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Old Aug 14, 2013, 08:14 AM   #1
Digital Skunk
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The Background to the Slavery and Reparations Issue

This was a great read for the morning. Link

In an effort to keep away those that will post without reading, this OP-ED is about the fight for reparations in the Caribbean.

This quote got to me a bit:

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That today the people of the Caribbean have built middle-income societies (exceptHaiti) despite the conditions they were handed at slavery’s abolition, is a tribute to the resilience, capabilities and high quality of human beings that European states considered ‘chattel and real estate’. That they have produced Nobel Prize winners, great athletes and fine intellectual thinkers who have commanded high positions in the international community in business, medicine, the law, and technology is testimony to the wrongness of the “white” supremacist doctrine.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 08:39 AM   #2
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Might want to include a link to the op-ed you'd like us to read.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 08:45 AM   #3
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Might want to include a link to the op-ed you'd like us to read.
Extremely good advice!
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 08:45 AM   #4
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That they have produced Nobel Prize winners, great athletes and fine intellectual thinkers who have commanded high positions in the international community in business, medicine, the law, and technology is testimony to the wrongness of the “white” supremacist doctrine.
Does this really surprise anyone?

I'm sure it was a good article but what exactly is your motivation for posting about it? Do you think anyone will disagree with the article in any way?
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 09:06 AM   #5
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Does this really surprise anyone?

I'm sure it was a good article but what exactly is your motivation for posting about it? Do you think anyone will disagree with the article in any way?
Sure, the entire premise of the article is centered around whether or not the Caribbean can legally get reparations for slavery.

For example:
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If a negotiation with the three European countries fails and the ICJ route becomes impenetrable, another option could be an appeal to the General Assembly of the United Nations. A majority vote may be possible despite opposition from former slave owning countries, including Arab states.
Do you agree? Disagree?

Or another example:
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...none of this should absolve the governments of all the European nations that indulged in slavery, and benefited from it, of the obligation to at least apologise – although Prime Minister Gonsalves has said an apology would not be sufficient.
What do you think?

I really don't mean to come off snarky, but there was more to the OP-ED than praise of the Caribbean people.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 09:06 AM   #6
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 09:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Digital Skunk View Post
This was a great read for the morning. Link

In an effort to keep away those that will post without reading, this OP-ED is about the fight for reparations in the Caribbean.

This quote got to me a bit:
Well good luck with that, if it goes to the UN it will end up a diplomatic/political football just like the Falklands/Islas Malvinas, or the Gibraltar Question. With both France and the UK with a veto in the UN security council it will be a non starter.
There is very little political will in Europe at this present time to do anything about this problem. To step up and offer reparations 175 years after the facts would be political suicide for any politician in France the UK or the Netherlands. The only way that I could see this being resolved is by diverting funds from overseas aid too a special fund for the Caribbean countries. But extra money at a time when all European countries except Germany are cutting budgets is a complete non starter.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 10:25 AM   #8
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At some point, with I think was decades ago reparations have been paid. Lets move forward. I can't stand hearing someone say my great, great, great, great grandfather was a slave and you need to pay me for that. Um ok, how about we ship you back to the country where your great, great, great, great grandfather came from? Oh you don't want to go there? Yeah that is what I thought. If you are a just freed slave sure you should get something. Otherwise if your great, great, great, great grandfather was a slave i don't think so.

Yes slavery was very wrong but where would this world be if there was never any slavery? Would there be racism or would racism be worse? Would you be living in the country you are in now or would you be in the country where your great, great, great, great grandfather came from? Would the country your great, great, great, great grandfather came from be as prosperous as the one you are living in now or be as it is today?
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 12:13 PM   #9
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The problem with historical reparations is that you will inevitably find yourself faced with instances that are fundamentally unfair.

Lets start with the basic premise: The British Government ought to pay reparations to people who can claim to be descendants of slaves in the former British Colonies.

Where does the British Government get the money? Answer: From British taxpayers, quite a few of whom are actually descendants of slaves in the former British Colonies. Where is the fundamental Justice in a Afro-Caribbean British subject living in poverty in Brixton or Lambeth paying money to a middle-class Jamaican living in Mandeville? Does Butch Stewart (the billionaire Jamaican who owns, among other properties, the Sandals and Beaches resorts) get a share of the Reparations cash?

Do you end up giving people who can claim a legitimate legacy from former slaves some sort of an exemption from the tax?

What do you do about people of mixed heritage? Do they have to pay money to themselves?

