Dialogue/2004

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Comments to CURE from Cheryl Davis:

Quite impressive to stumble upon your site - quite impressive indeed! I took a tour to see what other interesting information could be most useful for my inquisitive mind.

Please push forward for the right for equality in America - as I formulate my thesis on slave reparations benefitting health care in african american women - it is encouraging to know that a diverse group of americans are equally seeking justice for one and all.

Comments to CURE from an unnamed writer:

It would be the right thing as American citizens to acknowledge what happened in the past was wrong and to admit that we are sorry it happened. It would be right to find a way to try to make up for the heartbreak and sorrow. But just how can it be done? Maybe a tax on the dollar to go into an account for the poorest and neediest African-Americans or maybe a percentage of medical benefits. I don't know, but I know whatever recompense we give is long overdue. Another thing I wonder is why isn't Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday? I still have to work and so do many other people.

By the way, I am Native American. I am a member of the Kassumamiut of south-western Alaska. If I lived on an Indian Reservation I could get free medical and dental care. But since the nearest reservation is about 400 miles away I do not. I think that African Americans should be entitled to this benefit as well as Native Americans since they helped build the country up at the expense of their family's well-being and their own pursuit of happiness. They were never compensated for their loss. It is a sad thing that we just try to forget and go on like it didn't mean anything. After all, this is a great country and we should thank those who made it this way.

Comments to CURE from Edward Hawkins:

Peace & Love to all peoples. I am an African descendant of Africans brought to the Amerikkkas and enslaved to this day and that in itself is a powerful indictment to this pseudo civilization. I am heartened by the attempts of CURE to endeavor to right this grievous travesty of justice which is an ongoing and painful ordeal to me and mine. The job of educating the average American to the past and continuing abuses of this arguably great nation is a daunting one at best. I was mis-educated as an impressionable child thirsting for knowledge about myself and my culture, I personally experienced blatant racism and discriminatory acts too numerous to mention and I have been harmed to such an immense degree that suffice it to say that I've had twenty-eight jobs in twenty-eight years. I am a Vietnam era veteran and to date have received no help or services to alleviate my condition. However I am not crying about those injustices I am concerned with my people as a whole.

To what degree will my children and grandchildren have to suffer the same or similar disparities in equality? When will they be able to write America and not feel Amerikkka? When will they be able to look a white person in the eyes and not feel hatred and a sense of unfairness? These questions and many more plague my every waking moment. I as a member of the African Diaspora am saddened when people like George Bush wield power and effectively condemn my people to even more suffering and death. When demons like Newt and Trent conspire to repeal civil rights legislation designed to try to alleviate some of my peoples’ pain. These things are constant reminders that this nation needs to be educated to the horrors of what it has done and what it continues to inflict upon my people. The dragging of Mr. Bird down a dark road in Texas, the shooting of Mr. Diallo on his own front stoop. The recent beating death in Cincinatti. This climate of "Kill Black Men" has to stop and education is the only way to open the average American's eyes to this gross injustice and call a halt to this form of genocide. Yours In The Struggle.

Comments to CURE from Roger Wood:

I can not begin to tell you how utterly stupid this whole reparations movement is. It’s mind boggling that anyone would even take this seriously. And as far as I 'm concerned my family paid for the south's “sin” of slavery 140 years ago when my great great granfather died of wounds received at the Wilderness ( Noah Peck 2nd R.I. Volunteers) in the war that freed the slaves as well as another ancester that died at Vicksburg ( Sgt. William Wood 7th RI volunteers). Perhaps the descedants of the slaves owe me something for the loss of family members in the cause of their freedom! Of course that’s a ridiculous idea you say, but no more than some descendant of slaves expecting me to pay for his anscesters enslavement in the deep south or wherever. How do
you know how badly my family may have suffered from the loss of f its sons on both sides of my family! As a New Englander descended from a long line of small farmers, fishermen and tradesmen, whose ancesters never owned slaves and had nothing to do with the slave trade I do not feel I should pay for crimes committed by people totally unconnected with me against people who l over 140 years ago.

Every group of people has a oppressed past of some sort, the English persecuted the Catholic Irish, the Catholic French persecuted the Huegenot, the Japanese in WWII oppressed the Koreans and Chinese, The Aztec persecuted the Toltecs then Cortes and the Spanish in turn the Aztecs, the Souix Indians the Crow Indians etc etc etc. I say these cry baby reparation seekers should devote their attention to seeking to better themselves through education, or what have you and stop worying about “crime” committed against some anscesters over a century and a half ago. Get over it and move on I say.

Response from CURE member Larry Yates

Get over it and move on! Mr. Wood, you may well have provided us with a slogan for the movement supporting reparations.

When your ancestors and thousands of other white men died for the Union in the war against the slavocracy, their sacrifice was acknowledged, both then and for decades later. There was a little speech at Gettysburg you may have heard of, one of the best known addresses in U.S. history, explicitly devoted to honoring them. Following the war, pensions for former soldiers and their widows and orphans became a major part of the federal budget. Preferences were put into place for former Union soldiers, and several of the officers of the Union Army rose to the highest office in the land, in part because of recognition of their war service.

I am sure there were a lot of people who resented this recognition of the Union soldiers, especially its financial aspect, including my Confederate ancestors, not to mention those whites in the North who had opposed or undermined the Union effort. They probably resented their tax money going to pay benefits to Union veterans and widows and orphans. Nevertheless, it was the verdict of history that the Civil War was a just war, and that those who had served the union -- and their immediate families -- deserved recompense for their four years of suffering. They got it -- and I believe they deserved it. To those who disagreed, the verdict of the nation and of history was -- Get over it and move on!

At the same moment in history, the U.S. as a nation came to understand that slavery was a great wrong, and that the human beings who had experienced it had been laboring under unspeakable conditions for centuries -- man, woman and child, for generations. The U.S. as a nation came to understand that an enormous amount of the nation's wealth had been obtained by the forced labor of individuals who never received a penny for it -- then or later. By passing the Fourteenth Amendment, we accepted as a nation that slavery was intolerable.

But, because we could not then (and have not yet) faced the enormity of this fact, and its meaning for ourselves as "white", the white majority did not take the obviously appropriate action. They did not provide any compensation. In fact, until the feeble efforts at affirmative action in the last few decades, there has not been any program which offered African-Americans anything beyond the same rights everyone else had -- and usually even that was denied. Welfare, public housing, etc. were all equally available to whites -- while other benefits, such as housing loan guarantees, were all white privileges until 1968.

Why did this happen? It's very simple. Because most white people were incapable of grasping the concept "Get over it and move on!" They were incapable of saying -- our nation has done a grievous wrong, things have happened that should never have happened. And just as we honor and succor the veteran, the widow and the orphan of the terrible war that slavery led to, we should even more highly honor and recompense those who suffered slavery itself -- the reason for the war. They were incapable of facing what made Jefferson tremble when he reflected that God was just. They were incapable of facing what made Martin Luther King probably the only U.S. citizen of global importance in the last century.

What was the result of this evasion? We whites have lived for another 140 years with our own hypocrisy, a hypocrisy which has divided the country and allowed the most bigoted and cruel white elitists to govern us most of that time -- and we have also lived with a people in our midst who are inextricably part of our nation, and yet are viciously separated from it -- a people that are essential to our soul and our language and our sense of justice, and yet whom we continually deny.

No-one is whining for reparations. It is those who continue, decades after the facts of the matter became obvious, to resist the verdict of history who are whining. Let us indeed get over it and move on -- to the United States of America that we deserve, and the one that your ancestors probably believed that they were risking their lives to create. Not only do African-Americans deserve that long-delayed healing, so do we all.

Comment to CURE from Gary L. Willford, Jr.:

Left wingers like Donna Lamb never cease to amaze me. After 500,000 dead white men, billions of dollars in welfare and other entitlement programs, and a standard of living far higher than any of their peers in modern day Africa, you actually believe that blacks deserve even more? They have been well compensated for the suffering of their forefathers and whites have been amply punished. To that end, what follows are my replies to her unchallenged FAQ responses:

1) One of the most common questions I get from white people is, "My family didn't own slaves so why should I have to pay?" I tell them a person didn't have to own enslaved Africans to benefit from slavery."

This would include the descendants of Africans who are in this country today -- particularly those whose ancestors actually owned slaves. Let's get down to brass tacks on the "benefits" issue. Have you ever been to Africa? I have. It is a horrible place with rampant poverty, disease, and human misery. The blacks in America today escaped that fate. The most poverty stricken black in America today is better off than his African counterpart whose ancestors escaped slavery. In essence, they too have benefitted from the slavery of their ancestors. Should “we” not be entitled to a set off for indirect benefit to blacks every bit as much as we are to be held “accountable” for indirect benefits received from slavery?

2) Another thing I hear all the time is, 'I don't see why I should have to pay, because my ancestors weren't here during slavery.' In fact, I hear this so often I'd almost think there were no whites in this country during slavery! There is also this variation, which is a valid question, 'What about all the poor people who immigrated here long after slavery--isn't it unfair to expect them to pay?' First of all, it doesn't really matter when your family came over. As soon as a person's feet land on this soil, in one way or another, they, too, begin to benefit from what slavery created that has come down to all of us through the centuries."

Which would include blacks. See 1 above. This argument for reparations demonstrates its absurdity. A hypothetical illustrates the point. Suppose a mugger took your wallet with $20.00 in it. He then brings it to my store and purchases $20.00 worth of goods. Under your scenario, once the mugger is caught, I should also have to make restitution to you and go to jail because I “benefitted” from your mugging. Such a ridiculous concept finds no support in the law and ought to play no part in public policy.

"I have seen that there are a lot of great ideas out there among Reparationists about how, along with corporations, the Robber Barons and other super-rich families who benefitted the most from slavery can be made to pay the most through such things as progressive taxes--where the richer you are, the more you pay. There is also thought about how money can be diverted from things that don't benefit working class people anyway, like corporate welfare, the bloated war budget and the militarization of space--in other words, ways money can be redirected in such a manner that it not only doesn't harm other poor people, but will actually save the lives of some!"

And Ms. Lamb's leftist philosophy comes screaming to the fore. Soak the rich! Never mind the fact that there may be no direct connection whatsoever between their wealth and slavery. Take from things that “don’t benefit working class people” – like national defense! Earth to leftist loons: plenty of “working class people,” the writer of this missive included, have benefitted from service in the military. I would never have been able to afford to go to college, let alone law school, if it had not been for the military. As blacks are over-represented in the ranks – the last figures I saw demonstrated that they make up 25% of the Army while comprising only 12 1/2% of the population – they have indeed benefitted from the “bloated” military budge. Does the name Collin Powell mean anything to you? How about General Daniel "Chappie" James, General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., or Major General Lucius Theus?

The “working class” derives no benefit from national security? You argue indirect connections and then ignore a glaring one – without national defense there would not be a nation to pay reparations. Every one of us derives freedom and security because of a strong national defense. How
brain dead are you people?

"Furthermore, there are ideas out there--such as freeing the political prisoners and people who were incarcerated for non-violent crimes--which, far from costing us money, will actually save our tax dollars!"

Like whom? The Unibomber? Thank goodness you people are a tiny, tiny minority. If you had your way, we would be broke from paying everyone who claims they’ve been slighted, wide open to foreign attack because the military would consist of one guy “armed” with a wet noodle, and victimized by criminals running wild in the streets. Were you aware that according to the FBI’s crime statistics for 1999, 68% of all violent felonies were committed by people who used drugs? Yet another indirect connection you ignore. Selective logic, how convenient.

3) Other questions people put to me frequently are, 'It happened so long ago and all the slaves are dead, so isn't it just divisive to keep bringing it up? Wouldn't it help more to bring about racial harmony if we just buried it with the past?' My response is that the ravages of slavery, both economic and spiritual, are very much alive and immediate today. Persons of African ancestry are still seen and dealt with in a way that is very far from what they deserve, while we European Americans continue to receive a subtle--and not so subtle--white privilege in every area of life."

Ms. Lamb's response is asinine and again reflects her leftist philosophy. I would suggest that she do a quick survey of trailer parks – and the welfare rolls. They are majority white. Walk into an expensive exclusive restaurant along side Denzel Washington and see who gets seated first. So much for the privileges of being white. Slavery is having your freedom completely subject to the whim of another. It is being forced to labor for the sole benefit of others. If what you want comes to pass, we will have slavery – the “rich” will be forced to work for solely for the economic advantage of someone else. Talk about a self-fulfilling pronouncement!

