Juneteenth, 2019

JayMysterio

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Today was Juneteenth. I'm not sure how many are aware of the day, but a quick recap courtesy of Wikipedia...

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, was not enforced there until after the Confederacy collapsed. The name of the observance is a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth", the date of its celebration.[1][2] Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 46 states.[3]

Observance is primarily in local celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and reading of works by noted African-American writers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.[4] Celebrations include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, or Miss Juneteenth contests.[5] The Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles, of Coahuila, Mexico also celebrate Juneteenth.[6]
Small note; the Emancipation Proclamation was actually made in 1862, but for reasons didn't make it to Texas until 1865. Reasons. Poor communications is a horrible reason.

In some parts of the country, it was celebrated as a holiday today, such as in Pennsylvania. In Washington DC there were various events. Including Congress which decided to hold on this day a hearing on reparations or H.R. 40.

For which Mitch McConnell has an opinion, that I'm sure is shared by some.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/19/opinions/slavery-reparations-hr40-mitch-mcconnell-love/index.html
Those who can't see the importance of Wednesday's congressional hearing and the H.R. 40 bill, usually argue that slavery was "so long ago." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks reparations are not a good idea, claiming "it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate," and claims "none of us currently living are responsible" for what happened 150 years ago. McConnell believes America made up for slavery by electing Barack Obama, and passing civil rights legislation -- though he sees no need to restore the Voting Rights Act, and calls efforts to expand voting rights a "half-baked, socialist proposal."
Which led to this testimony today in congress by Ta-Neshi Coates

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/06/ta-nehisi-coates-testimony-house-reparations-hr-40/592042/

Yesterday, when asked about reparations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a familiar reply: America should not be held liable for something that happened 150 years ago, since none of us currently alive are responsible. This rebuttal proffers a strange theory of governance, that American accounts are somehow bound by the lifetime of its generations. But well into this century, the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of Civil War soldiers. We honor treaties that date back some 200 years, despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens, and thus bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach. It would seem ridiculous to dispute invocations of the Founders, or the Greatest Generation, on the basis of a lack of membership in either group. We recognize our lineage as a generational trust, as inheritance, and the real dilemma posed by reparations is just that: a dilemma of inheritance. It is impossible to imagine America without the inheritance of slavery.

As historian Ed Baptist has written, enslavement “shaped every crucial aspect of the economy and politics” of America, so that by 1836 more than $600 million, almost half of the economic activity in the United States, derived directly or indirectly from the cotton produced by the million-odd slaves. By the time the enslaved were emancipated, they comprised the largest single asset in America. Three billion in 1860 dollars, more than all the other assets in the country combined.

The method of cultivating this asset was neither gentle cajoling nor persuasion, but torture, rape, and child trafficking. Enslavement reigned for 250 years on these shores. When it ended, this country could have extended its hallowed principles—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—to all, regardless of color. But America had other principles in mind. And so for a century after the Civil War, black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.

It is tempting to divorce this modern campaign of terror, of plunder, from enslavement, but the logic of enslavement, of white supremacy, respects no such borders and the guard of bondage was lustful and begat many heirs. Coup d’états and convict leasing. Vagrancy laws and debt peonage. Redlining and racist G.I. bills. Poll taxes and state-sponsored terrorism. We grant that Mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox. But he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney. He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodard. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama and a regime premised on electoral theft. Majority Leader McConnell cited civil-rights legislation yesterday, as well he should, because he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them. He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some $4 billion. Victims of that plunder are very much alive today. I am sure they’d love a word with the majority leader.

What they know, what this committee must know, is that while emancipation dead-bolted the door against the bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open. And that is the thing about Senator McConnell’s “something”: It was 150 years ago. And it was right now.

The typical black family in this country has one-tenth the wealth of the typical white family. Black women die in childbirth at four times the rate of white women. And there is, of course, the shame of this land of the free boasting the largest prison population on the planet, of which the descendants of the enslaved make up the largest share. The matter of reparations is one of making amends and direct redress, but it is also a question of citizenship. In H.R. 40, this body has a chance to both make good on its 2009 apology for enslavement, and reject fair-weather patriotism, to say that this nation is both its credits and debits. That if Thomas Jefferson matters, so does Sally Hemings. That if D-Day matters, so does Black Wall Street. That if Valley Forge matters, so does Fort Pillow. Because the question really is not whether we’ll be tied to the somethings of our past, but whether we are courageous enough to be tied to the whole of them. Thank you.

