Duke Scholars Discuss: Should there be reparations for African Americans?

Reparations for African Americans are crucial to fight white supremacy and compensate for slavery’s consequences, scholars said at a town hall forum Monday, but they aren’t enough.

Racial inequality and discrimination are so engrained in diverse aspects of the American society that no single measure would solve all the problems, said Wahneema Lubiano—associate professor of African and African American studies—at the panel. Reparations are usually discussed in the form of monetary payments to individuals or land-based compensations to communities.

“Sometimes we talk in a way in which the word ‘reparation’ acts as a singularity,” Lubiano said. “Whereas in fact, it is a complicated set of multiple possibilities, multiple sites, multiple stages and multiple actors.”

Lubiano cited the history department’s recent requestto rename the Carr Building on East Campus, for example, as one way Americans could reflect on the history of slavery and redress its victims, aside from material compensation.

One projection for the cost of monetary reparations is between $5.9 and $14.2 trillion, according to a 2015 study at the University of Connecticut.

Racism is more profound than slavery and its legacy, said William “Sandy” Darity, panelist and Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy. It is most fundamentally manifested in the economic disparity between races, such as disparities in employment rate and educational opportunities, he argued. The median of white families’ incomes is still higher than that of black families overall, Darity said.

Darity notes that the movement to “Bank Black and Buy Black”—a movement that encourages African Americans to channel together their assets to create jobs and build businesses—will not address the ongoing wealth inequality.

Black firms and institutions are usually much smaller and less profitable than their counterparts owned by white Americans, he explained.

“This is not because black-owned institutions lack strong business models or lack wise leaders,” Darity said. “It’s because the inherited economic situations of the communities where they operate make it hard for start-ups to develop.”

For example, black families usually have minimal liquid assets, Darity explained.

African Americans’ appeal for reparations for slavery echo with similar appeals around the globe, said Laurent Dubois, professor of history, at the panel. In 2013, 5,000 Kenyans received a 20 million pounds in reparations from the British government as a compensation for the country’s brutal colonial rule in the 1950s.

From a legal standpoint, standing and redressability are issues that have prevented reparations from becoming reality, said Malik Edwards, panelist and law professor at the North Carolina Central University.

In this context, the African American community needs to demonstrate that the negative impact of slavery is ongoing and that there is a concrete form of remedy the court is able to offer, he said.

After the Civil War, Union General William Sherman infamously promised reparations for slavery in the form of “forty acres and a mule,” Edwards said. That never came true.

Economics and political science graduate student Amber Hendley has recently conducted a counterfactual study remapping the American landscape according to General Sherman’s original promise. She also calculated approximately how much African Americans would gain financially from the land.

“If we have been given what was stated,” Hendley said. “I do not believe we would have the problems we have today.”

As essential as reparations are, they cannot compensate for all the sufferings slaves and their descendants have undergone, said Joseph Winters, assistant professor of religious studies and African American studies.

Slaves suffered from psychological and mental hardship throughout the American history, which cannot be quantifiable, Winter said. And nowadays, African Americans still encounter stigma and lack a full recognition of citizenship and a sense of home, he added.

The event, called “Reparations Now? Looking at Racial Wealth Inequality in a Time of Authoritarianism,” was sponsored by the department of African and African American Studies.

Although Lubiano noted the limitations of reparations in narrowing the social and economic gaps between races, she also said that attempting to carry out reparations opens up valuable discussions and debates across social stratums.

“Reparations offer us opportunities to do things that we don’t usually do—which is to talk to each other horizontally despite the existing vertical hierarchy,” Lubiano said. “And it appears to me to be so important that it is worth the risk of failing.”

By Xinchen Li | 09/04/2018


Originally Posted by The Duke Chronicle

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London Calls For Reparations

COMMUNITY: Reparations March, London

HUNDREDS of locals of London’s black community took to the streets to mark Emancipation Day and the annual Reparations March.

The march, which begun at Windrush Square, Brixton and culminated at Parliament Square, was awash with colour and pride as many marked Emancipation Day by demanding the government acknowledges the historic and ongoing impact of colonisation and slavery.

This year’s march was themed under “Stop the Maangamizi,” and saw activists from all walks of life come together and demand justice.

Organisers of the march carried a petition, which states: “The blood, sweat and tears of our Ancestors financed the economic expansion of the United Kingdom. The immoral and illegal acts inflicted on Afrikans against their will cannot all be undone.