"And the fact is, you can't brutalize a people massively and then just tell them to get over it."

And the fact is, no one who was massively brutalized under slavery is alive today. There is no one to tell “get over it.” Just like there is no one left to compensate and none of the oppressors remain to face punishment.

"What if I were to tell you I was a battered wife who'd had my arm broken and my jaw wired several times. Once when my husband was beating me I called the police, which resulted in our children being taken away, and even now, it's going to be years before I finish paying off all my medical and legal bills. Now my former husband, who doesn't think he owes me so much as an
apology, wants me to let by-gones be by-gones and be friends. He says it's very unchristian of me to hold a grudge. Would you think my ex-husband was right? Most people would say, no, definitely not!"

I would say non-sequitur, although, if true, it certainly makes one understand Ms. Lamb's fascination with compensating victims. A more apt analogy would be the scenario where her great-great-great-great-great grandchildren demanded money from her ex-husband's great-great-great-great-great grandchildren for her injuries.

Tell me, have you never heard of the concept of repose? Statutes of limitation? Laches? Privity? Look them up with – as you leftists demand of others – an open mind and apply what you learn to this issue.

4) People also say to me, 'But whites fought and died in the Civil War to free the slaves. Doesn't that settle any possible debt to Blacks?' One of this country's great myths, I tell them, is that hundreds of thousands of brave Northern men marched off to war to free the "slaves"--but it simply isn't true!"

Their motives for fighting are irrelevant. Just like, according to Ms. Lamb, my personal actions and motives are irrelevant to whether I should pay reparations. The only thing that matters is whether a benefit was derived, correct? The fact of the matter is that over 500,000 white men died fighting a war whose catalyst was slavery and whose direct – not indirect – beneficiaries
were slaves. “We” whites today are to be made to suffer for indirectly “benefitting” from slavery, yet you discount and ignore a direct benefit, freedom, received by the persons directly oppressed? If my attitudes and motivations are irrelevant to the question of “benefit” so are the attitudes and motivations of the 500,000 men who died fighting the Civil War – that is, if you have any desire to maintain a logically consistent argument. If anyone needs to reexamine their positions with an open mind, it is Ms. Lamb and the members of CURE.

"the majority of the people in the North were either too wrapped up in their own lives to think much about it, or had a lot to gain financially from slavery continuing." Besides unfairly stereotyping antebellum whites, this statement ignores the tens of thousands of whites who actually fought and died to free the slaves. Ms. Lamb mentioned Robert Shaw – no doubt the entirety of her knowledge of the Civil War comes from watching “Glory” a time or two – but what of the untold hundreds if not thousands who died in “Bleeding Kansas” in the antebellum period? The central issue in that period of bloodshed was whether the states to be would be free or slave. What about the tens of thousands of other dedicated abolitionists such as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who fought during the war? Although I suppose in Ms. Lamb's view General Chamberlain does not count because he lived through the war. This brings up another “plus” in the “white” column. Have you ever served in the Army in time of war? I have. If anything approximates slavery in modern times it is military service in time of war. During the Civil War, it was far worse. As Lamb pointed out, white men were shot for desertion. They were also shot for falling asleep on guard duty. Were you aware of that?

Above and beyond the 500,000 white men who died, MILLIONS had their personal freedom taken away for up to five years. MILLIONS of white men suffered horrendous, non-lethal injuries that crippled them for life. All of this suffering inured DIRECTLY to the benefit of the slaves. As a direct result of the death, mutilation, and untold suffering of MILLIONS of white men, the slaves received something far more important and valuable than the dollars you seek to hand over today. They received their freedom. Do we not get some credit on “our” side of the ledger for this? How much is a dead white man worth in today’s dollars in your view? How much for an arm? How much for a face horribly disfigured? How much for a body racked by disease?

Conversely, what credit do blacks lose for the thousands of who voluntarily fought for the Confederacy – and ultimately, the preservation of slavery? Do their ancestors get less because of their “misdeeds?” If penance was to be made, it was made by those who directly benefitted from slavery, and/or allowed it to fester in their lifetimes. They paid the debt in blood, sweat, loss of personal freedom, and unimaginable suffering. The currency, rightly enough, of the injury inflicted upon the slaves themselves.

7) Here is the final question I will deal with now which white people--even those who support reparations to descendants of slavery--often ask me: 'How would we know how to spend the money and who to give the reparations to?'

Why, I wonder, did Ms. Lamb not answer the second part of her final question? She spent an entire argument slamming the tobacco industry, and neglected to tell us how we are supposed to determine who is entitled to reparations. Do we give it to every black person in America? What aboutthose who immigrated last week? Last month? Last year? Today? If there is some burden of proof, what should it be? How direct must the evidence be? Who gets to decide? If it can be demonstrated that the ancestors of the potential payee owned slaves themselves, what then? If, as noted above, their ancestors fought for the Confederacy, what happens? What if their ancestors sold their kin into slavery to the white slave traders?

Reparations are wrong. Period. The debt owed for slavery was paid by the suffering of millions of whites. Moreover, it is wrong to make one person pay for the crimes of another. Worse still is to require children to pay for the crimes of their parents. I would hope Ms. Lamb would not support incarcerating the children of a convicted murderer for life, but such a position is logically consistent with the reparations argument. Both are equally wrong.

Response from CURE member Ida Hakim:

I’m sure other CURE members will respond to your various points. I just want to quickly respond to the last one. You say: Do we give it to every black person in America? What aboutthose who immigrated last week? Last month? Last year? Today? If there is some burden of proof, what should it be? How direct must the evidence be? Who gets to decide? If it can be demonstrated that the ancestors of the potential payee owned slaves themselves, what then? If, as noted above, their ancestors fought for the Confederacy, what happens? What if their ancestors sold their kin into slavery to the white slave traders?

First of all, we are talking about descendants of Africans enslaved in the Americas. African immigrants are not descended from America’s slaves. Secondly, with regard to the your questions about who we give the reparations to, I wonder if you would consider the possibility that Black people can decide this question. Surely there is enough ability among the many great Black scholars, scientists, researchers, grassroot leaders and political thinkers to discuss and solve any question as to whether a person is Black, descended from slave ancestors, and qualified as a recipient of monetary reparations. The descendants themselves have the greatest of interest in the fair dispensation of monetary reparations because it is their money.

Response from CURE member Ferrell Winfree:

I, too, have been to Africa and seen the poverty there but your argument seems to accept the fact that the descendants of slaves in this have it better than their cousins in Africa so they should be satisfied with having less than white people have in this country. One fact has nothing to do with the other. Donna Lamb's comment about the rich was to engage dialogue concerning those who benefitted financially from the institution of slavery. Those corporations whose foundations were built on the backs of slaves should have to help undo as much of the damage as possible with some of that money earned from slavery.

The residual effects of slavery are here and as long as the life of a black person is not as valuable as a white person, there is work to do. And if you doubt this statement, check the prisons and see how many white people you can find on death row for killing a black person.

Response from CURE member Rachel Naba:

My friend, Thank you for your reply to CURE member Donna Lamb's FAQs. Your responses to her viewpoints were very interesting and thought-provoking, and it is by way of dialogue that we can, as a whole, continue to learn and grow with and from each other. I would like to dialogue with you on your comments, as well as Ms. Lamb's, and I shall take them one at a time.

1. Donna's FAQ response: One of the most common questions I get from white people is, "My family didn't own slaves so why should I have to pay?" I tell them a person didn't have to own enslaved Africans to benefit from slavery. This would include the descendants of Africans who are in this country today -- particularly those whose ancestors actually owned slaves.

Your reply: Let's get down to brass tacks on the "benefits" issue. Have you ever been to Africa? I have. It is a horrible place with rampant poverty, disease, and human misery. The blacks in America today escaped that fate. The most poverty stricken black in America today is better off than his African counterpart whose ancestors escaped slavery. In essence, they too have benefited from the slavery of their ancestors. Should we not be entitled to a set off for indirect benefit to blacks every bit as much as we are to be held accountable for indirect benefits received from slavery?

My comments: Perhaps this is the one comment that you made that inspired me to take time out of your busy day as well as my own to reply to your questions and points. Yes, I have been to Africa. In fact, I have been to Burkina Faso, one of the worlds POOREST countries as measured by per capita income, Togo, another "poor" country, and Ghana. I have been to Africa twice, and have plans to relocate there permanently. I am saddened by your views on Africa as being "a horrible place with rampant poverty, disease and human misery" and wonder where, and with whom, you had your experience of a vast and complicated continent. I will not attempt to sway your attitudes and beliefs about Africa, as that will be futile and will most likely fall on unreceptive ears. But I must say a few words, perhaps for those readers who have not made such a harsh judgement on an entire continent from, most likely, one visit.

Africa is in the economical state that it is in, mainly due to one thing: white people. Don't get excited just yet...let me explain. Africa was, at one time, the greatest civilization and power in the world. Just as every other superpower in history, Africa (Kemet) fell as other powers fought to be on top. But, at the time, Africa was plundered, stolen from, and colonialized in a manner that has not been matched today. Treasures, cultural items, knowledge and livestock were stolen. The dead were disturbed and taken from their resting places; gold was usurped, natural resources were plundered... this goes on and on, and has not stopped until today. Africa was raped physically, socially, politically and spiritually, and the process of imperialism and colonializaiton continues until today. This remains true despite which political party one affiliates themselves with, for it is a fact. Modern-day governments are puppets of their colonizers, and even though countries in Africa are no longer "colonies", their governments serve their European masters rather than their own people. Yes, many people in Africa are hungry and dispossessed, but when you look at the history of the world, it is clear that European influence and theivery, colonialism and imperialism, greed and selfishness play the major role in this situation.

I find it very arrogant for any person in this country to assume that "The most poverty stricken black in America today is better off than his African counterpart whose ancestors escaped slavery." I am personally offended by this comment, and by stating such a harsh and one-sided opinion, you have shown your disinterest and misunderstanding of the situation faced by both Blacks in America and Africans in Africa. Most Africans who have visited or relocated to this country will tell you otherwise. Yes, America is an economic leader in this world, and people here have more opportunities, perhaps, for finding a job. But money alone does not equal happiness. Having money does not guarantee that you live a life of quality, free from misery. In Africa, I met many people who were "poor" villagers (in fact, I lived in multiple villages for many weeks while I was in Africa) who, despite their economic "lack", lived happier lives than most people, White or Black, live in this country or any other developed country in the world. Their lives had meaning, and they enjoy many, many things that descendants of slaves had stolen from them, such as: their own language, spirituality and values, a strong cultural and ethical system that is self-determined and not forced upon them by slavemasters (then or now), true freedom of expression, freedom from racism, discrimination and persecution for being Black, a strong family system... and this is just a small example of what Blacks in America who are descendants from slaves have had taken from them by means of force. No, Blacks have not benefitted from slavery, not in any way. I do not know anyone who would trade a few dollars for the things that Blacks in America have lost. Would you trade an increase in salary for your family, your spirituality, your language, culture, values and lifestyle? Would you be happy to exchange money for your children, your husband, your mother or father? Would you give up your precious Jesus, Allah or God so that you have a few more dollars in your bank account? No, you wouldn't. And neither would anyone else.

I must also point out that there are many, many hungry, miserable and diseased people in your own country. Millions are without health insurance, food or homes. The misery that you speak of is seen in every country and on every continent, not just in Africa.

2. Donna's FAQ: "Another thing I hear all the time is, 'I don't see why I should have to pay, because my ancestors weren't here during slavery.' In fact, I hear this so often I'd almost think there were no whites in this country during slavery! There is also this variation, which is a valid question, 'What about all the poor people who immigrated here long after slavery--isn't it unfair to expect them to pay?' First of all, it doesn't really matter when your family came over. As soon as a person's feet land on this soil, in one way or another, they, too, begin to benefit from what slavery created that has come down to all of us through the centuries."

Your comments: "Which would include blacks. See 1 above. This argument for reparations demonstrates its absurdity. A hypothetical illustrates the point. Suppose a mugger took your wallet with $20.00 in it. He then brings it to my store and purchases $20.00 worth of goods. Under your scenario, once the mugger is caught, I should also have to make restitution to you and go to jail because I benefited from your mugging. Such a ridiculous concept finds no support in the law and ought to play no part in public policy."

My comments: You claim that "such a ridiculous concept finds no support in the law". I disagree. If you are caught possessing stolen goods, regardless whether you knew they were hot when you bought them, you will face the law. You will be held liable and will go before a judge. In the case of reparations, this entire society is "stolen goods", as it was created through slavery. Those who "enjoy" this society are, in reality, enjoying stolen goods provided by slave labor.

