Reparations details

OK, this thread isn’t about whether or not there should be reparations for slavery in the US, since there are plenty of threads about this already. What I want to know is, if you are one of those who believe that they should be paid (I am not), then how do you go about it? Have you given any thought to all of the details and implementation, or does it only go as deep as, give the blacks some money? If so, think of these questions…
Do you believe that it’s simply a matter of all black people (African Americans, Jamaicans, etc…) getting a lump sum of money from the government? And if so, why would it be fair to compensate those who didn’t descend from slaves as well as those who descended from slaves?
Or do you believe that only those who could document that they are descended from slaves should get money? And would it be fair to those who were decended from slaves, but couldn’t document it?
And who should pay? The federal government, in which case, actually everybody is paying for the reparations, including those getting them. Only white people? In which case why do you think it’s fair that decedents of those living in the North, who never owned slaves, or decedents of those who came to America after slavery was abolished, should pay for something neither they, or their ancestors did?
Or maybe you think that only decedents of slaves, should be paid by the decedents of slave owners? How much time and money would it take to document everyone to see who pays, and who gets paid?
And then, there’s the question of how much to pay. Do you just name one lump sum, or do you try to calculate the money that is owed, and if so, how could you possibly do so?
And finally, do only poor blacks get paid, or the wealthy entitled to any too? What about middle class blacks?

Isn’t “where exactly will all this money come from?” a more important question at this point?

In the (few) explications I’ve seen, the money comes out of the US gov’t tax base (yes, even black Americans) and because of the complexities listed above, would not be given out in the form of checks to everyone with melanin, but rather goes to institutions and funds and foundations created to administer said funds for the benefit of slave descendants.

Such institutions would of course be administered by the civil rights establishment that is now clamoring for the reperations, and held accountable by pretty much nobody.

Interesting question. I answered it once on another board and will try to do so here from memory. For the record, I’m black and oppose reparations, for reasons I won’t go into here.

What I did was extrapolated from the idea behind 30 acres and a mule. What that would have done is give the first generations of freed slaves a chance to succeed. Since such a land give away would be feasibly impossible, I figured this would be the best and cheapest option.

What I propose would be a college tuition forgiveness/give something back plan for the children of families that would somehow be able to document or through a preponderance of evidence establish that they are the decedents of slaves. The plan would be a one time only deal and would only be available to current students at the time of passage. To ensure that the plan wouldn’t be abused, only graduates would qualify for the program. I.e., you don’t graduate; you get stuck with the bill. The second part of the plan would require a couple of hundred hours of community service, to be completed after graduation.

There, no check giveaway, the program length would be such that you could fund it over time (what’s that 16 years?), and would provide some back. You could even add some qualifications such as making it available only to families falling below whatever the cutoff is for middle class.

Ok there’s my pie-in-the-sky idea, you may now commence shooting it full of holes.

Well, there are either two routs that could be taken, should this ever come to pass. One, the government pays out the money, or two, A few months ago, I heard of one city, I forget which, where an ordinance was passed that all businesses that had slaves, or had dealings with slave owners needed to reveal this to the public. The next step, if I’m remembering correctly, was to pressure these companies to make some sort of reparations. So the money would either come from the government, or businesses, or both.

Yes, now that I come to think of it, I’ve heard of that too. Hmmm, how much money would be left after all the <ahem> overhead, and all other such “expences” would be taken out to set up said funds?
Watch as Jessie Jackson drives a new porshe while talking about how underfunded his reparation fund is.

Stuffy, Stuffy, Stuffy… Are you saying that only blacks who are college grads and do community service would get any money? Yeah, run that one by Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton and let me know what they think :smiley: .

Hole in Stuffy’s pie #1 (;)): The vast majority of slave descendants do not have such documentation. Aside from 150 years of fires, floods and dislocations, slavery and reconstruction made a hash of documenting who was whose child, etc.

#2 Do the descendants of slaves who were freed before 1865 count?