What about the descendants of British sailors who died in the service of the Royal Navy's Anti-Slavery operations? Their historical ancestor certainly could be argued to have paid his share of recompense, no?

None of which ought to excuse or gloss over the shameful legacy of cruelty, on an almost unimaginable scale, that slavery represented.

But I don't think that reparations are the way to right that historical wrong.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 05:49 PM   #10
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But I don't think that reparations are the way to right that historical wrong.
I agree. Even though many Japanese citizens of the US were in effect, paying for their own reparations and the same goes for post War Germany and what little Jewish population remained, I've usually held the notion that reparations should just come in the form of a check to black Americans (Caribbean and US citizens) but that changed.

In the circles and discussion I had on the topic I've grew to believe that they should come in forms of economic and community stimulus.

Of course other non-blacks will benefit from such options, which is another reason I am in support of it. While we all would be "pitching in" most of the funds collected would go to benefit neighborhoods, businesses, and/or causes that support and uplift disenfranchised communities.

Also, while it would be hard to deduce who's a direct descendant of a slave it'd be nothing new in regards to the issuance of reparations. There are still large populations of Jewish (and non-Jewish) citizens that are still claiming reparations from the Holocaust and WWII in general. This article from 2001 was the first hit in a simple search. This one was at the bottom of the page, and is from this year. All in all, the recompense should be handed out in the same manner as all reparations.

As for British and American soldiers working to prevent illegal slave trafficking I say why not. If they make their claim, it should be heard just like anyone else's. To speak my opinion, I'd say bringing them in would make the case for black reparations a little stronger.

Bottom line? IMHO it will never happen, it's a great conversation starter, but with most European countries in dire straights economically and socially and the US as bigoted as ever I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 06:38 PM   #11
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There are many more practical ways for European nations and the United States to spend money on then throwing money at other country's problems. They aren't doing them, though. I guess I'd rather do this then spend money on the War on Drugs and war, but that's not saying much.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 07:32 PM   #12
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...I've always held the notion that reparations should just come in the form of a check to black Americans (Caribbean and US citizens)
Even better, how about ending the slavery: exemption from taxes.

But that should really be applied to everyone...

>
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 07:38 PM   #13
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There are many more practical ways for European nations and the United States to spend money on then throwing money at other country's problems. They aren't doing them, though. I guess I'd rather do this then spend money on the War on Drugs and war, but that's not saying much.
Except that the US wouldn't be "throwing money" at other country's problems in regards to reparations.

Europe asa we've said has no money.

----------

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Originally Posted by NewishMacGuy View Post
Even better, how about ending the slavery: exemption from taxes.

But that should really be applied to everyone...

>
Yes! And yes. There was an article I read a while back that talked about whites getting in on the reparations debate via dialog based in lost wages. As in, if African slaves weren't around, plantation owners would have had to pay the local whites to work the fields.

I think that dialog popped up about 12 years or so ago, so I may have a hard time finding it. Either way, yes, going along with my "beyond the check" ideals tax breaks would be a very interesting way to settle the issue.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 09:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Digital Skunk View Post
Except that the US wouldn't be "throwing money" at other country's problems in regards to reparations.

Europe asa we've said has no money.

----------



Yes! And yes. There was an article I read a while back that talked about whites getting in on the reparations debate via dialog based in lost wages. As in, if African slaves weren't around, plantation owners would have had to pay the local whites to work the fields.

I think that dialog popped up about 12 years or so ago, so I may have a hard time finding it. Either way, yes, going along with my "beyond the check" ideals tax breaks would be a very interesting way to settle the issue.


I fail to see why blacks should be reimbursed because their great great grandfathers were slaves.

I was bullied in middle school, should I be reimbursed? Being bullied has much more effect on someone than having a distant relative who is a slave.
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 09:44 PM   #15
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I fail to see why blacks should be reimbursed because their great great grandfathers were slaves.

I was bullied in middle school, should I be reimbursed? Being bullied has much more effect on someone than having a distant relative who is a slave.
Should you be reimbursed by a thief if that thief steals something from you?

I'm going to presume that you would answer in the affirmative.

What if the thief took a whole lifetime's worth of labor?

What if the thief's children then took another lifetime's worth of labor from the descendants of the original victim of theft?

And so on...

>
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 10:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by NewishMacGuy View Post
Should you be reimbursed by a thief if that thief steals something from you?

I'm going to presume that you would answer in the affirmative.

What if the thief took a whole lifetime's worth of labor?

What if the thief's children then took another lifetime's worth of labor from the descendants of the original victim of theft?

And so on...

