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Reparations for African-Americans

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Reparations to African-Americans - Yay or Nay

Poll ended at Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:24 pm

Yes
3
10%
No
21
72%
Undecided
5
17%
 
Total votes: 29

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Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Grifman » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:24 pm

Surprisingly, at least to me, this question is now out in the open, with politicians including presidential candidates on the left actively discussing a topic that has been much been taboo for a long time - at least in the mainstream. So what does the hive mind think - inquiring minds wish to know.

If yes, I am also interested in what reparations should consist of. Should it be strictly cash grants? Or should it consist more money put in target programs to aid African-Americans in achieving economic/social equality? Should African-Americans from the poorest ghetto to LeBron James all receive it? Should all people of African descent receive it or just those descended from slaves. What do you do about the resentment such a program will cause among poor and working class whites? What about other ethnic minorities that have suffered (Native Americans, Chinese, Irish, etc.) Would the backlash be so great as to set back race relations (of course some may believe they are pretty bad already but still . . .)

Anyway, discuss!
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:20 am

You have to first define what the reparations are for. Kidnapping? Slavery? Institutionalized policies of economic warfare? If you can do that, from there it's easier to spell out who gets what.

I don't like the idea since it is so difficult to define all of the above. But regardless, you have to start with the first question.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Freyland » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:21 am

I think it is unrealistic, both financially and from national repercussions. Financially, if you go down that road of thinking, how much is enough? No way to determine that, so the answer is always going to be "more". Will bankrupt the nation, and there are more pressing global concerns that deserve to bankrupt us. Nationally, the division this will create will destroy us.
Fixing and improving the various Welfare systems is a better use of large amounts of money, in that it would help any ethnicity in need, which conveniently would cover a large amount of African Americans without alienating everyone else.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Kraken » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:21 am

I need to know what specific reparations we're talking about. Conceptually, I think addressing contemporary injustices should take priority over apologizing for historical ones.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Jaymann » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:04 am

Also how do you define African-Americans? 50% DNA? 25%? 10%? Is it a sliding scale? The more black, the more you get back?
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Zarathud » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:11 am

The right answer is to invest in African-American neighborhoods that have received economic disadvantages over history. The problem with reparations is that when nothing changes, the communities will be blamed and we'll pretend past injustices are fully paid.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:27 am

Zarathud wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:11 am
The right answer is to invest in African-American neighborhoods that have received economic disadvantages over history. The problem with reparations is that when nothing changes, the communities will be blamed and we'll pretend past injustices are fully paid.
+1.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by LordMortis » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:00 am

Zarathud wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:11 am
The right answer is to invest in African-American neighborhoods that have received economic disadvantages over history. The problem with reparations is that when nothing changes, the communities will be blamed and we'll pretend past injustices are fully paid.
I can't see a meaningful plan for "reparations" but just because I can't comprehend a plan doesn't mean someone smarter than I'll eve be won't connect the dots in ways that make me go "ahhh!" So while I currently sit at no. I really put undecided. There is a problem with a cycle of poverty and education that equates to disenfranchisement and desperation. And cycle is way out of whack for African Americans and it enforces racial inequality and an US cultural dicord. That's got to change. It can't leave "the front page" until it does. I don't see reparations being a part of that change but the change is not a 4th grade math problem, or providing help desk for a PC, so I'm all ears and those ears are waiting for someone to show them light.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by msteelers » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:06 am

Zarathud wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:11 am
The right answer is to invest in African-American neighborhoods that have received economic disadvantages over history. The problem with reparations is that when nothing changes, the communities will be blamed and we'll pretend past injustices are fully paid.
Agreed.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by noxiousdog » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 am

If we're paying reparations, I'd start with Native Americans.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by hepcat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 am

LordMortis wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:00 am
so I'm all ears and those ears are waiting for someone to show them light.
This may be one of your finest LM posts. :wink:
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by LordMortis » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:24 am

Hey now! When comes to fine posts, I'm absolutely full of it!

