Reparations are now a 2020 campaign issue

By Jaime Morris

The Reparations dialogue/debate continues and appears to be heating up and may become a 2020 presidential election campaign issue.  This election may become  Trump versus a consummate “social justice” Democratic candidate.  With reparations as a legitimate consideration in an issue-oriented election, I urge African Americans and their allies in the quest for reparations to pause before investing too much time and emotion in pursuit of this goal and not carefully consider the big picture.  In the words of a personal injury lawyer whose television commercials ring in my ears, “Don’t take a quick check!”

The point is to not settle your case too early without considering all that you may be entitled to. Even if reparations checks were forthcoming – and they are not – African Americans will be commodifying not only the pain and suffering of slave ancestors (for which no monetary value can ever be established) but setting a pricing structure for their continuing and future enslavement in the present neo-colonial economic and cultural structure under which they presently live.  I know, that was a mouthful. Let me explain.

Reparations are topical (again) owing to the introduction of House Bill (H.R.) 40, originally sponsored by Representative John Conyers of Michigan and resubmitted by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. This bill, if passed, establishes a “. . . Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals. . .” and the commission’s task is to “. . . examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.” It further goes on to state that a goal is to identify and examine discriminatory institutional structures that contribute to lingering negative effects on African Americans living in present-day society.  Democratic contenders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris all support reparations in some form.

The push-back and against reparations comes from some predictable quarters: conservative Republican congresspersons, Blacks that feel they really can make it if they work harder (especially, work harder than white people), the Trump-type ultra-nationalist racists  (many of whom – not to put words in their mouths – might say, “I will not pay higher taxes to provide more handouts to niggers and Indians”), and even some middle-of-the-road whites who may have “liberal” or progressive tendencies that acknowledge the past and current wrongs experienced by African Americans but who may find that financial remuneration will cause too many stresses on America’s already-strained financial, economic, and cultural system (it may create and entitled class, imagine that). 

Then of course there is the ubiquitous argument that no one alive today either experienced, perpetuated, or benefited from slavery – that was 150 years ago – all victims and perpetrators are long since gone.  In this “thing of the past” crowd, I include Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnel  who proudly proclaimed that, on behalf of Blacks and for which I assume they should be grateful, and I paraphrase, America  “. . . fought a Civil War . . . passed landmark Civil Rights legislation . . .   elected an African-American President.”  McConnel forgot to mention Affirmative Action, a program that, for the longest, I thought would be the only thing slave descendants could even dream of getting.

In America, Native Americans and African Americans are, essentially, conquered, captured people and/or their descendants.  Most economic indicators show that these two ethnic groups typically live on the economic fringes of society.  Native Americans have been herded onto lands with limited economic potential while African Americans have been herded and herded themselves into dying cities or dying areas of cities.  For centuries both groups have tried to make a way forward in this country after having been stripped of their inborn cultures, languages, social and economic systems.  African Americans have fared the better of the two, mostly owing to their proximity to economic opportunities. 

I, therefore, ask what reparations will accomplish.  How far back must one go to get a real gauge of what has been done because I do not think that 1619, when slavery started in America, is quite far enough.  And what should African Americans receive? Take America up on its initial offer of forty acres and a mule or take its in-kind equivalent and adjust for inflation?  Perhaps another Affirmative Action-like program? I believe that reparationists have a lot of research and studying to do and if the conversation gets real tense and all the appropriate topics are covered, this next presidential election could easily carry the undertones of “Black people versus White people.”

3 thoughts on “Reparations are now a 2020 campaign issue

  • June 24, 2019 at 6:03 am
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    I can’t think of a more demeaning or race dividing issue than “reparations.”

    That people of color put themselves in a subservient view as to demand reparations for a crime from Caucasians that did not commit a crime is perhaps the dumbest thing ever presented on the political stage.

    The people advocating this are themselves the biggest racists today and should be pointed out and shunned. I pray that the good people of this city and country do just that.

    Reply
  • July 1, 2019 at 5:07 am
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    Start Talking Reparations Now!!!