#3 How direct a descent? A large number of US “whites” can be genetically proven to have at least one African ancestor. If I can prove that my great-great-great-grandmother was a slave, does it get me something even though I look entirely white and have more likely benefitted than suffered from racism? If not, where do we draw the line?

I know California has/or talked about something similar, at least the part I bolded. I’m not sure if a city has done so.

Joel Like I said pie-in-the-sky, I really don’t have a dog in this fight. I just thought it the most effective of what some form of repartations would be attempting to accomplish.

Yeah, it’s been a while and I forgot some of the details, so it probably was California. Also, I wasn’t putting down your post or making fun of it, or anything like that. I was just making the point that those pushing for reparations would never go for it, because they believe that all blacks deserve to be compensated (well, maybe not the conservative ones, because, let’s face it, it’s by and large liberals who are pushing for it.)

Everybody’s all wraped up in economic talk when the real issue is respect. You can have all the money in the world and have all the education but what’s the point when the majority of the country still assumes the worst about you once they notice your skin color? Louie Arsmstrong was rich and he still wasn’t even allowed to stay in the hotels he played in, so that shows you how far money can get you. Sure you can say that that doesn’t happen today, but it’s not very heartening when you realize that the government had to force places to end such practices. A bunch of shiny cars won’t be able cheer you up when the police assumes you sold drugs to get them. This country is FUBAR in regaurds to race relations between whites and blacks. The only think that could have worked would have been a seperate black nation on this soil established after emancipation (rather than going to invade another country like Liberia) or a stronger black sepratist movement in the 60’s that didn’t become derailed by cockamaimie integrationalist ideals.

Joel sorry that probably came off a little snippy, apologies. I tend to get a little grouchy when participating in race related threads.


True, I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into it. I know a good deal of my family history because of stories told to me from my great-grand mother and other family, but I guess that’s probably not typical.

Good question and one I hadn’t even considered.

Geez Furt, remind me to run my “World Domination” plan by you before I implement it. :wink: Let me think on it, and I’ll get back to you.


I request a respectable cite for this hyperbole.

Perhaps I’m inferring incorrectly, but aren’t you suggesting that relations/incidents of overt racism are improving/decreasing?

Again, a respectable cite that suggests this is a widespread attitude among American policemen would be nice. I’m sure you can point me to instances where this has happened, and I’m also sure you or another Doper can provide me with anecdotes. I would, however, like some data that indicates that this attitude is prevalent.

Uh huh. The Balkanization of America is just what black folks need.:rolleyes:

Stuffy, I feel you - race related threads give me a headache, too.

I saw Charles Ogletree give a talk on this issue last fall, and his proposal was that individuals not get money, but that a fund be created to administer the money to benefit the “black” community, like furt said. Ogletree was long on emotional pleas, and very very short on details. He did seem to favor getting most of the money from big business, but was again short on details.

How does one define a “black” community? What is one?

I don’t know. My take from Ogletree’s speach was that “black” community = poor inner city community. I guess middle class slave decendants don’t deserve anything? The whole reparations movement has shown a chronic lack of detail.

What about light skinned blacks who could pass for white. Since they don’t feel the “effects of slavery” to this day as their darker skinned brothers (and sisters) do, does that mean that they aren’t entitled to anything?
Also, something I’m wondering. I’ve heard that, due to questions, such as the ones I asked, it is suggested that reparation money goes to funds and institutions. OK, now what criteria do the administrators of these funds and institutions use to dertermine who’s worthy of aid and who’s not? Or, in other words, instead of answering and solving these questions, doesn’t this just move them on to somebody else?

Can’t the white people just feel guilty? Its not as satisfying, but you gotta admit, its a lot more practical…

Funny thing is, even though I’m Catholic, I don’t feel guilty about race relations at all :slight_smile:

(P.S. for those who don’t get it, it’s a joke about Catholics feeling guilty of just about everything.)