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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Default The Atlantic's 'ingenious and powerful' case for reparations

    The Case for Reparations



    Ta-Nehisi Coates has delivered a 15,000 word piece to the Atlantic, put online last night, that Slate calls "ingenious and powerful."

    Most of my lefty friends on Facebook and Twitter have posted the article and are renewing the reparations argument. It's quite a read, but here is the link:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/...ations/361631/

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    It is quite the read.

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    It's disgraceful that it happened.

    Reparations will never, ever be paid.

    Get over it.

    Move on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    It's disgraceful that it happened.

    Reparations will never, ever be paid.

    Get over it.

    Move on.
    This. If anyone should pay it should be the Africans that sold their people.
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    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    It was a very good read. I disagreed with many of its contentions, but I enjoy reading alternative views as it helps me round out my own.

    To put it simply: you can't stack all of the worst injustices over a number of generations and bring them to a sum to be handed out. Despite the high-minded intentions, it's a simple minded solution. Blacks may be at the head of the line when it comes to people or groups harmed by the growth of our country, and as such would still be part of a long line of people with hands held out seeking recompense. However, you don't see a line. You see one group--and a minority of that group, at that--reasoning that all must pay for their ancestors' mistreatment.

    One paragraph really stood out to me:

    Won’t reparations divide us? Not any more than we are already divided. The wealth gap merely puts a number on something we feel but cannot say—that American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt.
    This, essentially, is the entire argument. It's "you didn't build that" and "the rich got their money off the backs of the poor" all rolled into a nice, tasty progressive/liberal burrito. But the fact of the matter is, the same racism they decry is being implemented in this argument. All rich people are evil, all whites are guilty of racism, all blacks are victims deserving of justice (read: money), etc. ...or so the thinking goes.

    The article, while a thought-provoking piece on racial injustice, tries to paint every modern problem facing black america as a symptom of past racial prejudice: poverty is due to contract mortgages by predatory lenders, nice neighborhoods are the result of racist homeowners associations, incarceration rates are due to a racist justice system, and that poor employment numbers are due to racist hiring managers. Of course this is a chronic oversimplification--a common occurrence with the reparations crowd--with extremely complicated situations that are basically a web of poverty. Black teenagers are more likely to be incarcerated because they live in poor neighborhoods, they live in poor neighborhoods because they can't get a good job, they can't get a good job because they have a record and poor education, they can't get a good education because the school they are assigned to is terrible and filled with kids from families that don't care, and those families don't care because their bread winner isn't around or is incarcerated.

    It's a vicious cycle of poverty that won't be helped by simply throwing money at the problem. That's something we've learned with programs for all races. Punitive payments may make you feel like justice has been served in some way for your ancestors' treatment, but it won't really better the situation, and in the process will just stoke the fires of racism all over again.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

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    excellent post bsbll4. I wish there was a way we could go back in time to undo some of the sins of the past. The treatment many groups receive (blacks and natives in particular) was wrong on so many levels. But handing their great grand children a bag of money I think does more harm than good. I think the best thing we can do is ensure it never happens again.

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    Good Enough pickslide's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 01:09 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    It was a very good read. I disagreed with many of its contentions, but I enjoy reading alternative views as it helps me round out my own.

    To put it simply: you can't stack all of the worst injustices over a number of generations and bring them to a sum to be handed out. Despite the high-minded intentions, it's a simple minded solution. Blacks may be at the head of the line when it comes to people or groups harmed by the growth of our country, and as such would still be part of a long line of people with hands held out seeking recompense. However, you don't see a line. You see one group--and a minority of that group, at that--reasoning that all must pay for their ancestors' mistreatment.

    One paragraph really stood out to me:



    This, essentially, is the entire argument. It's "you didn't build that" and "the rich got their money off the backs of the poor" all rolled into a nice, tasty progressive/liberal burrito. But the fact of the matter is, the same racism they decry is being implemented in this argument. All rich people are evil, all whites are guilty of racism, all blacks are victims deserving of justice (read: money), etc. ...or so the thinking goes.

