Let's Talk Reparations for Black Americans today ...
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Let's Talk Reparations for Black Americans today ...

Considering the upcoming 2020 Presidential election, looming in all of our minds, it is especially important for us to understand where all of remaining Democratic candidates stand on installing reparations in America. I'm here to unravel that for you.

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Let's Talk Reparations for Black Americans today ...

Some Historical Context behind the Ongoing Call for Reparations in America:

Historical justification for reparations include slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, black mass incarceration, police brutality, "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson, rise of the KKK, voting poll taxes and accessibility, violence, terrorism, intimidation, white flight, subsidized loans, exclusion from social security, subprime mortgages, and reconstruction failures. Reparations are a set of policies that work towards challenging and dismantling the systemic economic disparities across black and white neighborhoods.

In 1934, Congress established the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA guaranteed private mortgages, diminishing interest rates and amount of down-payment required to buy homes. However, the FHA consciously excluded black families looking to buy homes from reaping these benefits. Adopted by FHA, this system of maps rates property values of neighborhoods according to their population of their black inhabitants – a program known as redlining. "On the maps, green areas, rated "A," indicated "in demand" neighborhoods that, as one appraiser put it, lacked "a single foreigner or Negro." Neighborhoods with no black inhabitants were systematically considered eligible for FHA backing as opposed to neighborhoods inhabited by black people. Rated "D," these neighborhoods were colored in red and usually considered ineligible for FHA backing. Black neighborhoods were systematically perceived as inferior to predominantly white neighborhoods. perceived as inferior to predominantly white neighborhoods. Ultimately, redlining extended to the entire mortgage industry, rejecting black people from obtaining basic mortgage. Denied sources of new investment, black communities and homes subsequently deteriorated and diminished in property opposed to white neighborhoods funded by FHA backing.

A feasible form of reparations should not perpetuate redlining; instead, reparations should acknowledge the institutional, inherited, colonial supremacy of whites that FHA is systematically built on.

According to a study conducted by the Associated Press in 2001, FHA embezzled estimated tens of millions of dollars and colonized 24,000 acres of black-owned property. As white contract sellers profiited, black neighborhoods consequently became criminalized and notoriously labeled as ghettos. One example of this is North Lawndale, a neighborhood in Chicago with a 92% black population – it's homicide rate is 45 per 100,000 (triple the rate of the city as a whole), the infant-mortality rate is 14 per 1,000 (more than twice the national average), and 43% of the people in North Lawndale live beneath the poverty line (double Chicago's overall rate)." Also, "the average per capita income of Chicago's white neighborhoods is almost three times that of its black neighborhoods, and white households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households,"Chicago's overall rate)." Also, "the average per capita income of Chicago's white neighborhoods is almost three times that of its black neighborhoods, and white households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households." As illustrated above, Jim Crow is still systematically deep-seated within capitalist government institutions. Moral justifications for reparations include our government systematically refusing to take responsibility for ongoing racial oppression, upholding institutions built on institutional slave labor, perpetuating double standards in court of law, and their early economic theft of African American wealth. Ultimately, high-income white neighborhoods still continue to reap the benefits and perpetuate the ongoing systematic oppression of predominantly black communities.

Reparation are not merely defined as "remembrance and repentance for the wrongs of the past" or "intensifying the nation's commitment to equal opportunity for all its people" – rather a reparation is also "cash flowing from some Americans to others in race-conscious ways meant to redress the racial wrongs of the past."

"Some of the land taken from black families has become a country club in Virginia," the AP reported. The income gap between black and white households is roughly the same today as it was in 1970. Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, studied children born from 1955 through 1970 and found that 4 percent of whites and 62 percent of blacks across America had been raised in poor neighborhoods. A generation later, the same study showed, virtually nothing had changed. And whereas whites born into affluent neighborhoods tended to remain in affluent neighborhoods, blacks tended to fall out of them.

The Pew Research Center estimates that white households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households, and that whereas only 15 percent of whites have zero or negative wealth, more than a third of blacks do. Effectively, the Black family in America is working without a safety net. When financial calamity strikes—a medical emergency, divorce, jobless—the fall is precipitous. In 2012, the Manhattan Institute cheerily noted that segregation had declined since the 1960s.And yet African Americans still remained—by far—the most segregated ethnic group in the country.With segregation, with the isolation of the injured and the robbed, comes the concentration of disadvantage. An unsegregated America might see poverty, and all its effects, spread across the country with no particular bias toward skin color. Instead, the concentration of poverty has been paired with a concentration of melanin. The resulting conflagration has been devastating. Having been enslaved for 250 years, black people were not left to their own devices. They were terrorized. In the Deep South, a second slavery ruled. In the North, legislatures, mayors, civic associations, banks, and citizens all colluded to pin black people into ghettos, where they were overcrowded, overcharged, and undereducated.Businesses discriminated against them, awarding them the worst jobs and the worst wages. Police brutalized them in the streets. And the notion that black lives, black bodies, and black wealth were rightful targets remained deeply rooted in the broader society. Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, "Never again." But still we are haunted.

