How would reparations work?

There was recently a group of students at a university (don’t remember which) who raised a petition asking the university to provide free educations for all black students. After the university stopped laughing, it said “no.”

If a wrong was done to a living person then there are legal pathways already open to them but I don’t think that is what is commonly meant by “reparations” surely that would be “compensation”? It would also not be exclusively based on skin colour.

Call it what you like. Payments to Japanese internees, and Holocaust survivors, is widely considered to be reparations.

I’d certainly be fine with calling it something else if that would improve the likelihood of acceptance, but I don’t think opponents would hesitate to call it reparations because they know there’s a political stigma to that word.

Redlining probably does not justify reparations. I would think that job discrimination has been far more consequential than the inability to get a loan.

You don’t think individuals were harmed by redlining? Or if you think some were, you don’t think they deserve compensation?

It’s lower on the list of consequences of racism, and there are existing remedies, just as there is for job discrimination. The reason we talk about reparations for slavery and Jim Crow is because a) there was no remedy, and b) the effects continue to the present day.

You are actually the first person I’ve ever seen argue for reparations to make up for redlining.

Then you haven’t spent any real time on this issue. You should start with Coates’s article, linked upthread.

Housing segregation, which was required by the federal government in many cases, is responsible for a huge number of the current racial disparities in household wealth, education, and health.

AFAIK there were never general reparations paid for the holocaust. In the sense that these payments were available to any Jew affected by the holocaust.

And the payments to the Japanese internees differ significantly from what reparations to black Americans would be. The government didn’t pay money to any Japanese American. It was restricted to those directly and provably affected by a specific policy. Obviously, black Americans have been affected by past government policies, but it’s much harder to draw a concrete link between these X people being affected by Y policy.

[sarcasm]Gee, if only multiple people in this thread suggested starting with specific practices and policies that affected living Americans.[/sarcasm]

Instead of being a sarcastic ass why don’t you provide an example to counter my argument?

I did, multiple times, in this thread. I suggested starting with redlining, which relied on government maps which were very specific about what neighborhoods they affected, and harmed many living Americans who lived in those neighborhoods.

Who, specifically, would get the reparations in this case?

I married into an entire family that had been interned at those camps.

Their attitude about the reparations was a) the government finally apologized and b) unlike all those other apologies, they put their money where their mouth was. The actual dollar figure was less important than the symbolism.

Of course there were other Japanese-Americans who were insulted by the idea that the government thought it could buy them off, and still others who wanted a dollar-for-dollar-plus-damages reimbursement.

It’s complicated.

People who were denied loans due to these policies, and people whose properties were devalued due to their neighborhoods being harmed by these policies. Possibly others, if they can demonstrate they were personally harmed by these policies.

There are obvious problems with this. How, for example, is someone supposed to prove they were denied a loan because of these policies? Compensating property owners is going to run into unintended consequences. I’m guessing here, but I’d bet that a significant portion if not most of the properties in these areas were actually owned by wealthy white landlords. It should be readily apparent why this is a much harder problem then paying the Japanese that were interned during WWII.

This is such massive bullshit.

There would be challenges. But that challenges would exist is not reason to avoid discussing the problem. I believe all of these challenges could be overcome.

It was specific government policies that loans and assistance would be denied to people living in specific neighborhoods. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be terribly hard to show that people in those neighborhoods at the times in question had loans rejected due to those policies.

By all means, please share how we can do this.

With a public advertising campaign, ask the public to contact the “Compensation Administration Team” (CAT) if they lived in the areas affected by redlining policies in the years in which they were active. At the same time, dig through public records (census, tax records, property records, etc.) to find out who lived there. Correlate information with other sources – if someone says they lived there, check the public records, and check the statements of their confirmed neighbors. Interview them and ask questions about whether they sought assistance and were denied. Some of these individuals may have their own records – utility bills, loan denial letters, financial records, deeds, etc. Some of them probably will still live there. With some time and effort, we should be able to get a pretty good picture of who lived in these affected neighborhoods, and who owned property there, and eventually, who tried to get assistance and was denied.

Undoubtedly there will be unforeseen challenges, but that’s no reason to not consider this.

In those situations the wrongs had already been clearly addressed and remedied to the extent they could be. So there was no danger that reparations might become a substitution for fixing the underlying wrongs.

You also had a much clearer issue of financial loss in the Japanese internment and the Holocaust situations. A Japanese American living in Los Angeles or a Jewish German living in Berlin might have owned a house and a business. When they were taken away by their governments, their property was lost as a result. In situations like that, it’s pretty easy to show the direct connection between a government action and a specific financial loss.

The situation with Black Americans is much more nebulous. It’s rarely a case of somebody having their house or business taken away from them. Instead it’s a general pattern of denying people opportunities to own houses or businesses. Which makes it a lot more difficult to put a price tag on the loss.