    The article, while a thought-provoking piece on racial injustice, tries to paint every modern problem facing black america as a symptom of past racial prejudice: poverty is due to contract mortgages by predatory lenders, nice neighborhoods are the result of racist homeowners associations, incarceration rates are due to a racist justice system, and that poor employment numbers are due to racist hiring managers. Of course this is a chronic oversimplification--a common occurrence with the reparations crowd--with extremely complicated situations that are basically a web of poverty. Black teenagers are more likely to be incarcerated because they live in poor neighborhoods, they live in poor neighborhoods because they can't get a good job, they can't get a good job because they have a record and poor education, they can't get a good education because the school they are assigned to is terrible and filled with kids from families that don't care, and those families don't care because their bread winner isn't around or is incarcerated.

    It's a vicious cycle of poverty that won't be helped by simply throwing money at the problem. That's something we've learned with programs for all races. Punitive payments may make you feel like justice has been served in some way for your ancestors' treatment, but it won't really better the situation, and in the process will just stoke the fires of racism all over again.
    Indeed. To say nothing of what we would owe American Indians if we get this ball rolling. And what the world would owe the Jews.

    Also, recent geological finds suggest my north Georgia heritage means I could be Mayan. So I want my cut from the Spanish for all that murder and small pox...

    TK

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    I'm not reading it, but did she at least discuss WHERE the money for reparations is to come from?

    We're already bankrupt as a nation, so unless they make some kind of magic unicorn that shits Benjamin's, they need to get in line behind the Chinese and everyone else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I'm not reading it, but did she at least discuss WHERE the money for reparations is to come from?

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    This is as close as it gets to details on how this would work.

    John Conyers’s HR 40 is the vehicle for that hearing. No one can know what would come out of such a debate. 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.
    Some on the left really like to make the case for reparations. Here's the problem, none of them want to open their own wallets. If they did they'd quickly change their mind when they realized that their "share" would personally bankkrupt them all. And if you ever paid a nickel of reparations, what happens when the Native groups make a better case and demand, I don't know, a percentage of America's total worth.

    The truth is no amount of money can undo what was done. And no amount of money should ever be paid. Because you'd basically be opening yourself up to decades of other groups demanding the same.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    It was a very good read. I disagreed with many of its contentions, but I enjoy reading alternative views as it helps me round out my own.

    To put it simply: you can't stack all of the worst injustices over a number of generations and bring them to a sum to be handed out. Despite the high-minded intentions, it's a simple minded solution. Blacks may be at the head of the line when it comes to people or groups harmed by the growth of our country, and as such would still be part of a long line of people with hands held out seeking recompense. However, you don't see a line. You see one group--and a minority of that group, at that--reasoning that all must pay for their ancestors' mistreatment.

    One paragraph really stood out to me:



    This, essentially, is the entire argument. It's "you didn't build that" and "the rich got their money off the backs of the poor" all rolled into a nice, tasty progressive/liberal burrito. But the fact of the matter is, the same racism they decry is being implemented in this argument. All rich people are evil, all whites are guilty of racism, all blacks are victims deserving of justice (read: money), etc. ...or so the thinking goes.

    The article, while a thought-provoking piece on racial injustice, tries to paint every modern problem facing black america as a symptom of past racial prejudice: poverty is due to contract mortgages by predatory lenders, nice neighborhoods are the result of racist homeowners associations, incarceration rates are due to a racist justice system, and that poor employment numbers are due to racist hiring managers. Of course this is a chronic oversimplification--a common occurrence with the reparations crowd--with extremely complicated situations that are basically a web of poverty. Black teenagers are more likely to be incarcerated because they live in poor neighborhoods, they live in poor neighborhoods because they can't get a good job, they can't get a good job because they have a record and poor education, they can't get a good education because the school they are assigned to is terrible and filled with kids from families that don't care, and those families don't care because their bread winner isn't around or is incarcerated.