While it's interesting to use Juneteenth as the day for the hearing on H.R. 40, it's a least a start ( again ) on the discussion of reparations. A discussion often mired in intentional misunderstanding and obfuscation. It isn't about checks being written to persons who may or may not be related to those enslaved. It isn't about punishing individuals who's ancestors may or may not have been slave owners.

It can be about programs to help the very people that some will disparage, and help lift them from the very conditions that some will site that are used to demonize them. It can be programs that redress the intentional segregating of people's in poorer neighborhoods, only to later complain about those same neighborhoods as dangerous. Ultimately it isn't about just passing out checks that many won't get, so it suddenly offends their newfound selective senses of fiscal responsibility.

What it can be about is properly addressing/redressing another shameful part of our past, and truly doing something about it. What that is, can be open for discussion finally... hopefully.
 

niji

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Any group other than rich white males? Let’s not pretend he cares about the poor.
LOL
thanks. :)

i didn't mention the "poor".
thanks for your comment.
i like the idea of your post.
i do kind of think that education and escape from poverty often do go hand in hand.
like rump said: he loves the uneducated.
 
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dannyyankou

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I can’t believe McConnell suggested electing Obama was a reparation. I saw an article and thought it was click-bait at first.

Now look, I think there does need to be some reparations for the government to pay back for the past, they never really repaid families or descendants of slaves. But that’s only a tiny fraction of the solution. We need big societal changes in this country to even the playing field so that blacks aren’t at a disadvantage.
 
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GermanSuplex

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We have a celebration in my town.

I am kind of mixed on the idea of reparations, but McConnell was ridiculous. "The guy I vowed to make a one-term president out of is your proof we don't need them".

I think a more publicly-enacted form would do great. Federal tax dollars for education in poor, black communities, funding for minority scholarships, etc.

Let's get this behind us.
 
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JayMysterio

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We have a celebration in my town.

I am kind of mixed on the idea of reparations, but McConnell was ridiculous. "The guy I vowed to make a one-term president out of is your proof we don't need them".

I think a more publicly-enacted form would do great. Federal tax dollars for education in poor, black communities, funding for minority scholarships, etc.

Let's get this behind us.
To get behind this, we’d have to get ahead of the many attempts to intentionally misconstrue first. It’s a discussion though many don’t want to have, because of the discomfort it brings. Whether it’s because they imagine they’re being blamed for things they actively had no part in, they imagine reparations are some kind of punishment they imagine being placed on them somehow, or as the Daily Show video pointed out because some imagine that if one group gets reparations why shouldn’t they get some too. It’s a conversation that when had, is often wrapped up in dishonesty or intentionally misunderstanding. It’s suddenly a conversation about a shame this country still carries, but wants to pretend never happened, all the while it’s effects are still being felt by policies inspired from that shameful time.

I jadedly think this is more likely a conversation we will sadly continue to have. Until by attrition some people give up in utter disgusted frustration, and realize that there are some things this country doesn’t feel it needs to redress. Even if it’s something this country intentionally did to achieve the country we now have.
 

GermanSuplex

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To get behind this, we’d have to get ahead of the many attempts to intentionally misconstrue first. It’s a discussion though many don’t want to have, because of the discomfort it brings. Whether it’s because they imagine they’re being blamed for things they actively had no part in, they imagine reparations are some kind of punishment they imagine being placed on them somehow, or as the Daily Show video pointed out because some imagine that if one group gets reparations why shouldn’t they get some too. It’s a conversation that when had, is often wrapped up in dishonesty or intentionally misunderstanding. It’s suddenly a conversation about a shame this country still carries, but wants to pretend never happened, all the while it’s effects are still being felt by policies inspired from that shameful time.

I jadedly think this is more likely a conversation we will sadly continue to have. Until by attrition some people give up in utter disgusted frustration, and realize that there are some things this country doesn’t feel it needs to redress. Even if it’s something this country intentionally did to achieve the country we now have.
We have Native American reparations. Not enough to right the wrongs, but certainly we'd have them. I'm not sure what the hangup on this is. Even with simple things that have happened over the last 50-60 years, those have had such a negative impact on black lives over the last few decades I can't imagine why education funding and such wouldn't easily pass. Do it and say you did it, and let's move on.
 
