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Old 06-19-2019, 11:52 AM
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Who should pay Reparations to African Americans?


There is no question that compensation is due African American descendants of slaves but who should pay the reparations? The answer most definitely isn't this one....https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/18/polit...ery/index.html
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:56 AM
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Isn't this more of a Great Debate than a General Question?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:08 PM
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There is no question that compensation is due African American descendants of slaves but who should pay the reparations? The answer most definitely isn't this one....https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/18/polit...ery/index.html
There absolutely is a question regarding this. I do not see a need for yet another hand out. If it must be done, give each Black person a symbolic $1 amount.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:14 PM
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There absolutely is a question regarding this. I do not see a need for yet another hand out. If it must be done, give each Black person a symbolic $1 amount.
Why is it a handout? It is compensation for years of damage inflicted on the Black community here in America and that damage is the reason Black Americans still cannot build wealth.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:14 PM
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Isn't this more of a Great Debate than a General Question?
I think so. Moving thread from GQ to GD.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:15 PM
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This would be skipping several steps (i.e. determining who to pay, how much, how to verify and track, etc.), but IIRC Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that the US government should be the entity that pays, just as it did for Japanese-American internees.

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Old 06-19-2019, 12:16 PM
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Reported for forum change.

(ninja'd by an actual forum change)

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Old 06-19-2019, 12:16 PM
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Whoever owned the slave should pay reparations to that slave. Those who never owned slaves should not pay reparations to those who never were slaves.

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Old 06-19-2019, 12:18 PM
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I'd also like to point out that reparations isn't just about slavery, but also about various forms of discrimination and oppression that continued well into the 20th century. I believe it would be most appropriate to start with the governmental policies and practices that have harmed living Americans, like Redlining, before dealing with the policies like slavery which did not involve any living Americans.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:27 PM
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I'd also like to point out that reparations isn't just about slavery, but also about various forms of discrimination and oppression that continued well into the 20th century. I believe it would be most appropriate to start with the governmental policies and practices that have harmed living Americans, like Redlining, before dealing with the policies like slavery which did not involve any living Americans.
The reason I don't agree with reparations is related to this. I am concerned that a reparations program would be seen as a solution to the problems of racism. From that point on, any time a black person is victimized because of his race, there would be people saying "Suck it up. You got a check to compensate you for the effects of racism. So you've been paid for your suffering and we don't owe you anything anymore."

We should be putting our efforts into eliminating racism not into compensating people for it.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:32 PM
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America must talk about it and must acknowledge that it owes Black Americans payment for the damages it continues to do as a result of Slavery and all that pertains to slavery. The iron chains may be gone from our necks, hands and feet, but it remains on our pysche.

Acknowledgement of this fact and Congress making some kind of allowance for African Americans = REPARATIONS

Then America will be able to forgive itself for the atrocities that hang over it like an Albatross.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:32 PM
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The reason I don't agree with reparations is related to this. I am concerned that a reparations program would be seen as a solution to the problems of racism. From that point on, any time a black person is victimized because of his race, there would be people saying "Suck it up. You got a check to compensate you for the effects of racism. So you've been paid for your suffering and we don't owe you anything anymore."

We should be putting our efforts into eliminating racism not into compensating people for it.
People already say this (or some equivalent). It's nonsense now and it'd be nonsense then as well. TNC makes the argument much better than I do (if you haven't read it, please do!), but the gist I get is that, for entirely legitimate reasons, there's pretty much no chance of most black Americans seeing the country as a truly just and fair society until these past wrongs are addressed in a serious and good-faith way. The alternative is a permanent aggrieved underclass (which many Americans are obviously just fine with).
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:38 PM
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I'll also note that "reparations" doesn't necessarily mean a check to black people. It could mean a variety of things including community investment, but what it requires is a serious and good-faith effort to address the governmental and societal wrongs against black people (and others, potentially!) that continued well into the 20th century on a national level.

If I had a billion dollars (maybe it would only need a few hundrd million) I'd commission a long-term research study/experiment that would aim to, basically, execute reparations for a single small majority-black town in the Deep South, or a black neighborhood in a midwestern city like Chicago or St. Louis, with serious historical digging (records, statistics, interviews, and more) and then tracking for another few decades to see the medium and long-term impact. If it was successful (i.e. if the young people and later generations should significantly enhanced educational and financial achievement with lower rates of criminality, poverty, and similar), then it could be used as a model to demonstrate that reparations aren't scary at all, and could indeed be very beneficial to communities.