    It's a vicious cycle of poverty that won't be helped by simply throwing money at the problem. That's something we've learned with programs for all races. Punitive payments may make you feel like justice has been served in some way for your ancestors' treatment, but it won't really better the situation, and in the process will just stoke the fires of racism all over again.
    I find it interesting that two forms of reparations, though not specifically for the Black community, but the poor whom are disproportionately Black, have been rejected by the party Blacks block vote for--the negative income tax and school vouchers are disliked by Democrats. Literally, we could be handing checks to people instead of these huge programs like welfare and food stamps and we could be letting families choose where they go to school instead of being forced to go to terrible inner-city schools, yet these are flat-out rejected on their face.

    I read this piece and knew about most of what this guy was talking about because I had a pretty solid education as an undergrad in American racism (who knew Cal State San Bernardino had such a great program?). But I come to a completely different conclusion than this guy, because most of it was steered by government, which forced people to act in a certain way. Not to say that a lot of people didn't agree, but the point of making racism law is that you're afraid that if you don't force people to do it, they won't do it.

    So my solution, unlike the author, wouldn't be to use the government to force people to take money out of their pockets and hand it over to other people. I mean, that's one of his main points, that American wealth was stolen from the Blacks through this oppression. Well, the solution isn't to reverse the playbook, even if its form doesn't seem to be the same, it is still a form of slavery, even if a superficially palatable one. It's still making one man serve the purposes of another.

    Anyway, I think there are things that this article ignores. When the War on Poverty began and assistance for single mothers was implemented, a single mother could bring in more income from assistance than a father working for minimum wage could. That's important because Blacks are disproportionately poor for many of the reasons explained in the article, they disproportionately go to very bad schools (have a disproportionate amount of dropouts), and enter the workforce with disproportionately low skills. So quite often a young Black man is barely qualified for a minimum wage job, if that. If you look at the minimum wage and Black youth unemployment, they rise together. In 1954, the minimum wage was $1 and Black unemployment 16-24 was 13%. Today, the unemployment rate for Blacks 16-19 is 34.5% and for 20-24 year olds is 21.9%. For Whites, that's 18.3% and 10.6%, respectively.

    A lucrative alternative that takes no skills is to run drugs and guns (gangs), which are controlled by the underground market due to our nation's drug policy.

    So you have a situation where there was a government incentive as far as income to be a single mother. You have a situation where kids are forced to go to terrible schools. You have a situation where those kids are entering the workforce with skills much lower than, say, the typical White student, and may not be worth what a company is forced to pay them. And due to a government's drug policy, there is a really easy alternative in the inner city.

    But even the kids that don't want to turn into a direction of crime, there are lots of obstacles to going into business for oneself. Companies like Uber are challenging this, but driving people is a simple business to get into--except in major cities where the number of cabs are limited. If you want to open an African-American hair styling place, one has to be licensed, forced to take expensive classes in things that will not ever be used in the store. There are all kinds of things that require a license, and they are really good at keeping outsiders out--often Blacks who just want to start their own business. This goes back to unions specifically targeting Black workers during the Jim Crow era. Unions were even open at the time that if certain licensing requirement laws were successful, it will minimize the amount of Blacks in the workplace. Union racism locked out Black workers for a few generations.

    Just like many other laws (drugs, guns, campaign finance), licensing has roots in racism.

    So there is more to it than just what this guy wrote. It's just that some of it is politically supported by the Black community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I'm not reading it, but did she at least discuss WHERE the money for reparations is to come from?

    We're already bankrupt as a nation, so unless they make some kind of magic unicorn that shits Benjamin's, they need to get in line behind the Chinese and everyone else.
    White people are rich. They can front it

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    I agree to some of the points, but how can immigrants still come to this country with NOTHING, and make something out of themselves, yet we are just supposed to hand over the nations wealth to a certain class because they were miss-treated by a small group of people.

    Hate to break it to people, but very few white people ever owned slaves. There is this notion that every white man had a slave in his back yard. Very few white people had slaves, it is just that the ones that did had LOTS of them.

    I have a guy in my office that grew up in Pakistan under a fucking bridge, and somehow he made it here and made a life for himself.

    The average black person in this country is born with much more than this man, and yet here he is in this country doing great.