“However, the perpetrators, their descendants and all other beneficiaries, ought to be compelled to address the harm that has resulted from them. Today the offspring of the stolen Afrikans encounter direct and indirect racial discrimination daily. This results in impoverishment, lack of education, unemployment, imprisonment and ill health.

“Now is the time for the victims of these inhumane atrocities to demand, effect and secure holistic, adequate, comprehensive and intersectional reparations for the wrongs that continue to be inflicted on Afrika, Afrikans on the Continent and in the Diaspora.”

During the late afternoon an evening, an event took place at Windrush Square which included DJs, stalls and plenty more.

See pictures below:

Posted by The Voice

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Reparations and Why Millennials Aren’t Exactly Colorblind

There are few things in U.S. culture more divisive than a discussion surrounding whether the descendants of the “peculiar institution” of slavery should be compensated. For most African-Americans (and half of Hispanics) the answer is yes, but more than half of white Americans remain opposed to the idea.

According to a 2016 Marist College poll, “Nearly six in ten Americans assert the current wealth of the United States is not significantly tied to work done in the past by slaves, although most consider the history of slavery and other forms of racial discrimination to be at least a minor factor in the gap in wealth between white and black Americans.”

It also found that “68% of residents nationally do not think the United States should pay reparations to descendants of slaves, and a similar proportion of American adults, 72%, argue that the United States should not compensate African Americans, in general, for the harm caused by slavery and other forms of racial discrimination.”

Released in connection with the PBS debate series “Point Taken,” the poll revealed when broken down along racial lines that “Among the races polled, 81 percent of white Americans said no to reparations for slave descendants, the highest number of all races. The numbers were much closer among blacks and Hispanics, with 58 percent of blacks supporting reparations and 35 percent against the idea. Hispanic Americans were almost evenly divided with 47 percent against and 46 percent for providing money for slave descendants.”

“Point Taken” series creator and senior executive-in-charge Denise Dilanni described the poll’s numbers as“These results, while not surprising, are indeed striking in the persistent racial divide in attitudes about reparations.”

Still, there are signs that younger generations may just usher in change, with the poll also finding that “More than half of millennials questioned say they are willing to at least consider the idea of paying reparations to the descendants of slaves.”

Historically, at least, the idea of reparations is nothing new, as seen in 1988 when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, which provided compensation to more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans incarcerated in internment camps during World War II.

In addition to a formal apology, $20,000 was granted to each victim or next of kin of those illegally interned. A House report concluded that “A grave injustice was done to citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II.”

The aftermath of the same war would prompt a similar move from Germany, whose decimation of millions of Jewish people would later lead to over $822 million in reparations for the heirs of Holocaust survivors.

Even a few Native American tribes (which have arguably witnessed the most injustice throughout this nation’s history) have been awarded compensation, with 17 winning a 2016 lawsuit that found they are owed $492 million from the U.S. government.

Attitudes towards reparations remain mixed depending on the context, with a 2014 YouGov study revealing a disparity they describe as occurring along racial and political lines. According to the report, “Most white Americans (51%) say that slavery is ‘not a factor at all’ in the lower average wealth of black Americans, something only 14% of black Americans agree with. Among black Americans attitudes are turned on their head, with 48% saying that slavery is a ‘major factor’ in their lower wealth levels today, something only 14% of white Americans agree with.”

When it comes to African-Americans, however, the horrors of slavery have largely been condensed and swept under the rug into the “get over it” pile. Despite years of legislative wrangling — including from former Rep. John Conyers, who, in each congressional session since 1989, has introduced a bill to form a committee to examine slavery and study reparations proposals — reparations have become similar to the promise of “40 acres and a mule” that never materialized.

“I’m not giving up. Slavery is a blemish on this nation’s history, and until it is formally addressed, our country’s story will remain marked by this blight,” Conyers told NBC News in 2017.

In “The Case for Reparations,” writer Ta-Nehisi Coates presents a persuasive, well-written argument about the merits of at least discussing providing reparations to the descendants of slavery.

“Something more than moral pressure calls America to reparations. We cannot escape our history. All of our solutions to the great problems of health care, education, housing, and economic inequality are troubled by what must go unspoken,” wrote Coates.

