ANSWERS: 71
  • Who would be responsible for paying these reparations?
  • No. Not now. If reparations were to be paid, they should have been paid long ago to those who were actual slaves and maybe even their children. How do we track the descendents of former slaves today? And who will pay for it? Why should I have to pay for the sins of my ancestors? How do we even know that my ancestors were guilty? Maybe they despised slavery as much as I do now. And what about people who immigrated to the U.S. after slavery was outlawed? Should their descendents have to pay as well? It is much too complicated to try and fix today. If it was to be fixed, it should have been taken care of in the late 19th/early 20th century.
  • No, but reparation should be paid to the Native Americans. We (our forefathers) have done more to harm them, than to blacks. No racism here, just plain, simple, truth.
  • No, that would be degrading. Blacks have finally become themselves and don't need to be patronized. The winners in this world strive to become winners by their own efforts. Just look at all the superstar blacks these days, they don't need to take the white man's blood money, they have reached to the heights by their focussed efforts. (I am a, not so rich, white man)
  • No, thats uneccisary. First of all the times have changed drastically since the time these reperations would be paying for. Secondly, it is not black Americans that we owed reperations to, it is African slaves if any. Third, I don't even believe that they need reperations. Why? Because they have already achieved strides and contenue to acheive strides on their own. How can they better themselves without their own push. It is the same concept as spoiling a child (but the child was never a slave xP). In short, I don't even believe in affermative action.
  • No. Whilst I believe in compensation for direct victims of an injustice and punishment for the perpetrators I see little point in this particular exercise. For a start who would pay the reperations? The descendents of slave owners- who are likely personally as anti-slavery as anyone and had nothing to do with the slave trade by virtue of not being born at the time? The government- who already provides service and support to all its citizens (including descendants of slaves)? Companies who profited from slavery (which raises a lot of complex questions, seeing as most companies at some time in their past have had some kind of shady dealings, if they don't still do) who are now run by people and for the advantage of people who had nothing to sdo with the slave trade? We don't blame present day Germans for the holocaust and expect them to pay out to the Jewish community, we don't blame the present day English for the evils of imperialism (actually if you're Scottish you probably do but get over it!). Slavery was a terrible and shameful episode in history, but it is behind us now and we can't punish children for the sins of their fathers.
  • It looks as though there is a consensus forming here. Let me add to it. I also don't think that we should pay reparations for slavery. As with the others, I don't think that it is fair to punish the children for the sins of their great, great, great grandfathers. However, I would like to take this a little farther. If we start paying reparations for historic wrongs, then where does it stop? Many of my ancestors were subjected to intense persecution because of their religious beliefs. This persecution ultimately resulted in the loss of property as they were forced out of the boundaries of what was then the United States. They had to suffer much hardship as they crossed the plains until they eventually found another place where they could settle. Should I and the other descendants of the early members of my religion that were subjected to this persecution receive reparations for the wrongs that were done to our ancestors? I don't think so. If we start paying reparations to one group whose ancestors were wronged, then where does it end? While I don't condone slavery, I think that the descendants of the slaves should be thankful for the aftermath of this institution. As my brother pointed out, if it hadn't been for the practice of slavery, then the vast majority of those people descended from slaves would probably not be living here in this country today. They would be living in Africa and subject to its problems. So, the descendants of the slaves actually have a lot for which to be thankful with respect to this. Now, in reading this, don't think that I am justifying or condoning slavery. I am not. I think that the system is inherently unjust and that it is a good thing that it was ended. However, out of that evil has come a lot of good. So, rather than dwelling on past injustice, the descendants of the slaves should be grateful for what they have. ************* Roger Kovaciny, I have just one comment. If there had been no market for slaves, there would have been no reason for the slave catching expeditions in the first place. Therefore, most of the slave would have been left alone rather than eaten had the slave trade not existed. Assuming that what you wrote about the cannibalism of the slave traders is true (and I have no reason to doubt you on this), then they were eating the surplus that no one bought. However, they took the slaves in the first place because there was a market for them. They could profit from selling people. Had the market not existed, then they would have had to find some other way to make a living. So, they would not have had the surplus slaves to eat.