    I am not saying they didn't get the shaft, BUT, they need to look at their own culture too. They have somehow developed a culture that in general does not foster the family unit or education as important values.

    Compare the black community to the Jewish community. Both have been incredibly oppressed, yet the Jewish people have family and education as a core of their culture. I don't feel that the black community does in this country, and it is to their detriment.

    They hold this guy in high regard:



    But not this one, and that has to change.




    I know, I know...I am a racist for saying such truths.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    Hate to break it to people, but very few white people ever owned slaves. There is this notion that every white man had a slave in his back yard. Very few white people had slaves, it is just that the ones that did had LOTS of them.
    Yes, and another thing the race hustlers don't like to discuss is that the first "slave" owner in America was a black man. His court case opened the door for permanent slavery in America.

    Prior to 1655 there were no legal slaves in the colonies, only indentured servants. All masters were required to free their servants after their time was up. Seven years was the limit that an indentured servant could be held. Upon their release they were granted 50 acres of land. This included any Negro purchased from slave traders. Negros were also granted 50 acres upon their release.

    Anthony Johnson was a Negro from modern-day Angola. He was brought to the US to work on a tobacco farm in 1619. In 1622 he was almost killed when Powhatan Indians attacked the farm. 52 out of 57 people on the farm perished in the attack. He married a female black servant while working on the farm.

    When Anthony was released he was legally recognized as a “free Negro” and ran a successful farm. In 1651 he held 250 acres and five black indentured servants. In 1654, it was time for Anthony to release John Casor, a black indentured servant. Instead Anthony told Casor he was extending his time. Casor left and became employed by the free white man Robert Parker.

    Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654. In 1655, the court ruled that Anthony Johnson could hold John Casor indefinitely. The court gave judicial sanction for blacks to own slave of their own race. Thus Casor became the first permanent slave and Johnson the first slave owner.

    Whites still could not legally hold a black servant as an indefinite slave until 1670. In that year, the colonial assembly passed legislation permitting free whites, blacks, and Indians the right to own blacks as slaves.

    By 1699, the number of free blacks prompted fears of a “Negro insurrection.” Virginia Colonial ordered the repatriation of freed blacks back to Africa. Many blacks sold themselves to white masters so they would not have to go to Africa. This was the first effort to gently repatriate free blacks back to Africa. The modern nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia both originated as colonies of repatriated former black slaves.

    However, black slave owners continued to thrive in the United States.

    By 1830 there were 3,775 black families living in the South who owned black slaves. By 1860 there were about 3,000 slaves owned by black households in the city of New Orleans alone.





    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony...%28colonist%29

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Casor
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    That was certainly an interesting read. I think that is the best case that can be made for reparations -- that is, that it was to a large degree government sanctioned, supported and enforced. And certainly it detailed a disgraceful history. However, it's also mostly totally pointless except as a history lesson as there is no possibility of it ever happening.

    About 10 years ago, I was renting a video and when I went to check out learned that I was getting that particular DVD for free. Turns out I was a member of a class action suit and that was my damage award. Even if reparations were somehow approved, I can't see where people would agree to pay any more than monetary equivalent of that DVD. So, once again we'd be essentially talking about a totally symbolic rather than practical victory.

    I remember in the wake of President Obama's victory reading an article where the journalist went to rural black very-poor Mississippi and talked to people about what they believed would happen. The gist was that they expected a marked improvement in their lot, and would despair if it did not. I have not read a follow-up, but I'd hazard a guess that not much had changed. The sad part of the article was the overwhelming passiveness of the people interviewed -- they essentially viewed themselves as being swept along by the societal tides with no prospect that an individual could fight it. It's rather like a story I read when Chicago tore down it's housing projects -- I read a woman complaining that she was suspicious that public housing would not be available for her daughter (then a young child).

    Collective action, though effective in the Civil Rights movement, is not a way to pull people out of poverty-- if it is done, it is done at the individual level. A continued focus on such action, especially something as pie-in-the-sky as reparations, does no one any good and serves as a diversion only.

 

 

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