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Thread: Reparations to the Descendants of Slaves

  1. #25
    Thread Killer Muckraker's Avatar
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    Nice to see this old thread being zapped with the jumper cables of life. :)

    I'll sum up my position for anyone that doesn't want to read the first few pages.

    1. Companies, families, and individuals that benefitted from slavery when it existed have descendents and other offshoots that still benefit from it today.

    2. The vast wealth created through slavery did not disappear when slavery was abolished.

    3. Ex-slaves and descendents of slaves were severely hindered in their ability to gain wealth and status for many years after slavery was abolished.

    4. The United States have set the precedent of repaying groups of people that have been wronged by our country.

    5. Slaves deserve(d) reparations.

    6. Since there are no living ex-slaves, the descendents of those slaves should inheret the reparations.

    7. Our legal system awards judgements to descendents all the time. (If I found a deed to a piece of land my great great great great grandfather owned and a court deemed the land was never transferred to another party then I would own that land and I could tell the Wal-Mart parked there to pack up and hit the road.)

    8. Reparations need not consist of money but they should definitely consist of opportunity.



    If any opponents want to bring this back to life I would love to see their take on number five as well. To have a chance, in my opinion, an opponent would need to argue adamantly against the idea that slaves themselves deserved anything other than being "set free."

  2. #26
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    I'll respond to #5 ... The slaves that (might or might not ) deserve reparations are all dead.

    Their descendants are a murky mix of the 'melting pot' of American society today.

    Just as many companies and people who built fortunes using slave labor lost all of it subsequent to the Civil War as those that maintained and passed the wealth on.

    In the century and a half since the end of the Civil War, many black families have built huge fortunes to pass on to their descendants without reparations that go beyond the affirmitive action programs that were instilled in the 60's as a way to level the playing field for minorities.

    As was stated earlier, the majority of Americans today (white) didn't have slaves, their ancestors didn't have slaves, and they haven't profitted any more or less than black americans by the success of companies that may have been built by slave labor 6 generations ago.

    Many, many, many black people have immigrated to the US in the last 150 yrs as free citizens and are not entitled to reparations as defined in the OP.

    Many black people living in the north during slavery era were not slaves.

    America is the land of equal opportunity ... (in theory) ... She should continue to strive for that rather than to falsely shift the balance of opportunity to a group of people (to what level do we do that? ... allow inferior black doctors to get preference to superior asian ones? ... how long should this shift in equal opportunity last? ... Slavery existed as a legal American enterprise for 80 yrs ... so do we give reparations for 80 yrs to make up for it? ... then take it back from subsequent generations?)

    This sensitive issue is best handled by moving foreward, not back ... by ensuring that all people are given equal opportunity and judged by their character as opposed to the color of their skin. There is no way to turn back the clock 150 yrs and repair a travesty that was perpetrated. The government took the most forceful stance it can against the institution of slavery ... it waged a war that cost more American lives by 10 fold than any other conflict since. Many white people's descendants already paid reparations ... with the highest toll ... their lives.

  3. #27
    Just plain WEIRD Ken Carman's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: Muckraker View Post
    This has probably been discussed before but I couldn't find any recent threads that were on this exact topic or stayed on topic.

    The Question:
    In theory, are descendants of slaves in the United States owed reparations?

    The question is specific so these items should be deemed Off Limits:
    The definition of reparations is not necessary. The argument is based on whether or not the descendants are owed "something."
    The problem of determining who is a descendant does not address the question and doesn't need to be discussed.
    The question of who would pay the reparations does not need to be discussed as it is not addressing the question.

    The Stance I'm Taking:
    Yes. The descendants of slaves are owed reparations. Laws in our country previously forbid slaves, and African-Americans from accumulating wealth or passing wealth down to their descendants. This has had a direct and negative impact on the African-American descendants that are alive today and will continue to have a negative impact in the future.

    Other American immigrants have been accumulating and passing down family wealth for centuries and many of their descendants are experiencing the numerous positive benefits of this. Many of the companies and families that experienced the benefits of a "no cost" labor force are still around today in one form or another, as is the wealth that the free labor roots nurtured.

    -----------------------------------------------

    I would be interested in debating this and I apologize for taking, in my opinion, the easier stance to defend. I only request that the debate stay on topic and not veer off into the details about the reparations like the post I read from 2006 did. This topic is purely to discuss whether, in theory, descendants of slaves in the United States are owed reparations.

    I look forward to a fun discussion!

    Yes, but I'm thinking it should be more on the line of building parks, community improvements, job accessibility, paid public works ala' the 30s for those having the hardest time... this is just right off the mental cuff: a first response.