  • Aren't there any black Anericans on AB?
  • No to reparations. As I agree to the many arguments put forth above. Also, as the vast majority of Americans were against slavery during the 19th c. therfore, why should the Northern states who fought in the Civil War against slavery be obligated to pay reparations? If there were to be reparations should not the money come directly from the Southern states that perpetuated the institution of slavery? Also, should not the British and Portuguese governments also be held accountable too? As it was their citizens (traders) who also helped perpetuate the slave trade during this period that brought slaves from Africa via the Caribbean to the Americas to be sold? But, yes, to reparations only on the condition that the money could not be claimed by anyone individual. Furthermore, the repatriated money would go into a trust that could only be used to fight slavery that currently exists this very moment throughout the world.
  • If you discuss this subject with African Americans you'll find that this subject isn't one they give alot of thought, conversation, or concern. The reasoning being if it ever were going to happen it would have occurred shortly after slavery was abolished.
  • I'll take mine in hundred dollar bills please.
  • hell no. they get enough already. i wasn't there and no one alive was either. it's to late for that. their own african countries that sold them to begin with should be held accountable,
  • We are Humans and we make mistakes. Learn and move on. “Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future.”
  • NO. I am sorry that people were brought to this country as slaves. Now that you are here as citizens make a better life for yourselves instead of blaming past injustices.
  • If reparations should be paid to anyone, shouldn't they be paid to the Native American Indians whose lives were taken and land stolen and who are still suffering from the actions and the politics of the government at that time?
  • Reparations would require people to have more compassion than feelings of entitlement. I don't see that happening. I'm sure you'll get examples of what I mean as your answers begin to roll in.
  • Against. It is time for everybody to enter and age of equality and enlightenment. It is time for the lines and walls between the races to be healed. It is time for the dream to come true. As long as there are 'sides' there will be problems. Reparations would polarize the people even further.
  • Only for those who were actually slaves. Slavery was a horrible thing, but it's o-v-e-r, people.
  • Well there are a few details that have to be worked out. 1) Who pays. 2) Who gets the reparations. 3) How long. Until those details are provided I will have to say no...
  • For: The US government is guilty of a crime that it still has not "manned up" to, I believe reparations should be paid to the descendants of not only black slaves, but all slaves. This would force people to actually trace their roots to prove they come from a line of slaves instead of demanding reparations based on color/race only. Jumping subjects, slavery does still exist but in a mental and political form primarily. There is still discrimination, the results of Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example of how the government discriminates against poor and middle class minority citizens.
  • People say "yes the government should pay" to me all the time. What they forget is that by the government paying, the taxpayer is paying. I don't owe anyone reparations. I never owned slaves, my parents didn't, and their parents didnt. In fact, my great grandparents didnt either. Everyone that was a slave (by slave, i mean in the pre-civil war sense. I get Nevets point, and that still happens, but I don't owe those people money either. I would certainly help them have a better life if possible, but it isnt an awed thing.) is dead, and everyone that owned a slave is dead. If we want unity and equalty, we have to drop this victim mindset and move forward.
  • Are the Japanese any different? Because the U.S. paid every Japanese American family $14,000 each for the crimes of WWII when the Japs were rounded up an kept in concentration camps right here in America. Were the Japs held as slaves? hell no yet there families were awarded money, like I'm studying in college, "give money to any one but a black" racism is alive, and well, and blacks should never hold there breaths for reperations.Think about it people!!!
  • Yes, but that will not happen, it's in the constitution that blacks can not be paid for slavery.
  • I am from a very proud Apache family do I expect to get some free land out of anyone???No I dont and and I dont expect or want an apology,that was then and this is now.
  • Lets not forget the native american indians. The nomads and american indians were here first.