The goal of reparations isn't to help black people -- it's to make the country better and stronger.

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Old 06-19-2019, 12:42 PM
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There is no question that compensation is due African American descendants of slaves

Sure there is. (Question, that is.)
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:45 PM
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The alternative is a permanent aggrieved underclass (which many Americans are obviously just fine with).
If they're aggrieved because I don't want to give them money because of something somebody else did to their grandmother, yes, I would be fine with that.

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Old 06-19-2019, 12:45 PM
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Whoever owned the slave should pay reparations to that slave. Those who never owned slaves should not pay reparations to those who never were slaves.

This.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:45 PM
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TNC's latest words on reparations, delivered to the House today: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics...-hr-40/592042/

Highly recommended reading. It's not just about slavery, not even close.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:47 PM
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If they're aggrieved because I don't want to give them money because of something somebody else did to their grandmother, yes, I would be fine with that.
That's not why they're aggrieved, according to my understanding of TNC's argument. This is a very complicated issue, with a long and complex history, and flippant remarks like this are incapable of encapsulating it. If you're curious, I hope you read TNC's article and his latest words, linked in posts above.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:49 PM
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The reason I don't agree with reparations is related to this. I am concerned that a reparations program would be seen as a solution to the problems of racism. From that point on, any time a black person is victimized because of his race, there would be people saying "Suck it up. You got a check to compensate you for the effects of racism. So you've been paid for your suffering and we don't owe you anything anymore."

We should be putting our efforts into eliminating racism not into compensating people for it.
I feel like the people who'd say that about reparations are already saying it about other things: "Suck it up, you just had a black president", "Suck it up, Jim Crow was half a century ago", "Suck it up, affirmative action already exists".

They feel like blacks are already over compensated. And I think it's just permanent part of the American mindset. Three hundred years ago they thought America was doing them a favor by kidnapping them from Africa and that if anyone owed anything, it was black people.

So I totally understand your thoughts but I don't think it's any reason to not do it.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:50 PM
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Not sure if this is allowed, but perhaps it is because it's not a long statement -- here are TNC's opening words today:

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Yesterday, when asked about reparations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a familiar reply: America should not be held liable for something that happened 150 years ago, since none of us currently alive are responsible. This rebuttal proffers a strange theory of governance, that American accounts are somehow bound by the lifetime of its generations. But well into this century, the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of Civil War soldiers. We honor treaties that date back some 200 years, despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens, and thus bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach. It would seem ridiculous to dispute invocations of the Founders, or the greatest generation, on the basis of a lack of membership in either group. We recognize our lineage as a generational trust, as inheritance, and the real dilemma posed by reparations is just that: a dilemma of inheritance. It is impossible to imagine America without the inheritance of slavery.

As historian Ed Baptist has written, enslavement “shaped every crucial aspect of the economy and politics” of America, so that by 1836 more than $600 million, almost half of the economic activity in the United States, derived directly or indirectly from the cotton produced by the million-odd slaves. By the time the enslaved were emancipated, they comprised the largest single asset in America. Three billion in 1860 dollars, more than all the other assets in the country combined.

The method of cultivating this asset was neither gentle cajoling nor persuasion, but torture, rape, and child trafficking. Enslavement reigned for 250 years on these shores. When it ended, this country could have extended its hallowed principles—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—to all, regardless of color. But America had other principles in mind. And so for a century after the Civil War, black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.

It is tempting to divorce this modern campaign of terror, of plunder, from enslavement, but the logic of enslavement, of white supremacy, respects no such borders and the guard of bondage was lustful and begat many heirs. Coup d-états and convict leasing. Vagrancy laws and debt peonage. Redlining and racist G.I. bills. Poll taxes and state-sponsored terrorism. We grant that Mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox. But he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney. He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodard. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama and a regime premised on electoral theft. Majority Leader McConnell cited civil-rights legislation yesterday, as well he should, because he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them. He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some $4 billion. Victims of that plunder are very much alive today. I am sure they’d love a word with the majority leader.

