That’s interesting, but what do black people think about reparations?

I think in those cases he was just trying to point to examples where there was a quantifiable economic impact. But it’s been some time since I read the piece.

His statement before Congress is brilliant. He’s a gifted writer and thinker.

Fox News will love this issue. Guess how they will characterize it?

This is, without question, the losingest loser of a political issue that Dems could have locked on to. Regardless of the merits of the actual argument (and there are some, although I always wonder where Native Americans are in all this) the practical reality is that it can’t be done in any meaningful way. Not without other massive, sweeping changes first, anyway.

But it’s an ideal wedge for getting Trump re-elected, you really couldn’t ask for better. Fox News can drum up racist outrage about it, the left won’t be able to make any practical progress on it, and that failure will divide the Democratic base. Wheee, Kakistocracy Season 2 here we come.

I don’t believe in the premise that government can ever make anyone whole. I wish good luck to anyone that believes otherwise.

While this might be true, it’s precisely because Republicans are racist fucking racists. I sincerely loathe the idea that we should cede the argument to racists who coddle Nazis and ground their entire deplorable worldview in hatred, mean spirited stupidity and deliberate ignorance. If that’s the politics we’ve got, we’re already doomed.

I don’t understand. Does this mean there should be no effort at all to redress the impact of historical oppression and exploitation? I can understand skepticism about efforts to make people “whole” but there is a wide spectrum between that and doing nothing at all.

I mean there’s a pretty strong argument that when groups of people are in different circumstances due (either in full or in part) to the differential impact of history (including both de jure and de facto impacts), to do nothing simply perpetuates the status quo, and if the status quo is inherently imbalanced by prior exploitation/oppression, then perpetuating the status quo is… not good.

Also, this first stage of the discussion is primarily focused on studying the issue and quantifying the impact if possible. Regardless of next steps, that seems a reasonable first step.

Unfortunately, we can’t have nice things - where in this case “nice things” are a spirited political debate by well-intentioned individuals about what we can do to offset centuries of oppression (and, I have to note again, genocide in the case of Native Americans). We have the political reality we have, all we can do is try to keep it from getting even worse.

If you want reparations, then you need to answer the following:

  1. exactly how much people will get, who will get it, and the total of what this will cost
  2. exactly what will be different after you do this

That second one is ultimately even more important, and the reason why this is likely pointless.

Reparations aren’t going to make up for racism. It’s not going to even the score.

The world won’t be any different the day after reparations than it was the day before… Which ultimately makes it pointless.

Fixing race relations isn’t something you can do by cutting a check.

So, then, what is your better way to approach race relations?

Increasing awareness of institutional and unconscious racism, so that people can change and treat people better.

That’s a noble aspiration but in the current context, there are two things to think about:

1)How to deal with the constant reinforcement/exploitation of racist views by the Breitbart et al. media machine - we are in an era where simple exposure and education are not enough - there is organized opposition making things worse. This means that efforts to increase awareness need to IMO be more than merely aspirational.

2)How to deal with the structural reality of decades/centuries of racism - it’s more than just attitudes and it’s more than just institutions; you’ve got entrenched geo-political and demographic patterns of segregation, you’ve got established patterns of resource distribution, property ownership, plus patterns of social, political and economic connections, all of which have real world effects.

I think we’ve reached an era where noble hopes no longer cut it. I personally am sick of seeing Fox et al. exploit racial stereotypes, I’m sick of overly aggressive and/or racist police behavior towards minorities, and I’m just generally F’ing sick and tired of the racial status quo in this country. We need to do better and the hopes that I had as a youth of just enforcing anti-discrimination laws and expecting increased exposure to fix things seems painfully naive to me.

I’m not saying that individual reparations payments are the way to go (I tend to think community level investment would be better) but IMO assessing the economic harm caused by racism/slavery is something we should at least study. For example, I would really like to get a sense of what the economic cost of slavery, and Jim Crow, and redlining etc. were.

I think we are past the point where having a positive attitude and hoping for the best will make any progress, giving the entrenched historical realities and the ongoing organized, well-funded push-back.

The efforts to increase awareness are more than aspirational. That’s why racism today isn’t as bad as it was previously.

While the journey isn’t complete, I don’t think that any reasonable person would suggest that zero progress has been made.

Having the broader general public better understand the unfairness of institutional racism led to things like the civil Rights act, as well as just general changes in society itself.

All of those things exist well beyond racial relations. Those economic issues exist in essentially every society. There are all kinds of other established patterns of resource distribution, property ownership, etc. that exist and result in a continuation of the economic status quo.

On some level, that’s just kind of the way it is.

