The State of California is seriously considering giving monetary reparations to Black people who are able to prove that their relatives were slaves. Good luck with that!
Reparations make sense to me only if they are used to confront the basic issue of racism. From my viewpoint, slavery is alive and well in the United States today, just in other forms.
Simply by being Black in America forces one to live a very different lifestyle than I live, even if a Black person is rich and famous. I never had to have “the talk” with my children because of their skin color. I have never been pulled over by the police for being White. Black people almost always have to be on guard because of their skin color.
Giving money to the relatives of slaves does nothing to resolve the cancer of racism.
Tell me the difference between locking people up in little cages in big prisons where they are dehumanized versus being a slave on a plantation.
Then, after serving their time, inmates are released and go to another form of slavery. Our laws make it almost impossible for them as felons to do much with their lives. Isn’t this just another form of slavery?
Slaves had slave masters. The twenty-first century has police forces that seem to have unwritten laws allowing them to mistreat people of color, even murder them with impunity. When I hear daily stories of police brutality, I keep asking myself, “What’s the difference between our police, especially in big cities, and the Ku Klux Klan, except their uniforms?”
Our judicial system isn’t helpful to Black people. We set high bails to keep them caged. Why? Could it be because our judicial system is designed specially to do just that? Even our notorious Supreme Court voted out affirmative action to make sure the Black population stays unequal and enslaved.
We ghettoize Black folks by sticking them with substandard housing, isolated from so many opportunities, with poor recreation facilities and inferior education. This is a form of slavery.
I watch some of those who are trying to escape this reality by dedicating their lives to playing sports in universities and professionally. Today, I see so many Black people on football fields and watch their bodies and brains take unbelievable abuse for which they are going to pay dearly. Isn’t this just a twenty-first-century version of the gladiators?
For me, the only way reparations are going to work is when we realize the terrible price that Black people pay for racism, and we instead attack the root problem. We have to change, and radically, so all the systems designed to keep people of color, and especially Black folks, enslaved disappear forever. Giving Black relatives of slaves a little money will change nothing.
When I pledge allegiance to our nation, I refuse to say, “with freedom and justice for all” because that’s a lie. When our country decides to deal creatively with our twenty-first-century forms of slavery and see results, then I’ll proudly repeat “with freedom and justice for all.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on reparations.
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash