portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

Reparations Talk Sunday -- Details Please

Looking for place of public event Sunday, 3/2 2pm (?) associated with No More Time To Bide conference on slave reparations.
Can you help?
Donít Read this! 01.Mar.2003 22:24

Donít Read this!

Don't Read this!

Unless you are ready for the bitter truth!

Most of the people living in the United States are descended from people who immigrated to the United States after the American civil war ended slavery.

With this in mind, who should pay, and who should be paid?

All of the former slaves are dead. Their descendants were never slaves.

So who should pay the reparations? New immigrants coming into the Untied States? They had nothing to do with it.

White People? Once again, most whites are descendants of people who weren't here when slavery was going on. They were German, and eastern European immigrants coming in from 1870 to 1917, and the ones who were here, many of their descendants fought to end slavery on the side of the North.

Why not make the descendants of the actual slave owners pay the reparations? This seems only fair. But how can you find them?

There is one sizable group of people living in the United States directly descended from the actual slave owners. We call them African Americans!

Almost all African Americans have some white blood in them, this is not a popular topic, but it is true, and why do they? Because their great great great great great grandmother's were raped by the slave owners.

So Afican Americans are the great great great great great grandchildren of the slave owners and direct descendants themselves. So make them pay for the reparations..

Seems only fair...

Please Read This 02.Mar.2003 05:05

quill

You have got some of your history wrong. Understandable, since American schoolchildren are seldom exposed to history that doesn't reflect what the dominant culture wants us to hear.

Actually many of the [european] immigrants you talk about who emigrated to this country after slavery was "ended" were able to acquire land by the grace of the Homestead Act. This was a privilege not granted to Africans for decades, (and never in Oregon). Some of this land claimed for free by settlers should have been granted to African free slaves. It was acquired, and passed down through generations at the expense of those who earned it, and at the expense of the Indigenous people who were driven off of it.

And your statement referring to the awful historical rape of African women resulting in the birth of African-American descendants of slave owners shows your level of education, as well as your insensitivity. Congratulations on your education to that level at least. And your insensitivity. May your offspring never follow your example.... Better yet, may you never reproduce.

Other reality checks...

To quote O.B. Hill, owner of Reflections Books at Killingsworth and MLK: [my comments to his statements are in brackets] "Over a hundred years ago the US gov't was trying to deal with the decision to unenslave millions of enslaved Africans. At that time 40 acres and a mule was promised. Newly freed Africans cried out immediately for restitution for centuries of dehumanization and treatment as chattel, bought and sold, raped and tortured, [murdered when convenient, torn from their homeland, suffering the loss of their heritage...]

The just inheritance of trillions of dollars that should have been earned for the labor that was used to build this country, [to declare "independence" from imperialist Britain, so America could become economically self-sufficient], was asked for. This degradation of Africans in America & the sufferings and misunderstandings around 246 years of slavery were followed by 100 years of Jim Crow laws and the pitifully short compensatory time of Affirmative Action." [which the Bush Administration would like to reverse/eliminate.]

"Some feel that the past should be forgotten and a new chapter should be started. But how can we start anew when this old chapter is not fully understood? And to understand the old chapter, it is essential to understand the psychological and economic handicaps that still exist as a result of this history and that will impact many generations to come if it's not solved now."

These handicaps are serving as a perfect excuse for setting low goals for achievement by many who are African American; If reparations were to happen on a wider scale than just monetarily (especially in the form of anti-racist education for students, police, judges, bankers, real-estate agents, along with sincere efforts to stop hate-crimes, and to provide treatment and job training instead of incarceration for those forced by poverty and racism into lives of crime in order to survive) then this excuse would exist less and less... Some may be uncomfortable with removing this excuse. Others may relish the thought of self-determination being a right of all people in this country, not just whites and those non-whites favored by the powerful elite.

Another argument that needs to be heard was put forth by Pam Africa; When you inherit, -- an estate for example -- you inherit the taxes owed on that estate and whatever debt was outstanding when that relative died. Well, in this country, reparations were never paid and no land was ever allotted. As a result, no inheritance is available for many African Americans. The conclusion that can be drawn is that since this country was built on the backs of slave labor, this country needs to pay for that labor. That debt is still owed by this gov't.