  • Yes the Indians as well as the Blacks should be paid, lets not cancel out all of that free labor white americans got back in those days, what I think is so funny is the fact that white americans have always referred to my people past and present as "lazy" I don't know of any black who had the guts to be lazy during slavery, or else they might lose their lives. The blacks of today are more comfortable, but I would not think it safe to generalize a whole culture.I am a older college student an I swear more folks should attend college they would have a chance to learn so much about other cultures instead of stereotyping.
  • Hell yes, but to all who who have ancestors who were slaves, not just blacks. This country is guilty of hate crimes and injustice in which both actions require a debt paid.
  • Why should I be forced to pay? My family didn't emigrate to the US until 1889, long past slavery. Let those who owned slaves pay.
  • Thanks Metaphiz for the Native American comment. If you did something to me personally I would want an apology but for African Americans or any once else to expect an apology for past wrongs well I say whats done is done and hope it never happens again. I am Apache and do not expect land or an apology.
  • Yes. The "Forty Acres and a Mule" that were promised were never actually given. Reparations should be paid directly to every Black American, without fooling around with having to prove slave ancestry, or even harder, PERCENTAGE of slave ancestry. It's too expensive to review all those claims; better to just pay reparations to any Black citizen who was a citizen by, say, 1964 (a symbolic date, the passage of the Civil Rights Act) or the year 2000. This would leave out the youngest Black Americans, it's true, but it would be easy and inexpensive to administer. It would pick up some Black families who immigrated voluntarily after 1864 and were never slaves, but those people suffered through Jim Crow and everything else, so pay them and move on. Using a cutoff date would prevent a fresh wave of immigration intended JUST to take advantage of the reparations. But pay. Pay up, and make it right. My partner's ancestors were GIVEN 160 acres in Pennsylvania just for having white skin and a penis (women weren't eligible) and his family has had the benefit of that in every generation. So let's quit pretending there isn't a "white skin advantage" and let's quit pretending that the Black families kidnapped, raped, murdered, and robbed -- robbed of their labor in generation after generation -- don't deserve some reparation. I DO NOT SUPPORT "reparations" like projects that are supposed to benefit all Black Americans -- things like loans or grants to revamp decaying black neighborhoods or schools. First, the politicians will skim off quite a lot of that for themselves or companies that kick back to them. Second, it replaces money those neighborhoods/schools/whatever should have been getting in the first place!! Third, it implies black Americans don't deserve the direct personal reparations that Japanese Americans got. It's ethically wrong, though of course the politicians who will profit think it's just a GRAND idea. Boo!
  • No niether should the wite people the green people or any other color because we are all equal
  • I would. Women of all races should be offended as well. The comment you mention, from radio host Don Imus, was crude and racially insulting. I don't think it should necessarily spark protests and marches, but it was inappropriate and indicates the continuing need to be sensitive and graceful to people of all cultures. Incidentally, it was his producer who on-air first called the young college women ho's.
  • If I were a woman, I'd be more offended at being referred to as belonging to a man. Why do you say "their women"?
  • Everyone should be offended by such derogatory expressions of contempt, not just 'blacks.' We are all members of the same human family and insulting one member insults us all.
  • Only to those who were alive back in those days.
  • Yes, same as if white women were called stringy haired hos by a black radio host-either would be as bad.
  • No. This would be one of the biggest mistakes ever made.
  • No. No one alive has been either a victim or perpetrator of slavery.
  • They have every right to be offended. As long as people keep dissing other people regardless of skin color or religious beliefs, racism will never end. I hope alot of racist people read this. Black and white aren't the only colors in the crayon box. Get your heads out of your asses and quit bitching at each other, otherwise you will never know what it's like to have peace in your life.
  • Na, and I'm sure they'd be laughing at that white man coz that's the gayest thing to say on radio.
