"If you are the son of a man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died. The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in a position of economic strength...is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay...We were sold from plantation to plantation like you sell a horse, or a cow, or a chicken, or a bushel of wheat...All that money...is what gives the present generation of American whites the ability to walk around the earth with their chest out...like they have some kind of economic ingenuity. Your father isn't here to pay. My father isn't here to collect. But I'm here to collect and you're here to pay." - Malcolm X
It cannot be denied that American slavery was a horrendous crime and a moral abomination. This crime had countless victims and their descendants still experience adverse effects today, many generations later. It is common knowledge that American society subscribes to an ideal of corrective justice that recognizes a legal duty compelling wrongdoers to remedy wrongfully-caused losses and to surrender wrongfully-obtained gains. Does this require the payment of reparations by the federal government to African Americans? Are reparations justified?
My answer to both questions is no -- and not just because of uncertainty about who should receive the payment, although as we shall see this poses a serious practical problem. Here are just a few of the numerous implementation problems that a reparations law would need to solve.
First, how would it define the beneficiary class? Would it include all blacks in the U.S. or only those descended from slaves? If the former, what about [recent, post-slavery] immigrant blacks and how would "black" be defin...
... middle of paper ...
...? Should we view their whiteness as an emblem of privilege sufficient to redeem their long suffering without further recompense?
The movement for black reparations, however well-intended, is misguided. Indeed, it is perverse in its propensity to discredit the very ideal of corrective justice that it invokes, to aggravate bitterness rather than assuage it, and to make reconciliation more difficult.
Our obligation now is to engage with and learn from the past, and then to move forward by turning the page. As we turn it, we must not forget that we are leaving behind an endless catalog of crimes, tears, and scars of the lash, of prejudice, and of poverty. We must leave this human misery and injustice behind, but not out of mind or conscience. We already have a long agenda to challenge our moral faculties and remedial imaginations as we assess our responsibilities to one another both now and in the future."
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Reparations Although the talk of reparations of slavery has been in discussion for over a hundred years, it is beginning to heat up again. Within these discussions, the issue of the form of reparations has been evaluated and money has been an option several times. However, reparations in the form of money should not be obtained for several reasons. Firstly, it is not a solution to the problem, secondly monetary reparations have the ability to worsen discrimination, thirdly, who gets paid, and how is it regulated, and lastly, the money can be misused.... [tags: American Civil War, Slavery, Money]
1153 words (3.3 pages)
- Ta-Nehisi Coates article titled The Case for Reparations is a lengthy article about different issues that faced the black community from the past to the present and the struggle to acquire reparations for them. Coates brought issues back to light after they were bury by society. He mention things that I was aware of and things I had no idea happened. It was an enlighten piece that should be recognized for its accomplishments in discussing the issues of the past that still occur in the present. Coates starts his article with a verse from the book of Deuteronomy.... [tags: Black people, Slavery, Debt bondage]
1274 words (3.6 pages)
America Should Pay Reparations For Black Communities That Have Suffered Most From Institutionalized Racism
- In Favor of Reparations In this paper I will argue that America should pay reparations to black communities that have suffered most from institutionalized racism. My view is not that reparations should be paid via checks mailed by the federal government, of an undeterminable sum, to families that are most eligible, but rather, through changes in policy. These policies would tackle racial inequality at it most obvious sources, the wage gap, the mistreatment of black Americans by our criminal justice system, quality of education, and the disparity in housing between black and white Americans.... [tags: African American, Race, Racial segregation, Racism]
1085 words (3.1 pages)
- Reparations for Slavery - Just Another Way to Waste Taxes. Why should American taxpayers, who never owned slaves, pay for the sins of their ancestors. What about all the Americans whose ancestors arrived here long after slavery ended. How would the economy be affected by reparations payments. How do you put a price tag on 2 1/2 centuries of legalized inhumanity. In what form would reparations be paid. How would you establish who's a descendant. It all still comes down to one basic question, Should the descendents of slaves’ masters have to pay for their ancestors’ direct involvement and economic compensations from the institution of slavery in America.... [tags: Reparations for Slavery and Discrimination]
635 words (1.8 pages)
- Reparations For 246 consecutive years, blacks have been kidnapped, whipped to death, mutilated, and raped. From 1619 to 1865, these generations of slave families were living as property rather than human beings. History would agree that the crimes done against these set of selected people do not compare to those of other races. Many people don’t know that there were sex slave farms that practiced a process known as “buck breaking”. “Buck breaking” was when a slave master would bind and whip his male slave for defiance.... [tags: Slavery, Black people, Racism]
1065 words (3 pages)
- It is an undeniable fact that many groups in the world are of a disadvantaged nature. Over the course of history, unfairness has spread far and wide in the forms of slavery, discrimination, war, and conquest. Unfortunately, rectifying these issues in a modern age is no easy task. Although in present day American society we have abolished slavery, given all races and genders the opportunity to vote, and eliminated restrictions on who can receive an education, it is extremely difficult for some to generationally climb out of the pit of injustice.... [tags: discrimination, positive discrimination]
1491 words (4.3 pages)
- In response to the quote, "I support reparations for slavery in the United States" I strongly oppose this statement. However, I do believe that this debate is a very sensitive subject and is not something I thought I would be encountered with. After, intensely analyzing these articles I have come to my conclusion about this topic. When reading David Horowitz 's report, "Ten reasons why reparations for blacks is a bad idea for blacks and racist, too!" I found myself agreeing with just about everything he stood for.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]
1022 words (2.9 pages)
- In American’s past time there has been lots of racial diversity. African Americans were used as slaves and discriminated by white people in schools, and places of living. Lately there has been a lot of talk about reparations. The definition of reparations is, making of amends for a wrong someone has done, either by paying money or helping the wronged. The article, “A Case for Reparation” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Coates talksis about the idea of reparations and what it could mean for African Americans living in America.... [tags: Race, Racism, African American, Black people]
1300 words (3.7 pages)
- “Slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism have caused inestimable damage to billions of people throughout the world. They have also formed the basis for the accumulation of immense wealth in the hands of a small elite… The slave trade involved the brutal relocation of tens of millions of people in which families, communities and societies were destroyed and in which millions lost their lives in the most inhumane conditions. At the same time, slavery was a fundamental element of the strengthening of mercantile trade and the rapid accumulation of capital that formed the basis for the emergence of the capitalist system as we know it today.... [tags: Slavery Essays]
4382 words (12.5 pages)
- Nobody questions the fact that slavery has been the cause of pain for many people and families. What is in question is how to mend this pain. Have the ancestors of American slaves experienced troubles directly resulting from the actions of slavery that deserve reparations. Are the ancestors of slave owners experiencing prosperity that should be redistributed. Although slavery has been illegal in America for 143 years, the controversy over slavery reparations continue to cause controversy to this day.... [tags: Slavery Essays]
1605 words (4.6 pages)