Photo Via Congresswoman Cori Bush Twitter
Congresswoman Cori Bush has introduced a bill that would allocate $14 trillion in reparations for Black Americans. The progressive lawmaker from Missouri spoke Wednesday at a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol.
She referred to the moral and legal obligations of the United States to give reparations to millions of Black people whose lives have been upended by the injustices against them.
The Idea of Reparations for Black Americans
Reparations for Black Americans stem from acknowledging and addressing historical injustices inflicted upon them, particularly the enduring effects of slavery and systemic racism. The idea revolves around compensating and redressing individuals or communities who have experienced significant disadvantages and harm due to government policies, practices, and institutions. It aims to rectify Black Americans’ enduring economic, social, and educational disparities, promoting societal equality and justice.
The Case for Reparations for Black Americans
Although the American ideal is to give everyone an equal opportunity to thrive, the Black community didn’t have equal space on the table as others. The numbers speak for the massive levels of discrimination faced by Black families all over the country.
An average white family in the United States is 10 times richer than an average Black family, signifying the abhorrent wealth inequality. Similarly, White college graduates are 7 times richer than their Black peers, another shocking number. Similarly, White school dropouts are also wealthier than Black school dropouts.
However, these inequalities are symptoms of deep, systemic inequalities spanning decades of discrimination. To overcome them, Black citizens must be given reparations to be on a level playing field with others. If we put a worth on Black workers enslaved in the US in the 1860s used for free labor, it turns out to be $3 billion in monetary terms back then.
The Reparation Amount
The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act argued in 2020 that a meaningful reparations program could cost the US between $10 trillion and $12 trillion, allocating $800,000 to each eligible Black household. Thomas Kramer, a University of Connecticut’s public policy professor, has estimated the amount could go as high as $19 trillion due to various reasons, such as excessive working hours.
However, some people have put forth the idea of baby bonds instead of reparations. The Ohio State University professor, Derrick Hamilton, states that these bonds can work as savings accounts for babies born in Black families. They can help these families pay for their kids’ tuition, home, or business ventures. It can also be cheaper than direct reparations, as 4 million children born yearly to Black families will cost the government about $100 billion and decrease the wealth gap between White & Black families by 10 times.
The topic of reparations for Black Americans encompasses the addressing of historical injustices, systemic racism, and ongoing socio-economic disparities. While some advocate for restitution to rectify past wrongs and advance equality, others question the practicality and efficacy of such actions.
As society grapples with this matter, fostering inclusive and compassionate discussions that consider various viewpoints and potential long-range consequences is vital. Ultimately, achieving a fair resolution necessitates continual dialogue, empathy, and a dedication to dismantling systemic obstacles that impede progress toward racial parity.