  • First of all, not every black person in the country is descended from a slave. But if you were one, you did not choose this, you had no say in the matter. You would just be "lucky" enough to be a descendant to get reparation. I agree with other postings that if it was going to happen, it should have happened long ago. To the slave themself or their children or grandchildren. After that, it makes no sense. Besides the point, I'm Irish and in the early days of our country, the Irish were considered lower than blacks (kinda like Mexicans today, fleeing their homeland to work for pennies) we were hated. So should I be entitled to some sort of reparation? No. My ancestors had some hard times but I don't think I deserve anything because of it. In my opinion, the black people who are fighting to get reparation just want free money.
  • No, the black people today were not alive then and neither were the whites..Slavery was a horrendous way of life but nothing can be helped now by giving money to people for their ancestors 6 or 7 generations back.
  • No..No one alive today has been a slave and no one alive today has owned a slave. Was slavery horrible, of course it was..not only for the black americans, I mean if you want to start a reperations list then it would have to start with the native americans, then you also have to count the asian people who were victims of slavery..It has to end and to keep asking for someone to pay for things that were done before any of us were born is just keeping the past alive. Time to let go and live in today, not in the past:)
  • no. because what am i going to do with a mule and 40 acres in the middle of connecticut haaha?
  • Absolutely not. With all due respect, no one on this board has ever owned a slave. To think the government owes someone something that occurred many years ago, shows a lack of progression among race, gender, etc. I don't mean that to sound racist at all. Let's get out of the excuse business. If all of us were to look down our family trees, there is a good chance (unless you were born into royality) that your ancestors were endentured servants. Are we owed money for that too? Let's stop making excuses and work to bring everyone together.
  • Not unless they do the same for women, Jews, Communists, Irish, etc. We need to get away from the attitude that we are owed anything for harm done to our ancestors. It is insulting to everyone.
  • hell no we didnt do it to them. just to answer that respond by the girl who said white people date black men that is the white women that like getting taking advantage of and support a full grown man that dont want to get an education or a job. that is why them women need to get a reality check because they want to live of goverment and drive around in mustangs and go down to the welfare office to pick up there food stamps so either that or you cant get one for yourself
  • If reparations should be paid to blacks, then they should be paid to Jews and any other race that was wronged. Basically since everyone has been wronged at some point in history, everyone should receive reparations from everybody else. So it's a wash. The answer is NO!
  • If so, we’ll have to pay reparations to a lot of other minority groups, too. Just look at Latter-day Saints: they had millions of dollars worth of food, land, goods, etc. stolen from them—and that’s 1830s dollars!—and when they petitioned the government for redress, the President told them that he couldn’t do anything for fear of not winning his reelection bid. Those Saints that weren’t murdered by the mobs were eventually forced to leave the country, many of them walking shoeless across the frozen Mississippi River while many others died while crossing the plains. It’s deplorable that blacks were kept as slaves, but is it any worse than having one’s religion declared a capital offense? :-(
  • Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended. Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage. I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks. Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?" After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence. My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us." Return to the top of the page Daily effects of white privilege I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions. 1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. 2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me. 3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. 4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me. 5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. 6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented. 7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. 8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race. 9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege. 10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race. 11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race. 12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair. 13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability. 14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them. 15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection. 16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race. 17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color. 18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race. 19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial. 20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race. 21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. 22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion. 23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider. 24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race. 25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race. 26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race. 27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared. 28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine. 29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me. 30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have. 31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices. 32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races. 33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race. 34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking. 35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race. 36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones. 37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally. 38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do. 39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race. 40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen. 41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me. 42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race. 43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem. 44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race. 45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race. 46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin. 47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us. 48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household. 49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership. 50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social. Return to the top of the page Elusive and fugitive I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own. In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and destructive. I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a patter of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely. In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color. For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to me misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race or sex. Return to the top of the page Earned strength, unearned power I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups. We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance. I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity that on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective pointed out in their "Black Feminist Statement" of 1977. One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth. Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a "white" skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems. To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist. It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already. Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.
