Reparations Is A Cop Out Solution That Solves Nothing

Reparations Is A Cop Out Solution That Solves Nothing

It’s an election year, and 937 people have decided to take a chance at running for office, thus we are being bombarded with every single candidate throwing out their promises to take on some giant issue in America, so we all feel good and vote, knowing damn well they ain’t never going to do it. Universal income, wiping out student loans and now, reparations have been thrown into the ring.

New York Times best selling author Marianne Williamson has thrown her hat in the ring for the 2020 election. The issue she has brought to the table, is reparations and repentance. You can read her full take on the issue on her website, but here is a little snippet of her ideas.

Our current racial dramas have their roots hundreds of years ago, and nothing less than pulling out those roots will heal the situation today. America needs to reconcile with our racial history — seeking genuine atonement and making meaningful amends. Until such time, tortured race relations will continue to plague us with more and more tragic results.

It’s interesting that we even use the phrase “race relations,” given how little we register that this is even about a relationship. The relationship between blacks and whites as groups in America is psychologically and emotionally dysfunctional, to say the least, and until this is dealt with on the level of the cause and not just effects, we will continue to play out over and over again the cycle of violence at its core.

-Marianne Williamson, Race & Repentance In America


Now, black folks have been having this conversation about reparations since slavery “ended”, but now, because of this election year, white people are being forced to talk about publically it too. While I’m glad this conversation is being had on a larger scale. I have a lot of issues with the idea of reparations for black people and with this particular plan (that isn’t really a plan), for 3 main reasons.

How Do You Decide Who Qualifies?

I know America still wants to pretend all black people are the same, but we aren’t. The diaspora is LARGE and incredibly diverse. How are we supposed to determine which black people in America are to receive these reparations? Do immigrants qualify? Do mixed black people qualify? What if you’re only 1/4 black or 1/8 black? Do you still qualify? Do we just give it to all black people in america even if they are not descendants of slaves? Is it one lump sum? How about dark skin people who've suffered more? Is it a sliding scale based on shade? What if you are a descendant of slaves but can’t prove it with paperwork because white people have refused to let us keep our historical documents? Our history is largely oral. How does work? What if you’re a descendant of both a slave and a slave owner?

How can you create a truly just system of handing out reparations to an entire race of people? It’s a slippery slope that I am not interested in exploring. You’re either going to have to give it to everybody or nobody.

Why Does This Conversation Not Include Other People of Color?

In this proposal from Williamson, she focuses on race issues between black and white people, which is fine, but America has blatantly destroy and slaughtered other races besides just black people. What reparations are we giving to those families at the border white america keeps seperating? Hell or all the legal mexicans who got deported because white people decided to move the border? How about native americans whose entire country we just took over while murdering all their people? Asian americans that got thrown in concentration camps? What is going to happen about that? You can’t base your whole platform on righting the wrongs America has caused against other races and then only acknowledge one race that was wronged. America has fucked over a lot of minorities and they all deserve to be cut in on this conversation.

Ok…And Then What?

This is my biggest issue with the reparations conversation. Ok, say all black people in America get a big ol’e check for however many thousands of dollars because…slavery. Great...now what? Was racism magically solved and I can go about living my life as a black woman in America without being murdered by a white man or a police officer? Will our kids stop being kicked out of school for having kinky hair? We will stop being murdered in our own homes because “whoops my bad”? Will all the wrongly convicted black people be let out of prison? Will y’all finally go get Flint some fucking clean water? No, literally nothing will happen. We will have a little bit of money to pay Sallie Mae back for that degree we can’t use because of racism.

Reparations mean nothing unless the core white supremacist system that this country runs on, is demolished. If I stab you, then hand you a $100 bill, is that going to stop you from bleeding? Is it going to stop the pain? No, you still got stabbed, you’re still bleeding, you just got a temporary aid to go towards your outrageously high medical bill that is about to come. That is why we talk so much about the definition of racism being more than just “I’m mean because of your skin”. This country’s race problem runs so deep that it cannot be solved by writing a couple of checks. This can’t be solved with money. This can only be solved by dismantling the system completely and starting over with laws and a constitution that values equity.

So while yes, a big check sounds nice, it isn’t going to do anything in the long run. I think this conversation is a way for white america to feel like they’re doing something without actually having to change and do work. The best form of a reparation to me is to dismantle white supremacy in america. Get rid of it so that I, and the next generation on black people to come after me, don’t need to live in fear 24/7 because there are no consequences for white people being racist.


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