No Such Thing As An Opinion!

Perhaps blacks should be paid slavery reparations

Should blacks be paid reparations for slavery?

If you ask someone that question, I bet the chances are that they will answer with something like:

"Whites today didn't commit slavery, so why should they be punished?" or "Blacks today aren't slaves, so why should they be rewarded?".

The problem with those comments is that they have a perception problem. What they
should be asking themselves is this:

"If blacks weren't slaves, how would the financial position of blacks and non-blacks differ today?"

It's clear that slavery resulted in white families having more income than they otherwise would (income that they could pass through the generations through inheritance) and resulted in black families having less income (than they otherwise would) passed through inheritance. Hence, white families are richer, and black families poorer, than they otherwise would be had slavery not occurred.

Hence, using that criteria alone, you could strongly argue that it would be the right thing for whites to pay reparations.

However, you could argue that affirmative action programs that have lasted for 40+ years acted as a form of reparation. This would be one of the strongest arguments against further reparations being paid.  However, I have no idea whether reparations through affirmative action are enough to offset the financial damage done through slavery (however, I feel it's plausible that affirmative action resulted in a gain to blacks above and beyond any concurrent damage done by discrimination in hiring, etc.)  There is no doubt that whites and asians have been discriminated against heavily in academia and the workforce as a result of affirmative action programs.

But what if affirmative action wasn't enough of a reparation to compensate for slavery? What factors should be considered when trying to calculate how to go about further reparations?

Try to estimate which blacks actually have slaves as ancestors, and which whites (or other races) had slave owners as ancestors. Only they should be impacted

And since the mode of damage was conducted by financial inheritance, it's families that should be concentrated on.  What I mean is that you'd need to trace or estimate which families were burdened or benefited by slavery, and to trace the impact.  For example, if a slave family was poorer due to slavery, and if that family had two sons, then those two sons should be paid a sum of money, not the entire families of those two sons (not the sons' sisters and brothers, etc.)  And since blacks have a higher birth rate than whites, if it was determine that whites paid, say $50 per white in reparations, the amount blacks received in compensation would be less than $50 per black.

Another important factor is the impact of African slave traders. After all, they profited by selling their countrymen to Americans.  Their ancestors should pay reparations too.

And perhaps the most important consideration is this: Even if it's fair to pay reparations, would the benefits of doing so (fairness) outweigh the costs of doing so? What if other groups start making claims for grievances? What if women or natives or handicapped or homosexuals start asking for reparations? What if it results in such a significant shift in transfer of wealth that it results in rich businesses firing some workers or changing their spending habits?  You can easily see how it might not be a good idea to proceed with reparations.

At one time or another, many groups could have been victimized unfairly. In order to remedy this, it could require extremely complicated calculations.  For example, a white woman might end up owing money to blacks for slavery, but that same woman might end up being owed money for being discriminated against in the workforce.  It could become a huge tangled web of financial calculations.

When it comes to compensation for past systemic (but since largely/partially remedied) unfairness, perhaps it's best to let old dogs lie.  After all, as society evolves and new information becomes available daily, do we really want to endlessly compensate for the way "things should have been?"

 I don't know, but a discussion should occur.

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