Recalling a conversation with Chicago resident Clyde Ross, he continued, “‘The reason black people are so far behind now is not because of now,’ Ross told me. ‘It’s because of then.’”

Just what reparations would look like, if feasible, remains highly contested. While some claim they shouldn’t have to “pay for something they had nothing to do with,” other critics have cited costs and the difficulty in determining which Black Americans should receive payments — and for how much. A 2015 analysis in Newsweek that found that reparations could cost up to $14 trillion — some 70 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product — illustrates the unlikelihood of such a proposal becoming a reality.

But others point to America’s timeline of chattel slavery, oppressive Jim Crow legislation, and the ongoing financial disparity between Black and white Americans as ample proof that some version of reparations is the least that can be done.

In 2005 economists William A. Darity Jr. and Dania Frank presented a paper outlining a variety of frameworks for how reparations could be made. The pair laid out proposals that would include lump-sum payments, monetary vouchers, or even a fund from which Black Americans could receive grants in order to finance ventures like education or home ownership.

The duo wrote, “Thus reparations could function as an avenue to undertake a racial redistribution of wealth akin to the mechanism used in Malaysia to build corporate ownership among the native Malays.”

Laying out their own criteria for qualifying, they added, “First, individuals would have to establish that they are indeed descendants of persons formerly enslaved in the United States. Second, individuals would have to establish that at least 10 years prior to the adoption of a reparations program they self-identified as ‘black,’ ‘African American,’ ‘Negro,’ or ‘colored.’”

Loyola Law School professor Eric J. Miller also made his own case for reparations. “Part of our history is our grandparents participating in these acts of terrible violence [against black people]. But people don’t want to acknowledge the horror of what they engaged in,” he said.

Nonetheless, while millennials may indeed be more open to the possibility of reparations for American slavery, solely relying on them to usher in change may prove to be disappointing as well. In a generation that is generally considered to be more racially inclusive than its predecessors, there still appears to be a disparity between the way that some black and white millennials view race in America.

According to a 2017 GenForward study, while “Millennials of all racial backgrounds list racism as one of the three most important problems in America,” they also found that “Nearly half (48%) of white Millennials believe that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against Blacks and other minorities, while only about a quarter of African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos share this view.”

Certain debates spark a similar divide in attitudes, with the study also finding that “A majority of African Americans (56%) and plurality of Asian Americans (43%) have a favorable opinion of Black Lives Matter, but only 27% of Latinos and 19% of whites share this view.”

Conversations regarding Confederate history evoke a similar responses, with those polled revealing that “A majority of Millennials of color believe the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and support removing Confederate statues and symbols from public places. In contrast, a majority of whites (55%) see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride and oppose removing Confederate statues and symbols (62%).”

In December 2017 the Washington Post released its own findings, concluding that “feelings of white vulnerability” contributed to the “41 percent of white millennials [that] voted for Trump in 2016.”

“About 84 percent of millennial Trump voters were white,” the Post reported, describing the voting trend as “[compared] to white voters who did not support Trump, Trump voters were more likely to be male, married and without college education.”

Now roughly between the ages of 22 and 37, while millennials were not alive for the severity of Jim Crow and the bitter fight for civil rights, the prevailing attitudes of those that raised them — both good and bad — still persists.

As the Chicago Tribune noted last August, “millennials overall are more racially tolerant than earlier generations — but that’s because young people today are less likely to be white. White millennials exhibit about as much racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias, as white Gen Xers and boomers. Yet even young people know that overt racial animus is socially frowned upon, a deal-breaker for those seeking friends, spouses or gainful employment.”

Such findings show that as the fight for equality — and perhaps even reparations — continues, it cannot be left on the shoulders younger Americans alone. All hands must be on deck.

By Cecilia Smith -August 2, 2018

Posted By Atlanta Black Star

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Reparations Bill to be Presented to Parliament Today (Sri Lanka)

The ‘Office of Reparations’ Bill which is aimed at providing legal provisions for the establishment of the Office for Reparations, to identify war affected people eligible for reparations, has been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament meant for today

Like the Office of Missing Persons, the establishment of this new office is part of the matters envisaged in the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka adopted on October 1, 2015. It is meant to identify aggrieved persons eligible for reparations, and to provide for the provision of individual and collective reparations to such persons; to repeal the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority Act, No. 29 of 198, and is to be presented to Parliament today.