3. Donnas FAQs: "I have seen that there are a lot of great ideas out there among Reparationists about how, along with corporations, the Robber Barons and other super-rich families who benefitted the most from slavery can be made to pay the most through such things as progressive taxes--where the richer you are, the more you pay. There is also thought about how money can be diverted from things that don't benefit working class people anyway, like corporate welfare, the bloated war budget and the militarization of space--in other words, ways money can be redirected in such a manner that it not only doesn't harm other poor people, but will actually save the lives of some!"

Your comments: And Ms. Lamb's leftist philosophy comes screaming to the fore. Soak the rich! Never mind the fact that there may be no direct connection whatsoever between their wealth and slavery. Take from things that don't benefit working class people like national defense! Earth to leftist loons: plenty of working class people the writer of this missive included, have benefitted from service in the military. I would never have been able to afford to go to college, let alone law school, if it had not been for the military. As blacks are over-represented in the ranks the last figures I saw demonstrated that they make up 25% of the Army while comprising only 12 1/2% of the population they have indeed benefitted from the bloated military budget. Does the name Collin Powell mean anything to you? How about General Daniel "Chappie" James, General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., or Major General Lucius Theus? The working class derives no benefit from national security? You argue indirect connections and then ignore a glaring one without national defense there would not be a nation to pay reparations. Every one of us derives freedom and security because of a strong national defense. How brain dead are you people?

My comments: I find it unfortunate that people use this site to call others names as if it were an elementary school playground. You, being a lawyer, should know better than to stoop to this kind of barbaric behavior. My friend, it is wholly inappropriate to dub people as "leftist loons" and "brain dead" because they may not hold your political or moral and ethical beliefs. Perhaps you have not been educated in proper manners or etiquette. I agree with you that many working class people have benefitted from the military, in so much that, for many under-fortunate people, there are little options other than a military career. And yes, national defense does serve each and every person living in this country. On these points, I agree with you. Where I differ is this: these programs are fundamentally designed to protect the interests of the rich and of corporations, not the average Joe, and especially not the average Tyrone! Without getting into a debate on foreign policy or left vs. right wing positions, it is clear that this government protects those with money who can, in turn, help the government further its agendas. This, in reality, has nothing to do with the average person on the street, and even less to do with a Black person, fundamentally.
Tell me, what does it say about a government or organization that would spend trillions of dollars in space while it has not compensated its own workers for their time and labor? (slavery!)

4. Donna Lamb: "Furthermore, there are ideas out there--such as freeing the political prisoners and people who were incarcerated for non-violent crimes--which, far from costing us money, will actually save our tax dollars!"

Your comments: Like whom? The Unibomber? Thank goodness you people are a tiny, tiny minority. If you had your way, we would be broke from paying everyone who claims theyve been slighted, wide open to foreign attack because the military would consist of one guy armed with a wet noodle, and victimized by criminals running wild in the streets. Were you aware that according to the FBIs crime statistics for 1999, 68% of all violent felonies were committed by people who used drugs? Yet another indirect connection you ignore. Selective logic, how convenient.

My comments: I apologize, but I do not understand your point or your logic. What I see in these lines is an emotional expression and nothing more. Please allow others to express themselves and their views, regardless how different they are from yours, without attack and name-calling.

5. Donna Lamb: "Other questions people put to me frequently are, 'It happened so long ago and all the slaves are dead, so isn't it just divisive to keep bringing it up? Wouldn't it help more to bring about racial harmony if we just buried it with the past?" My response is that the ravages of slavery, both economic and spiritual, are very much alive and immediate today. Persons of African ancestry are still seen and dealt with in a way that is very far from what they deserve, while we European Americans continue to receive a subtle--and not so subtle--white privilege in every area of life."

Your response: Ms. Lamb's response is asinine and again reflects her leftist philosophy. I would suggest that she do a quick survey of trailer parks and the welfare rolls. They are majority white. Walk into an expensive exclusive restaurant along side Denzel Washington and see who gets seated first. So much for the privileges of being white. Slavery is having your freedom completely subject to the whim of another. It is being forced to labor for the sole benefit of others. If what you want comes to pass, we will have slavery as the rich will be forced to work for solely for the economic advantage of someone else. Talk about a self-fulfilling pronouncement!

My comments: No, if you walked in beside Denzel, the restaurant would surely seat him first. If you walked in next to Brad Pitt, they would seat him first as well. This is not because of race but because of celebrity status. Your example is, at best, faulty, as is your prediction that the rich will be forced into slavery. This has never been the case in all of history. Reparations are not meant to enslave someone, rather to make amends for others who our country enslaved for hundreds of years and the lasting effects this slavery has forced upon them. From the lack of depth of your responses and the overflow of emotion that they portray, I doubt whether you have done any research into the subject of reparations. I also doubt that you have reached a level of consciousness to realize that you do not have all of the answers and that you are not always right. I do not have all the answers, either, and I know that I am not always right. This forum is for honest discussion, not slander and name-calling or other political attacks. It truly is a disrespect of my time and other readers time for you to continue to name-call. This is what is truly "asinine".

6. Ms. Lamb: People also say to me, 'But whites fought and died in the Civil War to free the slaves. Doesn't that settle any possible debt to Blacks? One of this country's great myths, I tell them, is that hundreds of thousands of brave Northern men marched off to war to free the "slaves"--but it simply isn't true! The majority of the people in the North were either too wrapped up in their own lives to think much about it, or had a lot to gain financially from slavery continuing.

Your comments: Their motives for fighting are irrelevant. Just like, according to Ms. Lamb, my personal actions and motives are irrelevant to whether I should pay reparations. The only thing that matters is whether a benefit was derived, correct? The fact of the matter is that over 500,000 white men died fighting a war whose catalyst was slavery and whose direct not indirect beneficiaries were slaves.....

Besides unfairly stereotyping antebellum whites, this statement ignores the tens of thousands of whites who actually fought and died to free the slaves.....

Have you ever served in the Army in time of war? I have. If anything approximates slavery in modern times it is military service in time of war. During the Civil War, it was far worse. As Lamb pointed out, white men were shot for desertion. They were also shot for falling asleep on guard duty. Were you aware of that? Above and beyond the 500,000 white men who died, MILLIONS had their personal freedom taken away for up to five years. MILLIONS of white men suffered horrendous, non-lethal injuries that crippled them for life. All of this suffering inured DIRECTLY to the benefit of the slaves. As a direct result of the death, mutilation, and untold suffering of MILLIONS of white men, the slaves received something far more important and valuable than the dollars you seek to hand over today. They received their freedom. Conversely, what credit do blacks lose for the thousands of who voluntarily fought for the Confederacy and ultimately, the preservation of slavery? Do their ancestors get less because of their misdeeds? f penance was to be made, it was made by those who directly benefited from slavery, and/or allowed it to fester in their lifetimes. They paid the debt in blood, sweat, loss of personal freedom, and unimaginable suffering. The currency, rightly enough, of the injury inflicted upon the slaves themselves.

My comments: The death of White men in the Civil War has nothing to do with slavery or reparations, just as Ms. Lamb stated in her FAQ. You speak of the slaves’ freedom as something that was GRANTED to them by Whites. This is utterly false and shows your own hidden racism, if you were to be honest with yourself. People are people and people are fundamentally free, not property. The fact that some men died during the war in no way makes up for the hundreds of years Black people were enslaved. Perhaps some members from your family should be snatched and forced into slavery for hundreds of years - I bet you will feel differently about slavery and any war that "ends" it. Perhaps until White people of today feel the same pain and torture that we have forced upon others, most will never see the light. Furthermore, your statement that the military is equal to slavery shows your ignorance on slavery - which is quite the norm here, for White people anyway. We need to educate ourselves, and unfortunately, your emotional ramblings here show your ignorance and prejudices. Your ignorance and racism are products of the system. Where you are at fault is in not educating yourself. You are at fault for perpetuating the stereotypes and prejudices. You are at fault for being one sided and dishonest, for not having an open mind and for your own prejudiced behaviors and actions.. Whatever the soldiers of the Civil War suffered, it was really for their own benefit. They did not go to war for Black people. Yes, there were abolitionists, just as CURE members are today, but the majority of Whites fought to keep their material interests in keeping the USA as one nation, not for the freedom of Blacks. Don't fool yourself.

You said: Reparations are wrong. Period. The debt owed for slavery was paid by the suffering of millions of whites. Moreover, it is wrong to make one person pay for the crimes of another. Worse still is to require children to pay for the crimes of their parents. I would hope Ms. Lamb would not support incarcerating the children of a convicted murderer for life, but such a position is logically consistent with the reparations argument. Both are equally wrong.

My comments: No... the debt owed for slavery was not paid by Whites being killed in a war. This is the kind of thinking that creates barriers between the "races" and perpetuates hatred and misunderstanding. "Worse still is to require children to pay for the crimes of their parents." - You are correct in this statement - Black children are still paying because their parents were black! This is one thing most white people fail to see. Yes! This system, and people like you who support it, are in fact incarcerating the children of a slave. This will continue until we as a people and nation first admit our faults and wrongs, and then fight to repair them. Reparations is the only way. While families of soldiers enjoyed their continued freedom, wealth, clothes, and farms, families of slaves found themselves, after the war, with NOTHING but their so-called freedom "granted" to them. Put the shoe on the other foot, educate yourself. Had it happened to you, you would feel differently. I honestly am drained from your responses, which seemingly aim to attack and judge rather than share and dialogue. In the future, perhaps you will be more honest with yourself will remember the rules of common courtesy towards other people and refrain from personal attacks, name-calling put-downs, which help nothing but to inflate ones ego.

Comments to CURE from Poochy:

I don't usually get to verbal about my opinions and beliefs, but, after exploring your website, I figured that if a bunch of idiots like yourselves are posting your opinions on a website, then I certainly have the right to express my opinion to you. You went public, so now you are fair game!

What in the world are you people thinking???? Giving reparations to black people in this country is a huge mistake and injustice. (You will notice that I refuse to call them "African Americans". However, I also don't call people "Asian Americans" or "Italian Americans". In my opinion, if you are a citizen of this country, then you are an American, plain and simple. Giving a title to a person's nationality just divides us as a society even more. We should be working to unify this country, not divide it.)

I am not a racist. However, the facts speak for themselves. No one alive now, black or white, was a slave owner, or a slave. Slavery is a sad part of our history that happened. Nothing can change that. However, everyone, black and white, need to move on. What's done is done. Do you really think that giving my hard earned tax dollars as a hand out to black people is really going to solve all of the problems?? What about the poor, unfortunate white families in this country who have suffered injustices? Are you going to give them money too? The majority of the American population today come from immigrants that never owned slaves. Very few people alive today had ancestors that owned slaves. And you want to make us all pay now??? You know as well as I do, that if you give a monetary settlement to black people in this country, the majority of them are going to blow it on gold teeth, crack, fancy clothes and fancy sneakers and gold chains. Black people in this country have already been given enough privileges, welfare, public housing, medical assistance, educational assistance programs, just to name a few. When I was going to college, I made $8,000.00 the previous year. Guess what? That was still TOO MUCH money for assistance from the government, because I was a single white male. The financial aid officer at the college told me that if I was black or hispanic, I would have no problem getting grants for school. But, because of the color of MY skin, I couldn't get any help, even though my income was at the poverty level. To make matters worse, while in school, I had several classes with black women. They would talk about how they were there for their second and third times, because "they decided they didn't like what they went to school for before". I asked them how they were paying for multiple degrees, and you know what they proudly said to me? "I don't pay for any of my education- the government pays for it all." What a slap in the face that was.

I now live in an area that is probably about 50% black. I can't tell you how many black women I see with 5 or 6 kids trailing along with them at the grocery store, one on their hip, and one in their stomach. Half of them look like they are about 15 or 16 years old. Guess who is paying for their housing, food, medical attention, etc.? Me and the other hard working tax paying people in this country. I can't tell you how many times I have gone home for lunch or left work for whatever reason during the middle of the day, and I see adult black men just milling around and hanging out. Do they work? Probably not. I am sure they are on welfare too. Not all, but, a lot of black people in this country are just looking for a handout, and organizations like your bleeding heart liberalist foundation only serve to fuel their desire. I won't even get going on how the majority of severe crime in this country is committed by black people, especially black males. And you want to reward all of this behavior by giving them money because you feel sorry for them for something that happened 150 years ago, that no one alive now had anything to do with?