What they know, what this committee must know, is that while emancipation dead-bolted the door against the bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open. And that is the thing about Senator McConnell’s “something”: It was 150 years ago. And it was right now.

The typical black family in this country has one-tenth the wealth of the typical white family. Black women die in childbirth at four times the rate of white women. And there is, of course, the shame of this land of the free boasting the largest prison population on the planet, of which the descendants of the enslaved make up the largest share. The matter of reparations is one of making amends and direct redress, but it is also a question of citizenship. In H.R. 40, this body has a chance to both make good on its 2009 apology for enslavement, and reject fair-weather patriotism, to say that this nation is both its credits and debits. That if Thomas Jefferson matters, so does Sally Hemings. That if D-Day matters, so does Black Wall Street. That if Valley Forge matters, so does Fort Pillow. Because the question really is not whether we’ll be tied to the somethings of our past, but whether we are courageous enough to be tied to the whole of them. Thank you.

Last edited by tomndebb; 06-20-2019 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Add link
  #21  
Old 06-19-2019, 12:56 PM
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The goal of reparations isn't to help black people -- it's to make the country better and stronger.
IMO this is what needs to be repeated over and over and over.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:57 PM
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This would be skipping several steps (i.e. determining who to pay, how much, how to verify and track, etc.), but IIRC Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that the US government should be the entity that pays, just as it did for Japanese-American internees.
As far as payments are concerned, the US government is funded by the taxpayers. Should African-American taxpayers have to pay themselves reparations? What about immigrants from Mexico or Central America?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:59 PM
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As far as payments are concerned, the US government is funded by the taxpayers. Should African-American taxpayers have to pay themselves reparations? What about immigrants from Mexico or Central America?
TNC calls America "a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach", and thus every taxpayer would be involved, in the same way that every taxpayer is involved with every American government expenditure.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:07 PM
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Haven't read TNC's most recent comments, but have not been persuaded by his previous writings.

I'm all in favor of restructuring society to address past inequities, but I see no convincing argument as to cash payments of any specific amount from any specific parties to any specific individuals. OP - simply stating a position as self evident does not make it so.

I am HUGELY in favor of increased investment in minority communities, enhanced education/vocational/social programs, racial preferences for jobs, school enrollments, etc. But I find the arguments for reparations entirely unpersuasive. I'm very disappointed to have heard some candidates whom I respect suggest it is a legitimate topic of discussion.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:09 PM
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Haven't read TNC's most recent comments, but have not been persuaded by his previous writings.

I'm all in favor of restructuring society to address past inequities, but I see no convincing argument as to cash payments of any specific amount from any specific parties to any specific individuals. OP - simply stating a position as self evident does not make it so.

I am HUGELY in favor of increased investment in minority communities, enhanced education/vocational/social programs, racial preferences for jobs, school enrollments, etc. But I find the arguments for reparations entirely unpersuasive. I'm very disappointed to have heard some candidates whom I respect suggest it is a legitimate topic of discussion.
What you describe as "increased investment in minority communities" could be a huge part of a reparations discussion. TNC himself says that reparations could come in many forms, and would not necessarily require "cash payments" to anyone. I think you should try reading his arguments again if you missed this.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:14 PM
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Reparations for slavery is a bad idea- I am guessing not a single former slave is still alive. Agree it SHOULD have be done, but you're at least 100 years too late now, for it to benefit those who deserved it.

You could make a more compelling case that reparations should be paid for the failures of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

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Old 06-19-2019, 01:14 PM
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I'll also note that "reparations" doesn't necessarily mean a check to black people. It could mean a variety of things including community investment, but what it requires is a serious and good-faith effort to address the governmental and societal wrongs against black people (and others, potentially!) that continued well into the 20th century on a national level.

If I had a billion dollars (maybe it would only need a few hundrd million) I'd commission a long-term research study/experiment that would aim to, basically, execute reparations for a single small majority-black town in the Deep South, or a black neighborhood in a midwestern city like Chicago or St. Louis, with serious historical digging (records, statistics, interviews, and more) and then tracking for another few decades to see the medium and long-term impact. If it was successful (i.e. if the young people and later generations should significantly enhanced educational and financial achievement with lower rates of criminality, poverty, and similar), then it could be used as a model to demonstrate that reparations aren't scary at all, and could indeed be very beneficial to communities.

