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Mon Mar 18, 2019, 11:06 PM

 

Warren calls for 'full-blown conversation about reparations'

Politico

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gave her most detailed answer to date on the question of reparations for black Americans as a means of addressing centuries of slavery and legal discrimination.

In a CNN town hall on Monday night in Jackson, Miss., Warren became the first 2020 presidential candidate serving in the Senate to endorse a House bill that would create a commission to study reparation proposals.

I love the idea of this congressional commission, she said at Jackson State, a historically black university. I believe its time to start the national, full-blown conversation about reparations.

The bill, which former Rep. John Conyers first introduced in 1989, was re-introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) this past January. The commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery, Jackson Lee said earlier this year.


She'll never win a General Election with that issue, so she's off my Primary candidate list.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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Reply Warren calls for 'full-blown conversation about reparations' (Original post)
brooklynite Mar 2019 OP
BlueWI Mar 2019 #1
customerserviceguy Mar 2019 #3
BlueWI Mar 2019 #4
Honeycombe8 Mar 2019 #5
BlueWI Mar 2019 #7
Honeycombe8 Mar 2019 #8
BlueWI Mar 2019 #9
Honeycombe8 Mar 2019 #11
BlueWI Mar 2019 #12
InAbLuEsTaTe Mar 2019 #2
WeekiWater Mar 2019 #6
Skidmore Mar 2019 #10
Hortensis Mar 2019 #13

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2019, 11:18 PM

1. There's support for Black Lives Matter on DU

 

until it comes to accountability for the crimes against humanity that occurred for four centuries.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Kudos to Warren.
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Response to BlueWI (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 18, 2019, 11:41 PM

3. Asking police

 

not to shoot first and ask questions later is infinitely easier than asking families that may have had nothing to do with slavery pay money to people who were not themselves slaves.
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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 06:47 PM

4. Sounds like you're presuming what the outcomes would be of a reparations discussion.

 

I agree that asserting fair police procedure is easier to ask for, which is part of the point I'm making here. For instance, how hard is it to say it's wrong for a police officer in Dallas to enter the home of a black individual and shoot them without provocation, as Amber Guyger did? Still, there's been plenty of white backlash against even avoiding the shooting of unarmed black and brown people.

But think about the core question - crimes against humanity perpetrated against black people have never been accounted for with a public process. Do you support the continuation of that national silence about an issue of such weight? If so, be willing to say that in public and forgo any claim to moral high ground on issues of race. That's my real beef - too many of us want to have it both ways. We're not racist (nobody is) but we're also not willing to have a public conversation about what were the losses due to the crimes against humanity against black people, and what should be done in light of those losses - which might include community investments, etc., not just payment to individuals. But even Obama wasn't willing to put political weight behind an urban Marshall Plan because of perceptions like you're referencing - even as a Democrat, can't lean too hard into the reparations issue.

Many of these atrocities took place long after slavery - lynching? Sundown towns like Rosewood, FL, Tulsa, OK? Until recently, there were still survivors alive after the ethnic cleansing that took place in these locations. We don't even have to go back to pre-1865.

Japanese internees were compensated by the federal government. I didn't personally intern any Japanese people - I wasn't alive. But I supported a fair process of publicly recognizing this atrocity, including financial payments.

Balancing priorities is always necessary, but a lot of books were balanced on the backs of black people in this country's history. You're probably right though - we'll continue to find ways not to address these issues, perhaps indefinitely, and to our moral and political detriment, IMO.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to BlueWI (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 06:54 PM

5. But there are bigger problems with the slavery and such.

 

First is, it wasn't ancestors of all blacks in the U.S. Some black people came from Haiti and other places later and were never slaves.

Second, would they have to prove they had ancestors who had been slaves? Because I don't see that that's possible.

So it would be payments based on race alone.

Do people who are biracial also get reparations? Even if their grandparent was from another country? (Like Obama's father.)

Would millionaires like Obama and celebrities and professional athletes get reparations?

I just don't see how we'd parse things out at this late date.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 07:08 PM

7. This is the purpose of a conversation, to determine the best way forward on such questions.

 

However, the main outcome is to acknowledge the crimes against humanity, like South Africa did, like Turkey refuses to do with Armenia.

General public conversations about race are frequently reductive and literal. We move first to the most difficult questions, which are not necessarily the most important questions. Whether someone who's bi-racial gets a check presumes all kinds of things about the nature of the discussion and models for compensation, which could certainly be in the form of community investment, something that we neglect now as it is.

And in the US, we're obsessed about the financial side. The Japanese internees got something like $15,000. Do you think that this compensation was really about the money? Would you be willing to be imprisoned in a camp, lose your land, have your family separated, for $15,000? The purpose for the payment is symbolic, an attempt to acknowledge a wrong, officially, for the historical record and for the sake of survivors and the rest of the public alike.

