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African American Reparations: Let’s Get The Ball Rolling

  • Maureen Wilson

Slavery is a horrific, irremovable stain in the US history, but over time, there have been a disagreement by Americans on how to handle its legacy.

While reparations for African Americans are in the news again, a number of candidates for Democratic Presidential nomination are however, endorsing the idea in various ways.

Although, addressing the wrongs done to African Americans throughout history is a daunting task, but as we have learned from the South Africans, reparations can work but first we need to start telling the truth about racism and slavery.

White Americans seem contented with sweeping the ugly truth under the rug about slavery and racism which are actually still alive and kicking.

The Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during World War II waited 30 years before they were compensated for the wrongdoings done to them.

An agreement was signed in September 1952 and West Germany paid Israel a sum of 3 Billion marks over the next fourteen years. 450 million marks were paid to the World Jewish Congress.

The payments were made to the State of Israel as the heir to those victims who had no surviving family. After World War II The U.S. supported reparations as a form of restorative justice.

In 2016, the US Department of State helped Holocaust in the demands for reparations from Germany and Austria.

Yet, when it comes to reparations for slavery, the debates go on and on at the fringe of political discourse, and so the majority of White Americans are not in favor of it.

However, the House Committee has created a commission “study reparations for African Americans.”

Meanwhile ignorance is alive and kicking in the United States. Wealth inequality has not improved in the past fifty years.

According to the New York Times, there are over one thousand hate active groups in the United States, and there are myriad of problems that are still rampant.

Reparations are necessary to remedy inherited and current inequalities, hence we are in need of urgent healing.

Nonetheless, there’s no equation for reparations, but various academics, lawyers, activists and other stakeholders have guessed based on formulations on the total value of slave labor to the US economy over about 250 years that the payments would fall anywhere between $17 billion and $5 trillion.

It’s unclear who or what would pay for reparations, but some have suggested that federal and state governments, private companies and wealthy families who owned slaves could be made to pay, since all supported and benefited from slavery.

Reparations could however, take on different forms too. They could be delivered as land or through special social programs instead of direct payment, and some politicians have discussed developing tax credits for low-income families and “baby bonds” to pay for children’s college tuition, but neither of those measures would be exclusive to black families.

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