Reparations make a fine Apology

Making the latest rounds of scuttlebutt is the reboot of the epic Roots saga on the history channel. With the final few months of Obama’s presidency winding down, an unprecedented era is ending. We will not see another black United States president in a very long time. So it seems appropriate to go back to the discussion of Blacks in America, as Le Var Burton has attempted to do, and the one inescapable point of conversation must always be reparations to the victims of the institution of American Slavery.

The arguments for and against are complex and inflammatory. I am steadfastly in favor of Reparations, and I think there are two reasons: reparations would become a major mending of racial fences, as well as a powerful boost to the US economy.

Material compensation has been the standard to indicate regret and accountability in regards to social injustice. President Reagan’s Civil Liberties Act authorized payments to Japanese victims of World War II prejudice and internment at an amount of twenty-thousand per person. Indian tribes have been getting such considerations for decades. Money talks.

The resounding social impact that would result from a sitting white President’s (Hilary?) public apology for the United States slave trade, and the acknowledgement that a lot of America’s wealth was built upon the back of such an institution, would be monumental. If I break your window, the window is broken. Regardless, the money must be found to fix the window. When I apologize for breaking the window, hopefully you take my words at face value. If I then offer material compensation for the window, I have now embedded a personal value — my own — to the deed itself. The act of breaking the window has now been owned by me because I have sacrificed something of value — reparations — along with the verbal apology. Black leaders around the country would speak out and praise the USA for this gesture, and many old wounds would begin to heal.

Another benefit of pursing the route of Reparations, admittedly less philanthropic, is that an influx of capital like that would provide a major stimulus to the economy.

Lets keep it real. Blacks in the US would spend a lot of that money on material things. Vacations. Cars. Real estate, etc. Those purchases equal more business using more bank credit to keep inventory levels replenished. More bank credit means more money gets created and completion thrives. With that kind of buying power ($55,000,000,000 by some estimates) blacks would help shape innovation and product design. We could see an entire American generation of all citizens experience extenuated prosperity.

The pithy conversation on whether blacks would save money or blow it all is moot. Not only is reparations the right thing to do, it would sustain and boost our economy. Where’s Cuba when you need him? Show me the money.

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