    LBRC- Let’s Talk Reparations Minimums! These are “Not” All Inclusive but submitted to “Provoke More Thought” on and with respect to “Appropriate Repair and Compensation” for ADOS!!! ***The Current Estates, Wealth and values of 2019 ADOS exist and was Accrued in spite of “Egregious” Injustices Determined and Constructed to have them fail,  to include but not limited to Racism and “Codified Public Law and Policies” intended to accomplish just ‘Dat!l! Tulsa Oklahoma aka Black Wall Street, Black Bottom Detroit, Sunrise Louisiana and on and on, “Never Made Whole” to name but a small fraction! Lots of ADOS 2019 Wealth is tenuous at best due to Jim Crow remnants and Public Policies! Indigent Communities in 2019 sit atop “Waste Dumps” and “Radioactive Sites”, the harm here is still and remain nearly incalculable, how egregious is “Environmental Racism against ADOS? Unaddressed Issues are cumulative, unaddressed, mounting and ongoing!!!! 

    U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell said upon The Election of a Black President, Obama, “We’ll do everything in our power to see to it that he fails” (See exact Quote referring to Obama Administration 2008)! Likewise with Racism, speaking McDonnell, this sort of “Racist Intent” has been compounded over centuries, and it’s evil uniquely American Tentacles in terms of policies promulgated against ADOS and Ancestors in terms of Trillions in Dollars, in no way would “fully” compensate but would be partial, for “Intended and Untended” consequences of what can be described no less as “Evils”  From The Pit of Hell- Even speaking Spiritually, Economically, Socially, Psychologically and on!!!

    1. 1st Comprehend “Involuntary Servitude”, but not just ‘Dat, we’re talking- “A Peculiar American Institution of Slavery” (Self Confessing in Data, Text and Congresses but not always “Fully Described” With Respect How Egregious! Time to Address Compensation moving toward Efficacy, with Respect to Reparations)- “Peculiarly Brutal, Egregious including but not limited to The Rape, Murder, Irrational Imprisonment and Punishment unexplained in terms of civility being Capricious, Arbitrary and even being and creating as punishments to the fullest extent of the “Abilities of to Fullest extent of Evil Imaginations and Conjuring” which included aggrieved Negro Children and Negro Elderly, Gifted, Infirm, Average Beings and other Negroes along the entire “Normal Bell Curve” Spectrum and yada…”!!! Punishment was often Random, Self Serving as “Evil Entertainment” and even “Meritorious Manumissions” in Evil form, Peonage, all of the Aforementioned to include but not limited to those mentioned!!! 

    2. Now let’s talk Reparations “Excluding” Punitive Considerations (TBA, To Be Announced and Meticulously Considered Later in a Public Comment Period and Format)!

    a. 40 Acres and a Mule Never Happened/Gen. Sherman’s Field Order. What was The Value then of 40 Acres and a Mule’s Value Accrued over time into 2019, adjusting for inflation in terms of current Values? 

    b. Murder, Lynchings, Rape and The Illegal Seizures of Properties to include but not limited to Land, Trade Mark Confiscations, Personal Property and on…- Determine The “Correct” Amortizations and/or “Relevant Algorithms” yielding Efficacy with respect to Current Compensation Values! 2019 Courts do it! 

    3. Compensation to ADOS includes but is not limited to all of the Aforementioned! If “Compensation” was righted accordingly for ADOS, it in fact would have been “Their Estate”, how wealth is passed down in The Capitalistic Paradigm in The so- called American Democracy, then and in 2019! “The Peculiar Institution of American Slavery” and “All ‘Dat Followed” denied ADOS “Estates” in American, even following “Enslavement”! 

    “Let’s Print, Write, Publish, Declare and Make Claims Publicly moving closer to Efficacy” aka “Say it Now, Today or Forever Hold Your Peace”!!! Negroes know how to “Complain and Pontificate”!!! Give us Your input in Writing “Now”, literate or not- Hopefully Literate!!!

    Peace Out…

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  • August 8, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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    The opposing responses I am hearing reflect the general public’s lack of understanding about the real nature of reparations. The scope of reparations can go way beyond a simple pay off. It also involves a much deeper legal, political, and moral process for remedying the social, economic, mental, and physical damage caused by one human group against another. This is the reason why the United Nations Human Rights Council has already declared that the Descendants of Enslaved Africans in the United States of America are due reparations. Many of the people who are speaking out against reparations for the Descendants of Enslaved Africans are either misinformed about this topic or they are being paid to spread confusion. We need the public, especially the African American public, to be better educated about this very complicated issue before forming hard opinions or jumping to conclusions about it.

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