The goal of reparations isn't to help black people -- it's to make the country better and stronger.
Fair enough. But if it were done this way, the cry would go up that when the Japanese internment survivors were given reparations, it went directly to the individual victims.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:16 PM
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Fair enough. But if it were done this way, the cry would go up that when the Japanese internment survivors were given reparations, it went directly to the individual victims.
My hypothetical experiment would start with all the living Americans (of a single town/neighborhood) who were harmed by Redlining, segregation, and similar discriminatory and oppresive government policies and practices within living memory. If that were successful, then I'd start looking at the policies and practices that were gone before the lifespan of any living American.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:20 PM
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TNC calls America "a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach", and thus every taxpayer would be involved, in the same way that every taxpayer is involved with every American government expenditure.

TNC is very flippant about wanting to spend other people's money. Myself, I'm less flippant about letting him take it.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:20 PM
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1) The Senate will never pass a Reparations' Bill even if the House does. If they somehow did, Trump would veto it.

2) If we're going to pay out Reparations to African Americans, what about Native Americans whose land we stole and whose tribes we slaughtered? Shouldn't they get a whole lot more? I don't see how you can do the former without having to do the latter.

3) I think Reparations would actually worsen the racial divide in this country and wouldn't be nearly worth the amount of money payed out to each individual African American citizen. The common taxpayer would end up footing the bill for criminals long dead. To make matters worse, the descendants of the people who became rich from their ancestors' profiting from the human trafficking cannot be made "unrich" as a punishment. The damage was done. There are many aspects of it that would make it very unfair in the minds of many people. Creating anger and resentment isn't a good way to improve race relations. It would fuel the already increased growth of hate groups and racism in general.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:25 PM
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Wherever you have inequality now is where the money should be spent. That guarantees that those most materially harmed by any past practises, race-based or not, are the ones who end up being helped the most.

You don't need to tie it into race at all but the bulk of the assistance would probably go to african-american communities purely on the basis of need. That seems a sensible and proportionate policy that should pretty much be the cornerstone of any society that seeks to be fair and to be perceived as fair.

It would also be a policy that is far easier to manage, and less divisive. A cash payout based on the colour of your skin seems ludicrous.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:28 PM
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TNC is very flippant about wanting to spend other people's money. Myself, I'm less flippant about letting him take it.
Thankfully, he doesn't advocate it be done by fiat, but rather by the normal democratic legislative process -- the same process that resulted in reparations for Japanese-American internees. Did you consider those reparations "flippant"?

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 06-19-2019 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:31 PM
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1) The Senate will never pass a Reparations' Bill even if the House does. If they somehow did, Trump would veto it.
In the present, this is true. This isn't about passing any bills (aside from maybe a commission or a study) now, but starting the conversation for possible action in the future.

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2) If we're going to pay out Reparations to African Americans, what about Native Americans whose land we stole and whose tribes we slaughtered? Shouldn't they get a whole lot more? I don't see how you can do the former without having to do the latter.
We definitely should also discuss reparations for the many policies and practices of the US government that harmed (and continue to harm) Native Americans. TNC has also said this many times.

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3) I think Reparations would actually worsen the racial divide in this country and wouldn't be nearly worth the amount of money payed out to each individual African American citizen. The common taxpayer would end up footing the bill for criminals long dead. To make matters worse, the descendants of the people who became rich from their ancestors' profiting from the human trafficking cannot be made "unrich" as a punishment. The damage was done. There are many aspects of it that would make it very unfair in the minds of many people. Creating anger and resentment isn't a good way to improve race relations. It would fuel the already increased growth of hate groups and racism in general.
This is a gross concept error regarding reparations -- it's about far more than harm by dead Americans to other dead Americans. It's also about policies and practices that did great harm to living Americans well into the 20th century -- I think those policies and practices are the most important and should be the focus of the discussion.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 06-19-2019 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:07 PM
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... TNC himself says that reparations could come in many forms, and would not necessarily require "cash payments" to anyone. I think you should try reading his arguments again if you missed this.
No thanks. I recall when I first heard of him some years back. In the Atlantic, I suspect. Thought his perspective interesting. As time went on, and his reputation grew, I thought his writings said less and less - while getting longer and longer. The more I read, the less I thought he had to say.

