The Winning Argument
The debate around reparations refuses to end – and that is great news. Black and Intellectual is a platform that takes a strong stance against racial capitalism as spelled out by Cedric Robinson in his powerful book ‘Black Marxism.’ Racial capitalism is not a term most Americans have heard of. The truth about the wealth of this nation is not something they teach in schools. Those of us who are well-read, however, know that there is a debt to be paid.
We are not the only ones who are aware of this. The corporate media and press are aware of this too. So companies like NY Daily News would never publish an article such as the one you currently read. The content made for Black and Intellectual is much too raw for the mainstream.
No, they publish articles containing no data or information about the discussion currently taking place. If you really pay attention, very few anti-reparations articles go into details. Very few, if any, will give you a truly wholistic explanation. Why? Because the opposition doesn’t have the winning argument when it comes to reparations for black people. The winning argument is owned by those of us who know reparations are due.
The 2019 National Action Network Convention
The 2019 NAN Convention happened and already the Right can’t control their outrage. Many of the attendees spoke on the issue of reparations including Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris. O’Rourke said if he were President, he’d sign H.R. 40 into law. Harris also said she’d sign H.R. 40 into law ‘when’ elected President. She also spoke on the domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacist groups and said it should be considered a top priority. These are pretty strong words.
Nearly all of the twelve candidates running for President said they’d support H.R. 40. While this may not seem like much, this is significant. Former Representative John Conyers spent decades unsuccessfully proposing a bill to study reparations. He was always denied, even during the Obama era. That this bill has so much ‘seeming’ support now is a major shift.
Despite what some may think about Sharpton and conventions such as this, it is important that we, as Black voters, flex our political capitol. Yes, we know the Democrats are simply trying to court the Black vote. They will say what we want to hear. The difference now, however, is that demographic shifts are forcing the Democratic Party to consider policy agendas they’d never touch even 5 years ago. The pros and cons of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s H.R. 40 bill will be explained in a separate article.
Your Anti-Reparations Article is a Scam
Note to the corporate media and corporate press – we’re hip to your games. Michael Meyers wrote an article for the NY Daily News that tried, and failed, to criticize the reparations debate. He calls reparations a scam. Let us show you why he’s wrong –
“I have lived long enough to be embarrassed for politicians and others who don’t know history. Such ignorance is especially galling when presidential hopefuls go to kiss the ring of the ignominious Al Sharpton to seek either his blessing or neutrality as they pursue their party’s nomination at the top of its 2020 ticket.
So my civil rights bones rattled when major figures — such as Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker — went to Sharpton’s “House of Justice” and expressed their support for or signaled interest in federal legislation that would consider reparations for the descendants of African-American slaves.
Where have these dolts been for the past several decades? As recently as 1992, Sharpton backed a “Million Youth March” in Harlem that revived the idea of reparations. That March was scantily attended — it having been convened by a “black leader” even more wretched and discredited than Sharpton, Khalid Muhammad, an unrepentant anti-Semite and black separatist. The march fizzled, as did the demand for slavery reparations.”
So from the very beginning, you can see where Mr. Meyers’ head is. Typical right-wing signal calling as he starts out by attacking Sharpton as a pretext to imply the entire event is flawed. Then, completely out of nowhere, he forces Khalid Muhammad into the article three paragraphs in. The point here is “well you see, Khalid Muhammad that black racist anti-semite supported reparations…AH HA…and Sharpton does too!” So perhaps pretty soon we’ll be hearing that reparations are anti-Semitic.
This article is written in bad faith. The point here isn’t to discuss reparations seriously. It’s to muddy the waters.
“Indeed, historically all the sound and fury about reparations for the descendants of African-American slaves has been just that — noise and racial rhetoric.
But now, against the backdrop of a 2020 presidential race, mainstream Democrats are giving lip service to considering — er, “studying” the ways of providing “reparations” that, if serious and honestly pursued, would run in the trillions, go into the pockets of people many generations removed from slavery and make a mockery of actual attempts to repair moral damage done.”