And yet African Americans still remained—by far—the most segregated ethnic group in the country.

With segregation, with the isolation of the injured and the robbed, comes the concentration of disadvantage. An unsegregated America might see poverty, and all its effects, spread across the country with no particular bias toward skin color. Instead, the concentration of poverty has been paired with a concentration of melanin. The resulting conflagration has been devastating. Having been enslaved for 250 years, black people were not left to their own devices. They were terrorized. In the Deep South, a second slavery ruled. In the North, legislatures, mayors, civic associations, banks, and citizens all colluded to pin black people into ghettos, where they were overcrowded, overcharged, and undereducated.Businesses discriminated against them, awarding them the worst jobs and the worst wages. Police brutalized them in the streets. And the notion that black lives, black bodies, and black wealth were rightful targets remained deeply rooted in the broader society. Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, "Never again." But still we are haunted.

Broach the topic of reparations today and a barrage of questions inevitably follows: Who will be paid? How much will they be paid? Who will pay?

For the past 25 years, Congressman John Conyers Jr., who represents the Detroit area, has marked every session of Congress by introducing a bill calling for a congressional study of slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for "appropriate remedies."A country curious about how reparations might actually work has an easy solution in Conyers's bill, now called HR 40,the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. We would support this bill, submit the question to study, and then assess the possible solutions. Nkechi Taifa, who helped found n'cobra, says. "People who talk about reparations are considered left lunatics. But all we are talking about is studying [reparations]. As John Conyers has said, we study everything. We study the water, the air. We can't even study the issue? This bill does not authorize one recent to anyone."That HR 40 has never—under either Democrats or Republicans—made it to the House floor suggests our concerns arerooted not in the impracticality of reparations but in something more existential. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.

Where Presidential Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders Stands on the Issue of Reparations:

- "I think what we have got to do is pay attention to distressed communities — black communities, Latino communities, and white communities. And as president, I pledge to do that," Sanders said in interview on ABC's The View back in 2016.

- Senator Bernie Sanders has further expanded on his plans since then, publicly stating that if elected in 2020 he would sign legislation that would create a commission to explore the payment of reparations to African Americans.

- This bill, which was dubbed H.R. 40 in a nod to the government's promised provision of "40 acres and a mule" in order toto Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act for newly freed slaves after the Civil War; this legislation has already received backing from Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. "In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day," Jackson Lee said in a statement when proposing the bill. The commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery." - Sanders said he also supports Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who drafted the 10-20-30 formula to fight persistent poverty. The formula would ensure that no communities are left behind. It would direct at least 10 percent of rural development investments to persistent poverty communities — counties where 20 percent or more of the population has lived below the poverty line for the last 30 years."I don't know if you're familiar with what Clyburn is talking about," Sanders said. "It's called the 10-20-30 legislation and what it says is, the federal government must substantially increase funding for distressed communities that have long-term poverty rates. Often, not always, African-American communities. And that means a significant increase in federal funding for housing, for education, for health care, for infrastructure, for job training."

- Sanders said he also supports Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who drafted the 10-20-30 formula to fight persistent poverty. The formula would ensure that no communities are left behind. It would direct at least 10 percent of rural development investments to persistent poverty communities — counties where 20 percent or more of the population has lived below the poverty line for the last 30 years."I don't know if you're familiar with what Clyburn is talking about," Sanders said. "It's called the 10-20-30 legislation and what it says is, the federal government must substantially increase funding for distressed communities that have long-term poverty rates. Often, not always, African-American communities. And that means a significant increase in federal funding for housing, for education, for health care, for infrastructure, for job training."

Where Presidential Candidate, Former VP. Joe Biden Stands on the Issue of Reparations:

Biden's current stance on reparations seems unclear – not standing as an active proponent of H.R 40

However, during a recent Democratic Debate, ABC moderator Linsey Davis referenced a 1975 statement from Biden, in which he said he'd "be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago," before asking him about his thoughts on the issue of reparations. "What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?" Davis asked Biden.


"Look, there's institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that," Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner, said.

Biden went on to list a number of proposals for improving the U.S. education system, including investing more in Title I schools, increasing teacher salaries and adding new support systems for students. He added that some parents might not know exactly how to help educate their children outside of school — then offered a suggestion.

"Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player — on at night, make sure that kids hear words," Biden said. "A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background — will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time we get there."
Take this response from Biden as you will...

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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