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Caravanfan's avatar

What is your opinion on the issue of reparations?

Asked by Caravanfan (7900points) June 19th, 2019 from iPhone

I’m asking about reparations for the descendants of slavery. There is a bill in the house that is looking at the issue again. Mitch McConnell says that the nation should not be held accountable for something that happened 150 years ago. What is your feeling about it and if it were enacted how would it work?

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25 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

As I have stated before, we should offer a free ticket to their homeland to anyone who wants it.

Caravanfan's avatar

@YARNLADY Wait, what? Which homeland? Can you explain what you mean please?

Demosthenes's avatar

Don’t support it. It’s a wedge issue for Democrats right now and I can’t believe people are going for it. I don’t believe that it would accomplish anything meaningful, I don’t believe that it’s practical, and I don’t believe that it’s justifiable given the time distance. The time for reparations was right after the Civil War. It’s too late now.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Demosthenes I agree with you. Interestingly, David Brooks wrote an article in support of it, so it’s not necessarily just liberals who support it.

And here is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s take on it.

Both are interesting takes.

SaganRitual's avatar

A bad idea on multiple levels.

From a moral standpoint, if we’re going to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves, what about the descendants of the aboriginals who were mostly exterminated by our ancestors? They’re still out there, many of them on reservations still, in squalor, hopeless. What about all of the “collateral damage” (dead civilians) from all of the US military action all over the world? What about the nations the US has destroyed by interfering with democratic elections, or in fact, by just deposing uncooperative leadership?

Reparations solely to the descendants of American slaves—it makes no moral sense.

It is one of the worst political discussions we could be having right now. It is guaranteed to cause more division. I’m appalled that the D “leadership” is allowing this conversation to go on; right-leaning voters will just see this as another way for the Ds to take their money and give it to someone else. With President Trump going around telling his supporters that the Ds “want to destroy you”, “erase your vote”, etc, the Ds should not be allowing the conversation to go on like this.

This is perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses of the Democratic Party “leadership” in the US: they are absolutely incapable of taking charge of the conversation. You have to give Senator McConnell credit: he didn’t waver, he didn’t hesitate, he didn’t let the current carry him away from his solid place: “It’s not going to happen on my watch.”

The Ds could do that too, but they don’t. The Ds could say, hey everyone, we’re all in this together, not just the descendants of slaves. Let’s think bigger. Let’s get some people who actually know something (not politicians, and not me) to work out a plan to improve the lives of every American, including (especially) those people who believe President Trump’s claims about D intentions. I’m sure I’m crazy, but it seems to me that the Ds would get more votes if they would find a way to appeal to the people who aren’t voting for them. The D “leadership” is contributing to the problem by letting the conversation spiral out of control. And by being cluelessly uncreative, unreflective, and inattentive in general.

If we were simply to spend appropriately on public infrastructure, we wouldn’t need any more talk of reparations. Give people a safe place to grow up, enough food to eat, adequate medical care, proper education, hope for the future. Everyone, not just this or that group. There’s plenty of money, but we keep pouring it into our “leaders’” pockets.

Peace and luck

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would pay the descendants time and a half of an equal to a white male doing the same job, plus interest. Compounded over 200 years, and adjusted for inflation. Paying for all hours worked without pay.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There is no limit to how far politics like this will go is there?On the surface it just sounds like the democrats are virtue signaling and eagerly waiting to pounce on those “racists” who disagree. @SaganRitual GA.

JLeslie's avatar

I have mixed feelings, I can see arguments on both side as valid, but if I have to choose I say no. America has been making reparations of sorts for many years. We had affirmative action, quotas, and scholarships for minorities.

Mostly, I think we need help for the poor, and that would help a lot of African Americans anyway. If we keep separating out groups by race, religion, or ethnicity, then we keep the separation alive. Many groups are poor, and many have been treated badly. I do think being descended from slaves brought here forcefully is different than groups that emigrated purposefully to the US, and that segregation continued the horrible situation for many more years, but the difference is in the psyche of the individual, and in present day ongoing unfairness, prejudice, and racism. That is what really needs to be addressed.

How much would the reparation be, and how significantly would it impact the life of an African American in our country? Moreover, and this is my biggest question, will it significantly impact the feelings of an African American citizen in America? Will $20k (I’m making up a number) make them feel America apologized and that there is now a shift in the country to make things equal? I’m not saying they should feel that way, or that if they won’t it’s not worth doing, but I am very curious if it will make any long term difference.