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by hepcat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:39 am

My nose couldn't believe what it read! :P
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by stimpy » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:42 am

What presidential candidates are talking about this?
It makes my dookie twinkle.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by LordMortis » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:47 am

hepcat wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:39 am
My nose couldn't believe what it read! :P
And hear I felt you were the king of sniffing out a good story.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by hepcat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:51 am

stimpy wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:42 am
What presidential candidates are talking about this?
Bernie was asked about it on a radio talk show. Since then (as far as I know) it's been coming up in more and more places.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Defiant » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:54 am

Warren and Harris said they supported reparations, but I don't think either gave any specifics to what that would actually entail.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Remus West » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:00 am

Count me as a solid no until they outline details. As previously noted by others, giving away chunks of cash will do absolutely nothing to solve the current issues facing impoverished peoples of any race.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by AWS260 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:02 am

noxiousdog wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 am
If we're paying reparations, I'd start with Native Americans.
Yes. Our nation has a lot of debts to pay.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a lengthy piece on African-American reparations a while ago.
Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Combustible Lemur » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:23 am

AWS260 wrote:
noxiousdog wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 am
If we're paying reparations, I'd start with Native Americans.
Yes. Our nation has a lot of debts to pay.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a lengthy piece on African-American reparations a while ago.
Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.
I love his writing.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by stimpy » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:23 am

Money solves everything, don't cha know.....
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Grifman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:26 am

Remus West wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:00 am
Count me as a solid no until they outline details. As previously noted by others, giving away chunks of cash will do absolutely nothing to solve the current issues facing impoverished peoples of any race.
I have worked with and known people involved in alleviating inner city poverty and they have said to me, "Poor people don't need money because it will just end back up in the hands of the rich in the end anyway.."
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by hepcat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:29 am

Zarathud has the right answer, imho. You can't just toss money at a large group in a situation like this. It would end up doing more harm than good.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Jaymann » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:34 am

Where does Ben Carson stand on this?
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by hepcat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:36 am

Trump hasn't told him where he stands yet.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by LordMortis » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:37 am

But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.
Well put. This is a better statement than I could make of why, even though it is none of my business, I am disappointed in the Kaepernick settlement. His one man demonstration was that sort of public wrestling nearly as constant as the NFL itself. And it mattered. It demanded we not look away.

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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Holman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:39 am

AWS260 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:02 am
noxiousdog wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 am
If we're paying reparations, I'd start with Native Americans.
Yes. Our nation has a lot of debts to pay.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a lengthy piece on African-American reparations a while ago.
Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.
I wish I had time to read the whole Coates essay before posting any thoughts. It would make me smarter.

In the meantime, though, I can't see any workable payout plan, and I'm not sure that cutting checks is really on the table anyway.

"Reparations" evokes making good on past losses, but there's no way to do that with any specificity, and there's no way to do it in blanket terms with any actual fairness. Rather than basing the formula for redress in the past, it should be based in the present forms of systemic inequality and economic exploitation that have descended from those past crimes.

At the very least, the discussion will involve affirmative action, education reform, consumer protection, and urban renewal. If none of that sounds new, it's because for about 60 years the Right has made attacking those efforts central to what it calls "freedom."
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by noxiousdog » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:41 am

AWS260 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:02 am
noxiousdog wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 am
If we're paying reparations, I'd start with Native Americans.
Yes. Our nation has a lot of debts to pay.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a lengthy piece on African-American reparations a while ago.
Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.
I would argue this is a joint European, United States, South American, and West African issue. The United States inherited and dealt poorly with an issue not of our invention. By restricting our viewpoint to the US it avoids reality and tries to place blame instead of actually understanding.