Not saying he will NEVER have ANYTHING worthwhile to say, just that I don't care to wade through his turgid and repetitive prose too find an occasional pearl.

I think the very word "reparations" highly problematic. And I say this as one of the most liberal persons I know on most social issues. I happen to be a white middle-aged, middle-class male who has never objected to the taxes I pay, or to (most - I'm sure there may be infrequent exceptions) efforts to increase diversity/opportunity in schools/work/housing.

I apologize if I misunderstood the less-than-detailed OP. Would the OP - or someone else - please define "reparations" so we can meaningfully debate how self evident they are and who ought to pay them?
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:09 PM
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I'd also like to point out that reparations isn't just about slavery, but also about various forms of discrimination and oppression that continued well into the 20th century. I believe it would be most appropriate to start with the governmental policies and practices that have harmed living Americans, like Redlining, before dealing with the policies like slavery which did not involve any living Americans.
The US government has done much worse things than redlining. How about we start with the victims of the military and work our way back until the US govt goes belly up. I think we may get back to the Iraq war at that rate
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:10 PM
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Would the OP - or someone else - please define "reparations" so we can meaningfully debate how self evident they are and who ought to pay them?
I'd be happy to -- reparations are measures taken by the state to redress gross and systematic violations of human rights.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:11 PM
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People already say this (or some equivalent). It's nonsense now and it'd be nonsense then as well. TNC makes the argument much better than I do (if you haven't read it, please do!), but the gist I get is that, for entirely legitimate reasons, there's pretty much no chance of most black Americans seeing the country as a truly just and fair society until these past wrongs are addressed in a serious and good-faith way. The alternative is a permanent aggrieved underclass (which many Americans are obviously just fine with).
I disagree. There's an important distinction in calling something reparations - it's saying it's compensation for something that has happened. It's not compensation for something that's still happening.

Look at the reparations paid to Japanese-Americans. It was the final step. The first step was to release them from the detention camps. It was only after we had stopped doing something wrong that we could move on to figured out the cost for what we had done. It would have been wrong for us to send them payments while we continued to hold them in the camps.

But we haven't reached that point with black Americans. They're still being victimized. So our first priority needs to be stopping the racism that's still going on. Only when we have stopped racism from occurring in the present and in the future can we go back and address the effects of racism in the past.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:11 PM
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The US government has done much worse things than redlining. How about we start with the victims of the military and work our way back until the US govt goes belly up. I think we may get back to the Iraq war at that rate
My goal is to make America stronger, better, and more just. It sounds like your goal would be in conflict with this, so no thanks.

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:15 PM
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I disagree. There's an important distinction in calling something reparations - it's saying it's compensation for something that has happened. It's not compensation for something that's still happening.

Look at the reparations paid to Japanese-Americans. It was the final step. The first step was to release them from the detention camps. It was only after we had stopped doing something wrong that we could move on to figured out the cost for what we had done. It would have been wrong for us to send them payments while we continued to hold them in the camps.

But we haven't reached that point with black Americans. They're still being victimized. So our first priority needs to be stopping the racism that's still going on. Only when we have stopped racism from occurring in the present and in the future can we go back and address the effects of racism in the past.
This seems like a rationalization for avoiding reparations forever.

In any case, it doesn't address my argument. I'm not advocating reparations for racism. I'm advocating them for the specific governmental policies and practices that harmed Americans, including living Americans. I want reparations for Redlining, for example. Redlining is over, just like the Japanese-American camps are done. But the final step for our society to address Redlining would be for a serious effort to determine the harm done and a good-faith effort to make redress for this harm.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:15 PM
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We've had numerous threads about this already, but here goes:


1. There is no way to do such a reparations program without causing massive anger and resentment - an anger that could end up setting race relations back. It is likely to piss off a big chunk of the populace.

2. There is no way to do this and properly identify who should get paid. A black American who can prove a direct history to slave ancestors? Okay, maybe. What about someone who is only 1/32 black, looks white, and has always been treated as a white person, but claims "I'm black too, I want my money?" What about black people who immigrated from Africa recently and have no familial connection to slavery whatsoever? What about black people who owned slaves?