The way to address that is through trying to improve the things that increase economic mobility, like access to education. Again, a check won’t fix that stuff. It’s going to be harder than that.

Other than out of morbid curiosity, what’s the point? There’s no actual number that could possibly come out of such a study. The nature of the problem precludes is.

But even if you could magically calculate it, the only reason you would do so would be to pay that off… But who pays it? The idea of taxing former slaveowners is kind of silly on its face, because we don’t punish children for the acts of their parents, right? And even if you did, you wouldn’t actually get much money anyway. So i guess you could try and tax everyone, but in some level what about some black immigrant who came after slavery was even a thing? He wouldn’t get reparations, since he wasn’t a slave… But he experienced racism. And he pays taxes, so he’s going to pay money to apologize for stuff that some white dudes did before he even got here?

There are infinite practical problem that just make this kind of thing entirely unworkable.

So if you aren’t going to pay anyone, then what’s the point? To make people feel bad? I guess on some level it plays into trying to raise awareness, but it seems like you are just going to create further racial animosity.

Or hell, imagine you somehow calculate the cost, and somehow get the money to fix it, and then distribute it… Then, afterwards… We cool? Like that’s the end of all that?

Because obviously that wouldn’t be the case.

If anything, you’d have more racism after you did that. You would never make it right.

Some things you can’t make right. Ever. That’s just the way it is. We took over this continent from native Americans. Did all kinds of terrible things to them, at times verging on genocide. And America isn’t the only nation to do bad stuff. Every nation has done terrible things. Humanity’s history is basically one long sequence of atrocities.

Again, i could be convinced otherwise, but i want to see a concrete plan, with a concrete cost, and a promise that it’s actually going to fix things. Because I’m not interested in just throwing money out there to pretend like we did something, and have no tangible impact as a result.

lol. It’s like for everything they say, liberals really do want another four years of Trump.

I’m not sure if I can get on the reparations bandwagon. This country does owe a debt, but it owes a debt to a lot more than the slaves. You want to talk reparations, you better start with the various Native American tribes. As mentioned upthread, there’s the exploitation of the Chinese and Irish. There’s a whole lot of disenfranchised people throughout the country’s history, although the evilness of slavery is something else.

I just don’t know what reparations will accomplish. I’m all for Affirmative Action and social programs designed to help disenfranchised groups. I can see a path for how those programs can lead to opportunity. Sending out a bunch of cash for reparations, especially if it’s a one-time thing? I don’t know.

My family didn’t arrive to the US until the 1950s. We’re white, but a lot of them are struggling financially. A single mother with twins. A widow whose husband committed suicide. Another with health problems and a mountain of medical bills. I have to imagine it’s a pretty hard sell to people like them that they need to pay up because of slavery, even if they are sympathetic.

And for those not sympathetic? I can only imagine what the right-wing media will be able to do with that kind of material. Not that right-wing outrage is a reason to not do something, it’s just that I have doubts about what reparations will achieve. Reforming the healthcare system over the screaming of Fox News? Yes! Reparations? Eh…

Again, not to say I’m not sympathetic and I do understand that a lot of this country was built on the backs of slaves. I’m just skeptical that reparations are the answer, and believe it will guarantee another 4 years of Trump and worse. That being said, I haven’t read the article @Matt_W linked to yet so I’m off to do so now, maybe it changes my perspective.

So throwing money at it will solve it? I think that is Timex’s and others point. Money will not change anything. Do you think someone receiving the money is suddenly going to feel different about how they are treated? Do you think racists will somehow react differently?

I think if someone offers a solution, or at least the idea of a solution, and someone else dismisses it, it’s reasonable to ask that someone else what their solution is.

Why? And as pointed out money is not a solution.

Do you really think there is some solution to racism that has not been suggested over the last several hundred years, as if this is a new problem that can be solved with technology or ideas non-existent before?

You cannot expect to legislate or thru money change the hearts and minds of people who hate others. and as for government programs somehow doing it, well, how has that worked so far.

This reminded me of the “Forty acres and a mule” order that was never implemented. Would you believe that phrase is still seen on tax returns as a reason for not paying taxes. Now had the government actually done something then it would be interesting to see the results now.

At the time, the government really SHOULD have implemented that reparation. At that point, it was a a scopeable problem. But now, 150 years later, it’s become too nebulous an issue.

Because otherwise it’s just negation. It isn’t serious, and can’t be taken very seriously.

I don’t even know what that means. For a lot of things, money absolutely is a solution.

See, this is a failure to understand. Reparations aren’t offered as a solution to racism. They’re offered as a solution to the harmful effects of specific institutionally racist policies. No one expects that reparations will end racism.