Let me tell you, I think the executive and legislative branches of government in this country will never pass a reparations bill. At least I certainly hope not. I would fight it with every ounce of life in my body. However, if they did pass it, I would refuse to pay my taxes. If the black people in this country want money, let them get out and work for it, the way the rest of us have to. One of the most beautiful things about this country is that any one can be anything, if they work hard and put their mind to it. A black male or female can go to college for practically free, and be anything they want to be. Some take advantage of this, and good for them. That makes me happy and proud to be a part of this country. However, many of them would rather just sit home, deal drugs, buy their FUBU wear and ride around in their ghetto mobiles blasting their insolent music and seeing what kind of trouble they can get into.

Reparations? Not with my money, please. You people ought to have your heads examined. If you want to give them money, give them your own money. But, leave my tax money alone, please. Black people have already been given enough advantages in this country, and it is time they started standing on their own two feet. I hope you post my letter on your website, as I am sure
the majority of Americans feel the way I do.

Response from CURE member Kathryn Gordon:

To the angry man who has been denied health insurance and financial aid, reading your email, I was angry too: first at you for generalizing about black Americans and repeating many time-worn, hurtful stereotypes. There are some problems in the black community, for sure, and there are plenty of black people aware of that and working on it. If you live in a 50% black neighborhood and chill out a little and look around, you'll meet them and can become an ally. But that'll take a few years of work on your part.

Second, I am angry at our government that you don't have health care and couldn't get adequate financial aid for college. That's wrong. You shouldn't have to be dirt poor or an historically oppressed minority to get a college education. And it doesn't have to be either/or, black or white gets to go, but everyone with the will and the basic qualifications gets to go. Look at the government that has been cutting back on grants and loans since the Reagan years. I myself graduated in 1980 thanks to pell Grants, BEOG grants and work study, all of which have been cut, and not by black people, or for them, but by a government that seems to have forgotten those of us without the money to pay for lobbyists. Far worse is the health care situation. I recently just lost adult basic health care because I went $300 over the very very low earning limit. Far far too many working people are struggling by without health care, and it's wrong, and it makes me angry, but it doesn't make me angry at the people who do have some kind of heath care, even if it's the kind where you wait 10 hours in a clinic to see a nurse, if you're lucky, or a secretary who can make an appointment for you with a very overworked and harried nurse next week maybe.

Some of my black friends, I realized recently, didn't realize I don't have health care. I think some have the idea all whites have the higher tier of care they see on TV, when less and less of us do. It's good to talk, communicate, say what it's like to long to go to college and have to settle for a few classes now and then at a community college, while working nights at Wal Mart, or to have to join the reserves so they'll pay for your college, as many of the students at the Community College where I teach full time do. Seems us poor whites are back to indentured servitude in some ways (read Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenrich). But does that mean I want blacks to go back to slavery? Certainly not. I/we need them as allies.

And for some poor whites, in the cities anyway, let's admit that sometimes it's racism that keeps us from asking for the services we qualify for. In my poor working class family, one way we kept ourselves separate from the "white trash" category we so feared was to never go on food stamps, though there was a year or two after my father died when it would have been a sensible idea. Do we maybe scorn the black folks who get what they can from the system because we sometimes feel powerless and helpless, and in need of "handouts?" The black woman you described bragging about how she got a second a degree because she didn't like her major the first time--that's very unattractive and inconsiderate. But sometimes people 'front" to save face, if you know what I mean. Maybe gratitude and humility feel like they go with shame. Maybe she was just an arrogant jerk. But when we generalize--this arrogant jerk represents all ____ (white, black, Hispanic, gay, wealthy, really tall whatever) people, that's stereotyping and I for one won't do it.
Blacks who've made through to high school graduation with decent grades and scores are indeed sought after by colleges who want diversity. Is it wrong for black kids and their parents to take advantage of that? I don't think so, though I could see how it might make you angry. But let's work for educational access for everyone, and let's accept the reality that when funds are cut for programs that help black students or black mothers or whoever, the money don't necessarily go to the rest of us.

In the early days of this country, before slavery, when some indentured servants were black and some were white, their "owners" (and our European ancestors were owned, for years at a time) used the divide and conquer technique to keep them from organizing, as they were starting to do, against unfair and/or abusive treatment. They said you, Europeans, are better than them, the darker skinned ones. Don't help them, don't have anything to do with them (even the ones who are your daughters and sons), and in exchange we will make it a little easier for you, we will accept you, or your white-looking children and grandchildren, into the club. Now the same is happening. It always happens in hard times. Don't fall for it, friend.

Talk to your black neighbors, yes even the guys your age hanging out on the corner and acting like they don't want work, instead of what's more like the truth--that they can't find it. I think if you do, if you deal with your racism and get to know your neighbors, you'll realize that you have WAY more in common with them than with the people who cut the college grant programs and spend more in three weeks on war than it would take to provide health care for a whole state for a year. Demand health care. Demand access to education. You deserve it. You earned it. And if your black neighbors don't realize you don't have it, tell them. I think they'll agree you deserve it, you earned it. And who knows, if you stay in those relationships, and say honestly but lovingly how you feel about the teen moms and the men who don't work and the woman who treats college degrees like window treatments--you may change people for the better. Plenty of black people sure do need it. But plenty of white people sure do too. Plenty of people need it--change, I mean. Our leaders especially. And guess what--they're almost all white, aren't they? Put your anger where it belongs, friend. And write me back what you think about all this. I'm interested in what you have to say. I sense we have a lot in common.

ps--I like to call myself Celtic-American, though I also feel like plain American too. I like this because for all my life I have been trying to find my roots, which I feel like were stolen when my grandparents and great-grandparents came from Ireland and Scotland and lost a lot of their culture because they wanted to fit it, get ahead, make it here. I think you kind of have to let people identify themselves.

Comments to CURE from Frank G:

Supporting Reparations is totally misguided. The direct descendents of slavery are dead and gone. Their children, if alive, are also very old now. Descendents of Americans should not have to pay for the crimes of their ancestors. Also, if you really want reparations, you're suing the wrong government. The US government of today is not that of 1865, which actually freed the slaves. The government that had slaves was the southern government of the Confederacy. It does not exist any longer. So you have no one to sue.

But here's another idea. You really want today's blacks to get some form of justice for what happened to their ancestors. OK. How about "Restitution for Crimes Committed Under the Rules of Jim Crow"? Now this one sounds workable. There are many blacks alive today who remember what life under Jim Crow was like. They can receive some sort of compensation. They have a better case. The reparations idea, even in going after corporations that benefitted from slavery (but are not now the same corporations) has no case. Try the Restitution idea. It might work.

Response from CURE member Rita DiCarlo:

If restitution is the approach taken, or even reparations, I think blacks are due some kind of repair for the damage done. After all, they built this country due to either the slavery or the cheap labor they have provided the fat cats even today. Not to mention that when it comes to psychiatric abuse, they get more drugs, for longer durations, and therefore more deaths, Tardive Dyskenesia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome due to the long term effects of neuroleptic drugs and Electroconvulsive "treatment" (electric shock) than anyone else according to the latest statistics, and more children kidnapped from them for more reasons (including not wanting to give them Ritalin or any other Class II cocaine related and cocaine predispositioning drug by ACS) than any other race. May I suggest BOTH REPARATIONS AND RESTITUTION ARE IN ORDER.

Response from CURE member Ferrell Winfree:

It is an interesting idea, to seek restitution. I think all avenues of reparation and restitution should be taken. For those who speak of avoiding the concept, the reason I am in total favor is that I am honest enough, as a white woman, to realize that my life is more valuable in this country than that of a person of color. As long as that holds true, we have much work to do. This is only one of the residual effects of slavery and only one of the reasons reparations is due.

Comments to CURE from Contrary:

I believe reparations (a trust fund as suggested ) is a laudable goal.

But not because of lost economic opportunity. There are programs today in place to make up for that. And one can not say that any group is ahead of another because of past advantages. The web of reparations would apply to most Americans. Is one person to be responsible for all debt? I think that the main reason should be to acknowledge the evil, the pain, the heartbreak that slaves suffered. One had to work hard in 1840 as a white as well as a slave. But the destruction of the family is almost immeasurable in monetary terms. You can never put the fire back into the logs and have lost its value forever. The same for family ties.

The only problem I have is that the vast majority of original victims, mothers losing children, fathers losing wives, children losing parents, all being whipped ,starved, could never see satisfaction from reparations or could have inkling how their descendants would be benefitting from the pain they had suffered.

Response from CURE member Dorothy Fardan:

There are a few points that must be understood: 1) A white worker's labor, even a poor white sharecropper at the time of slavery and shortly afterwards, can never be equated to slave labor. Whites were regarded as free citizens and despite economic hardship for the poor, and less access to wealth, they did not sustain the scars of slavery, the trauma of lynchings, nor the years of trickery, theft and intimidation that robbed them of their land and properties; 2) Everyone knows that reparations in the form of money, land, etc. can never replace the lives lost in slavery nor the scars of the trauma on families, nor the hazards continuing on today in the form of bad health due to diet inherited from slavery and post traumatic stress from slavery, but no one ever says to the Jews that they should not have pursued or taken reparations from the Germans because this would never replace the lost lives in their holocaust. Americans must understand that there have been two holocausts on this soil -- Africans and Native Americans--- and these holocausts merit compensation as much as the Jewish holocaust

Comments to CURE from Pride:

First of all, I do not have to pay anyone back for something that I had no control over to begin with. racism from all cultural backgrounds will always exist and your pity and determination to pay one particular race of people is disgusting and also shows shame that you have in your own race. Be proud of who you are! I have two beautiful boys that will someday be strong white men and there is nothing else I'm more proud of. It was tough years ago being a woman due to unfair treatment but we have come a long way and you don’t see any website trying to collect money or pity for women and there shouldn’t be one either, so why does this one exist? could it be that you people have watched one too many Alex Haley movies and now are convinced that the white race should be looked down on? What is wrong with being proud of where you came from? A Child is born not aware of racism. Racist behavior is taught so its our job as parents to teach these children not to be that way towards anyone, that is a effective solution. Posting a pity party, asking for handouts is not a solution. Stop asking the new generation of white people to give money for something they did not do, and if you really want to feel sorry, think about all the other cultures. For example: Indians and Jewish descent as well as our own people. Get a grip and find something else to do with your time. Support your white people and be proud!!!!!! There are positives of white culture regardless of what you think....

Response from CURE member Matthew Nadol:

First of all giving money to those who deserve it is not shame nor a lack of pride. I am a white man, I support reparations, and I am proud of any contributions people have made to progress all through history, John Brown for instance. No one here has said that white people should live in shame, (in fact only you anti reparations people seem to be stuck on this shame issue). Also as you saw fit to speak not just for our people (white) but My people (jews), here’s a quick lesson in jewish history. The jews have been screwed in Europe most extremely, and then Asia and Africa less so in descending order, but, by god, we have done well in the U.S.A., we have enjoyed freedom in this country like in no other (including Israel). Unlike our fellow americans who are of african descent, as long as we had the right paint job we was just as good as you european folks. Oh and by the way the nazis paid us jews millions in reparations, german taxpayers helped foot the bill, whether they cooperated with the massacres, or if they resisted the nazis and helped jews escape, "the german taxpayer carried the load"; people do pay for the crimes of their nations, ever hear of bombs?

You're probably one of those people who’s mad because there’s Kwanza.

I find it funny that you tell us what to do with our time, yet you get angry when we suggest what you can do with only a nickel. Signed, The proud white boy.

Comments to CURE by Patricia S:

i respect cure and the effects of it's work. no it is not about money. i am a 39 yr. old, married and a mother of 3. i can not speak for every one when i say it's about who we are as a people and where we came from. my family has been torn apart because of slavery, meaning some sold here, some sold there. as far as my family history goes, i have a few relatives here and there, but no one seems to know anything other than my grandparents. all we know is that our great-grandparents were descendants of slaves and somehow ended up in south carolina picking cotton and working in tobacco fields. yes i could do a family tree to search out my roots, but when there is so much vital info. missing in between where does that lead you? it's somewhat like being in a family your whole life to find out that your parents are not your parents, you are adopted. so there is a feeling of "who am i" and that could apply to any race. when you have to look in the many faces of other african americans and wonder "could that be a relative of mine?" as i mentioned i have 3 children and would like to pass down a history lesson of rich culture, beautiful language, a religion not forced but desired.

i think this is a wonderful forum that you have to allow people to be heard no matter what race. the whole reparation is not about race. it' s about humanity against humanity. and if people could set aside race for a brief moment, was it humanitarian?

