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Black Americans Are Entitled To Reparations BASED On RACISM, Not Slavery!

Black Americans Are Entitled To Reparations BASED On RACISM, Not Slavery!

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EDITOR: Is there anyone alive today who did not descend from an ancestor that was enslaved? I highly doubt it. Slavery was a way of life in all parts of the globe throughout antiquity and it is still in operation today in some places. Some Americans who call themselves Foundational Black Americans (FBA) and Descendants of American Slaves (ADOS) have been demanding Reparations of Slavery from the government of the United States. However, these demands have not been taken seriously thus far, and truth be told, these demands are never going to be taken seriously because the claimants lack legal standing.

In order for a claimant to be eligible for compensation, he or she must meet certain certain criteria. For example, Veterans who suffer injuries and diseases while serving in the military are entitled to compensation for those disabilities when the criteria are met. One criterion is Veteran status. To meet this criteria, the individual must have an “other than honorable discharge from the military.” If you served in the military and received a “dishonorable discharge,” you are not a Veteran. Secondly, the individual must have a current disability. Then thirdly, there must be record of an injury or event in the military that is linked to that current disability. All of these criteria must be met in order for entitlement to be established.

A child of a Veteran cannot file a claim for VA compensation based on the service of his or her parents. The child lacks standing because the child of the veteran cannot meet these criteria. Similarly, descendants of individuals that were made slaves on plantations in America, the Caribbean, South America, Madeira, San Tomé, The Canary Islands lack standing to file a claim for compensation. They were never slaves. They never worked on a slave plantation and no money is due to them based on their work. The people who worked are all dead. The slave owners who would have owed the slaves money are all dead. So, a case for reparations for slavery is also dead.

However, many individuals alive directly suffer from racism. Racism was invented by the scientists of the so-called Enlightenment Era or The Scientific Era. It deemed African people subhumans and they were deemed to be subhumans based on their physical appearances. Racism is more harmful than slavery because it is ongoing. Slavery ended, but racism is still causing injury to individuals based on their physical appearances. Therefore, there is most certainly a case to be made for entitlement to compensation for harm caused by racism. Racism was institutionalized here in the United States and it causes mental, physical and emotional harm to people who are deemed subhumans. We know that after World War II, the “White” middle class was built with VA and FHA loans, while the “Black” community was redlined. Black communities suffer from high crimes and violence largely due racism. This was as a direct result of racism. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris need to address reparations for racism. These atrocities caused by racism are in desperate need of repair. The government plays the game of escape because many victims of racism mistakenly associate slavery with racism and demand reparations for slavery. The government argues that all of the slaves are dead and this is absolutely true. However, all of the individuals deemed “subhumans” by racism are not dead and the government has an obligation to repair these damages.

When the scientists told the government that Black skin, thick lips and broad noses are indications of subhumans, the government enacted Segregation and Justice Brown in Plessy versus Ferguson gave us the metrics for subhumans in the form of one drop of “Black blood” not measured by a blood test, but by Black skin, thick, lips, hair texture, etc. This metric in determining Black as a race is still in effect to this day which means that the government is still engaged in the practice of racism, even after Franz Boas in 1912 proved that physical appearances don’t determine inferior or superior status.

As someone who studied Public Administration and have an understanding of policies, I am convinced that the best way forward in seeking redress for injuries suffer by the people who American racists have deemed Black and “subhumans,” is by making a case for compensation or reparations based on racism. There is legal standing for a case based on racism, but not on slavery. As I said no one alive is a direct victim of slavery, but many are direct victims of racism which America still currently practices by classification of individuals based on race.

Helena Edwards

Mount Vernon NY

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