    I definitely think Native Americans deserve similar programs.

    I base this on my assumption that just giving folks money usually solves nothing... regardless of what the administration and the Dems claim these days, ala' rebating tax money that's already been spent due to how deeply in debt the nation has been driven.

    I also think, right or wrong, for those who are so convinced they will never get a fair treatment here, we should consider offering them the option to pay their way to go somewhere else. This is not some "love America or leave it." nonsense. This is more "you convinced we'll never be fair, we think your rut may be at least partially due to an attitude we probably can't solve for you... maybe it's best for both if you have a fresh start."
    Last edited by Ken Carman; 31st January 2008 at 12:49 PM.
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  4. #28
    Paladin phoenix_fire's Avatar
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    By disallowing a conversation on the chain of ownership, Muckraker has condemned his argument to be forever merely theoretical. Practical action requires practical considerations. For instance, tracking ancestries; determining whether the slave in question actually worked (perhaps they died: I know it sounds crass, but if you're going to start speaking in terms of wealth exacted and passed on, that would actually be a penalty) and for how long (hours computed with the working wage of the time). Perhaps subtract the cost of food, lodging, clothing, medicine, etc. Now lets talk percentages. If my ancestry is .05% slave owner, do I owe .05% of the going rate, or are you going to follow the money? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that my parents' parents didn't pass anything on to them. My mom grew up in a tiny woodframe house with a lot of foster siblings and my dad was a navy brat. So like, would a poor family in a shack owe thousands to Bill Cosby and Will Smith? How does this work exactly?

    And while we're on the subject, let's talk women, and the fact that they weren't even allowed to take in an income or own stuff for much of our history. They were practically household slaves. And it took a lot longer for the country to make good to them like it did to the slaves. In many ways, the system is still against us. I'd like to start seeing some reparations. Unlike the questionable tracing of slavery in one's family, I can guarantee that fully half of my direct ancestors were women.

    Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. -- Song 8:6

  5. #29
    Thread Killer Muckraker's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: Derach View Post
    I'll respond to #5 ... The slaves that (might or might not ) deserve reparations are all dead.
    I didn't ask if they were alive and I don't see what it matters that they are dead. The question is if slaves deserved something more from the US government than their freedom. It's a yes or no question.

    Their descendants are a murky mix of the 'melting pot' of American society today.
    I don't see how this applies unless you are implying that the descendents of slaves would be difficult to locate. I am not concerned with execution here. My primary thrust is arguing that the newly freed slaves deserved something more than their freedom and that standard inheritance laws and practices would extend whatever they were entitled to receive down to their living descendents.

    Just as many companies and people who built fortunes using slave labor lost all of it subsequent to the Civil War as those that maintained and passed the wealth on.
    Possibly. But what free people, with no legal hinderances based on their race or sex, choose to do to squander or build their fortunes is of no consequence to this argument.

    In the century and a half since the end of the Civil War, many black families have built huge fortunes to pass on to their descendants without reparations that go beyond the affirmitive action programs that were instilled in the 60's as a way to level the playing field for minorities.
    I would like to see source information for this. The word "many" is rhetorical. Blacks and women were still severely hindered by Jim Crow types of laws until the Civil Rights and Women's Rights movements and they still had to deal with the less tangible cultural bigotry that existed for years after that.

    Saying "century and a half since the end" also is deceptive. Does anyone really believe that in January of 1866 the newly freed blacks suddenly embarked on amassing their huge fortunes?

    As was stated earlier, the majority of Americans today (white) didn't have slaves, their ancestors didn't have slaves, and they haven't profitted any more or less than black americans by the success of companies that may have been built by slave labor 6 generations ago.
    I do not disagree with this statement.

    Many, many, many black people have immigrated to the US in the last 150 yrs as free citizens and are not entitled to reparations as defined in the OP.
    Agreed

    Many black people living in the north during slavery era were not slaves.
    Agreed but if they were at one time slaves in this country, or if they were descended from slaves in this country, then my scenario would apply to them as well.

    America is the land of equal opportunity ... (in theory) ... She should continue to strive for that rather than to falsely shift the balance of opportunity to a group of people (to what level do we do that? ... allow inferior black doctors to get preference to superior asian ones? ... how long should this shift in equal opportunity last? ... Slavery existed as a legal American enterprise for 80 yrs ... so do we give reparations for 80 yrs to make up for it? ... then take it back from subsequent generations?)
    Again, this is not about execution. It is about the theory that slaves deserved more than their freedom. America was only started as the land of equal opportunity for white males. It was not until 200 years later that we finally started applying that equal opportunity mindset to everyone.