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JayMysterio

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We have Native American reparations. Not enough to right the wrongs, but certainly we'd have them. I'm not sure what the hangup on this is. Even with simple things that have happened over the last 50-60 years, those have had such a negative impact on black lives over the last few decades I can't imagine why education funding and such wouldn't easily pass. Do it and say you did it, and let's move on.
Before you posted I had seen this image come by on my Facebook feed coincidentally.



How accurate it is up to this date I can't be sure, but the basics are correct, including what the country did pay for the internment of Japanese American citizens.

https://www.vox.com/2014/5/23/5741352/six-times-victims-have-received-reparations-including-four-in-the-us
Japanese internment
The forced internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans in camps during World War II resultedin about $3.1 billion in property loss and $6.4 billion in income loss, in 2014 dollars. If you account for the possibility that that money might have been invested and gotten above-inflation returns, the economic losses are even larger.

Congress made two attempts at reparations, the Japanese-American Claims Act of 1948and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Between 1948 and 1965, the former authorized payments totaling $38 million (which comes to somewhere between $286 to $374 million in 2014 dollars), which didn't come close to matching the economic loss. The latter offered survivors $20,000 each in reparations. By 1998, 80,000 survivors had collected their share, for a total payout of $1.6 billion (between $2.3 billion and $3.2 billion today). There is no accounting by which either measure adequately repaid internees for their economic losses, let alone compensated for pain and suffering.

Forced sterilization
Most Americans states practiced one or another form of eugenics during the 20th century, with forced sterilizations of "unfit" people being a prime instrument. The targets were largely but by no means entirely mentally or developmentally disabled; poor black women on welfare were especially likely to be victimized in this manner. The Supreme Court gave the practice a green light with 1927's Buck v. Bell, and eventually 33 states adopted the practice, forcibly sterilizing about 65,000 people total through the 1970s. Oregon forcibly sterilized people as late as 1981, and its Board of Eugenics (renamed the "Board of Social Protection" in 1967) was only abolished in 1983.

Very few states have acknowledged or apologized for these policies, and only one, North Carolina, has set up a reparations program. The state sterilized about 7,600 people, most of whom are no longer living, but last year passed a $10 million reparations program that should give the more than 177 living victims somewhere in the range of $50,000 each. The payments should be made within a few years. Some victims have objected, saying this doesn't come close to remedying the injustice. As one victim, Elaine Riddick Jessie (who was sterilized at age 14 after being raped and giving the resulting son up for adoption), put it, "If I accepted it, what kind of value am I putting on my life?"

California, which sterilized by far the largest number of people of any state, has yet to pay out reparations.

Tuskegee experiment
After the end of the Tuskegee experiment — in which 399 black men with syphilis were left untreated to study the progression of the disease between 1932 and 1972 — the government reached a $10 million out of court settlement with the victims and their families in 1974, which included both monetary reparations (in 2014 dollars, $178,000 for men in the study who had syphilis, $72,000 for heirs, $77,000 for those in the control group and $24,000 for heirs of those in the control group) and a promise of lifelong medical treatment for both participants and their immediate families. According to the CDC, 15 descendants are still receiving treatment through the program today.

Rosewood
In 1923, the primarily black town of Rosewood on the Gulf Coast of Florida was destroyed in a race riot that, by official counts, killed at least six black residents and two whites (though some descendants of the town's residents have claimed many more were killed and dumped in mass graves). In 1994, the state of Florida agreed to a reparations package worth around $3.36 million in 2014 dollars, of which $2.4 million today would be set aside to compensate the 11 or so remaining survivors of the incident, $800,000 to compensate those who were forced to flee the town, and $160,000 would go to college scholarships primarily aimed at descendants.
So you're of course right, we've done it before, but it seems this specific circumstance is unacceptable for some. Which is interesting, because amongst many of those persons there's certain things that you will them repeat ad nauseam when it comes to things involving race. Those persons will carry on about crime rates, statistics, living conditions, education, and more. Reparations might be used to address those conditions, and do something to improve them. The question could then be asked, perhaps there isn't a real desire to address those conditions?