’t make Black folks and Black communities better off because America has so many institutional barriers, Anti-Black attitudes, and so few protections in place, Whites in power would find a way to steal them back before the checks cleared the banks. There are some people who think Blacks should have nothing that could move Blacks up from the bottom of America’s racial caste systems, and those with that mindset work hard day and night devising plans to ensure we don’t. From advertising scam education opportunities that lead us nowhere to scam lending practices like the ones that led to the 2007 economic meltdown, Blacks are America’s favorite prey.
No matter how poor, wealthy, or educated Whites are, many believe we should limit the amount of compensation for Blacks. These people don’t have this same mindset for bailing out White farmers who vote for the wrong candidate, suffer from economic downturns, or have losses because of natural disasters. America should be penalized due to the length of time it took to make amends for the hardships she’s caused, all the Black lives she stole, and the financial losses Blacks and ADOS endured at the hands of Whites who destroyed pockets of Black wealth and progress (i.e. Black Wall Street).
Equity Is Everything
Without equity, America can’t possibly put make Blacks whole. Because there are fewer African Americans than Whites in the country, we will never be equal. Equity is what should be sought by Blacks to be made whole. Equity in America is only for the White people of America. Impartiality and fairness is not an American doctrine, because being fair means Whites must lose something in order for Blacks to gain equity. Fairness means losing political seats, overhauling voting practices, and oversight because Blacks have never had fair representation. Equity includes overhauling the entire government locally, statewide, and nationally.
Every system that executes operates, community and economic development systems, voting financial and banking institutions and systems, and any other system Blacks and ADOS rely on to survive and thrive.
With equity, Whites need to have a clear understanding that there are also no back doors to maintain the current inequity. Equity means all back doors are nailed shut. There can’t be two pathways to college, one where Black students earn a spot and the other one where White parents buy their kids one. Whites can’t have the rights, privileges, and freedoms to vote while Blacks and American Indigenous people must worry about polling places being changed at the last minute, voter roll purges, and ballot stealing. We can’t have all White business offices. school teachers, and financial districts when there are plenty of qualified people from other racial groups, and we can’t have tokenism to fill diversity quotas. I can stay on this subject all day, but you get my point.
We Need Our Protections Back
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was meant to protect Black folks and ADOS after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed because Blacks needed specific protections from White Supremacy. We still do. In 1968 the Civil Rights Act added women to it, which lead to a shift in priorities. The addition of sex to the Act was intentional to ensure Black rights and privileges would gradually be erased while White women’s rights and privileges would be increased. Since sex was added to the Civil Rights Act, gender, age, disability, family status, and the kitchen sink have been added. Because Blacks intersect with many of these protected groups, we end up being lumped with people and groups who are already privileged and protected.
Blacks need a special Civil Rights Act to address the way America has allowed us to be preyed upon by state and local law enforcement, predatory lenders, gerrymandering, red liners, voter intimidation, employment discrimination, education, and housing segregation, overly punitive criminal justice systems, etc.
We even need to be protected from our own local, state, and federal governments. Many states are dealing with irreversible environmental terrorism (i.e. Flint, Michigan). Poor children and families are dealing with many health and emotional issues and America doesn’t really care because the children are poor and mostly Black. Those people need to be made whole, and we need protections and oversight to ensure this never happens again.
We Need Forgiveness
We have been ensnared in many targeted gimmicks sanctioned by the American government. From the War on Drugs which planted drugs in poor Black and Brown communities to decimate those populations, to shitty for-profit colleges targeting Blacks on Black Entertainment Television (BET) to enroll in schools that offer crackpot degrees, that never lead to gainful employment. Students borrowed federally backed student loans and received Pell Grants that aid in paying for tuition for degrees which should lead to employment. That never happened. The government allowed these schools to operate, allowed taxpayer funds to pay tuition for them, and they did not oversee the completion rates and job placement rates, and racial targeting.