I try to put myself in the place of an African American, and I guess I would appreciate the acknowledgment of my people having been terrorized and tortured and I’d appreciate the money. In Germany supposedly the government bends over backwards for Jewish people, yet there is quite a bit of antisemitism still in pockets around the country. The antisemitism worries me more, than feeling grateful if the German government gives some reparations or favors to Jews. I guess it’s not mutually exclusive though. My family isn’t from Germany, I just give it as an example.

If they do give reparations I hope they are smart enough to exclude it from other income and savings. I was just saying on another Q that in Florida you have to have savings below $3,500 to receive food stamps. Poor people are discouraged to save. Forcing poor people to spend the reparations money as soon as they receive it would be unfortunate. Even wealthy black peoples should be able to set that money apart in my opinion if the US does decide to do the reparations.

Who started this reparation conversation up again anyway? Was it a Democrat or a Republican? It’s so political.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

This is an impossible scenario. It would be an infinite rabbit hole.
I’m of the opinion that giving money does not absolve or correct anything that was done to people before any of us were born nor are we obligated to track down their ancestors
and try to compensate them. Even if people who were slaves were still around money does not undo what was done. We can’t simply say “we’re sorry” there is nothing that can make it up.

kritiper's avatar

No one who is alive today was a slave or owned slaves. Anyone who thinks they are due any reparation is just looking for a handout. It becomes an issue to some because some want it to be an issue for these handouts, among other things.

LostInParadise's avatar

The problem is not what was done in the past, but the repercussions in the present. There should be more programs (education, health benefits, etc.) to help the poor, who are disproportionately black, to improve their lives.

gondwanalon's avatar

At this point in time reparations is a ridiculous idea.

People have been used and abused since the dawn of man kind.

What happened many generations ago is horrible, tragic and sad. There are no time machines to go back and undo the damage.

Handing out money now can’t help the true victims of the past.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@YARNLADY I am very curious what you mean by offering a “free ticket to their homeland,” too. The US IS their homeland.

I really do not know. Should my relatives in Holland be given reparations by Germany for the atrocities they suffered in occupied Holland?
Should all of the Jews be offered reparations?

Caravanfan's avatar

@jca2 My mistake. I don’t read and search for every question.

JLeslie's avatar

I think @YARNLADY is saying stop complaining and be grateful that because of your ancestors you are now Americans. If you don’t appreciate being here then America will give you a ticket to return back to where your family came from.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think that is a horrible thing to think.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@JLeslie That’s what I took from it too and @YARNLADY just got a new fan because the complexity of people being here in the united states is mind boggling. Some of us came here through hardship, some seeking religious freedom, others fame and fortune, some escaping unimaginable conditions in other countries be it famine or war and others arrived here by force. Most of us can check all of those boxes when we trace our ancestors. If you feel entitled, hate America then you’re probably not working with others, doing your share or generally being a good citizen. We’ll be happy to let you leave. There is someone running from the very things our ancestors did waiting right there to take your place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are there any African Americans out there even agitation for reparation? I’ve never heard any.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have not heard of any or know any myself. I think this is just what I said earlier, political pandering and virtue signaling.

JLeslie's avatar

It reminds me of when they were asking every politician running for president what comes first “family or the country.” It was when Gore was running, and it was an idiotic trap. You know Clinton had been the immoral or is it amoral president and Bush was running on family values. I remember Gore stumbled through his answer and I thought—just say the country! When you’re president the country should come first in my mind. Then years later I think it was McCain who ran on Country first. I found it ironic. Then the schtick was to ask candidates if they were creationists. Now, they are being asked about reparations.

YARNLADY's avatar

As others have stated above, I mean if anyone feels unfairly treated because their ancestors were brought here against their will, they should be given the free return to their ancestral home.

My mother’s family were here before the European invasion, and survived the Trail Of Tears walk from their ancestral home to Oklahoma.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Dutchess_III See my post above by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Response moderated (Spam)
jca2's avatar

@Caravanfan: I didn’t mean to point out the previous question as in that I thought you made a mistake. I meant to link it in case anybody (including you) wanted to see previous comments that were recently posted about the subject.

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