As I mentioned before, in some ways we are barely prepared for this conversation, because we're more concerned about who gets paid than the nature of acknowledging a crime against humanity, discussing the harms that have occurred, and working out a strategy for going forward as a more unified nation. While I wholeheartedly disagree with you that it's a late date (the Constitution was written in 1787 - does it sill apply? The treaty/fishing rights issues in Wisconsin and Minnesota in the 1990s were based on treaties from the 1830s - they still apply!), I wholeheartedly agree that we as a country are challenged to find the wisdom, interest, and commitment to grapple with an issue of this weight and complexity.
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Response to BlueWI (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 07:56 PM

8. It is late.

 

The issue of reparations is not like a constitutional or property issue. Reparations would be payments to people as compensation for prior wrongs done. The operative word is "people."

There are no longer any former slaves alive. It is no longer possible to weed through all the living people who were affected by that.

I don't think this will ever happen. Esp if you can't isolate which people were affected. I see that as a critical part.

For the Japanese, there were far fewer, the families were identifiable, and some who had been interned either as adults or children, were still alive.

Are we going to give reparations to women for not allowing them to sit in courtrooms except in the balcony, if there was one? For not allowing them to be on juries? For not allowing them to own property? For letting husbands legally murder their wives under certain circumstances? For treating women like chattel under the law?

Where does it stop? It's a can of worms of all that it could open. There are many things in our history that the country did that were horrendous.
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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 08:55 PM

9. It's late - in your opinion

 

and probably in the opinion of the majority of people in a majority white country. It's late because we lack the political will, interest, and commitment to justice to pursue this, but not for any other reason.

As I mentioned before, you are assuming the form that reparations would take (payments to individuals) and what they would be based on (enslavement). This is an oversimplification of the issue. The crimes against humanity (a term you have avoided) against black people did not end with slavery. These included lynchings, redlining and disinvestment, federal government and local police collusion in assassination attempts against black leaders, ethnic cleansing of whole neighborhoods and cities (i.e. Rosewood and Tulsa), among other things.

As long as you insist on oversimplification of the issue, narrowing the issue artificially to individual payments to formerly enslaved people (who, by the way, in many cases can be identified, as in the Hemmings family branch of the Thomas Jefferson lineage), yes, the issue will appear even more vexing than it is. Have you read about any models for truth and reconciliation and/or reparations? There are certainly strategies that favor community reinvestment over individual payments. Healthy communities benefit everyone, and we should be redoubling our strategies to help stressed communities that have been negatively impacted by redlining, predatory subprime lending, deindustrialization, job discrimination, and the like.

I do agree that reparations probably won't happen, that in this country's climate, silence and denial are preferred over a difficult national conversation, even among folks who describe themselves as political progressives. Former President Clinton got roasted publicly over the essentially cost-free idea of a public apology for slavery. So if you think that federal efforts to account for the financial and ethical costs of slavery are indefensible, you're in good company. And forgive me for being excited that Senator Warren is a rare figure, even on the Democratic side, who is open to this conversation. As much as DU seems to cheer on the Congressional Black Caucus when it suits our argument of the moment, the CBC is not cheered when they re-introduce legislation pertaining to this issue.

I would be very open to a conversation about the treatment of women in this country - and of course, this includes black women, who often endured similar or worse indignities and denial of justice. I'm not down with the whataboutism, though. Rather than comparing oppressions (the proverbial oppression olympics), it makes more sense to me to evaluate one issue at a time, particularly since this issue was brought up in the OP. Sure, there were many horrendous things in our country's history, and as part of a general philosophy of recompense and reconciliation, I fully support the restoration of fishing rights for first nations in ceded territories and payments to Japanese Americans who were interned. I certainly would not dismiss out of hand ideas for compensation or national conversation that came out of feminist or other women-centered activism.

But at the end of the day - as I mentioned several times before - it's not just about the money. It's about honestly accounting for crimes against humanity that continue to produce unfavorable collective results. And I agree that at this point, action on this issue is unlikely to occur, because even on a Democratic site, any implication that black people will directly benefit collectively from a piece of legislation raises hackles. At least it's safe to say, these days, that most posters will not rationalize the frequent killing of unarmed black citizens - only a few insist in those rationalizations in view of the copious visual evidence of how extralegal some of these killings are. But I agree with you in that I have very low expectations of the American public to take an interest in accounting for crimes against humanity against black people. And your posts provide additional support for my assumption.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to BlueWI (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 20, 2019, 08:29 AM

11. Wow. So it's about vengeance...

 

against all white people.

The country is only a slight majority white country, now.

