One of the biggest cases for reparations for injustices suffered by Black people is the state of disrepair that is evident in America’s Black communities. More than 70% of Black children, for example, are raised in single parent households, most of them headed by females. Many of these children become caught up in street culture and end up in jail or worse due to a lack of opportunities. There are numerous other indicators that point to a need for repair in Black communities. Physicians have concluded that stress is a killer; that it causes illness and death. The African American community has experienced disproportionate rates of stress-related disease due to racism, including heart problems, strokes, diabetes, kidney failure, and much more. Moreover, sexual predation, hunger, and poverty are also constant companions in too many Black communities.
Slavery, Jim Crow, and institutional racism are givens in America. They have left their marks, in spite of the fact that a number of individuals have found a way up from the bottom. Obstacles have been placed before most Blacks at every step of the way, yet many are determined to become better human beings than their circumstances would merit.
The election of the first African American president, Barack Obama, offered a clue that there might be cracks in the proverbial glass ceiling, and people actually started speaking of a “post-racial” America. To be sure, Barack Obama could not have won the presidency had there not been a significant group of whites and others supporting him. But there was a price to pay, unfortunately, for Barack’s victory. And that price was the reactionary behavior of the racist dregs of white society. The current president, Donald Trump, arguably slid into office on this sleazy, racist wave, and today many of this ilk feel emboldened to the point that they are openly spewing their hatred of Blacks and other minorities.
The triumph of some Blacks in spite of extreme opposition is true testament of the humanity of Black people, debunking the notion that Blacks are less than human, which has been part of the rationale that some whites have used to justify the maltreatment of Black people. Blacks who achieve in spite of opposition belie the shaky foundation on which this erroneous notion is built.
Currently, there is another, more ominous specter rising in the Black community, and that is a descent into defeat with a movement toward relinquishing the moral high ground that was won by martyrs such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and others. The continual maltreatment of Black citizens by law enforcement is leaving a really bad taste on the collective Black tongue, and the result is that the moral high ground is increasingly being seen as naïve and unnecessary, thus allowing for the justification of criminal acts by Black people against society. People who have seen youth misbehave have defended these misdeeds by pointing to an historic maltreatment. They forget that two wrongs don’t make a right! This looming issue is evident of an encroaching dark cloud of spiritual malaise that can ultimately create more scars on an already beleaguered Black psyche.
All of the aforementioned situations, along with voter suppression and the new spirit of moving America backwards into very dark times, are reasons that reparations are due the Black community. Though they may not have a magical impact that some may expect, they would go a long way in helping to level the playing field. In this way, resources could be provided that may in the long run help communities navigate economic hurdles. If the new breed of young African American entrepreneurs can be seen as a gauge, reparations would offer a jump start for their efforts, depending on what form they might take, whether it be tax relief, cash, or some form of the original 40 acres and a mule that was promised. A Luta Continua.