Reparations Now!

Black Press Business/Economic Feature                              Week of October 13, 2016

UN-panel says U.S. owes reparations for slavery

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything – Malcolm X

Despite African Americans’ feckless political influence toward making it an issue, reparations discussions are gaining recognition, strength and momentum. The colonial legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality remain serious challenges for blacks in America. Yet, the shackles of slavery and plight they’ve evolved for blacks aren’t a priority topic for blacks voting in the 2016 campaign. A United Nations Working Group of Experts has chided America that “there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for its people of African descent.”

African Americans are too caught up in “mainstream politics” that reparations aren’t an issue, despite that the UN Working Group says: The history of slavery in the United States justifies reparations for African Americans. The group included leading human rights lawyers from around the world that say: “Effects of slavery continues unabated” in America. Institutional racism is in your face on a daily basis in America, yet blacks fail to make reparations a part of the political discourse.

In making African Americans’ case for them, the UN experts said "In many cases, [people of African Descent] situation remains largely invisible, and insufficient recognition and respect has been given to seek redress for their present condition. They all too often experience discrimination in their access to justice, and face alarmingly high rates of police violence, together with racial profiling." "Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, people of African descent constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups," the report said. "Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security."

Why are African Americans so reticent on the subject of reparations? The UN group met with city officials and community groups in the U.S. before concluding that blacks still experience vestiges of slavery — a crime perpetrated against humanity that deserves reparations. The group says the U.S. government should offer reparations by way of "a formal apology, health initiatives, educational opportunities, an African knowledge program, psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer and financial support, and debt cancellation." Although institutional racism exists in all facets of American life, U.S. officials have no obligation to act upon the U.N. group's recommendations.

Black voters and political leaders should be more conversant on H.R. 40, a bill introduced almost three decades ago by Rep. John Conyers to establish a commission to study reparation proposals for African-Americans. But, blacks who find “racism” and “injustice” all around seem apathetic to discussions for, and or, about reparations. The US likely owes descendants of slaves $14 trillion. Reparations payments could total one million dollars per a family of four.

The legacy of slavery remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for African Americans. Instead of demanding some commitment for their votes, African Americans illustrate a “Heaven-can-wait” frame of mind casting their support and votes against Trump, not for candidates, such as Green Ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka whose platform advocates “reparations.” Black voters may be leery of Baraka who has criticized African Americans’ efforts to assimilate into the American mainstream, labeling it “genocide.”  In our haste to middle-class and “mainstream” acceptance blacks have allowed party priorities to supersede their own political interests and issues willingly accepting “the status quo.” In what may be the height of political naiveté, three-time NBA champion and four-time most valuable player Lebron James has endorsed Hillary Clinton saying: I believe in what President Obama has done…and support her commitment to continuing that legacy,"

Let’s not be like Lebron James’ in leaving America’s legacy of slavery unchallenged and unchanged. Will the issue of reparations for blacks be a topic of discussion in the 2016 elections? Ninety-eight percent of African Americans are descendants of slaves and have a stake in the issue. Blacks have been lacking in adjudicating debts the US 

owes descendants of slaves $14 trillion. Reparations payments could total one million dollars per a family of four.

The legacy of slavery remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for African Americans. Instead of demanding some commitment for their votes, African Americans illustrate a “Heaven-can-wait” frame of mind casting their support and votes against Trump, not for candidates, such as Green Ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka whose platform advocates “reparations.” Black voters may be leery of Baraka who has criticized African Americans’ efforts to assimilate into the American mainstream, labeling it “genocide.”  In our haste to middle-class and “mainstream” acceptance blacks have allowed party priorities to supersede their own political interests and issues willingly accepting “the status quo.” In what may be the height of political naiveté, three-time NBA champion and four-time most valuable player Lebron James has endorsed Hillary Clinton saying: I believe in what President Obama has done…and support her commitment to continuing that legacy,"

Let’s not be like Lebron James’ in leaving America’s legacy of slavery unchallenged and unchanged. Will the issue of reparations for blacks be a topic of discussion in the 2016 elections? Ninety-eight percent of African Americans are descendants of slaves and have a stake in the issue. Blacks have been lacking in adjudicating debts the US owes descendants of slaves.