Dispelling myths about ADOS reparations through a black capitalist lens
“Lift yourself by your bootstraps.” “Democrats ruined the black community.” These are phrases often heard in conservative spaces. Overall, conservatives are averse to the idea of any type of reparations, whether it be for slavery or for Jim Crow laws. While slavery may be too far back in history to trace descendants from and accurately asses damage, black people who grew up during legal segregation and discrimination are still alive and now have families. I believe that some form of justice can be made, as a conservative capitalist who is an American descendant of slavery (ADOS). The disconnect occurs between those two aforementioned statements. A redefinition of the term “reparations” may not only clear up some of the confusion, but also solve some of the issues currently plaguing the black community. Let’s begin with some misconceptions surrounding the notion of reparations.
1. White people have to pay black people.
There are certainly some ADOS activists who see this as an option, but it’s just not feasible. It’s not fair to the white Americans who had nothing to do with slavery or the discriminatory Jim Crow laws. It was the government (and yes, the democrats) who decimated the black community. Redlining, school segregation, unbreakable glass ceilings, violence, and over-regulation sponsored by the US government all contributed to many of the struggles that still occur. The burden should lie on the institution that caused this mess in the first place, not the common individual American who already pays high taxes as it is. This isn’t about white people. The democratic candidates that suggest having taxes raised to cover it are disingenuous and pandering.
2. Black people just want cash handouts.
This is another falsehood that causes conservatives to turn their noses up at the very idea of reparations. Let’s forget the fact that the US government distributed the 2018 equivalent of $3,390,000,000 to Japanese-Americans who had been interned, and their heirs. Actually, keep that in mind, because this is something that never happened to the victims of slavery or segregation, much less their heirs. Lucky for you, I am not suggesting that. One thing that conservatives got right was that reliance on the welfare state has been detrimental for low-income black people. I don’t believe that an unattached check for 100 grand would foster long-term economic growth. My ideas for an effective plan are coming up.
3. Reparations is socialism.
Actually, the form of justice that many activists are suggesting is less “socialist” than the past and current legislation that impacts black people. They are still over-legislated and over-regulated. Lowering disproportionately high taxes and providing jump-starts to black capitalist endeavors is a part of many “reparation plans,” including mine. To create wealth, greater economic ability is needed. A plan specific to black people is necessary to counter-act the specifically anti-black plans that stunted their growth. Using the government to right their wrongs is not socialism. The only way help would be considered an overreach would be if you don’t acknowledge the initial wrongdoing. We all know that something deliberately evil happened, so let’s deliberately fix it. Capitalism can and should be used to accomplish this.
4. There is no systemic wealth disparity.
Contrary to popular belief, things still aren’t equal or equitable between black and white people in this nation. The main factor being generational wealth, which contributes to the modern familial net worth. As of 2010, the average black family’s net worth was less than $5,000, compared to white family wealth being nearly $100,000. 25% of black families have zero or even negative worth, and this number is expected to grow. Between post-Civil War reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement, blacks were barred from decent grade schools, universities, buying nice houses, climbing corporate ladders, or even voting in the south. These were our great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents. It may even have been you. All of this contributed to the major lack of generational wealth. Something must be done.
Where do we begin? (The Plan)
“Well, what is the alternative to white people forking over cash? That’s what my favorite conservative pundit told me what would happen.”
Programs for tax breaks and help with loans for business owners and first time home buyers come to mind. A roll-back of federal and state regulations/licensing put into place to control black businesses would be of upmost priority. It’s not just “free money.” It’s returning the black dollar into the black hand. This lets the cash reparations become generated from black people, for black people. Essentially, this is a small-scale and justice-based Reaganomics that would actually work over time. Black small business owners in black communities are not about to ship their money off to an offshore account or invest in China. Black Americans can invest in themselves just like history showed them doing on Black Wall Street before white supremacists conspired to destroy it. Fostering black capitalism is the fair answer.
Reparations are needed to connect those two phrases in the introduction. Yes, lifting yourself by your bootstraps aka working hard is something that everyone would benefit from. Yes, democrats did nearly destroy the black community and halted its economic growth. The piece that fits in between those beliefs is justice, something that never came to black Americans after systemic oppression. I’m not necessarily advocating for you to be pro-reparations, but to take a look at it through a different lens. Thank you.