Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Reparations: Remorse, Restitution and Redemption – What Is The Price Of Justice?

July 29, 2023 by  
Filed under BM, Business, Money, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Central to the idea of the American Dream, Puritan/Protestant work ethic, and Manifest Destiny  lies the belief that Americans all have an equal opportunity to generate the kind of wealth that brings meaning to the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It was boldly penned in the Declaration of Independence and falsely taught in schools.

The belief was that with hard work, a person could own a home, start a business, and grow a nest egg for generations to draw upon. It might have been true for some but clearly not for all. Since 1619 to this very day repeatedly by colonial and US government’s decrees, policies and practices enslaved Africans and their descendants have been denied wealth-building opportunities afforded others. Slavery enriched slave owners and their descendants, and it fueled the country’s economy while suppressing wealth building for the enslaved Africans and their descendants.

Black Americans and White Americans - Reparations - Remorse, Restitution and Redemption - What Is The Price Of Justice.

In 1860, over $3 billion was the value assigned to the physical bodies of enslaved Africans to be used as free labor and production. In 1861, the value placed on cotton produced by enslaved Africans was $250 million. Cotton helped the fledgling US become an economic powerhouse.

The US has yet to compensate descendants of enslaved Africans for their labor. Nor has the federal government atoned for the lost equity from anti-Black housing, transportation, and business policy.

Slavery, Jim Crow segregation, anti-Black practices like redlining, and other discriminatory public policies in criminal justice, education as well as the outright theft of lands and property of Black families have robbed Blacks of the opportunities to build wealth afforded to others.

Till this day, the US government has never officially apologized for its treatment of enslaved Africans and their descendants.

It is estimated that 12.5 million Africans were shipped in chains from Western Africa. It was barbaric, inhumane, ungodly and just pure evil.

It was perpetrated by men and women who were all too willing to conquer the world and lose their souls. There are those who believe if America is to atone for its sinful, evil ways that reparations for Blacks in the US must be part of the healing and reconciliation process.

Reparations for slavery is a proposal that some type of compensation should be provided to the descendants of enslaved Africans in the US, in consideration of the forced and uncompensated labor their ancestors performed over centuries. It would also include the discrimination and injustice Blacks experienced after slavery. This compensation has been proposed in a variety of forms, from individual monetary payments to land-based compensation related to independence.

The concept of reparation’s is not new. In fact, it goes back as far back as 1865 when the South was defeated in the Civil War and Union General William Sherman order to both “assure the harmony of action in the area of operations,” and to solve problems caused by the masses of freed slaves, a temporary plan granting each freed family forty acres of land in the sea islands and around Charleston, South Carolina for the exclusive use of Black people who had been enslaved. In addition to the forty acres of land each family would receive a mule courtesy of the US Army. It was a promise that was never fulfilled.

The wealth of the US was greatly enhanced by the exploitation of enslaved Blacks. There should be no doubt that the USs position as the strongest economy in history is a direct result of the rape of land from Native Americans and their genocide as well the the inhumane crimes against Black people and their exploitation as enslaved persons.

There are estimates that Blacks in the US are owed over $100 trillion in reparations based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, compounded at 6% interest.  The US government would not be responsible for the total amount since it did not come into existence until 1789.

Nevertheless, If enslaved Africans had been allowed to possess and retain the profits of their labor, their descendants might now control a much larger share of American social and monetary wealth.

Which brings us to the question: how much should the US government pay to the descendants of enslaved Africans as well those who came after who were subjected to systemic racism, inhumanity and violence? Or to put it another way, what is the price of justice?

Is there a certain dollar amount that the US government could award present day Blacks that would compensate for the exploitation of enslaved Africans and their descendants who to this day are confronted with system racism? Is the idea itself of a dollar amount an insult to the enslaved Africans and their descendants? Is there any amount of money that could cancel out the true history of this nation’s racist brutality, violence and inhumanity?

Until the US government, businesses, the descendants of the slave owners and those who have benefitted until this very day from systemic racism acknowledge its history of brutality, systemic racism, violence, injustice and inhumanity the US will never be a great nation.

If America is to cleanse itself from the cancer that continues to infect its body consciousness and soul keeping it from being a great nation, America must acknowledge and accept its history.  It ugly, evil and racist history.

In addition to acknowledging and accepting that history, America, in particular, the descendants of the slave owners and others who have benefitted from the injustice and inhumanity done to Blacks must also acknowledge and accept that history. They must acknowledge and accept that their status and station in life, their privilege and benefits, has been attained unjustly and sinfully at the expense and sacrifice of Blacks, Native Americans and other people of color. That systemic and institutional racism has created severe economic and social inequality.

If America fails to acknowledge and atone for its treatment of enslaved Africans and their descendants, America soon rather than later will end up in the dustbin of history. It will have been “blessed” for just a slight second. But cursed for eternity.

The sins of the fathers and the mothers will have been passed to their children. America like the Harlot of Babylon will see its evil demise.

So it is written. So it will be.

Staff Writer; Al Alatunji

Question? Comment? Regarding the above article. Feel free to send a message to this address: Alatunji@ThyBlackMan.com.



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