Responsibilities of this office will include receiving recommendations with regard to reparations to be made to aggrieved persons from the Office on Missing Persons established under the Office on Missing Persons or such other relevant bodies or institutions, to receive applications for reparations from aggrieved persons or representatives of such aggrieved persons and to verify the authenticity of such application, for the purpose of assessing the eligibility for reparations, to identify the aggrieved persons who are eligible for reparations as well as their level of need, to identify and collate information relating to previous or on-going reparation programmes carried out by the State, including any expenditure on similar reparation programmes through a centralized database, and to make rules with regard to ensuring the effective functioning of the Office for Reparations.

The Office for Reparations, if established, will consist of five members appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council shall recommend three names out of the members of the Office for Reparations to be appointed as the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations. One of the members recommended shall be appointed by the President as the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations. A member could serve for a period of three years.

However, the members of this office will be deemed to be public servants for the purpose of the Bill as per the Penal Code and the Bribery Act and the Evidence Ordinance. (Yohan Perera)

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Bart Everson: Toward A Local Platform For Reparations

The anniversary of the New Orleans Massacre of 1866 is coming up later this month, on July 30th. We should not forget this event, essentially a race riot, in which 238 people were killed, the vast majority of whom were Black war veterans who had fought for the Union — but the war had ended a year earlier.

The massacre was a crucial factor which led to the passage of the Reconstruction Acts. For a brief moment, a century and a half ago, it seemed as if our nation was poised to begin the long and difficult process of healing from the wounds which slavery inflicted on the body politic. Instead, that process was sabotaged and repressed in relatively short order. Call it the Deconstruction of Reconstruction.

Is there a city in the United States where we know this better? The legacy of slavery looms large here, though official acknowledgements of this history are scanty. The Crescent City was also home to one of the largest populations of free people of color. It stands to reason that people in New Orleans should be at the forefront of the newly re-invigorated movement toward making reparations for slavery.

And so we are.

On July 9th, there was a meeting on the prospect of a local platform for such reparations. It was sponsored by the Green Party of New Orleans. (Note: I serve as chair of this group.) All our meetings at the Mid-City Library are free and open to the public.

Local artist, activist and entrepreneur Anika Ofori drew on her experience working with the Green Party of the United States to give an informal presentation which informed and framed our discussion.

Anika began with a brief historical overview, outlining the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Reconstruction Acts, as well as the sabotage of Reconstruction through acts of violence.

Current efforts on to establish reparations for slavery stem from the middle of the 20th century, picking up momentum in the 1990s, slowed temporarily by the political shifts after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Anika recounted the work of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) and National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) including their preliminary 10-Point Plan which is modeled after a similar plan endorsed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It’s a holistic program that would finally set our nation on the road to healing. A wealth of detailed information can be found via the Reparations Resources Center, maintained by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, at https://ibw21.org/reparations-resource-center/

House Resolution 40, officially titled the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” was introduced to Congress in January of 2017 by John Conyers, Jr. He introduced the bill repeatedly over almost three decades. Since he resigned in December, the future of the bill is unclear.

Nevertheless, the Green Party of the United States has endorsed the idea of reparations, both in general principle as part of the Green Party platform, as well as more specifically endorsing H.R. 40.

We concluded our meeting with a discussion of how we might promote the reparations issue locally, here in New Orleans, which after all was once the preeminent hub of the slave trade on this continent.

Our conversation brought to light a series of questions. For example: How do we incorporate support for reparations in our local platform, currently under development? We anticipate some points from the NAARC ten-point plan will be included in other parts of our platform. Do we highlight these connections or address reparations separately? How do we advocate for reparations to a greater public that might not be educated on the issue and resistant to it? Are there particular policies and demands in the call for reparations that our chapter is in the best position to pursue locally?

The discussion of reparations also raised questions about the priorities and identity of the Green Party.  Despite the official support for reparations in the Green Party platform, there were concerns that the Green Party as a whole isn’t racially inclusive and sufficiently aware of race issues. There were also concerns that prioritizing reparations and racial justice might alienate members of the party who are most interested in economic and/or climate matters. Others at the meeting suggested that the pursuit of economic, racial, and climate justice were not mutually exclusive and had to be pursued simultaneously because they are all related and interconnected.


Thanks to Neil Ranu, Green Party of New Orleans secretary, for preparing notes on the meeting, which were used extensively for this article.

