Can I tell you something. Got to tell you one thing. If you expect the freedom that you say is yours prove that you deserve it. Help us to preserve it or being free will just be words and nothing more.
Kansas, 1974

Thursday, June 23, 2005

On Reparations

I generally don't have much to say about reparations. Coming from the West Indies the idea of demanding money from any entity for the slavery of generations ago is completely beyond me. There is a certain pride, self confidence, and a strong independent streak in West Indian folk that makes expecting reparations seem backwards. We get what we've got by working for it not by having someone give it to us.

But I've got some questions for advocates of reparations. Are you seeking reparations for the Atlantic slave trade as a whole, slavery in the United States only, or the near slavery that followed the end of Reconstruction? How are reparations supposed to affect the lives of black folk today? What form should reparations take? How do you determine who qualifies and who doesn't? How does an apology from a modern company/institution for slavery affect the lives of black folk today?

Scott Wickham (fellow TCB member) has this idea for reparations:
"3)I want descendants of slavery to get a lower tax rate lets say 10% lower at every level for the next 120 years as reparations for Jim Crow."

Commenter DarkStar took that idea one step further:
"Re#3: Tax free for 120 years."

These two ideas got me thinking. How would this reparations plan change the lives of black folk in America? Assume that you sort out the problems with determining who gets reduced taxes/tax free (do you have to have a certain amount of slave ancestry to qualify, how do you authenticate said ancestry, do immigrants who are also descendants of slaves qualify?). Are we talking income taxes, payroll taxes, what?

I can see middle and upperclass blacks benefiting from this in that they get to keep more of their money. Would it make them invest more of it to build wealth for their families? How would this benefit lower class blacks though? Would it make them work harder because they would get to keep more of what they make? Would it make them invest the extra money in building wealth for themselves and their families? Would it make the baby mammas and baby daddies any more responsible?

The idea of reparations in the form of a lower tax rate/tax free for the descendants of slavery is intriguing but ultimately I'm wondering what's the point? What is the end we hope to achieve with this mean?

See what others in The Conservative Brotherhood are saying.
Seeking More Than Apologies For Slavery
TCB: On Reparations
Reparations: There still ain't no such thing as a free lunch
A Conservative for Reparations : Part 1

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