3. You can't pay many millions of people something like $100,000 apiece and not have it lead to massive financial chaos. That adds up to a sum of trillions. Are we going to raise taxes sky-high? Borrow trillions more and add to the national debt?

4. Where does this stop? Do Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, Muslims, Native Americans, women, atheists, gays, lesbians, deserve reparations? We've had centuries of misogyny, haven't we? We've had centuries of anti-LGBT discrimination, haven't we? Eventually we would be handing everyone reparations (except, maybe, white straight men.)
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:20 PM
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I'm gonna go meta and say/predict:
1) Glad TNC is being referenced here; he's done yeoman's work popularizing this issue while pointing out its complexities. Andy is also doing yeoman's work in this thread bringing that to our attention. (I did not know TNC had commented on McConnell's remarks!)
2) Prediction: most people in this thread will continue to shoot down simplistic versions of what reparations might mean. Something like what you see in the Dave Chappelle sketches.

So yeah. I predict we're in for a whole lot of "that'll never work because X," little "how can we make up for Y, and fix Z?"
Because the idea of reparations is about fixing what's wrong with our country right now as well as making up for past and present injustices.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:23 PM
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My hypothetical experiment would start with all the living Americans (of a single town/neighborhood) who were harmed by Redlining, segregation, and similar discriminatory and oppresive government policies and practices within living memory. If that were successful, then I'd start looking at the policies and practices that were gone before the lifespan of any living American.
How do you define success and failure? I would expect massive influx of resources to a targeted population to have positive impacts, but that would apply to any group so chosen. That can't be sufficient to declare success.

If it fails to produce desired results, then what?
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:24 PM
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We've had numerous threads about this already, but here goes:

1. There is no way to do such a reparations program without causing massive anger and resentment - an anger that could end up setting race relations back. It is likely to piss off a big chunk of the populace.
I'm sure there would be "anger and resentment", but this already exists -- in fact, the main reason for reparations is to try and make a reasonable attempt to address the widely extant "anger and resentment" that has lead to millions of Americans not feeling like they have a stake in the grand project of America. If reparations were successful, the vast majority of black Americans would truly feel like they lived in a just and fair society. I think that's well worth the possibility of some "anger and resentment" from some number of comfortable older white Americans (who likely already had some negative feelings towards black people that this would just be an excuse to voice).

Quote:
2. There is no way to do this and properly identify who should get paid. A black American who can prove a direct history to slave ancestors? Okay, maybe. What about someone who is only 1/32 black, looks white, and has always been treated as a white person, but claims "I'm black too, I want my money?" What about black people who immigrated from Africa recently and have no familial connection to slavery whatsoever? What about black people who owned slaves?
Again, it's not just about slavery. With a serious and detailed research program, we could identify with a high degree of probability which living Americans were harmed by various discriminatory policies and practices (redlining, segregation, and more) that continued well into 20th century.

It wouldn't be some flippant "checks to black people" program. It would be a serious and long-term project that would involve years of historical research, interviews, and much more.

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3. You can't pay many millions of people something like $100,000 apiece and not have it lead to massive financial chaos. That adds up to a sum of trillions. Are we going to raise taxes sky-high? Borrow trillions more and add to the national debt?
Agreed. Luckily, none of the serious proposals for reparations involve such payments. The goal is to make America better, stronger, and more just, and any payments that did harm to the long-term finances of the country would be rejected.

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4. Where does this stop? Do Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, Muslims, Native Americans, women, atheists, gays, lesbians, deserve reparations? We've had centuries of misogyny, haven't we? We've had centuries of anti-LGBT discrimination, haven't we? Eventually we would be handing everyone reparations (except, maybe, white straight men.)
I think the policies and practices that harmed Native Americans well into the 20th century should certainly be researched, and redress should be considered. That's the one group that can claim a similar level of harm done by government policy as black Americans. And not-so-coincidentally, Native Americans are also at the bottom of most statistical indicators of success/failure in things like crime, education, wealth, and much more. And just as we successfully made reparations to Japanese American internees, we should look at other historical injustices of government policy that harmed living Americans and consider redress, IMO.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:25 PM
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The just, fair way to do it would have been immediately: At the close of the Civil War, every former slaveholder should have been forced to pay back wages to all of their slaves, with their estates confiscated and sold if necessary to make it happen.