Response from CURE member Ida Hakim:

Dear Patricia,

Your comments bring to our attention two facts: 1) reparations is a human rights issue, and 2) the effects of slavery linger on and afflict the descendants of the enslaved Africans.

Many persons writing to this website have pointed out that the actual slaves are dead and the slave masters and slave traders are dead. They use these facts to try to assert that there are no living victims. But as we can see from other comments, and from your comments in particular, the effects of slavery are not dead. If reparations are sought for the effects of slavery alone there are arguments to win on both moral and legal grounds.

Today the effects of slavery can be seen in economic and social disparity, racism and racial profiling and the psychological trauma of these injustices. In addition to these effects there are still other lingering effects of slavery that we seldom recognize or talk about. Your letter reaches toward this subject.

The essence of a human being is their identity, formed over many centuries by the language, religion and cultural practices of their people. It is a human right of all human families to retain their language, religion and culture, and this human right is articulated in international law, in particular, Article 27 of the ICCPR.

Upon arriving in the Americas, the slaves were brutally separated from anyone who might be of their tribe. This was only one of many methods used to force them to stop speaking their languages and practicing their religions. They were forcibly bred with persons from different tribes and with the slave master’s hated seed. These methods of removing identity continued and were trans-generational, causing the people to have to undergo a permanent change. Over the centuries original identity was utterly and completely destroyed and the descendants lost all possibility of return.

Today even the politically powerful like Clarence Thomas, or the rich and famous like Michael Jordan cannot tell you where they came from or their original language, religion or culture. They do know, I am sure, that their language is not English, their religion is not Christianity, and their culture does not include Santa Claus and so on. The feeling you express in your letter - the yearning to know who you are - that feeling tells you that the effects of slavery are with you now and will be with your children.

With regard to reparations, you are owed, first of all, acknowledgment of what has been done to your human family as well as apologies from all nations, peoples and institutions involved in the enslavement of your ancestors. You are owed an apology for the continuing acts against you today, and cessation of those acts. You are owed recognition by the world of your human rights as a human family, and restoration of those rights. And finally, you are owed full and complete reparations plus compensation for the damage that is irreparable.

Thank you for writing and expressing the loss that so few recognize.

Comments to CURE from Darrell Davis:

I am black and I'm amazed at the fact that people, today, can openly state that they're gay and it's cool. Yet for me to say "I'm black and proud of it" makes white people nervous and upset. Before blacks can state the value of reparations white people and white society needs a serious re-education movement. White people need to see the truth of their history....not the myths that are being presented in schools as (so-called) education. Dictionaries, today, still say that Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America. White and black people need to read: African Presence in early America by Ivan Van Sertima. You need a bibliography of material posted on your web site about racism, prejudice against black people and the real history of white/european history. Personally, I think that you should demand that no one can become a member of your group until they read certain books so that everyone will be on the same level of understanding as to the race/prejudice problem. To get into a discussion with anyone about prejudice and racism without that person doing any research on the subject is like talking to a brick wall. (But keep it up. Somebody has to challenge white society. I know I will be.)

I have a resource list made for white people and another one for black people. America's history is far worse than you think. Slavery is just one of the horrors. I think these books will help you.

1) War against the Weak: Eugenics and America's campaign to create a master race by Edwin Black
2) Lies my teacher told me by James W. Loewen
3) All books by Joe R. Feagin (about racism)
4) Uprooting Racism by Paul Kivel
5) Critical White Studies by Delgado & Stefancic
6) Nature knows no color-line by J.A. Rogers
7) Blacks in Science by Ivan Van Sertima
8) The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness by Amos N. Wilson
9) Mis-education of the negro by Carter G. Woodson
10) African presence in early America by Ivan Van Sertima

Comments to CURE by M. Perna:

I am reading the articles for the first time on your site and am very happy you are doing the work that you are doing. The reconciliation which needs to happen as soon as possible can only happen when we dedicate ourselves to correcting injustices that happened in this country whether they happened 8 days ago or 8 generations ago.

Until a few years ago, I had been completely blinded by the white privilege afforded me, a light-skinned italian-mexican with an irish ancestor as well, from very assimilated families on both sides.

I can't refer to it as anything other than blindness. For a while I tried to write off my responsibilities, claiming immunity because of my non-Anglo Saxon background, that my ancestors all came this century to the U.S., the shit that they encountered when they came, etc. but the fact is that my families quickly assimilated with few problems, and I was born with the same opportunities as a Rockefeller or Kennedy (minus the bank accounts) in terms of knowing my culture, not being the victim of profiling, beatings, redlining, etc.

I became further convinced of the need as I learned more of the history of slavery in the USA listening to tape recordings of survivors of slavery recorded in the early 1900s. I began to wonder how, as a 28 year old politically conscious man, how I (and my afro friends) had never heard these recordings in our history classes, or how we never heard about the Rosewood Florida Massacre in 1923, or the Tulsa riots, and all the other things that I haven't found out about yet. I began reading some websites and looking at various Black perspectives on reparations, separating those who have their shit together from those who aren't so together or are contaminated by their own racism. I attended a reparations rally at the United Nations in New York City and sat listening for hours to speakers from all over the country present their
cases.

Learning about all this has helped to open my eyes, and I strongly recommend checking this stuff out to anybody, but especially white folks who are so vehemently against reparations.

Reparations is not the only cause that we need to fight for, but I see it as a larger part of the struggle for social justice. I see it as a winnable campaign. It will empower those who seek to save the environment, those who seek stronger labor laws and other worthwhile causes, because it will finally eliminate that barrier of privilege that has kept many African Americans out of these movements in the past.

Elimination of racism is one of the biggest gifts that we can give our children so that a white kid can walk through Bed-Stuy or Newark or Compton and not feel funny vibes, or that a black kid can walk through Greenwich, Connecticut or Main Line Philadelphia or Columbia, SC without feeling like the cops or the Klan are about to get him, or that a Latino or Asian or Native American kid can roll in any of these areas as a truly free human being whose ancestors finally made peace with the injustices of the past.

The job that the abolitionists started in during the slavery era is not done until we create true conditions for equality. That is the task of our generation, and history will condemn us if we do not accept it, just as it today condemns the slave owners and supporters of slavery.

I don't need to go on because there is so much eloquent writing here. I just want to wish you the best and share some words of support and tell you in my own words how I came to open my heart to the cause for reparations. Forward/ Pa'lante!

Comments to CURE from Dan Defoe:

I just found your website. What a bunch of pathetic, hand-wringing, pablum! First: if you are so concerned about redressing slavery why don't you focus on all slavery across all the planet across all time. Or maybe be more concerned about people in the bonds of slavery RIGHT NOW??? That would be more appropraite to rail against countries that are "immoral from its very foundation ... and the commission of the crime of slavery." I see this whole reparation movement as more of a scheme by a small group of people looking to benefit themselves at the expense of others. I don't see black leaders advocating that Egypt pay reparations to Jews worldwide. Where is your sympathy for Koreans enslaved by the Japanese? Should the Italians pay reparations to all the Mediterranean countries for the Roman Empire taking slaves from them in the past? Why don't you advocate the Muslems pay reparation to Christians--at least in
the Sudan or Ethiopia or Algeria.

Second: If you're going to advocate something, why don't you propose a specific plan? "Feel good" generalities and singing Kumba Ya will achieve nothing. I've yet to see anyone propose specifics. Who pays? Who receives? How much? Is it a one time payment, or are they perpetual?
Grow up and get a life.

Response from CURE member Elizabeth West:

Dear Mr. Defoe,

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings. I would like to address your concern that we should address slavery in all its manifestations not just chattel slavery imposed on people of Afrikan descent in the United States. I agree that there are many forms of contemporary slavery, including maquiladoras (aka. sweatshops) in many countries throughout the world such as Mexico, El Salvador, China, and the Philippines where workers are severely underpaid (7 cents/hour) and forced to work in toxic environments; the U.S. Prison Industrial Complexwhere inmates are forced to labor for free; and the sex trade operating in many countries throughout Asia. These realities in no way conflict with my support of Black Reparations. On the contrary, they provide additional opportunities to speak out against injustice further cementing my belief that "When one of us is oppressed, none of us are free." I am confused as to why the existence of multiple oppressions (historically and contemporarily) would cause you to think it is wrong to devote time to undoing the effects of one of those oppressions. Also, the effects of slavery in the U.S. are far from gone. Many corporations and individuals in the U.S. made their fortunes off slavery and exist today because of that. The discrepancy in the poverty levels in the white and African-American communities is another example of the aftereffects of chattel slavery.

Regarding your statement, "I see this whole reparation movement as more of a scheme by a small group of people looking to benefit themselves at the expense of others." This statement is more applicable to the actual practice of chattel slavery itself not reparations. I would like to add that reparations is not just about financial reparations but about repairing the damages done on all levels (emotional, familial, psychological, spiritual) to those of Afrikan descent via chattel slavery. There are specific plans regarding reparations such as the Dakar Declaration developed at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances, January 2001.

Also many of the books on Black Reparations address specifics such as Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations, edited by Raymond Winbush. Your local library should be a good start for resources.

Comments to CURE from an unnamed writer:

You should all be ashamed of yourselves! As "Caucasions" did you recieve reparations from the various races and cultures who have enslaved us through-out history? Were the Irish compensated for their treatment by the English during the potato famine? Were any Europeans compensated for their enslavement by the Scandanavians, the Romans, or the Greeks? If so, I haven't seen a shred of that compensation. Slavery is as old as civilization it's self and you should be celebrating it's abolition and not trying to open old wounds. If any race of people should be held responsible for black slavery in America, it should be the Africans who sold their slaves at disgustingly low prices. The English already had all of the slave labor they needed before they started buying Africans: They were called indentured servants and they were caucasion. But who wouldn't take the less expensive route in such a commercial society? Put down your pitch-forks and torches and go find something constructive to do with your time.

Response from CURE member Peggy Dobbins:

Dear "You Should All Be Ashamed,
I agree with you that slavery has existed since history, and celebrate the accomplishments of the struggle to abolish it. I support the Reparation movement, however, particularly as led by African/Americans who are actually not, from what I have seen, out for any selfish personal gain except the satisfaction of having played a role in humanizing our species beyond the level of existence that accepts as a given that "might makes right":..that those who can exploit the fact that others cannot survive without doing their bidding, can get away with it.

I don't know if my ancestors were actually slave owners or not. I do know that my grandmothers and mother went to some trouble to prove their descent from men who fought for the right to own slaves. What was the reason they wanted to be members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy? By the way, I am also a member. I know that they, and also I, concretely and still psychologically benefit from being presumed to have a birthright to membership in that "aristocratic" ruling class. I used to think it was enough to identify myself as "on the other side" both by exposing the false consciousness of my ancestors, by noting that they were not in fact members of the ruling class, but sucking up, and/or trying to pass (however their visual appearance) "as if" if not "into" the ruling class. But I know now --in a time when 20% of Americans believe they are in the top 1% and 40% believe they will be (see Nation article in May) in the face of the fact that a million jobs have disappeared in the last 3 years, and almost everyone who is working is working longer hours for less, doing the bidding of someone else (who may be slaving for slave wages herself) just to "keep on keeping on" -- that if the beneficiaries of exploitation are not forced by law to repair the damage they do just because they can get away with it, slavery in new legal guises will continue reinventing itself.

There well may be some, in fact many African American US citizens who are healthier, wealthier, and wiser than I now. My primary motive is not about black/white US stuff; its about making it clear that you don't exploit others and get away with it. You will have to repair the damage you do and the price must be higher than you are willing to pay. At this stage of human evolution, people will exploit others to their advantage if they can get away with it, and even if they get caught --if the price is not too high. Read the business section of any newspaper, however conservative.

I don't want to be punished for the stupidity and cruelty of anyone I am descended from or not descended from. That is why I support the Reparation Movement. I do not want to pay for the sins of those jumping on today's bandwagon, of those who expect to get away with profitting from new crimes against humanity. Once I opened my heart to the concept of reparation, my mind began to understand.