  • I believe that american blacks should be paid for past injustice like slavery and lynching and second class citizen ship like schooling. Prove citizenship from atleast 1940 from 2 american black parents.
  • Nope. There is not one black person alive today in the US who experienced slavery. I have lived in Africa. I have talked to many actual Africans about this issue. The ones I spoke with generally wonder why American blacks complain so much. Their ancestors went through alot of hell, but modern blacks in America have so much more opportunity than modern Africans. Interesting that I bought a few of the antique liquor bottles that were traded by the white man to the chiefs in what is now Nigeria. Seems the chiefs liked the booze, and gladly traded their people to get it. While this is was not always the case, it shows that at least some times, the people were traded into slavery by their own leaders. Lastly you have to remember that immigration never stops in the US. Millions of people have come and made this nation their home since equal rights were given, and millions more came before that, after the abolition of slavery. So tax dollars of people who never had any ancestors responsible for slavery in any way should be used? My family came to the us when I was 5. We came from a nation that had absolutely nothing to do with slavery. So why the hell should my tax dollars go to pay people who were never slaves themselves? Why should my tax dollars go to pay restitution for something my ancestors had nothing to do with?
  • No. If they are seeking money from the people that sold them into slavery then look up the African Kings from the many countries in Africa. The English, Portuguese, French, Muslims, and the list goes on. Become Americans and stop looking for a handout. This is one of the many ways that our country will divide itself when we need to unite!The American Indians got the worst deal EVER and they don't whine about it. Their culture has honor and will rebuild itself.
  • Only if all the descendants of steel workers and coal miners get compensation for corporate abuse during the American Industrial revolution. And all the descendants of serfs get compensation for serfdom. And all the descendants of Native Americans get compensation for mass murder, relocation, and cultural destruction. And all women get compensation for thousands of years of being treated as property and non-citizens.
  • Im Canadian/ American Indian... So yeah... Why not?
  • Arf-ican? Yeah, throw them a bone, why not!
  • Sure--the ones that were actually slaves!!!!
  • No, because all the legalized slaves have been dead for decades, along with all the white slaveowners. I am not responsible for the stupidness of my ancestors.
  • No, I do not think any of the slaves are still alive. You cannot give reparation to people who have been dead over 100 years. Slavery ended 150+ years ago.
  • Reparations from WHOM, exactly? And for what, exactly?
  • Show me one person who was held as a slave and yes ... But everyone else, noway in hell.
  • no they should get over it and stop acting like idiots
  • No. Arficans have had plenty of reperations. I am sick and tired of paying through the nose for things other people did that I had no control over. Enough already!
  • ok, but I want reperations from those related in any way to people from the black American decent that has harrassed me in a racial way throughout my life....and from all the other races too that have done the same thing....fair answer for your question, no? I always thought, when someone tries to use this form of opportunism..it translates to.."give em inch, they want a mile"
  • No. Slavery is over. Laws have been changed. Attitudes are changing. Its time to take off the training wheels. I think black americans are doing more harm than good for themselves by always making themselves the victims -- its like a self fulfilling prophecy. Before someone DR's me for this, I AM NOT RACIST. I have actually spoke with people that are black about this and this is what they are telling me.
  • No and I can explain why. Why should what happened in the past be our problem. we did not do it. The important thing is that we learn from it.
  • No. For one thing, it would be impossible to determine whose ancestors were harmed. For another, many people are of mixed racial origin and it would be impossible to determine the racial makeup of a person so that damages could be proportioned. Reparations would make as little sense as it would to charge people alive now for their ancestors' boat ride from the old country to the land of opportunity.
  • no i aint payin for something my ancestors did 200+ years ago
  • No. Who's going to pay for it? Why should I have to pay for something my ancestors did. (or didn't do, since I come from a long line of mostly abolitionists) Also, if we made reparations for every group who has been screwed over at one point in history, when and where will it end? Would we ever be able to move forward as a society?

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