by Lord Serious
Did you know that the United States has openly supported and even provided reparations to numerous groups who have suffered racial or ethnic oppression at the hands of a White majority? America has supported the Jewish Holocaust survivors fight for reparations from the Germans after World War II. America has provided Native Americans with reparations for its past transgressions, and it has also given reparations to Japanese victims who were confined to American concentration camps during World War II. Contrary to popular belief, reparations are not a free hand out. Reparations are usually given to a racial or ethnic group only after it has suffered an injury so severe that the party which caused the injury cannot reverse the harm, therefore, monetary compensation is given to the descendants and survivors for the purpose of making amends for the injustice that was inflicted. Most recently, President Joe Biden has approved a $460,000 payment to be given to both the parents and the Hispanic children who were separated from their parents and held in cages at the border during the Trump presidency.
Now, the uncomfortable truth is that each of these groups were entitled to receive reparations. But there is no group who has endured more inhumane treatment from the American government than Blacks living in America. No other group is more deserving of receiving reparations from the American government than the descendants of America’s former Black slaves. Yet, as I will show and prove it is our group (native Blacks living in America) who have been historically denied monetary compensation for the damage inflicted upon us by the White majority. America cannot deny its role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and until native Blacks receive fair compensation in the form of monetary restitution, we should never allow America to forget the injustice our group has suffered.
Why has no other group been subjected to the level of hostility and opposition whenever the topic of whether America should pay reparations is being discussed? In fact, when the topic of whether this nation should’ve supported the Jewish claim to extract reparations out of Germany for its role in the Jewish Holocaust, there was very little opposition to this cause. Most Americans overwhelmingly supported this and regarded it as their moral obligation as Anglo Saxon Christians. And the German government was forced to pay $55 billion to approximately 50,000 Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps. That amounts to $1 million per survivor!
Likewise, in 1991, the United States government passed the Japanese Recovery Act which authorized payments to Japanese Americans who were relocated to American internment camps (concentration camps) during World War II. These Japanese Americans were not stripped of their culture and enslaved for multiple generations. Neither were they subjected to public lynchings, beatings, castrated, raped, or prohibited from learning how to read.
Yet, the American government paid each Japanese claimant $20,000 for the four years they spent in confinement. It only took the American government 42 years to apologize and provide Japanese Americans with reparations for their 4 years of suffering. Now contrast that to the 400 plus years native Blacks living in America have been forced to endure due to the post-traumatic effects of slavery, and not only are Blacks denied an apology or reparations from the federal government – but Blacks are also insulted and told to get over it. They tell us slavery is in the past. But how can we be expected to get over a severe injury such as 400 years of slavery when we are being systematically denied restitution to remedy the injury suffered? Why are all other groups entitled to reparations except for native Blacks in America?
Of all of the groups to receive reparations the native American’s claim may have been one of the most substantial. They had their homeland stolen by an invading force, and after fighting numerous wars against the White settlers, the native American was relocated to Indian territories which eventually were dwindled down to reservations. The native American, similar to America’s Black slave, was subjected to not only social degradation, but they also suffered physical abuse and death at the hands of these White settlers. The difference between the native American’s claim to reparations and the native Black’s claim to reparations, is significant in many ways too. Although our mistreatment at the hands of the American government share many similarities, there are also many stark differences that cannot be ignored. For instance, native Americans have been permitted to live tax-free, they have been provided parcels of land where they may live separately from the White majority, and are allowed to self-govern. Historically, native American children have been provide a tuition-free education from this government, and their children have been encouraged to learn. Furthermore, unlike Black slaves, native Americans were always free to carry firearms, they could marry members of any race, and they were free to come and go as they pleased. And most importantly, the five so-called civilized tribes of native Americans benefitted from the enslavement of Blacks. These five native American tribes not only owned slaves, but they fought on the side of the Confederacy to preserve the institution and inhumame practice of enslaving Blacks. Therefore, not only were native Americans permitted to keep their own culture, they were also permitted to fully assimilate into the White American culture. Which is a privilege Blacks are still being denied to this very day.
Yet, despite all of this assistance from the federal government, native Americans have still received far more in reparations from the United States government than the native Black who has received nothing as it concerns the harm we suffered as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. To add insult to injury, President Biden has managed pay Hispanics over $400,000 for each child and parent directly affected by Trump’s immigration policy which separated Hispanic children from their parents at the border and then locked those children in cages. So after Hispanic children suffered about four years of confinement, their group is now being rewarded with almost half a million dollars for each person affected.
Coincidentally, President Biden can’t get the George Bill passed, he won’t get the Voting Rights Bill passed to protect Blacks from voter suppression, and he refuses to even discuss the topic of providing reparations to the native Black! Yet, he had no problem getting the Anti-Asian hate crime bill passed. President Biden lost no time giving Israel $1 billion for its under the dome missile defense system. And Biden made Hispanic reparations for what occured at the border during Trump’s presidency a top priority. When viewing all of these facts in totality, there can be no doubt that America’s INACTIONS regarding its native Black’s claim to reparations have been contradictory when compared to the relative ACTIONS America has taken to provide reparations to other groups. A precedent has been set and America’s refusal to give its native Black population reparations is only compounding the injury we have suffered from this government’s discriminatory practices towards our group. Think about that. Peace!
Lord Serious is an author, blogger, podcaster, and activist. You can learn more about him by visiting his website www.Lordseriousspeaks.com. To view his other pieces on BrillianceBehindBars, click here.