The fact that we didn't do that when we should have doesn't mean that we're now off the hook. It means that now, black people are owed that much plus a century and a half of interest. And, yes, the payments should only go to those who were personally disadvantaged by slavery... which is all blacks living in America. The evils of slavery didn't end with slavery itself. Black people are still poor, are still discriminated against, and still have a harder life than white people, and it's ultimately because of slavery.

As for who should pay it, at this late remove, the only possible answer is US taxpayers. And as a taxpayer, I'm OK with that, even though none of my ancestors ever actually owned slaves. Solving the problem is more important than assigning blame.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:28 PM
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How do you define success and failure? I would expect massive influx of resources to a targeted population to have positive impacts, but that would apply to any group so chosen. That can't be sufficient to declare success.
Off the top of my head, success would be in statistical indicators like crime, education, wealth, etc. -- have these numbers for these folks (and their children) trended towards the median for white folks in that region, and is this continuing to improve with time?

Quote:
If it fails to produce desired results, then what?
Then I'd do a very detailed look at everything that we did, see what we did wrong, and start over. It's possible that TNC and I are completely wrong and there's no hope, but I won't believe that until we actually make a serious and good-faith effort to try and address these past discriminatory policies and practices, especially the ones that have harmed living Americans.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:29 PM
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yes, the payments should only go to those who were personally disadvantaged by slavery... which is all blacks living in America.
Again, there are blacks in America who have no tie to slavery whatsoever - for instance, Africans who recently immigrated from Africa to the United States.

And what percentage of blackness is required to qualify?
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:38 PM
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The very basic question I'd start with is this (or something very close to this): What should America do about the living Americans who were financially harmed (very significantly!) by Redlining?

Any reparations-skeptics want to chime in? Do you believe the answer is "nothing"?
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:45 PM
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I'd be happy to -- reparations are measures taken by the state to redress gross and systematic violations of human rights.
Thanks - that's really useful!

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:48 PM
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There is no question that compensation is due African American descendants of slaves but who should pay the reparations? The answer most definitely isn't this one....https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/18/polit...ery/index.html
Who indeed. This thread seems to revolve around the US culpability, but I wonder if folks realize that Europe was mainly responsible. Even after they had washed their own hands (well, at home anyway) of slavery, they were the main beneficiaries of US (and other) plantation slavery, as most of goods went to their markets for processing and refinement. Especially cotton. Hell, the British industrial revolution was driven to a large extent by US cotton. The North, of course, also benefited hugely because of Southern cotton, even while they (sort of kind of) opposed slavery. Then you have the fact that many other cultures were part of the slave trade, including African tribes and Arab slavers. So...who pays? Why is the discussion only about the US paying for this when the material benefits to slavery were reaped by MANY countries, especially in Europe? Well, because no one else is seriously troubled about this fact and everyone wants to blame the young US for it of course.

No, I don't think the US should pay reparations to African Americans. If a number of countries want to put money in a pot to try and pay reparations for slavery then I would say the US should too, proportional to the benefit we gained from it. This isn't an insubstantial benefit, mind...it pretty much made the US a (small) economic power at the time and paved the way for our own industrialization as well as capitalization of the nation. But the US alone wasn't responsible for slavery, and we were far from the top beneficiaries of it.

Now, I DO think a case can be made for Native American reparations and that the US is mainly responsible for our actions on those populations both in the past and today (though several European nations should also be doing something, especially Spain, the UK and France, though not limited to those nations). I also think that Native American populations today are still materially suffering from this in extreme ways that black Americans aren't. I'm not trying to lessen the amount of racism and bigotry on black Americans by any means, but to me it's not comparable to how badly the Native American's have and are suffering...and this IS mainly on the the US. The direct benefits have also accrued to the vast majority of Americans as we kind of got a continent sized nation state and all it's goodies in the bargain.
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  #50  
Old 06-19-2019, 02:57 PM
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Ah, yes, the "But you made me do it!" defense. It's tiresome enough when it comes from five-year-olds.

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Quoth Velocity:

Again, there are blacks in America who have no tie to slavery whatsoever - for instance, Africans who recently immigrated from Africa to the United States.
And who still get treated like second-class citizens by many Americans, because they look like the people whose ancestors were enslaved. Yup, they're affected.
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