Response from CURE member Matti Nadol:

First of all when the europeans become customers of the african slave trade the african slavers were suddenly paid almost three times as much for a slave as africans and arabs had been. In the three thousand years prior to the european involvement slaves cost the buyers about the same as several other export cargos. salt often surpassed slaves in market value at that time and to compare the trade value of slaves to cattle, copper, iron, and various livestock animals, was like comparing the fluctuating prices of corn or apples and oranges, enter the european market and "viola" human cargo is comparable to gold and ivory in price, and slavery soon surpassed gold and ivory in gross trade volume and employment percentages on the african continent. The number of africans working in the slave trade quadrupled practically overnight once the europeans sweetened the deal for them. So much for your cut rate prices idea.

And second of all, indentured servants were released after about seven years normally with a reasonable stipend, many opportunities, the full protection of the law, equality, and job training, newly freed slaves rarely had more than the job training. The progeny of indentured servants went on to colonize ohio, indiana etc. with offers of free land. The former slaves were basically left to the dogs, never receiving the just compensation that many well-meaning congressmen had
intended to offer them.

My grandfather had to hide the fact that he was a Jew in order to gain the rank that he did in the navy with no difficulty(Lt. Commander). His african american contemporaries were extremely lucky to get anywhere near being CPO, and had a one in a thousand chance of going any higher, and they could not "hide" there heritage. So knock off the B.S. about our "poor caucasian ancestors". And do a little historical research once and a while, it's good for your soul.

Comments to CURE from John:

Hello,
Have read your site with interest and entertainment. Many of the reader's comments seem to expose their own "racist" leanings as well as (in some cases) poor education. While the CORE member respondents seem anxious to justify their own affiliation with a distinctly black issue while denying any "guilt" complex caused by their inherited race. So, such is life and society in America.

I just find it discouraging to see the issue of race once again being drudged up and dragged over the American fabric in an effort to placate a particular group. Instead of concentrating on further assistance to the black community, children, and culture to overcome "racism" and encourage them to high goals and future, your organization further encourages the separation of the races. Most people will never refuse a hand-out (blacks), and most people will never agree to provide a hand-out (whites) -- whether perceived or real. Blacks will be further encouraged to seek assistance from society as "pay-back", whites will continue to view the black community as predominantly a "welfare culture". Racism, whether real or imagined, will be further strengthened in the minds of both races if/when reparations become reality.

In truth, the purported "noble" purpose of CORE and the Reparations cause is debased by the repugnant use of litigation and obvious desire for money (i.e. greed). It is unfortunate that you cannot use your energies to encourage/reinforce a positive cause, rather than fuel a heavily divisive one.

Response from CURE member Hugh Esco:

John:
Reparations is not a distinctly Black issue, no more than is the issue of racism. I actually tend not to speak too much of racism, because I find that it tends to obscure the real issue. Most white folks think that racism is an issue only when African, Latin, Native or Asian folks are in the room. "We were all doing fine until 'they' showed up." The truth is that the real issue here is the ideology of white supremacy which we as white folks benefit from whether we consciously subscribe to its tenants or not. The real issue is the extent to which the ideology of white supremacy permeates the culture and institutions in which we live.
It is not denial to say that I operate in this realm without guilt for the actions of others. I may have once been guilt ridden, but found that my guilt didn't do me or anyone else any good. In fact it froze me in inaction. Only after I was able to move beyond guilt, while still acknowledging that I daily benefit from unearned white skin privilege, enjoyed at the expense of the oppression of others, was I able to start taking action to address this imbalance.

Racism will continue to stain the fabric of American society until we address it head on and lay it to rest. We won't do that by asking everyone to leave what is behind us in the past. We especially won't do that when that past is not really in the past -- as evidenced by so many statistics related to income, wealth, education, incarceration, land-theft, etc.

In fact, as I write this I am interrupted by a phone call from rural Central Georgia. On October 3rd, I will be heading to Sandersville where a Black man with a deed, properly recorded by the Clerk of Court, is having to defend two acres of his land from encroachment by a white neighbor. We won't lay to rest the racism which stains our existence until we confront, head-on, the sense of entitlement that we as white folks exercise in our daily lives -- whether entitlement to better attention at the store, better accommodations or schools, better public services, or even entitlement to our neighbor's lands. Such a sense of entitlement is born of our investment, however sub-conscious, in the ideology of white supremacy.

Reparations are not hand-outs, they are a payment on a debt that is owed for past wrongs -- whether slavery, land theft, Jim Crow, lynchings, disparate access to wealth, income and opportunity or what have you. Welfare culture is a poor substitute for justice. True, it is a substitute vital to the survival of the few people who are still able to draw it in this age when Clinton ended "Welfare as we know it." But it is no substitute for justice. I doubt seriously that my colleagues in this organization are at all interested in creating some sort of "welfare" system to "dole" out "reparations". In fact, that would be no "reparations" at all -- it would do nothing to REPAIR the damage that has been done all these years. It would only perpetuate the imbalance in power and access to resources that we seek to repair.

Litigation is far less repugnant than armed revolution. In fact, our system of "rule-of-law" is an excellent step forward from the days of lynch mobs or duels as means for resolving conflicts. It is not greed to collect on a debt. It is greed to take what is not ours, pretend that it is ours and dismiss those who would have us return their property to them as being hopelessly stuck in the past.

There are few causes which may be said to be more positive than healing the wounds that the ideology of white supremacy has made in our culture and psyches. But to do that work will require that we look at -- not away from -- those wounds, that we clean them out. We must be ready to move past the denial which blinds us to the ongoing effects of the ideology on which this nation was built. We must be ready to REPAIR the damage which has been and to this day still is being done.
-- Hugh Esco, Georgia Green Party

Comments to CURE from Teriq al Qazvin:

Forgive what must seem a minor issue - - but I notice that most of your writers capitalize Black, (adj. or noun) and do not capitalize white (adj. or noun). Is there any logic behind this? If you see it as a sort of verbal reparation, I am not impressed. You can't very well take it to the bank, can you? Besides, it looks silly.

Response from CURE member Dorothy Blake Fardan:

My understanding is that most Black writers capitalize Black to indicate a people, a culture, a nation within a nation. "Black" is more than a color in this sense. It stands for the common history of a people having endured bondage and being strangers in a strange land. It is not meant as a disrespect to Caucasians. But Caucasians have not had this experience in this country. "Whites" haven't had to form a consciousness of solidarity in defense while confronting white supremacy. Caucasians haven't had to generate a consciousness that would identify them in the face of oppression. Capitalized Black, and Black Power, Black Studies, Black Consciousness, Black History, etc all arose in this country as a response to the power and oppression of white supremacy.

Comments to CURE from Scott:

Please tell me how one defines "ancestor of a slave." Are we not all slaves (to one thing or another)? Jesus' comment comes to mind: "Remove the splinter from your own eye before you attempt to remove the beam from your brother's eye." Bottom line -- it is not reparation that wipes the slate clean, it is repentance (and forgiveness).

Response from CURE member Larry Yates:

Dear Scott,

I am as wary of lightly saying "are we not all slaves" as I would be of saying "are we not all victims of aerial bombing?" or "are we not all victims of genital mutilation?" Slavery, esp. chattel slavery in the USA, was a specific experience that certain people actually went through -- and certain other people are their ancestors. It is true that as humans, all of us are in some way in bondage, are in some way limited. But to equate that philosophical insight with the specific pain of historic slavery seems to me to be disrespectful, and not well thought out.

Jesus' words are not everyone's moral beacon, but I think most of us would agree that his teachings were and are of great value. However, it would seem to me that CURE is in fact exactly about what you suggest -- the business of removing the beam from our own eyes before removing the mote from the eyes of others. We are acknowledging our own complicity in the ongoing process of racism. If reparations occurs, I and other CURE members will be among those who will lose privileges and/or wealth. We will be among those who will be humbled by that process, which it seems to me is clearly what Jesus was urging.

I am not sure that anything any human can do can "wipe the slate clean" of the great outrages we have committed against each other and against moral law. Reparations certainly cannot do that. The past cannot be changed -- but we can continually seek to create a different world in the present.

Jesus did not suggest that we merely repent and change our minds, but that we also take real steps to right the wrongs we have done and to show our commitment to a new life. We shall be known "by our fruits," he taught. It is easy to stand up like the Pharisee in the temple and proudly proclaim that you have repented and that others have an obligation to forgive you. It is much harder to demonstrate that your repentance is more than words, as the rich young man was asked to do -- to give away all that he had and follow Jesus.

I am no authority on what Jesus meant, but I don't see how Jesus can be seen as being satisfied with an attitude change and a few "correct" words. The Mennonites who denounced slavery in the 1600s, the anti-slavery Quaker John Woolman, and so many others who examined slavery in the light of the teachings of Jesus, certainly saw the need for a much deeper response to slavery than a claim of repentance and a demand for forgiveness.

Response from CURE member Amy Kedron:

Back in the late Sixties when James Forman made reparations popular after presenting his Black Manifesto at Riverside Church, the Rev. Ernest Campbell supported a call for reparations saying, “You don't simply say “I'm sorry” to a man you've robbed. You return what you stole or your apology takes on a hollow ring.” The United States is a world superpower partly due to capitalism. Slavery monies established unparalleled schools, transportation, business and government that blacks had no access to. To understand US power we must understand how money made it powerful and how slavery (free labor) was the very foundation on which that power relied. Repentance in capitalist terms must include some form of financial giving back.

As far as us all being slaves, as indentured servants, whites were treated much like slaves and yet when their work was done they were given their "Forty Acres and A Mule" to get back on their feet in the form of Freedom Dues. Black people collectively were never given this privilege though they asked for it. Imagine working your whole life making someone else rich and never getting adequately paid for it (given the minimum wage in this country--Yes--we are all slaves kind-of because we are making someone else very rich, but we will never be exploited to the extent that black slaves were). Until there is a black infrastructure in this country that is well funded (from the beneficiaries of slavery) and directed by black people, there will always be a debt owed for slavery.

Comments to CURE from Scott W:

Why would you want to use our nations (and its citizens) rescources to basically just hand-out money to african americans? That in itself is racist, because you are excluding non-blacks. I totally understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that you will never change your mind, but why not spend your time trying to devote our nations resources to something that needs it, like health care, and unemployement. Slavery is over, and if anyone faces discrimination these days, I'd have to say its whites. I was assaulted, as well as my sister and some of my friends, by hispanics when we were going to school as kids. Am I now entitled to reperations, due to the discrimination? I come from a poor white background. None of my family is wealthy or even close to it, yet you think african americans are entitled. I'm sorry but I have more pride in my heritage. I first feel sympathy for my own race. I may just come from a poor part of the country, but where I live there are a lot of poor white people. They are your people, but where's your sympathy for them? Just something to think about it. It really bugs me to see my people, white people, who would, hypothetically, let a white child starve to save a black one. It's a discrace.

Response from CURE member Amanda Furness:

Scott,
In many ways, I've struggled with the same issues. I myself am from a family of Kentucky coal miners who have never had more than a pot to piss in. Even now (because of my lack of inherited wealth and my family's economic instability, not to mention the social stigma that comes along with being considered "white trash") I find myself struggling to support my two sons as a single mother with no real help in sight.

No, I would not rather see a white child starve so that a Black child can eat, but I will fight to enlighten my own people as to the true history of this country so that we can insure not only our own spiritual and physical survival in a changing world that IS filled with many people who despise US for the color of OUR skin (because of what they and their ancestors have experienced as minorities in America), but also so that we might be able to overcome the legacy that our nation has left us. We must come to understand the position that the United States Government and the wealthy families that helped to establish this country have put us (poor whites) in. It is one of being despised as the oppressor without knowing exactly why that is. One of the things I regret about this work is that there is no real dialogue between poor whites and the Black community that would allow for these issues to be examined; it is my hope to establish some kind of forum for that to happen in.

In many ways, we have suffered through some of the same indignities that people of color have endured, and indeed, we have been exploited by the mining, chemical and oil companies; thing is, there has been a single identifying characteristic that keeps us (as a group) from being swept under the rug and that is the color of our White skin.

For example, if you as a young white man found yourself in court on a gun charge (as did two of my nephews recently), you'd likely be sentenced to probation or community service, whereas a young Black man facing the same charges might find himself sentenced to a 2-5 year prison term, the serving of which will undoubtedly affect his future, his ability to find a decent job and (in some states) his right to vote. Such is the reality of American life, and of course it angers members of minority groups (and especially those of African descent) to witness such injustice, especially when their ancestors put forth most of the labor that helped to establish this country and it's wealth. Though I hate to admit it, there have been times when I myself have taken advantage of these privileges, even after being made aware of them (which convicted me twice as hard because I knew I was wrong and should have owned up to my own consequences).