Original post by midcitymessenger.com

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From Conversation to Action! – Webinar

This webinar addresses the growing movement and global campaign calling for Reparations for Peoples of African Descent. The 90-minute online program, held on January 30, 2018, is hosted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Truth Telling Project. Six international speakers are joined by a live audience for an in-depth conversation of more than 100 participants.

The speakers are:

* Dr. Iva Carruthers, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

* Jodie Geddes, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth

* Chrissi Jackson, Truth Telling Project (co-moderator)

* Rev. Lucas Johnson, International Fellowship of Reconciliation

* Dr. David Ragland, Fellowship of Reconciliation (co-moderator)

* Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, National Council for Black Studies

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The Long Wait for Freedom & Global Reparations Webinar

The wait for freedom was long. Juneteenth — or June 19, 1865 — commemorates what was considered true emancipation for enslaved persons of African descent in the U.S., since news of freedom did not reach slaves in Texas. (And in fact, emancipation for enslaved Africans in Brazil did not occur until 1888, more than two decades later.) But full freedom was never truly granted. Jim Crow, the New Jim Crow, the migrant crisis, poverty produced by international debt in Haiti, Jamaica, and other nations that experienced colonialism with peoples of the African diaspora — the long wait for freedom has had continuing impacts through the generations. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launched the Poor People’s Campaign a half-century ago, he proclaimed the necessity of reparations in response to that devastating legacy, declaring, “When we come to Washington in this campaign, we’re coming to get our check” (“The Two Nations of Black America,” 1968).

Register now to join a Juneteenth webinar with an international panel of experts on reparations, including: * Jodie Geddes: Community Organizing Coordinator, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), and Chair, Coming To The Table Project * Jumoke Ifetayo: Co-Chair, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) * Chrissi Jackson (co-moderator): Co-Director, The Truth Telling Project * Rev. Lucas Johnson: International Coordinator, International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) * Dr. David Ragland (co-moderator): Senior Bayard Rustin Fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation * Dr. Olufemi Taiwo: Assistant Professor of Philosphy, Georgetown University



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Portland Non-Profit Hosts “Reparations Happy Hour”

With Reparations Happy Hour In Portland, People Of Color Receive $10 Just For Showing Up

An Oregon non-profit just did something the U.S. government refuses to do: it gave out reparations to people of color.
In the inaugural Reparations Happy Hour earlier this week, the hosts gave each person of color who attended $10 with no questions asked. With 40 people in attendance, Brown Hope, the non-profit gave out $400 that evening.
“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Brown Hope founder Cameron Whitten told Raw Story. “What I want to do is end the cycle of exploitation. For Black, brown, indigenous people you face so many barriers, whether it’s tokenization or straight-up poverty.“
According to the News Tribune, Portland is one of the whitest major cities in the U.S. with census data showing that 78 percent of the population is white. As a result, it has a history of strained race relations that go back decades.
Indeed, white people were not allowed at the event, though they could donate money to the cause. Having raised more than $5000 so far, Whitten is planning to have more Reparation Happy Hours in the future.
“With the reparations happy hour, the whole idea is to how do we feel from this trauma of racism?” he told Newsweek. “We talked to folks, we engage folks. They said we want a space for our community, and we said we can do better than that. How about we do some reparations?” 
In 2016, the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent urged the U.S. government to give reparations to African-American descendants of slavery. Nothing concrete ever came from that recommendation.

Originally posted on Essence.com

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The Movement For Black Lives Calls For Reparations

We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done. This includes:

  1. Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.
  2. Reparations for the continued divestment from, discrimination toward and exploitation of our communities in the form of a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people, with clearly articulated corporate regulations.
  3. Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing and land.
  4. Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities in the form of mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.
  5. Legislation at the federal and state level that requires the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery, establish and execute a plan to address those impacts. This includes the immediate passage of H.R.40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act” or subsequent versions which call for reparations remedies.

Reparations for the Systemic Denial of Access to High Quality Educational Opportunities In the Form of Full and Free Access for All Black People (Including Undocumented, Currently, and Formerly Incarcerated People) to Lifetime Education Including: Free Access and Open Admissions to All Public Universities and Colleges, Technical Education (Technology, Trade, and Agricultural), Educational Support Programs, Retroactive Forgiveness of Student Loans, and Support for Lifetime Learning Programs

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