Reparations for Black people are not just about slavery. While slavery does factor in tremendously because that’s the root of our problems, the fight for reparations goes well beyond that. What people like Meyers will try to do is limit the discussion to slavery because they feel it’s easier to pick apart the argument. When you tell them that no, it’s in fact about everything. Every system that has been created to suppress the Black population in America is what reparations are about. This includes the era of lynching, redlining, mass incarceration…the list of injustices is quite long. The only noise we hear at Black and Intellectual is the annoying sound of gasps at the thought that Black people are actually owed something that Whites aren’t.
He also does something I’ve seen others do online and that is knock the idea of studying reparations. Black and Intellectual is not against H.R. 40 because we understand that this is an important first step. Yes, many of us within the black intellectual community already know the details – many do not, however. There is an educational process full of teachable moments that must occur first. More on this in our article about H.R. 40.
The costs associated with reparations for Black people would run into the trillions yes, but this would be spread over decades. So to make it seem like Americans would have to pay for reparations all up front is misleading. But hey, we’d say that’s the entire point of this article. Michael Meyers may or may not be aware of the fact that the U.S. spends billions annually fighting the Drug War. Since 1971, over $1 trillion has been wasted on this silly war. A war bourne out of a Nixon administration riddled with agendas to stifle Black progress.
“Who would get them and why? Would someone with two slaves in his or her family three get half of what someone with four slaves in his or her family tree receives? Would middle-class and poor blacks get the same? Would reparations be in lieu of affirmative-action programs, which also purport to right historic injustices, or in addition to them?”
These are questions that still must be answered. There is an ongoing debate online dealing with these very things. But again, it’s not just about slavery. Once folks realize this, they’ll see how pointless some of these questions are. It doesn’t matter how many slaves one family has versus another. If you are Black and were impacted by slavery (or perhaps other systemic anti-Black measures), then you should be included in the debate for reparations for Black people. Period. Don’t try to create unnecessary complications.
Affirmative Action is not reparations. Many different groups have benefited from affirmative action, not just Black people.
“Those are just the start of the questions, but unlike in past decades, many if not most “civil rights” and black nationalist groups have joined forces to make “reparations” a legitimate item on the racial progress agenda. Gone are the luminaries among black intellectuals and leaders who voiced their disgust and distrust of “fake reparations” as either an “apology” for slavery or as a sop to black charities and “rights” organizations that thirst for bounty from a reparations pot.
Dead and buried are such big black voices as Bayard Rustin’s — who in the 1960s and 1970s lashed out at reparations for slavery as a scam, an insult, and a “handout.” The NAACP’s leader, Roy Wilkins, had done likewise. The entire NAACP in those heady years rejected reparations as a “preposterous idea.”
Sorely missing in this current national conversation is the sagacious guidance of black newspaper columnist and public citizen Carl Rowan who as recently as 1997 had dismissed reparations as “a profitless diversion.” “Just give today’s black man genuine hope,” he said, “then a fair chance at learning and training, and then a proud way to make an honest dollar to sustain a loving family, and he will not dwell on slavery or any other of yesteryear’s injustices.”
Does he mean luminaries like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who openly advocated for reparations before his assassination? Perhaps he means Black intellectuals like W.E.B. Du Bois who decried the failures of Reconstruction in his powerful book ‘Black Reconstruction in America’ written way back in 1935? Many Black intellectuals throughout history have supported the fight for reparations.
The NAACP, if truly against reparations in that era, were wrong. It’s as simple as that. Not all Black people who struggle for freedom do so with the same agenda. Folks are not all equally radical in their message. At Black and Intellectual, we are adherents of the Black Radical Tradition as spelled out by Cedric Robinson in his book ‘Black Marxism.’ So we are much further to the Left than the NAACP. A group that even threw Du Bois under the bus when he needed their support the most in the 1950’s during the Second Red Scare.
Reparations are a serious issue now. Folks like Michael Meyers will just have to live with that.