Reparations can no longer be ignored

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Finally, reparations for the descendants of African American slaves are a major topic of conversation among many key politicians running for public offices. This is a subject that was literally taboo or not taken seriously until lately among our White counterparts controlling the narrative of our lives. Many Whites in this present generation used every excuse or rationalization possible to deflect or disassociate their personal involvement in their forefathers’ exploitation of African Americans. True enough, while they may not have personally been involved in the nefarious and diabolical practice of slavery contributing to their generational wealth and inherent entitlements and privileges—they are willing recipients.

We are often reminded that every issue has its time to be addressed and taken seriously and the issue of reparations for descendants of African American slaves is upon us. The political climate, especially the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming presidential election has made the issue of reparations a primary topic of discussion. This is an issue that wasn’t previously discussed or taken seriously by many of our politicians that is now is now a major issue of contention. Because of the incendiary climate permeating this country due to the loss of life of African Americans at the hands of some law enforcing agents, we are forced to look historically at the horrific and dehumanizing exploitation of African Americans contributing to this explosive confrontation demanding change.

The Civid-19 epidemic has also made us realistically look at the role this country has historically played in denying African Americans economic equality—a contributing factor to the disproportionate percentage of African Americans with preexisting conditions to be victims and succumb to the coronavirus. These conditions   are for the most part guided by historically denying African Americans the same rights as their White counterparts.

There is no way anyone knowledgeable about the true history of African Americans (especially as it relates to slavery and its contribution to building the wealth of this country) can deny that compensation is needed to rectify a great wrong. It is a wrong to deliberately and legally implement restraints to deny an identified group the opportunities and rights offered the select, preferred dominant White populace.

Historically, in many cases, severe crimes against humanity have been rectified with reparations or compensation to amend egregious inhuman treatment against identified groups, e.g., the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and American Japanese put in concentration camps during World War II. Why has it taken so long for this country to start talking about true compensation for its deliberate dehumanization, exploitation, and institutionalized oppression against African Americans? One can surmise that it just shows the depth of the racism and exploitation so embedded in the modus operandi of this country.

There is no escaping the fact that the centuries of exploitation, slavery, segregation and redlining have contributed to many of the problems plaguing many impoverished Black communities, marginalizing them and putting them at a monumental disadvantage. Time and ever-present circumstances have forced this country to do what it didn’t want to do—acknowledge and address the major underlining problem of practiced and forced inequality contributing to the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by our White counterparts.

Time and time again, the powers to be in this country have found ways to keep African Americans from successfully striving and forming economical independent communities. This country has always found a way to destroy striving Black communities by burning down the communities and killing Blacks who dared to be successful and independent. You can trace a lot of the problems in the Black community brought about by a calculated system designed to offset African Americans’ progress and then hold them accountable for their own lack of progress.

We can go on and on about supporting reparations for descendants of slaves which speaks for itself. There is no longer any doubt that eventually this country will do what is right and deliver reparations to descendants of slaves. The issue is forefront on the table. The biggest problem will probably be how the reparations are to be distributed, but reparations are inevitable.

The reality is that if this country is going to make amends and come together, we can no longer do so without reparations for African American descendants of slaves, therefore contributing to a more equitable playing field. Not until the playing field is more equitable can we go forward collectively and unified as one in making this the country it should be. Unfortunately, there are going to be some Whites fighting viciously to minimize or keep these reparations from coming to fruition. But given time, it is destined to prevail.