Reparations in Modern Day America

Black Lives Matter protests are still raging across the United States, and the world.  After the Death of George Floyd, everyone knew something had to be done against police brutality, against the core of racism in this country.  But it goes much further than that. 

All across the country, the murmur of reparations for Black Americans is growing. In conversation of people across racial lines, in county councils,  and different venues, people are planning various social programs involving reparations in some fashion. 

The history of reparation starts with the Civil Liberties act of 1988  American Indians, Japanese Americans, and Tuskegee Airmen are among the groups whom the American Government has  made reparations to.  When it comes to slavery, although there has been a apology in 2009 by the government, there has yet to be a plan for reparations. Until now. Quietly, North Carolina is the one of the first states to start the process of reparations for Black and Brown Americans. 

Reparations can look differently to people. It can be money directly to people, or it can be formulation of programs supporting communities. In Ashville, North Carolina, the measure passed by city council offers items like approving funding to promote home ownership, and business opportunities, it is more of an initiative. This is the initiative drafted by Ashville below

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WKialVISWzu72mhasyy9SslDbVGMSj5U/view

In Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor Jorge Elorza signed an executive order to explore the truth telling and reparations process.  

This is a good start, but to many it seems it is not nearly aggressive enough at a time when people need to see some real action. These “explorations” can lead to nothing. , or the talk can go on for months or years, in an attempt to appease people, rather than to make some clear and concise plans.

Some say that this whole thing really is not necessary, after all it was the african people themselves who  indirectly sold slaves to the americans in the triangular slave trade. The Europeans would sail a boat from London with goods and sail to Africa, trade the goods for the members from tribes with the Chief of the tribe, or slave traders, and then sail to America. This happened long ago, in history, the issues resolved long ago, it is wrong, why all these years later are monetary reparations appropriate?

The thirteen amendment states that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.  Has a statute of limitations run out on a mandatory monetary reparation? This amendment was ratified in 1789 and revised in 1992. 

According to Adrienne Davis, a Professor of Law at American University, the statute of limitations has run out on every cause of action , however when it comes to continuous human rights, the limitations may be tolled.  A significant effect of racism is its dissociation of blacks from markets and economics. Part of the reason so many Americans are skeptical of awarding reparations is the absence of a compelling discourse of black economic personality and desert of wealth. She goes on to say that Reparations are recognition of severe economic harm and developing a cause of action will yield several positive results. 

The mandating of how to go about reparations is a complex one, and one that should be hand tailored to fit each community. Engaging community members to work with leaders would be ideal in setting the tone for the future of reparations, for every community will probably look a little different in how they wish to handle things. This is not  cookie -cutter by any means. It needs to be discussed openly and honestly, with research and evidence guiding the path. “Reparations are more than payment,  they are deeply philosophical recognition of humanity and worth of one wronged .” Adrienne Davis.

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