Predatory for profits-profit education advertisements were stereotypical. The ads for those for-profit colleges and universities weren’t shown on television channels geared towards White middle-class audiences, only Urban/Black television programming. Black students who thought their new degrees would get them great jobs and lead them to better homes, place their kids in better schools, and move their families into the middle-class would discover all they got was debt, bills, and a worthless degree. America sanctioned predatory for-profit education the same way they approved bad drugs like Ambien, Cochlear implants, or Celebrex, so America should forgive those who bought into the predatory for-profit education lie. Our government should protect us, not allow companies to prey on its citizens
Credit histories of many Blacks should be wiped clean, and they should forgive certain criminal offenses since cops work hard to police Black communities causing Blacks to be disproportionately impacted by criminal justice impact. Employers should be barred from using these things as potential disqualifiers for Black job seekers. Some things just aren’t our faults and we shouldn’t be penalized for generations. We trusted the government we pay taxes to, and they let us down by allowing us to be preyed upon.
America Needs Impartial, Diverse, Oversight Mechanism
We can’t trust America to do the right thing. There are too many White people who will do whatever they need to do to ensure Whites rule, reign, and improperly block Black progress. We can’t trust America to police itself, because even the police have shown they are above any law. No legislation put in place could not protect Black citizens. It is necessary to have a diverse, unbiased, fair set of eyes and ears on our nation to ensure once reparations are instituted to ensure they aren’t perverted. America needs to have the same type of oversight we supply through other nations via our State Department and military.
Reparations also need to come with diverse oversight mechanisms, similar to an embassy, to make sure we don’t revert to the way we were and provide progress/abuse reports to the public. Americans need to know how they are treating their fellow Americans. America also needs to be graded on our progress towards equity.
Education Will Be Essential
In order for reparations to be successful, we will need lots of education. Blacks and descendants of slaves need to be educated on the institution of slavery, and how America has prevented Blacks from making progress after slavery ended. Whites need a good old America pre and post-Civil War history, many lessons in systemic oppression, and the value of 400 years of free Black labor and exploitation. Whites should also learn how their collective White privilege and White Supremacy have kept other groups back, with tangible examples to help them understand the devastating impact of America’s racially-biased systems. Lastly, White people need to learn about racism, and how it works today. They need to learn about all the physical, mental, and emotional abuse they have inflicted, with specific training by Whites for Whites.
Many Whites believe White Supremacy is a thing of the past. They need to understand the ways they practice/engage in it directly or indirectly daily. Blacks and ADOS will need financial literacy and trusted banking instruments to ensure their reparations are taken care of safely and appropriately. Freedom is not having strings attached to the reparations. Education on how to manage the money we will attain will allow some of us to be financially free.
Doing Nothing Is Not An Option
To keep kicking the reparations can down the road is insanity. Doing nothing is no longer an option. America needs to make Blacks and ADOS whole so America can move forward. Democracy awaits.
The United States Constitution states:
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
We can’t be a more perfect union until America makes Blacks and ADOS whole. America cannot claim to promote the general welfare of its citizens when it gives the appearance it only cares about Whites ones and wealthy ones. America cannot secure the blessings of liberty if descendants of freed Blacks are always saddled with invisible chains. There will never be domestic tranquility if the ghosts of our racist past continue to return decade after decade, wreaking havoc on certain minority populations. White America will have to become comfortable confronting their pasts and the nation’s past, and they must finally have peace about correcting the nation’s wrong.
Failing to educate citizens gets us more leaders like Trump, many of the racist, selfish elected officials who enable him, and more people who walk around towing the lines of White Supremacy both liberal and conservative. Everybody loses. We can’t have a nation that’s supposed to be a melting pot, but some of the ingredients in the pot won’t melt.
It’s not going to work.
America cannot have peace without justice, equity, equality, and fairness for Black Americans and ADOS. Reparations are only the beginning of atoning America’s original sin. It’s been 400 years already. It’s time to apologize so we all can move on. Continuing to ask Blacks to wait is like asking a victim of domestic violence to wait on their domestic violence abuser to be nice and provide reparations or restitution for the beatings given in the past.
Prosperity, justice, and posterity await us.
©2019 Marley K. All rights reserved.