Citing the "wisdom worthy of it's founders" is pretty ironic considering that "all men are created equal" as long as they are white male property owners.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:45 am

Jaymann wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:34 am
Where does Ben Carson stand on this?
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Remus West » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:49 am

Grifman wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:26 am
Remus West wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:00 am
Count me as a solid no until they outline details. As previously noted by others, giving away chunks of cash will do absolutely nothing to solve the current issues facing impoverished peoples of any race.
I have worked with and known people involved in alleviating inner city poverty and they have said to me, "Poor people don't need money because it will just end back up in the hands of the rich in the end anyway.."
I work in a title 1 school and while I don't really feel like that statement addresses the issue I agree that a cash payment to the poor is not the answer. The answer is looking at the causes of the poverty cycle and working to alleviate those. Access to better education means nothing if the people lack the resources to take advantage of it - that is, saying I can attend a better school doesn't mean anything if my family can not keep a roof over their heads without my job...etc.

Child/elderly care, livable wages, transportation, health care, all of it bundles together to hold people down.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Grifman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:19 pm

Remus West wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:49 am
Grifman wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:26 am
Remus West wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:00 am
Count me as a solid no until they outline details. As previously noted by others, giving away chunks of cash will do absolutely nothing to solve the current issues facing impoverished peoples of any race.
I have worked with and known people involved in alleviating inner city poverty and they have said to me, "Poor people don't need money because it will just end back up in the hands of the rich in the end anyway.."
I work in a title 1 school and while I don't really feel like that statement addresses the issue I agree that a cash payment to the poor is not the answer.
They weren't trying to "address" the issue of poverty, just the idea that cash handouts of some sort would solve everything. They basically agree with what you said above.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by LordMortis » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:21 pm

Remus West wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:49 am
Child/elderly care, livable wages, transportation, health care, all of it bundles together to hold people down.
That's the sort of stuff where I know I'm smart enough to say don't take the idea off the table. I had spent a long time stuck in thinking school provided breakfasts is waste of tax payer money whose largest effect is to put even more power of family in to schools and take that sense of family away from parents, hurting the family unit that I believe generally makes for a better foundation in life. And I'd be wrong on every single one my suppositions. Every thought that makes sense to me has been shown to be wrong in contemporary US living. We can put up vouchers for "better" education all day long, but as you say, if there is no access, if there is no ability to take advantage, then opportunity is illusion. If someone thinks all of this through and has a plan to make a better tomorrow today. If they build a roadmap that most helps African Americans because African Americans disproportionately need the most help and live in communities that are in the most need of access and invention to provide ability for the education of our children, is that reparations? Or is "An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane" something else? Does it matter? I don't even begin to know.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Combustible Lemur » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:21 pm

LordMortis wrote:
Remus West wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:49 am
Child/elderly care, livable wages, transportation, health care, all of it bundles together to hold people down.
That's the sort of stuff where I know I'm smart enough to know says don't take it off the table. I'd have spent a long time stuck in thinking school provided breakfasts is waste of tax payer money whose largest effect is to put even more power of family in to schools and away from parents, hurting the family unit that I believe generally makes for a better foundation in life. And I'd be wrong on every single one my suppositions. Every thought that makes sense to me has been shown to be wrong in contemporary US living. As you say, we can put up vouchers for "better" education all day long, but if there is no access, if there is no ability to take advantage, then opportunity is illusion. If someone thinks all of this through and makes a better tomorrow today. They build a roadmap that most helps African Americans because they disproportionately need the most help and live in communities that are in the most need access and invention to provide ability for the education of our children, is that reparations? Or is "An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane" something else? Does it matter? I don't even begin to know.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Zarathud » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:21 am

I would rather say "it is our national long term best interests to make sure all Americans have an opportunity" than we "owe" any community. While all people are not created equal, we can work towards a basic, fundamental equality.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by RMC » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:31 pm

Zarathud wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:11 am
The right answer is to invest in African-American neighborhoods that have received economic disadvantages over history. The problem with reparations is that when nothing changes, the communities will be blamed and we'll pretend past injustices are fully paid.
Why are you so smart? I agree with this.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Fireball » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:12 pm

I support reparations in the sense that I support finding ways to close the racial wealth gap that has made it harder and harder for African American families to stay afloat financially over time. I think any such program would have to be carefully structured, or else the political backlash would be devastating to the objective of righting past wrongs. To the degree that African Americans are more prevalent in the working poor than in the middle class, you can make some big steps towards addressing the wealth gap by really investing money into lifting the working poor out of poverty — up to and including an expansion of the EITC to ensure that all working Americans are above the poverty line.
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by El Guapo » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:44 pm

