With an election year coming up it seems that Americans are tuned into politics at a more than normal rate. The popularization of media coverage for police killings may attribute to the reason black voters in particular are paying attention to politics at increased levels. People are tuning into to see what politicians are doing or at-least saying what they will do to progress the racial justice movement. But one thing that I have failed to see in any debate, or discussion of police brutality or racial justice in general is the idea of reparations for African Americans.
We as a nation have masked being black with being poor and have created sub-par interventions to assist people beneath the poverty line and many argue that black people take advantage of these programs. “They already get free food and housing through government assistance” they say. But doing minimal research one can see the fallacy at all levels of this statement. Generally black people do not overuse or abuse this assistance and this assistance in itself is flawed. This assistance does nothing to address the structural and systemic roots for why black people are poor, but somehow we still are convinced that this is enough and doing something progress people of color.
But it’s not. Given the length of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and the effects that we are still dealing with today at the personal, interpersonal, institutional and structural levels, it just isn’t enough. Black people need more. No amount of money can wipe out the past, but money is a way to push people of color forward after being held down for so long.
Here is the perfect info-graphic from YES magazine detailing all that is owed and should be given through reparations.
So why aren’t we talking about this? Why isn’t this in anyone’s agenda for racial justice?
I do not think we can even have a discussion about reaching equity if black people are not given what they have been deprived of for years. We can not hide this under the umbrella of government assistance or poverty. It is DEFINITELY not the same.
Where is the 40 acres and a mule?