I have gone back and forth on the reparations argument and while the likelihood of reparations for “black” descendants of African slaves brought to America is near zero, I have been giving some thought to why negotiations for reparations has never borne any fruit.
The main reason why negotiations have failed is that there really hasn’t been any real negotiations to begin with. No clear communications between the party asking for reparations (“blacks”) and the party from which reparations is being sought (the US government). The proponents of reparations acknowledge that “blacks” should get something for their vote and that the Democratic Party has been taking their vote for granted. Proponents look around their neighborhoods and see no returns on their electoral investment. They see weak urban economies, experience high crime, and receive little to no engagement from elected officials unless it is that time in the election cycle for fish fries and church visits by vote seekers.
The demands of reparation proponents never seemed to account for the needs of government. Proponents don’t appear to account for the needs of another important stakeholder: the black political merchants that trade on the black constituency.
Government is concerned about spreading and maintaining its influence. Any threat to that concern has to be dealt with like a cancerous cell. It has to be removed. Government does not want the distraction of an independent-minded entity lurking within its borders sucking resources and markets out of its political economy. The entity will ether have to be fully absorbed and completely cut out.
For the black political merchant/trader/broker any independence that reparations introduces into their constituency means that their bargaining leverage is reduced in the American political markets. If a “black” household retains sufficient resources as a result of reparations, its need for the black political merchant/trader/broker is diminished. The “black” household’s demand for the black political merchant/trader/broker was based on what the merchant could get for them. Get rid of the need, get rid of the merchant.
Reparations, if designed to provide an adequate amount of resources, makes the merchant very expendable. I believe this is the real reason that establishment merchants such as Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Maxine Waters, etc., have been mum on the idea. While the reparations narrative creates an emotional button that can be pushed, it also represents a threat to black political merchant influence and the prestige and coin that comes along with it. The Establishment will never get behind reparations.
Reparations proponents will have to circumvent the establishment merchants by making a direct offer to the wholesaler, the US government. I recommend the following resolution.
“Whereas, African slaves in the United States were obtained by Europeans as a result of trade between British and European trading companies chartered by their respective monarchs and African royal families and other African slave traders; and
Whereas, no evidence has been submitted that agreements entered into between European and British trading companies and African traders were in violation of the laws of contract and commerce existing at the time; and
Whereas, Africans brought to the United States as slaves or born into slavery during that period in the United States when slavery was deemed legal were not citizens of the United States during that period of legal slavery; and
Whereas, the institution of slavery in the United States was unique to Africans and their direct descendants occupying the status as slaves during the time slavery was legal in the United States; and
Whereas, other non-European groups in the United States, while being citizens of the United States, have suffered discrimination based on phenotype, genotype, and other characteristics indicating non-European or British lineage; and
Whereas, today’s descendants of slaves brought to the United States or born into slavery in the United States are not seeking repair of damage to their persons or property as a result of their involuntary servitude in the United States as citizens of the United States; and
Whereas, the American taxpayer, many of whom are not descended from slave owners, may express the inequity of subsidizing reparation payments for wrongs neither they or their ancestors may be responsible for; and
Whereas, any reparations must include placing descendants of slaves brought from Africa into an independent national status they would have likely enjoyed were the lives of their ancestors not interrupted by the slave trade;
It is hereby Resolved that the following occur:
- Reparations are to be paid over a ten-year period to those individuals demonstrating that there exists a direct ancestor within their matrilineal lineage having been brought involuntarily to the United States between 4 July 1776 and 31 December 1862 to be bought and sold as a slave under the laws of the United States government.
- Reparations are to be paid over a ten-year period to those individuals demonstrating that there exists a direct ancestor within their matrilineal lineage having been born into slavery between 4 July 1776 and 31 December 1862 pursuant to the laws of the United States government.
- That reparations be deposited annually during said ten-year period into a financial depository institution owned solely by shareholders whose direct ancestors within their matrilineal lineage were either brought involuntarily to the United States between 4 July 1776 and December 1862 to be bought and sold as a slave under the laws of the United States government or born into slavery between 4 July 1776 and 31 December 1862 pursuant to the laws of the United States government.
- That the financial depository institution has a state charter but is not a member of the Federal Reserve System.
- Recipients of reparations payments have their citizenship status reduced to that of permanent resident with the understanding that citizenship status may be reinstated upon repayment of reparations plus interest equal to the yield on the ten-year Treasury note at the time of application for reinstatement.
- Recipients will not be eligible for any federal social welfare benefits including social security benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, Medicare/Medicaid benefits, or food stamp benefits.
There is upside to this resolution. First, it potentially removes up to 13% of the potential electorate from the voting rolls. The Republican Party, which has demonstrated little need for winning the urban vote, will have even less incentive to chase it for that vote may virtually be non-existent. As for the Democratic Party, on the one hand they will be relieved that they can focus more resources on garnering the other “people of color” vote that lurks within the Latino and Asian communities. On the other hand there will be some fear and trepidation that their traditional go-to constituency will no longer be there to bail them out of tight races.
For “blacks” there will be the opportunity to chart their own course by substituting dependence on government for developing their own resources for which to build an independent federation. It will call for ramping up the art of diplomacy since a new “black” state will have to negotiate the extent of their sovereignty with the US government. It will call for making infrastructure moves such as buying farmland and deploying technology that supports commerce and independence. No repair can happen overnight.
And to my personal delight it will call for getting rid of the existing “black” establishment political merchants. They served their purpose, earned their fake wealth. It is time for them to go.