We will agree to disagree about this. No, I don't think we should pass out money or anything representing monetary benefits, to atone for past things that some people did against some other people.

As I said, there were other people, as well. Did you not read where I pointed out that women didn't have rights, were able to be beaten and murdered (and were) legally, they couldn't inherit property or land...so we women have lost out on advantages because of prior generations. Someone else got that land, instead of the women in the family. It is ironic that black men had the vote before women of any race or ethnicity.

Your listings of wrongs is an over reach (and some items are arguable) and caves the reparations argument in totality, IMO. It's not really about giving back for institutionalized slavery. It's about perceived wrongs of all sorts, past and present. Welcome to my world....a woman's world. As a mature woman, I remember not having employment choices in my younger days. Women simply weren't hired to do some jobs, and employers were free to say so. Women were legally paid less for no reason other than their gender. One of the main causes of death of pregnant women is still homicide. The institutionalized discrimination against women of all races has been widespread, all encompassing, and some of which is still legal.

As I said, if you want reparations for all sorts of things, so will every other group. Including mine: the female group, which is still paid less than males, and suffered the hardships in descending generations from not being able to own property or inherit property in past years, the beatings and murders (sometimes legal), the denial of civil rights, the denial of voting rights, etc.

The other groups will line up, as well. Native Americans, Hispanics, Italians, the Irish, the Jewish, etc.
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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 20, 2019, 04:18 PM

12. You added the word vengeance. Per usual, it's an oversimplification.

 

And now we're resorting to the "vengeance against white people" accusation that gets trotted out so frequently when black people assert any opinion left of President Obama.

Here was my phrase:

"honestly accounting for crimes against humanity that continue to produce unfavorable results."

Your last post continues to focus on the financial aspects of this, rather than grappling with how this history of racial oppression affects current and future directions of public policy. In some cases, as in Charlottesville today, we are actually having this conversation, where black people are standing up against the noxiousness of having public statues paying tribute to white supremacy in their own communities.

I don't know, but I would guess that Japanese-Americans who pursued justice after internment were not just looking for $15,000 or whatever the final figure was. They, most likely, sought official recognition that the U.S. government was in the wrong by causing them undue suffering, although some sort of settlement was apparently reached. Similarly, the settlement of treaty rights issues by First Nations in Wisconsin and Minnesota were likely related to justice as well as the practical ability to harvest fish and wildlife according to the 19th century tresties. Is it your opinion that these settlements should not have been pursued because other groups might have grievances? I do not feel that way. No group of people should be denied the opportunity to pursue justice for crimes against humanity, if it feels that there is a collective historical case for justice.

I agree with you that women across the world are being denied justice and many legal solutions should be pursued, whether collective or individual. I don't think it's a fair argument at all to say that unless collective justice is offered to women, collective justice should not be offered to black people. Pitting disenfranchised groups against each other is the oldest strategy of all when it comes to oppressive systems, and a commitment to actually listening and hearing each other is the antidote. I agree that sexism is a global problem that causes great harm to us all, and as I just said, I am open to and often actively support local and global action for gender equity. By contrast, in this conversation, you have expressed no openness whatsoever to addressing the crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated against black people.

This lack of openness is very common, so it's not surprising to me, but I think you should own this opinion for what it is. It's fair to disagree with me, of course, but you should disagree with what I actually said. And maybe we should go back to the OP as well, to ground opinions on what Elizabeth Warren was interested in doing, opening a conversation about the many models for truth and reconciliation and/or reparations. I'll repeat one more time: it's not just based on payments to individuals based on enslavement, and we shouldn't prejudge the results without having the conversation.

But the majority of white people and even POC likely feel closer to your view than mine, so you can take comfort that your point of view has plenty of popular support.
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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2019, 11:39 PM

2. I agree! Why Elizabeth has a real shot at the nomination & at breaking the "glass ceiling." FINALLY!

 

She's awesome!!


Bernie & Elizabeth 2020!!! or
Elizabeth & Bernie 2020!!!
Either way... welcome to the revolution!!!
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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 06:56 PM

6. This is one of my favorite aspects.

 

She is elevating the dialogue.
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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2019, 07:15 AM

10. K&R

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2019, 04:27 PM

13. Not an issue that resounds with me, not unless the

 

reparations are paid by men to women, including black men who got the vote 50 years before all women and are today also usually paid more than women working the same jobs, when they are able to rise to them since men as a group are still privileged in hiring and promotions.

That said, if it's important to one group, or many other groups, in our grand Democratic coalition who have long suffered from institutionalized discrimination, some of whom were even once despicably enslaved (!), it's fine with me. We're an extremely wealthy nation built on claims of equality of all men but always only struggling toward that ideal, and sometimes falling back almost as many steps as we manage forward. We can afford to do what many feel is only right.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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