Ragavi RajkumarMr.BannoAP U.S History8th January 2018.
Journal #4Part 1:In “The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates sets out a powerful argument for reparations to blacks for having to thrive through horrific inequity, including slavery, Jim Crowism, Northern violence and racist housing policies. By erecting a slave society, America erected the economic foundation for its great experiment in democracy. And Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.
Paying such a moral debt is such a great matter of justice served rightfully to those who were suppressed from the fundamental roles, white supremacy played in American history. The article begins with the author narrating the story of Clyde Ross, whose journey from Mississippi to Chicago is a living example of the trajectory. Ross, the son of a Mississippi sharecropper, saw the small portion of wealth and land his father could attain forcibly stripped from him by local white authorities. Then, when Ross moved to Chicago after World War II, he was essentially shut out, by federal law from buying a home through the legitimate means available to whites. He spent years paying for a house through a contract agreement that did not allow him to build equity and which did not appreciate in value because by federal law homes in black communities were appraised as worth less than others in non-black communities. Ross’s example shows a clear portrayal of how blacks weren’t awarded the emblem of Homeownership. Ross previously asked not to question authorities, wouldn’t be quiet.
He joined the Contract Buyers League, not just appealing to the government simply for equality and no longer fleeing in hopes of a better deal elsewhere. Instead, they were charging the society with a crime against their community. They wanted the crime publicly ruled as such. And they wanted restitution for the great injury brought upon them by offenders. In 1968, Clyde Ross and the Contract Buyers League were no longer simply seeking the protection of the law. They were seeking reparations.They wanted reparations not just to feed and house themselves. They wanted to prove that the struggle is really all because of the past and compensation would level them up to live through practicing freedom and equality.
In the years following World War II, the economy was booming. Suburbs were popping up, millions of white Americans were availing themselves of government-backed home loans. World War II vets used their GI Bill benefits to pay for college or start their lives. But Blacks, the mass that really deserved these new reforms were excluded.The housing portion of the G.I. Bill, and an incredibly vast array of illegal and crooked ways in which private realtors and the government denied them housing and loans that led the rest of America into being a nation of homeowners.The new deal, a series of federal programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted in the United States during the 1930s in response to the Great Depression, which included the social security and unemployment insurance was excluded to the Blacks.
These racist exclusions wrecked the entire section of the Black society. The source of hope was the government and it failed. Black families making $100,000 typically live in the kinds of neighborhoods inhabited by white families making $30,000.
This also led to blacks having far less wealth and to their being continually preyed on by unscrupulous realtors and banks. It also led to their being concentrated in areas awash in violence, bad schools, drugs, and myriad other types of social dysfunction.This caused a major difference of kind, not just in degree.
According to the most recent statistics, North Lawndale is now on the wrong end of virtually every socioeconomic indicator. In 1930 its population was 112,000. Today it is 36,000. The halcyon talk of “interracial living” is dead. The neighborhood is 92 percent black. Its homicide rate is 45 per 100,000—triple the rate of the city as a whole.
The infant-mortality rate is 14 per 1,000—more than twice the national average. Forty-three percent of the people in North Lawndale live below the poverty line—double Chicago’s overall rate. Forty-five percent of all households are on food stamps—nearly three times the rate of the city at large. Sears, Roebuck left the neighborhood in 1987, taking 1,800 jobs with it. Kids in North Lawndale need not be confused about their prospects: Cook County’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Center sits directly adjacent to the neighborhood.”The problem was the money.Without the money, you can’t move. You can’t educate your kids.
You can’t give them the right kind of food. Can’t make the house look good. They think this neighborhood is where they supposed to be. It changes their outlook ” (Ross). Money and time that Ross wanted to give his children went instead to enrich white speculators. The negro poverty wasn’t even considered it as a part of the American poverty. Just like how slaves were treated like “assets”, the loud voice against poverty and suppression was dimed to whispers the government couldn’t hear. The government was essentially subsidizing the creation of America’s huge middle class.
The article also throws light upon affirmative action. It reads that “If it was meant to increase “diversity” If so, it only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people.” ( Coates ) . However, contrary to the article, affirmative action helps in both ways. An action or policy originally favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination can improve their overall improvement and also improve their contribution to the American society as a whole. An easy example would be education. By enabling diverse groups of students to assimilate with others and learn values and subjects which they couldn’t have easily gained (due to financial or location issues), the person is enlightened, he/she could easily get a job, and the workforce would contribute to the country’s and the person’s stability. Only reparations and affirmative actions can serve moral justice to the Blacks of America.
Part 2: “The reason black people are so far behind now is not that of now,” “It’s because of then.” (Ross, ). Slavery, Jim Crowism, and the Civil Rights Era shape the situation of America today. The most affected race are the Blacks. The same blacks who built the economy and structure of America.
Over the years, some things have changed.The lives of black Americans are better than they were half a century ago. The humiliation of whites only signs are gone.
Rates of black poverty have decreased. Black teen-pregnancy rates are at record lows—and the gap between black and white teen-pregnancy rates has shrunk significantly. But such progress rests on a shaky foundation, and fault lines are everywhere.
The income gap between black and white households is roughly the same today as it was in 1970. Whites born into affluent neighborhoods tended to remain in affluent neighborhoods, whereas blacks tended to fall out of them.According to the U.S. Censor Bureau, during the 1990s African American income grew tremendously. By 2000, 56% of African American households had an annual income of $35K or more compared to just 36% in 1969.
However due to the recession that number dropped to just 51% by 2014 reversing much of these gains. The most dramatic change during the most recent recession was the percentage of Black households making under $15K (from 19% in 2000 to 24% in 2010) which was well below the poverty line for families.Just like how Clyde Ross moved from Mississippi, lynchings, Jim- Crowism to Chicago with a job, a family, a little liberty with racist housing policy, we have come a pretty long way.
Just like how Oprah Winfrey was proud as the first black lady to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award, who remembered of seeing Sidney Poitier, the first black to receive the same award, as a kid who grew up in Jim Crow South.But in the long run, we are always running behind. Perfection would be when race isn’t even a matter of concern, and everybody is treated equally under the government composed of elites who work towards liberty and equality for all. On a scale of 1 to 10, we stand on a 5.
A five we should be proud of but not satisfied with. A positive five for we assimilate and educate everybody, but a negative five for the lack of quality in education varying at different places. A five for we include players of different ethnicities but a negative five for us to not allow them to kneel during the pledge. Our leaders have fought decades and decades with the purpose. We still are fighting. The war is tiring but it is definitely stoppable, and someday we can see the difference.An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.
The points made in the article are groundbreaking and would definitely help America to compensate for what her system did to the Blacks. The author gives an example of the Holocaust reparation. He writes, “Reparations could not make up for the murder perpetrated by the Nazis. But they did launch Germany’s reckoning with itself, and perhaps provided a roadmap for how a great civilization might make itself worthy of the name.” But the Holocaust lasted only about 10 years and the reparations were made within the lifetimes of the recipients.There is a huge difference between 10 or 20 years and 400 years and a huge difference in the number of people affected.
Reparations beckon us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans. However, it frightens the mass due to the lack the ability to pay and it conflicts with the deeper side of America’s heritage, history, and standing in the world.Bibliography”INCOME.” BlackDemographics.com, http://blackdemographics.com/households/african-american-income/