>
I can't see how someone's great grandfather being a slave affects that person in anyway, especially in a way to have that person reimbursed.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 05:11 AM   #17
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I don't think reparations should be considered unless we are talking about living victims. On the other hand - if a situation that led to injustice in the past is still being perpetuated leaving descendants of the original crimes in a disadvantaged state, from which others benefit, than it behoves those with the entitlements to redress the situation. Besides the examples of African-Americans, another excellent example is the conquest and genocide of aboriginal populations in North America started by Europe and its colonies and perpetuated by the US and Canada. Many Aboriginals are still in living in a pretty sorry state today, and even though I am the son of immigrants to Canada and not responsible for the initial crime (heck I don't think that is true of those descended from the original settlers either) I do feel we are responsible - people and government - to correct this.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 06:43 AM   #18
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We could pay out reparations to every culture and racial group because at some point they all were wronged in the past or we can live in the present and worry about the lives that we live.

I would also be curious to see if the Africans who enslaved the people who were shipped off would be held responsible and have to pay as well.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 09:56 AM   #19
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I fail to see why blacks should be reimbursed because their great great grandfathers were slaves.

I was bullied in middle school, should I be reimbursed? Being bullied has much more effect on someone than having a distant relative who is a slave.
Generational poverty, THAT'S the problem. We've literally forced a culture of low education, high poverty, and high crime on them. And frankly, blacks weren't even *remotely* equal until 1964...that's a looooong history of abuse of a race and a very recent resolution to the issue.

How about time in/time out? Let's see, the English started enslaving Africans for work in colonies in the late 1600s (Charlestown, 1670).

So: 1964-1670 = 294 years. So I deem them "no longer owed anything" in the year 2258 (1964+294). Sound fair?

----------

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We could pay out reparations to every culture and racial group because at some point they all were wronged in the past or we can live in the present and worry about the lives that we live.
I bet you supported the pardon of Nixon.

Look, OF COURSE the race that morally owes reparations to practically everyone on the planet wants to "live in the present". Funny how that works...
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 10:32 AM   #20
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Generational poverty, THAT'S the problem. We've literally forced a culture of low education, high poverty, and high crime on them. And frankly, blacks weren't even *remotely* equal until 1964...that's a looooong history of abuse of a race and a very recent resolution to the issue.

How about time in/time out? Let's see, the English started enslaving Africans for work in colonies in the late 1600s (Charlestown, 1670).

So: 1964-1670 = 294 years. So I deem them "no longer owed anything" in the year 2258 (1964+294). Sound fair?
No one forces crime on someone. You can be a dirt poor idiot and not be a criminal (these are all personal choices). You can choose to make your kids go to school and focus. You can choose not to leave your unborn children with a single parent. You can choose to not let your kid dress like a thug and hang out with the wrong crowd. You can even be the President of the United States. I guess you must be under the impression that the majoriy of white people who immigrated to the US weren't dirt poor and sailed in with gold sheet sails and barrels of gold?

Quote:

I bet you supported the pardon of Nixon.

Look, OF COURSE the race that morally owes reparations to practically everyone on the planet wants to "live in the present". Funny how that works...
Is it your interpretation that the concept of slavery started in 1670 and that it only applies to Africans? What about the Arab and African slavers who sold the Africans to the slave trade? Do they get reperrations as well because they are black/brown? What type of process do you want to use to see if they were the children of slavers, slaves, or not involved at all? Honor system?
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 12:01 PM   #21
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I fail to see why blacks should be reimbursed because their great great grandfathers were slaves.

I was bullied in middle school, should I be reimbursed? Being bullied has much more effect on someone than having a distant relative who is a slave.
Both comments are interesting, but rather moot. The first one is made moot by the issuance of partial reparations for Native American's and black farmers in the Claim Settlement Act. The origination of the issue was in 1887 from what I have read, and dates back even further for tribes in the eastern United States.

The second comment is just nonsense. Please don't take any offense to that though; but it is like saying the repercussions of slavery, the Holocaust, and, the Bataan Death March, and the US internment of the Japanese mean less than a kid being bullied.

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I can't see how someone's great grandfather being a slave affects that person in anyway, especially in a way to have that person reimbursed.
There's plenty of research to the contrary. A rudimentary Google search gave me a host of notable sites with articles describing in detail the lasting effects. Many of those articles have been written by non blacks.