Fireball wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:12 pm
I support reparations in the sense that I support finding ways to close the racial wealth gap that has made it harder and harder for African American families to stay afloat financially over time. I think any such program would have to be carefully structured, or else the political backlash would be devastating to the objective of righting past wrongs. To the degree that African Americans are more prevalent in the working poor than in the middle class, you can make some big steps towards addressing the wealth gap by really investing money into lifting the working poor out of poverty — up to and including an expansion of the EITC to ensure that all working Americans are above the poverty line.
FWIW this is what I am inclined towards as well.

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Moliere
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Moliere » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:34 am

"The world is suffering more today from the good people who want to mind other men's business than it is from the bad people who are willing to let everybody look after their own individual affairs." - Clarence Darrow

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GreenGoo
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by GreenGoo » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:03 pm

I've forgotten what it's like to listen to a truly great speaker and a man of intelligence.

What's missing from his discussion is how he comes to the conclusion that paying reparations somehow answers the points he's brought up. He has certainly identified how America was built on the backs of slaves, and he touches on the inheritance aspect slightly, meaning that (some) well to do people today owe their wealth on slavery, either directly or indirectly. At no point does he explain how paying out money to people today is reparation for those things.

While it's true that many (most) black people in America are descendants of those slaves, it's unclear to me that past a certain number of generations how much of an impact that poor "starting position" plays into a modern person's current status. Worse possibly, reparations would almost certainly have to be paid to everyone single person who can trace their ancestry back to the time period in American history, both the current day wealthy and poor, in equal measure. "Need" is not a factor in reparations, at least not in my opinion, as making amends has nothing to do with how well a person has "recovered" from the wrong that was done to them. So while I think everyone should partake in equal measure, I wonder how that will help heal the collective psyche of those affected. There is almost certainly going to be resentment and anger. Resentment and anger are the opposite of what reparations are designed to create. Admittedly this is not an argument against reparations, but it is some of the fallout that needs to be considered. If after reparations most of those who receive it feel worse off than they did before, through resentment and unfairness (of life, in this case) then reparations are only creating more damage as a cultural whole.

I enjoyed Hitchen's speech (love the glass of wine!) but while I find myself agreeing with every point he makes, I must be too obtuse to see how those points support paying money to African Americans today. I absolutely support taking that money and dedicating it programs that promote equality in all areas of society. That racism exists today and negatively impacts minorities in a wide variety of areas (including financially) is a problem orders of magnitude greater than having great (great great? great great great?)) grandparents who were slaves. Giving everyone a pile of cash doesn't do anything to alleviate the problems black people face today, and those problems are a direct result of slavery in America.

In any case, this is not my deal. I'm not American and I am not black. Just a few thoughts on the matter from an outsider.

edit: Names, how do they work?
Last edited by GreenGoo on Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pyperkub
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Re: Reparations for African-Americans

Post by Pyperkub » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:12 pm

So, I have a HUGE problem with the naming of this idea. Here's an interview with Coates:
So I’m wondering what you see as the minimum requirements for a policy that claims the mantle of reparations, and which Democratic candidates, if any, are meeting those minimum requirements, in your estimation?

When I say I am for reparations, I’m saying that I am for the idea that this country and its major institutions has had an extractive relationship with black people for much of our history; that this fact explains basically all of the socioeconomic gap between black and white America, and thus, the way to close that gap is to pay it back. In terms of political candidates, and how this should be talked about, and how this should be dealt with, it seems like it would be a very easy solution. It’s actually the policy recommendation that I gave in the piece, and that is to support HR 40. That’s the bill that says you form a commission. You study what damage was done from slavery, and the legacy of slavery, and then you try to figure out the best ways to remedy it.
I am in favor of this, but it isn't "reparations" (which really implies a cash payment which isn't even on the table currently).
There are three ways to not tell the truth: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

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