While a case can be made for reparations for slavery, I believe that it would be difficult to trace responsibility and the financial/damages debt.
In contrast, after reflecting on The Color of Law, I am confident that a much stronger case can be made for liability due to federally-mandated segregational policy. The time of the crime is closer, there’s much more documentation, and you can find many, many people willing to speak on their losses – living people, and the dead who left records and testimonies to their children.
With slavery, the victims are largely mute, and all are dead. But with segregation, you have plenty of testimony, and plenty of them are alive. Moreover, you can actually and fairly easily trace the benefits white people got (with cheap housing, good federal programs, more higher education), while documenting the oppression black people faced (higher taxes, cut off from the best opportunities, no helping hand with education).
Moreover, one does not preclude the other. Black American can both get compensation for damages inflicted by segregation, and continue to pursue compensation for slavery as well.
We all know that the White American Christian conservative churches – if they chose – could give strong assistance to Blacks Christians (and, secondarily, Black unbelievers. “Care for your own first.”) And we can be confident that this would smash the Democratic hold on the Black electorate. (See: What Democrats Would Really Hate.)
We can also be confident that White American Christians will not do this, because “they are not our people“.
“Blood first. God second… well, maybe third, after the job. Ummm… fourth, after the nation.”
As I know that 1) God exists 2) God acts 3) He hates those who cause His name to be blasphemed, I am confident that there will be a series of curses to follow, placed squarely on the shoulders of White American Christians.
It’s not even the sin, repulsive as it is.
It’s the utter lack of repentance.
Now, if an aggressive and creative Republican wanted to, it would be quite easy to paint segregation as an initiate of Nation-wide Sophisticated Progressive Democratic Darwinians Racists (because it was), and himself as the man who will finally provide justice to Black America.
Planned and implemented by all levels of American government, residential racial segregation impoverishes and disempowers African Americans by confining them to ghettos and blocking them out of homeownership. And this segregation continues well into the 21st century.Jennings, Rohan. “The Color of Law Plot Summary.” LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 27 Jan 2020. Web. 27 Jul 2020. Link here.
(A truly ruthless Republican would insist that every federal department pay for segregation-inflicted costs out of its own budget, with the damage assessed by Black Americans with access to the records.
And regarding all those scientist and professors who justified the discriminatory government policies? The men themselves are long dead: but the Darwinian universities they were affiliated with, and gained legitimacy from, can help pay for the theft, pain, and oppression that they backed to the full, right to the 1960s.
I can hear the
screams wails from here…)
[Correction: I had to change the exact word, as “screams” sometimes imply torture, which is always wrong when men do it, be he the President, a Soldier, or a Policeman.
Only God has the right to torture His enemies.]
Some of us remember how discriminatory lending destroyed the wealth of Black America – again – under the beloved Obama Administration.
Banks like Wells Fargo steered blacks and other minorities into the worst subprime loans, giving them less favorable terms than whites and foreclosing on countless homes.The Crisis in Black Homeownership, by Jamelle Bouie
An aggressive Republican could make a good deal of hay out of this… IF he had a better program than anything the Democrats could offer.
Some cash on the barrel would be good, especially to the older Black Americans (and definitely those who survived segregation!) But what the younger set need is opportunity. However, I am fairly certain that the government will be basically bankrupt by the 2030 mark.
This isn’t going to happen. Not even a million is going to happen.
I was considering an actual program to build (provide restitution for damages) for Black America would be closely based on 30s-50’s government programs used to build up White America, as detailed in The Color of Law. Not welfare payments that reward broken families, but less welfare, for united families, sent to the main wage earner.
But even this isn’t going to happen. The United States of 2020 is far more aged and exhausted than the United States of 1940. Sure, Sure, Black America can push for the money in hand: they are lawfully owed it. But you are not going to get blood out of a turnip.
Much of the actual work will have to be on the face-to-face level. But a great deal of harm was inflicted – not by White Americans…
(and you’ll need to fix liability for a specific crime on a specific White American)
…but by a culprit with a name and a location: The Federal Government of the United States of America.
A particular criminal, who can pay specific restitution to a specific (and large!) group of victims.
Actual justice. Victim’s Rights, you might say.
But compensation need not be only money sent from the government coffers, justified as they may well be. I’m more thinking of not only tax-free status (federal and state) for Black Americans, all of their property, and all of their businesses, but also regulatory-free status for black-owned businesses and associations.
(Not true court immunity – if they harm someone, they still must pay – but liberty from the regulatory state.)
This would be quite an encouragement for entrepreneurial Black Americans. Call it compensation for the crippling effects of the welfare state, but also for the destruction (and lynching) of numerous successful Black Americans, their businesses, their communities, and (last but not least) the torching and massacres involved with the destruction of Black Wall Street.
Free homeschooling for all Black Americans, using any curricula of their choice (from hard core Christian to hardcore Black Nationalist), also must be on the table.
So Black Americans will finally become where they should have been, really from ~1680, but at least from 1865.
A free people. Finally.