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I don't think reparations should be considered unless we are talking about living victims. On the other hand - if a situation that led to injustice in the past is still being perpetuated leaving descendants of the original crimes in a disadvantaged state, from which others benefit, than it behoves those with the entitlements to redress the situation. Besides the examples of African-Americans, another excellent example is the conquest and genocide of aboriginal populations in North America started by Europe and its colonies and perpetuated by the US and Canada. Many Aboriginals are still in living in a pretty sorry state today, and even though I am the son of immigrants to Canada and not responsible for the initial crime (heck I don't think that is true of those descended from the original settlers either) I do feel we are responsible - people and government - to correct this.
Well, on the contrary many nations paid and are still paying for reparations to countries effected by their involvement in WW2. Most of the victims of that struggle have passed away. It makes no sense to just give the reparations to living victims with that in mind.

Although, it does bring up the question how we administer reparations to right an historical wrong.

Also, the age old, "I am not responsible because I wasn't here," has always been defunct once one looks at the concepts and truths behind white privilege. Just because you didn't participate, doesn't mean you don't benefit in some way. And again, these concepts are spearheaded by other whites and non blacks and has existed for decades.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 12:12 PM   #22
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Being bullied has much more effect on someone than having a distant relative who is a slave.
How do you know this?
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 12:20 PM   #23
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I can't see how someone's great grandfather being a slave affects that person in anyway, especially in a way to have that person reimbursed.
If someone stole property from your great grandfather and then passed it down to their children (instead of your great-grandfather passing it down to your grandfather), would you not expect the thief's children to return the stolen item to its rightful inheritors?

I would think generational inheritance of stolen property does not relieve the descendants of the thieves from the moral obligation to return the stolen property to the descendants of its rightful owners.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie Acorn View Post
We could pay out reparations to every culture and racial group because at some point they all were wronged in the past or we can live in the present and worry about the lives that we live.

I would also be curious to see if the Africans who enslaved the people who were shipped off would be held responsible and have to pay as well.
The fact that many people have been the victims of various crimes does not invalidate the moral obligation of the recipient of stolen property to return that property to its rightful owner.

Yes, the Africans who did the original stealing and fencing should also be held responsible; just as both the thief and the purchaser of stolen goods have the obligation to surrender the stolen goods or the benefit derived from them in criminal justice code.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lannister80 View Post
Generational poverty, THAT'S the problem. We've literally forced a culture of low education, high poverty, and high crime on them. And frankly, blacks weren't even *remotely* equal until 1964...that's a looooong history of abuse of a race and a very recent resolution to the issue.

How about time in/time out? Let's see, the English started enslaving Africans for work in colonies in the late 1600s (Charlestown, 1670).

So: 1964-1670 = 294 years. So I deem them "no longer owed anything" in the year 2258 (1964+294). Sound fair?
Totally disagree with this. We African-Americans have only wallowed in relative poverty and lack of education because we have allowed ourselves to do so, rather than taking responsibility for our own state of being and collectively changing it from within our own communities. While it might be argued that we continually look for someone else (government, wealthy whites, etc) to fix our problems for us because we still harbor remnants of a slave culture mentality, a history of slavery is no excuse for not handling our cultural business effectively.

That being said, the fact remains that stolen property (in this case the vast productivity of entire generations of lives) should still be returned to its rightful owners or their descendants under any truly moral or ethical regime.

>
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 12:20 PM   #24
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Well, on the contrary many nations paid and are still paying for reparations to countries effected by their involvement in WW2. Most of the victims of that struggle have passed away. It makes no sense to just give the reparations to living victims with that in mind.
I do believe that this is going to stop in the very near future, there are voices now in Germany which are begining to say enough is enough.
The old emotional blackmail only worked on the generation directly who were directly responsible and those born soon after WWII, but children and young adults of todays modern Germany don't see any duty to pay.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 01:04 PM   #25
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How do you know this?
I mean, I can't say whether or not exactly, it was somewhat of a foolish comment. I'll admit it. I was trying to get that there are more important issues that directly affect people at this moment, like bullying. But the point I was trying to make is that if people expect every wrong to be righted, it would just not work... There's too many wrongs in this world. Someone's grandchildren paying for the wrongs of their grandparents to someone who wasn't wronged just doesn't click with me. The earliest both sides of my family got to America is the 1920's. So just because I'm white and my family weren't slaves, I should have to pay far off descendants of slaves who were never slaves?

Another difference in comparing this to the Holocaust, Japanese internment, etc. is that there are living victims of these atrocities that have direct proof of their losses. Even people who weren't alive during this time could possibly prove through documentation shops or property that were taken from their family...

That's a lot different than "My great great grandfather is a slave and that's why I'm poor today. I deserve some money."
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