No, maybe we didn't financially benefit from the system of slavery, but we do benefit socially from its inception and continuation, ie. lesser incarceration rates, better textbooks, more access to and - in some cases - first dibbs at available resources.

In 2000, I was jumped by a group of eight Black women outside of a club, so I also understand what you are saying about being fearful and in some cases being discriminated against. As a white journalist who has worked for Black newspapers and who has experienced reverse discrimination firsthand, I definitely agree that White people often find themselves in an awkward position. But what I have come to understand and to believe is that those of us who are chosen for this work are often forced to experience situations that might be reflective of the ones that Blacks have had in America so that we can begin to understand the pain that they have endured. Though it took a couple of years to come to terms with it, I have come to grips with the fact that what I experienced was the wrath of not only eight individuals who might have had unjust dealings with Whites in their own lives, but who also bear the weight of over 400 years worth of similar experiences on their shoulders and in their psyches as well.

You must understand...the residual effects of slavery still linger in today's America, and affect all of us, whether we realize it or not. Me, I'm a big believer in needing to understand the historical context of any situation if you truly seek to comprehend exactly what it was that happened. Have you ever seen American History X? It was the first piece of media I've ever seen that really addresses these modern-day issues. If you haven't seen it, check it out; it might help you put some things in perspective.

The idea of reparations being a hand-out is ridiculous. If you look outside of the traditional sources, you'll find many documented cases of what the after-effects of slavery on those of African descent look like. They run the gauntlet from intense self-hatred to forced assimilation to individual and situational/mass accounts of discrimination, all of which contribute to a lack of economic independence. Do you write your Congressman letters telling him how much of a waste it is to throw billions of dollars away on a space program when we have issues like the race divide here on the ground to deal with? Probably not. Yet as you yourself have said, you've had to deal with situations ignited by race on at least a few occasions. Wouldn't the money be better spent by dealing with the issue of race on an official level? Take a closer look, at the history. There's a lot more there than just that which you are currently aware of.

Response from CURE member Rachel Naba:

Dear Scott,
Thank you for your interest in a dialogue with us. I would like to respond to your inquiry.

"Why would you want to use our nations (and its citizens) rescources to basically just hand-out money to african americans?" Reparations is absolutely NOT a hand-out to African-Americans. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition defines handout as: Food, clothing, or money given to the needy. Reparations has nothing to do with giving money or material goods or food to the needy; this is charity rather than reparations. Reparations is about trying to correct our actions from the past. I feel that African-Americans deserve to be compensated for the atrocities that "your people" (white people) in this country forced upon them during slavery (which continues until today, though often in less obvious forms). This country was built on the sweat, blood and tears of enslaved Africans who were brought here against their will and stripped of their culture, families, languages, identity, spirituality and freedom. It was the labor of the enslaved Africans that built our country as we know it from the ground up, and they were not paid wages for their labor - they were beaten, killed, oppressed, and colonized instead. Their families were torn apart, children snatched from parents.... they were forbidden to practice their spirituality... they were forced into a religion and culture that was not their own... their entire livelihood, wealth, dignity and power was stripped from them while they stood naked on the selling block, being eyed by the buyers who saw them as animals rather than human beings. I could go on and on...but the point is that this entire country benefitted from this arrangment, except, of course, for those who were enslaved. This is a disgrace that must be rectified. Reparations is the only way to do so. It is fitting to use our nations resources to pay reparations to those who suffered so much at the barrel of our guns, the blades of our knives, and the oppression of our fists.

"...why not spend your time trying to devote our nations resources to something that needs it, like health care, and unemployement" These are definitely very worthy causes, and many of us here at CURE are fighting for these things as well. Health care, poverty, unemployment, the state of the prison system, drugs.... there are so many problems right under our noses, and many of us are
blinded to these realities because we think that we live in the "greatest country in the world". How can a country be so great when its government pays farmers NOT to grow food while some of its people are starving? How can a country be so great when it spends billions of dollars attacking others while its own people are sick, without jobs, homeless, and hopeless? I agree. These things are issues that need to be addressed. But they have nothing to do with reparations; they are separate issues. Reparations is also an issue that needs to be on the table. Just as you can work to fight homelessness while you also work to improve schools, reparations is not a mutually-exclusive issue. Our country has the resources for all of these things, including reparations. It is up to us to ensure that our tax dollars and our country's resources go where they should go, rather than into the pockets of politicians or into wasteful and unneeded programs, wars and bribes.

"Slavery is over, and if anyone faces discrimination these days, I'd have to say its whites....I come from a poor white background. None of my family is wealthy or even close to it, yet you think african americans are entitled." Once slavery officially ended, the enslaved Africans were suddenly "free" - but what did that so-called freedom mean? It meant very little, for they had nothing but the skins on their backs. They had no family structure or culture, they had no language or religion that was their own, they certainly had no wealth, land or money with which to support themselves and thrive... they had absolutely NOTHING. Even the poor white people, at that time, had SOMETHING. They had a family. They had a language that was their own. They had a religion. They had values and self-worth. They had rags to wear. They had some skills to farm, hunt, or teach their children. Enslaved Africans had none of these things. These things were all stripped from them before they even set foot onto this country. Yes, descendents of enslaved Africans ARE entitled to justice. They ARE entitled to reparations. They ARE entitled, and we are obligated to them, because WE are the ones who forced them into slavery, poverty, homelessness, etc. Your family was poor...mine was too. The financial status of your family or mine has nothing to do with what was forced on the enslaved Africans. Perhaps your family did not own slaves. Perhaps mine didn't either. But the fact remains that the poverty of our families was not caused by our enslavement by another race or by another race uprooting us from our home and culture and forcing us to give up everything against our will. Compared to
enslaved Blacks, even the poorest white person had everything, because they had a family, stability, and the other vital non-material aspects of life and prosperity that were stolen from them. Unless your family was one that was an activist family against slavery, their silence supported the slavery system, making them an accomplice and just as guilty as those who had owned slaves.

The fact is, this country needs to step up and admit its mistakes. You have been assaulted by another race...you didnt appreciate it, did you? What you have experienced is not even worthy of mention compared to what Black people continue to experience every day of their lives. Reparations will help heal some of the wounds. It will help BOTH Blacks and Whites to focus on the healing rather than the hatred. It will force the government and the privlidged to take responsibility for their past actions and misdeeds. It will never erase what happened. It will never make us forget. But it will be a step in the right direction towards racial harmony, because it will force White people to re-examine their attitudes and prejudices and admit that what we did as a
people to Blacks was inexcusable and wrong.

"I first feel sympathy for my own race. I may just come from a poor part of the country, but where I live there are a lot of poor white people. They are your people, but where's your sympathy for them? Just something to think about it. It really bugs me to see my people, white people, who would, hypothetically, let a white child starve to save a black one. It's a discrace." Scott, what is a disgrace is letting ANY child starve, whether he is purple, orange, red or striped. What is a disgrace is how many people of all colors and backgrounds live in poverty while others live disgustingly wasteful and unconscious lives because they greedily consume all of the available resources. What is a disgrace is how people have been taught to feel sympathy or empathy for one person over another, just because of the color of their skin or the amount of money in their pockets. Me, I would NEVER let a Black child starve if I could help it, nor would I allow a White, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Native American, Iraqui, African, Australian, etc. child starve. In reality, there is NO DIFFERENCE between races - we are ONE people who have been divided into sections by a system that does not care about us. White, Black, Red, Yellow, Orange, Pink...we are all ONE people. "White" vs. "Black" is a created problem and has no basis in science or spirituality. So "white" people may be "your" people, but do not assume that just because I am also seen as "white" that "White" people are also MY people, for this is not the case. Black people are my people. Red people are my people. Brown people are my people. Yellow people are my people. Poor people are my people. Rich people are my people. Housed people are my people, and homeless people are my people. There are no borders. There are no classes. There are no "races". We are all human beings and a part of the "human race". Its time that we started to act like it.

Response from CURE member Laura Belarbi:

Why am I concerned about Black Reparations? I am a White/Native American woman and from the things I've learned and seen in my life, Blacks are discriminated against far more than other races. Yes, there are some Black racist people also, but I think they have more reason to be than the average White American. Whites are not seen, as a stranger, and immediately categorized as criminals, juveniles, trouble-makers, welfare recipients, uneducated, illiterate or looking for a handout. White people talk about how "bad" the neighborhood is getting when Black people move in. Even my husband, who is from another country noticed how racist America is. It is also poor people and foreigners who are discriminated against, but there were laws that kept Blacks as a group, down. They were not allowed to own property. They were considered property and generations of Blacks were forced to work for White men's gain. Those Blacks were not given anything for hundreds of years of being deprived of a normal family life and being dehumanized and abused. It is a shame we think we can forget about these things just because they happened so long ago. It takes acknowledgement, and sincere apologies and real caring to fix the problems slavery has caused. To this day, Whites will deny the impact slavery has had on Black race in America. This makes racism even worse. We have to face it, not ignore it. Sometimes I wonder why the government hasn't been sued already with all the other bogus lawsuits that are being taken to court? As a Native American I'm entitled to free health and dental care, no matter what my income is, on Indian Reservations. That is something the government set up for Native Americans. I think Blacks deserve the same, maybe more.

Comments to CURE from Li Brown:.

As a person of Native American and African American descent--I would find myself driven to tears or to a rage so great I felt helpless and alone when my friends would argue with me about reparations--or just get over it attitudes. I can remember seeing men call my father the "N" word and how sad he looked in his eyes to be so humiliated in front of his wife and kids by white people much younger than him. I have a friend today who refers to grown black men as "that black boy..." I have not been able to push my hurt and rage down enough every time he says this to correct him in a decent manner as of yet. He isn't mean--just uneducated as to my feelings. It is my duty to inform him. My other friend told her daughter "no black boys in the house" . I wondered at 12 years old, shouldn't she be telling her to have NO boys in the house? Anyway all of those issues aside, I still treat them as I would my own friends and family--they make those little hurts everyday and cannot imagine why I feel the way I do.

Finding your website has put faith back into me. Honestly I was truly starting to believe that there were no white people anywhere who had any compassion unless it revolved around them. Thank you so much. I was raised in a white neighborhood and have had mostly white friends my whole life and I find it sad that people I never met had to restore my faith. If you have any suggestions on how to broach these topics with my friends so that they do not think I am just a cry baby or get annoyed with me I'd love suggestions. I cannot hate my friends for their ignorance but I wish just once someone I know could hear me out and see my side. It's like a brick wall comes down.

Kudos on your site and your group...losing faith is a tragedy, in any form.

Comment sent to CURE from Iceman

You people are incredibly wrong. While blacks may have been enslaved at one time, they now benefit to an incredible degree from the inventions, art, creativity, and developments of civilization that came from WHITE people. If it perfectly acceptable to be a CAUCASIAN. I find your silly group to be wildly wrong. Even if you gave them the reparations, all you would see is that 80% of them would blow the money on shoes, sneakers, clothing, cars, and partying within two or three years.I'd be willing to bet that most of you live in areas where very few black people live anyway.They have received reparations every day of their lives. Democracy is not an African bourne idea. The Greek Caucasian made democracy. They get reparations when they drive a car, which was invented by a WHITE man named Henry Ford. They get reparations when they can fly on a PLANE, which was invented by two WHITE brothers named the Wright Brothers, in 1904. They get reparations when they turn on the radio, which was invented by a WHITE Italian named Marconi. Every single thing around them was invented by WHITE people, from air conditioning that keeps them cool to the heating pipes that keep them warm. The building techniques, the building materials, the roads, the boats, the motors, the sewage treatments systems, literally everything you can see around you....was INVENTED BY WHITE PEOPLE.The silly guilt you poor wretches have is sickening.And in return for all our inventions? We have a nation of black males going to prisons at incredible rates. Giving them reparations would not change it. Black males are 6% of America, and 55% of all rape arrests, 59% of all murder arrests, 58% of all car jacking arrests, 70% of all armedrobbery arrests, and 23% of all hate crime arrests. You are so worried about who MIGHT or might NOT be a racist, that the very data which PROVES high levels of black racism does exist...is overlooked BY you. The hate crime data shows clearly that blacks are FAR more racist than whites.

If you'd like to see less racism in America, you poor Caucasian will not get it by giving MONEY to black people. And you will never end racism in America, as long as there are incredibly violent black on white inter racial crimes. If you ONLY KNEW just how many incredibly bad cases there really are, you'd have no bleeding heart for James Byrd at all.Reparations would not cure a damn thing. I've heard the figure of 30 grand each tossed around. They'd get 30 grand at age 18. Hell, that money would be gone like the wind for most of them, and they'd be right back to square one.