    This sensitive issue is best handled by moving foreward, not back ... by ensuring that all people are given equal opportunity and judged by their character as opposed to the color of their skin.
    Slavery was a sensitive issue. Determining whether slaves deserved something more than their freedom is not. I agree that the easiest thing to do would be to ignore it and move forward but that isn't necessarily the right thing to do. We didn't ignore the people whose lives were affected by the Japanese Internment camps. Why would we choose to ignore something far more disturbing and that negatively affected far more people to a much greater extent?

    There is no way to turn back the clock 150 yrs and repair a travesty that was perpetrated. The government took the most forceful stance it can against the institution of slavery ... it waged a war that cost more American lives by 10 fold than any other conflict since. Many white people's descendants already paid reparations ... with the highest toll ... their lives.
    Slavery was not the only cause of the Civil War. It's nice to think that the benevolent North stormed to battle purely to stop such a travesty but that is not the case.

    ---------------------------------------------

    A banker comes by your house and says they discovered an error in your great great grandfather's account and that it amounted to $200 + eighty years of interest. You are the eldest living descendent of his. Do you:

    1. Happily accept the check. (And look for tax loopholes so you won't have to pay inheritance taxes on it. :))
    2. Decline the payment because the error occured so long ago.
    3. Decline the payment because your great great grandfather is dead and he was the one the money should have gone to.

  6. #30
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    Quote Quote by: Ken Carman View Post
    Yes, but I'm thinking it should be more on the line of building parks, community improvements, job accessibility, paid public works ala' the 30s for those having the hardest time... this is just right off the mental cuff: a first response.
    I agree. That is why I tried to stray away from defining reparations. My idea is for reparations to equate to opportunity, not necessarily money.

    I definitely think Native Americans deserve similar programs.
    Agreed.

    I base this on my assumption that just giving folks money usually solves nothing... regardless of what the administration and the Dems claim these days, ala' rebating tax money that's already been spent due to how deeply in debt the nation has been driven.
    Agreed. Off topic - So how many of us are going to immediately spend our tax "rebates" and hurry to borrow and spend money at the low low interest rates? Isn't that what got us in this pickle in the first place?

    I also think, right or wrong, that for those who are so convinced they will never get a fair treatment here we should consider offering them the option to pay their way to go somewhere else. This is not some "love America or leave it." nonsense. This is more "you convinced we'll never be fair, we think your rut may be at least partially due to an attitude we probably can't solve for you... maybe it's best for both if you have a fresh start."
    And I agree with this too! Great advances have been made in the last fifty years and hopefully people can see that, while it's not perfect, it is definitely better and still getting better every day. The people who think modern day America has not improved are definitely of the "rut" mentality and there is probably nothing that could be done to appease them.

  7. #31
    Thread Killer Muckraker's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: phoenix_fire View Post
    By disallowing a conversation on the chain of ownership, Muckraker has condemned his argument to be forever merely theoretical. Practical action requires practical considerations. For instance, tracking ancestries; determining whether the slave in question actually worked (perhaps they died: I know it sounds crass, but if you're going to start speaking in terms of wealth exacted and passed on, that would actually be a penalty) and for how long (hours computed with the working wage of the time). Perhaps subtract the cost of food, lodging, clothing, medicine, etc. Now lets talk percentages. If my ancestry is .05% slave owner, do I owe .05% of the going rate, or are you going to follow the money? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that my parents' parents didn't pass anything on to them. My mom grew up in a tiny woodframe house with a lot of foster siblings and my dad was a navy brat. So like, would a poor family in a shack owe thousands to Bill Cosby and Will Smith? How does this work exactly?
    That is why I tried to limit this particular debate to theory and the question of whether slaves deserved something more than their freedom. Once that battle is won we can move on to debate about execution.

    And while we're on the subject, let's talk women, and the fact that they weren't even allowed to take in an income or own stuff for much of our history. They were practically household slaves. And it took a lot longer for the country to make good to them like it did to the slaves. In many ways, the system is still against us. I'd like to start seeing some reparations. Unlike the questionable tracing of slavery in one's family, I can guarantee that fully half of my direct ancestors were women.
    A different debate for sure but I'm sure you could make the theoretical argument work if you tried. :) The life of a 20th century housewife doesn't pull at the heartstrings as much as the life of a 19th century slave but that doesn't mean you don't have a case.

  8. #32
    Paladin phoenix_fire's Avatar
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    See, now, that's kinda indicative of the argument. 20th and 21st century african americans didn't have it so bad, all in all. But if you're going to reach back to the 19th century, then we might as well look at the historical abuses of women. You have to have a consistent standard.

    Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. -- Song 8:6

  9. #33
    slipping sand another day's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: Muckraker View Post
    This has probably been discussed before but I couldn't find any recent threads that were on this exact topic or stayed on topic.

    The Question:
    In theory, are descendants of slaves in the United States owed reparations?

    The question is specific so these items should be deemed Off Limits:
    The definition of reparations is not necessary. The argument is based on whether or not the descendants are owed "something."
    The problem of determining who is a descendant does not address the question and doesn't need to be discussed.
    The question of who would pay the reparations does not need to be discussed as it is not addressing the question.

    The Stance I'm Taking:
    Yes. The descendants of slaves are owed reparations. Laws in our country previously forbid slaves, and African-Americans from accumulating wealth or passing wealth down to their descendants. This has had a direct and negative impact on the African-American descendants that are alive today and will continue to have a negative impact in the future.

    Other American immigrants have been accumulating and passing down family wealth for centuries and many of their descendants are experiencing the numerous positive benefits of this. Many of the companies and families that experienced the benefits of a "no cost" labor force are still around today in one form or another, as is the wealth that the free labor roots nurtured.

    -----------------------------------------------

    I would be interested in debating this and I apologize for taking, in my opinion, the easier stance to defend. I only request that the debate stay on topic and not veer off into the details about the reparations like the post I read from 2006 did. This topic is purely to discuss whether, in theory, descendants of slaves in the United States are owed reparations.

    I look forward to a fun discussion!
    Pure crap. It was modern white people's ancestors that enslaved modern black people's ancestors. No one involved is alive today. Why on earth would you suggest that white people must inherit some kind of guilt through their race? People are individuals, not collective masses based on race.
    Look out kid, they keep it all hid.

  10. #34
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    Quote Quote by: Muckraker View Post
    This has probably been discussed before but I couldn't find any recent threads that were on this exact topic or stayed on topic.

    The Question:
    In theory, are descendants of slaves in the United States owed reparations?
    No.

    The question is specific so these items should be deemed Off Limits:
    The definition of reparations is not necessary. The argument is based on whether or not the descendants are owed "something."
    The problem of determining who is a descendant does not address the question and doesn't need to be discussed.
    The question of who would pay the reparations does not need to be discussed as it is not addressing the question.
    Noted.

    The Stance I'm Taking:
    Yes. The descendants of slaves are owed reparations. Laws in our country previously forbid slaves, and African-Americans from accumulating wealth or passing wealth down to their descendants. This has had a direct and negative impact on the African-American descendants that are alive today and will continue to have a negative impact in the future.

    Other American immigrants have been accumulating and passing down family wealth for centuries and many of their descendants are experiencing the numerous positive benefits of this. Many of the companies and families that experienced the benefits of a "no cost" labor force are still around today in one form or another, as is the wealth that the free labor roots nurtured.
    Reparations will not change the past nor correct the damage done in the past. The only thing these people should be doing is to overcome the past by fully assimilating into American society and stop holding themselves out as being a separate group of people. It's time to stop being "African" and start being "American."

    -----------------------------------------------

    I would be interested in debating this and I apologize for taking, in my opinion, the easier stance to defend. I only request that the debate stay on topic and not veer off into the details about the reparations like the post I read from 2006 did. This topic is purely to discuss whether, in theory, descendants of slaves in the United States are owed reparations.

    I look forward to a fun discussion!
    Don't ever apologize for taking a position on anything!

  11. #35
    Igneous Magma freedom13's Avatar
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    Reparations will not change the past nor correct the damage done in the past. The only thing these people should be doing is to overcome the past by fully assimilating into American society and stop holding themselves out as being a separate group of people. It's time to stop being "African" and start being "American."
    That will never happen, they will always be Africans.
    Beside, this debate is about equal justice for African Americans and Reparations.

  12. #36
    Thread Killer Muckraker's Avatar
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    *Note to any new viewers of this thread*

    The topic was originally started last summer and didn't see much action. It was reopened by Freedom13 recently and my current posts now propose a slightly different take on the issue than the original post.

    My new question is not whether descendants of slaves are owed reparations but whether the slaves themselves deserved more from the United States government than just their freedom.

    I pointed out the "trickle down" effect that this has in post# 25.

    I see no reason for any more responses on the original post from last summer since they pretty much amounted to "all the slaves are dead and so are the slave owners so I'm not paying anybody for anything."

    So I would love it if any additional posters would address the new issues I outlined in post# 25 of this thread.

    Thanks!

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