As far as the economic reasons why reparations are owed to African Americans, to quote retired professor of UW Thalleus Spratlen:
1) centuries of slavery
2) cumulative financial losses during and since slavery for non-repayment of wages and limitations on property ownership.
3) Institutionalized discrimination that lowered returns on resources and gains from wealth accumulation
4) Denial of access to opportunities promised and made available to other Americans

And he goes on to describe ten types of institutional racism relating to economic development that deny/restrict access to wealth:

1) Centuries of Slavery (uncompensated labor-- no inheritance to pass on for this labor)
2) Denial of Land Ownership (In Oregon this was true up until 1957 and continues in the form of racist lending and real estate policies)
3) Restricted Education for Work & Skill Development
4) Job Discrimination
6) Perpetually High Unemployment and Poverty Rates
7) Housing Discrimination
8) Credit and Lending Discrimination
9) Segregation in Public Services and Accomodations: Disproportionate Incarceration (about one quarter) of male population 16 yrs and over.
10) Lower Lifetime Earnings and shorter lifespan


Mostly the arguments I hear are the ones stated in the repsonse to the first commenter, who was merely questioning where an event was. These arguments tend to identify (usually in a less racist way than the way the commenter here has done) the following problems with considering reparations for descendants of African slaves: a) The difficulty in identifying descendants, b) the passage of time, c) the relative well-being of U.S. blacks, and d) The bad feeling such an action would evoke in whites who see this as "divisive." And also this question identified above, as to who should be asked to pay.

To quote Mumia Abu Jamal, " To say a thing is difficult is not an argument for it not to be done. it is rather a lame excuse."

To quote Bobby Seale & Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party when they wrote the 10-point program of the Black Panther Party in October of 1966, broken down into two parts: What We Want and What We Believe:

"3. We want an end to the robbery by the white man of our Black Community.

We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules was promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over fifty million black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make."

AntiRacist Reflections of an Angry White Male 02.Mar.2003 05:09

quill

For others wishing to learn about anti-racist perspectives from Tim Wise, he'll be speaking at Reed Monday night, March 3 at 7 p.m.

Here's the info:
---------------------------------
Tim Wise
7:00pm Monday 3 March
Reed College: Vollum Lecture Hall

Reed is located on the corner of 39th and Woodstock, directly accessible from the number 19 and 75 buses.

----------------------------------
Tim Wise, one of the nation's foremost anti-racist activists and intellectuals will be speaking at Reed College on confronting racism, white privilege, and the stake white people have in doing anti-racist work.

Tim Wise has been referred to as "the foremost white anti-racist intellectual in the nation" and has emerged as one of the country's leading young social critics. Since 1990, Wise has spoken in 46 states, to hundreds of community groups and on over 275 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford and the Yale, Vanderbilt and Tulane Schools of Law. He has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and labor officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions and has served as a consultant for plaintiff's attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State. Wise has also trained journalists to eliminate racial bias in reporting as a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida and has provided anti-racism training to teachers in several school districts around the country.

Wise serves as an Advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute and in the early '90's was Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the group credited by many with the political defeat of neo-Nazi, David Duke. He received the 2002 National Youth Advocacy Coalition's Social Justice Impact Award in recognition of his contributions to the struggle for equity. Wise's anti-racism efforts have been termed "revolutionary" by NYU professor and award-winning author, Robin D.G. Kelly, and he has been hailed as "a thorn in the side of white supremacists" by Dr. Ray Winbush of Morgan State University.

A collection of Wise's essays, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male is due out in 2003. He is the author of Great White Hoax: Responding to David Duke and the Politics of White Nationalism, and has contributed essays to ten books including, White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism; When Race Becomes Real: Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories; and Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate Over Reparations. He is also featured in the upcoming book: White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories, from Duke University Press.

Wise received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues. He is a featured columnist with the ZNet Commentary program: a web-based service that disseminates essays by prominent progressives. His writings have appeared worldwide in such professional journals as the National Women's Studies Association Journal; The Journal for Law and Social Challenges; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, published by Columbia University's Institute for Research in African American Studies; and Multicultural Perspectives, published by the National Association for Multicultural Education.

Wise has squared off on radio, TV and in personal debates with noted conservatives including Dinesh D'Souza, Nathan Glazer, and Ward Connerly, and has appeared on CNN World News, MSNBC Live and the Donahue Show, among others. He was a regular contributor to NewsTalk Television in 1995 and 1996. Articles about his work have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle. He is also a featured commentator and consultant for an upcoming three-part PBS series on race to be released in 2002.

Wise has a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane University where his anti-apartheid work received international attention and the thanks of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He lives in Nashville, with his wife and daughter, where he was recently named one of the city's "most influential public intellectuals," by the alternative weekly, the Nashville Scene.