I honestly can not believe that a sorry assed group of bozos like you really exists. What a bunch of deluded nutbags you areB I'd be willing to bet a paycheck that not ONE of you lives in a city thatis 40% black or more. Go ahead, ask around. I betcha not a single one of you even lives in a town that is 30% black. It's amazing to me that you can have so much racial guilt, and deny the incredible beauty of your own race of people. Claudia Schiffer is a perfect example of the nordic ideal-- smart, strong, tall, free, creative, beautiful. We have been able to do the things we have done because we WORKED FOR IT.

Response from CURE member Larry Yates

"White history" is fictional. There are many many problems with Iceman's very familiar ideas, not the least of which is that they are cruel and have led to many many deaths and brutalities. But, intellectually, his fundamental flaw is his belief that in a centuries old distinct "white history."The idea of race was invented less than three centuries ago, basically as a way to justify the oppression of Africans and various indigenous races in America, Australia, and elsewhere. Before that time, literally not one person on the planet thought of him- or herself as being "white." "Whiteness" is meaningless, except as an outgrowth of colonialism and slavery."White race" is a mishmash of ideas to justify exploitation. The idea of a distinct history of white people that goes back for centuries was always shaky, and modern evidence has totally discredited it. The "white heritage" legend requires connecting things that have nothing to do with each other, such as language, culture, and skin color, while ignoring other connections and relationships that are far more important, such as power, culture, conquest, land, and profit.Before 1700, there were people who spoke Indo-European languages (the origin of the word Caucasian is the supposed origin of these languages in the Caucasus), but many of them were very dark-skinned and lived in India. There were light-skinned people, but some of them lived in Japan, some in isolated parts of the Arctic, and none of them thought of themselves as European, even those who lived in Europe, who thought of themselves as Gascons or Galicians or West Saxons, or just people living in a certain village. (And there were always some dark-skinned people in Europe.) There was a Christian culture, but many of the most devout and learned Christians lived in Ethiopia, Syria and Egypt, while many Europeans were still "pagans" well into the 1600s. So there was no white Christian Indo-European culture that was somehow distinct or unique.

It's a myth -- and a recent one. Frankly, the "white history" idea is about as historically accurate as the Flintstones cartoon series.

Iceman is a liberal by nineteenth century standards. In the nineteenth century, with the emergence of European nations and colonial empires, the idea of the various races, and especially the "Caucasian race", became solidly established as part of the "scientific" ideology of the day in Europe and North America. By the late nineteenth century, almost all of the ideas Iceman expresses were fully thought out. According to these ideas, white people were smart, self-controlled, brave, and creative, and everybody else was their inferior. However, at that time, Italians and Greeks were among those who were considered non-white -- in the early 1900s, there was widespread resistance, on so-called "scientific" grounds, to immigration into the US of Italians, Jews, Russians, etc. So Iceman is actually a more liberal racist than many university professors of a century ago, since he is willing to include Marconi and the Greeks in his superior white race -- making his ideas even more of an intellectual mishmash.Of course, the "white history" idea assumes the white race is a biological subgroup with a common ancestry. Sorry, Iceman, but if you have a group of ten "white" cronies, especially if they are from the South, the odds are that two or three of them don't know it, but some of their ancestors were African captives in the U.S. I personally know a man whose grandfather was obviously of African descent, but who is fair skinned, blue eyed and has red hair, and who is thought of as white everywhere he goes. Multiply him by ten or twenty million across this country. Clearly, the "white race" is a myth biologically, if we think of it as a biological reality we can judge just by looking at someone.

Race as we know it can only really be understood as a political and social category -- a caste system around which power and privilege are organized. One of the best pieces of evidence for this is an 1857 South Carolina court decision, settling a dispute about whether a certain man was "white." The decision, quoted in the book "Race Relations in Virginia and Miscegenation in the South 1776-1860," stated "The condition of the individual is not to be determined solely by distinct and visible mixture of negro blood, but by reputation, by his reception into society, and his having commonly exercised the privileges of a white man."In other words, Iceman, we have been living -- and still live -- in a society where whiteness follows social status, not vice versa. Famous inventors are celebrated and known to you because they are white, not because they are the greatest of inventors. Do you know who invented the traffic signal or blood transfusions, who wrote the greatest Russian poetry, who brought Normalcy to U.S. politics with his presidency, whose Confessions had a profound influence on Catholicism?

The intellectual confusion that so many white people fall into in trying to make sense of what they are told about themselves -- a confusion that disguises our real history and heritage and fouls up our concepts of religion and democracy -- may be one of the best reasons why our society needs reparations -- a repair of the still-existing system of institutionalized racism.

If we were not already so confused about who we are, white people in the USA might not have fallen so easily for the "weapons of mass destruction" hoax, or might not think that a tax cut for people hundreds of times wealthier than we will ever be somehow benefits us. We would understand that most of us have far more in common with most African-Americans than we can ever have with George Bush, Al Gore, or Bill Gates.I am not saying that white people are inherently stupid, deluded, or evil. I am one, after all, and so are many of my best friends. (Though I have lived for the past 12 years in a very racially mixed community, sorry, Iceman.) But I am saying that one of the main impacts of racism, as demonstrated by the earnest belief in nonsensical ideas shown by an apparently intelligent person like Iceman, is that racism seriously miseducates whites about the real world -- the real world that we all ultimately live in, like it or not. And a nation that is governed by people who fail to understand the real world, or even their own history, is not likely to survive.An instructive book on this topic is "The Muslim Discovery of Europe," by Bernard Lewis. He quotes a Muslim writer in 956 C.E. writing of Europeans that "the farther they are to the north, the more stupid, gross and brutish they are." Lewis suggests that this kind of arrogance and ignorance (by no means universal in the Muslim world) contributed to the military and economic defeat of the Ottoman Empire and other Muslim powers. Europeans, aware as early as the 1100s that they were surrounded by Muslim power, worked hard to be culturally open and learn from the Arabic-speaking culture, which was far ahead of them in medicine, engineering, mathematics, and knowledge of classical philosophy. Some powerful Muslims, especially the Ottoman court, disdained to learn from or about the Europeans -- until it was too late. Now it is the turn of North American whites to believe that they have nothing to learn from the rest of the world. And we also will suffer for such foolish arrogance, unless we take intelligent and humane action, and do it soon.

I am not motivated by guilt. I am motivated by my belief that I am part of humanity, and that all of us benefit when justice and truth advance. I am also motivated by a belief that I personally am better off -- smarter, wiser, and safer -- when I don't look at the world through the lenses of the tired and cock-eyed white race myth.

Response from CURE member Zach Guddal

Iceman,

Believe it or not, African people and even African Americans have actually shown that they are capable of creativity and profound thought. Even back as far as Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, those two civilizations learned, by stealing, a great deal from the Ancient Egyptians, who were more advanced than the Romans and Greeks in the sciences, mathematics, and other areas of knowledge and technology. In Randall Robinson's The Debt, he explains that contrary to what many people think when conceptualizing Ancient Egypt, the civilization was populated by darker-skinned peoples, rather than by lighter-skinned Middle-Eastern looking people.

Though I don't have a very comprehensive knowledge of African history, I know that Africans and descendants of Africans worldwide were held in very high esteem throughout history for their nobility and technological accomplishments. I'm assuming they were preoccupied with more positive, forward-moving issues than conquest or even keeping up with weapons technology around the world, and as a result: slavery (to abridge the story we've all heard.) During slavery, it became a lot easier to forget about (or hide) the past successes of African peoples in order to justify their systematic subjugation. And actually, it doesn't seem of too much importance to the public at large to seek out this information or to make it available to the people/students even nowadays. Instead, we just create evidence and information suggesting Africans and African Americans have always lagged behind us lighter-skinned Caucasians.

In addition to that, and despite circumstances and conditions that significantly inhibited a person's ability to fully develop their skills and intellects, as well as countless obstructions to basic opportunities, African Americans have amassed an impressive amount of life-enhancing technologies that we've all benefitted from.

Check this list: http://www.princeton.edu/~mcbrown/display/inventor_list.html.

There is also a strong possibility that many other common technologies were invented by African Americans, but they were not given credit for having invented the technology simply because they were black. A common invention that African Americans aren't credited for is Rock 'n' Roll, as well as all of the other genres of music that were combined and added to when inventing Rock 'n' Roll.

On to another topic, I agree with you that sending out a check to every descendent of a slave is only going to result in it being thrown back into the economy without creating any real change. It's a more complex problem than that. Black people and white people aren't born with genes that make one group smarter or more capable of succeeding in life than the other. We're all the same other than skin shade and collective history. But obviously statistics show that black people in the US have less money, are disproportionately in prison, and other things that suggest black people don't fare as well as white people do in America. This is caused by a complex system of all sorts of different forms of racism that make the mythical racial differences we believe in become reality, from the institutional racism that's abundantly present, most (or at least a good portion of which) are lingering effects of slavery, to the internalized attitudes of both black people and white people.

I have a hunch you're not eager to consider taking what I say to heart, but in the case that you or other people are, I'd just like to tell anyone taking a view/stance on the subject similar to yours, that a lot of us who support reparations realize that there's a more complex problem at hand and it requires a better solution than sending out checks to every black person in the US and leaving it at that.

Response from CURE member Dorothy Fardan

To Iceman: I really don't have the time to respond to such totally erroneous commentary, but for the record: 1) By now most people, even those called "uneducated", know that human life originated in Africa and all the sciences likewise. You have the children before the parents (as the great Senegalese scientist, Cheikh Anta Diop said.) In short, it is you, the so-called white man, who was given civilization and all the sciences and liberal arts from the ancient African (Egyptian) people. Our word "chemistry" comes from the hieroglyphic word "kemit" (kmt) which means "black." Kemit was the ancient name for that part of Africa. The Greeks got (stole?) their knowledge --yes, democracy too --- from the ancient Egyptians. Some of the Agreat@ Greek philosophers studied in Egypt. Check out the book, STOLEN LEGACY, by G. R. James. 2) As far as your comments about most of us Caucasian members of CURE not ever living around Blacks or in cities predominantly Black: I not only am married to a Black man (for 33 years), we have lived in the so-called "black sections" of cities such as Chicago, Miami, Albany, Toronto, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Kingston, Jamaica, Nashville, and others. My advice to you is to study history and read my book, MESSAGE TO THE WHITE MAN AND WOMAN IN AMERICA. Peace out.

Comments sent to CURE from Natasha Patten

Hello, CURE-- or is it really DISEASE?
Have you lost your bloody minds? What kind of collectivist guilt-trip are you trying to perpetrate here? What happened to treating people as individuals, and not as interchangeable parts of a single mass? Wasn't racial profiling a sin, according to the likes of you? So why in hell do individuals who had nothing to do with slavery pay off other individuals who equally had nothing to do with it, based on no other criterion but the color of their skin? Or do you perhaps believe in reincarnation and communicating with the dead? You people are truly whacko, trying to drag in collective guilt, an absurdity! What happened to the individual being only responsible for his own decisions and actions? I will oppose your attempt to extort my hard-earned money in every way I can, because what you are suggesting is slavery,too. Besides, I have never owned slaves, I am a naturalized citizen of this country who escaped from a collectivist hell that must be the model you are trying to emulate. Stop wallowing in unearned guilt and find something productive to do!

Response from CURE member Molly Secours

Dear Natasha,
Having a conscience about history and social injustice has little to do with guilt. And even if there was a relationship, if guilt were to bring about healing and a modicum of justice then I don't understand the objection. Usually guilt means that someone has developed an awareness and consciousness of a wrong doing. There was a *collective* wrong done to millions of Africans and their descendants.

The Japanese who were compensated for being incarcerated were not done so out of guilt but by the acknowledgment that an injustice was committed. Japanese Americans suffered economically as well as physically and emotionally by being targets of the American government. It wasn't guilt that inspired reparations for the descendants (not necessarily the victims themselves) of the holocaust but the recognition that every action causes a reaction and wrongs done to individuals as well as groups should be *righted*. The Japanese, Native Americans, Jews are only a few who have suffered systematic discrimination.

I'm afraid your reaction is all too common and reflects a lack of historical education and could be deeply rooted in a racist perspective--which is difficult for many of us white folks to face. If you were honestly asking for dialog and not just venting, I (and everyone on this list) can recommend reading that might raise the level of discussion. Just as it's difficult for a doctor to discuss with his patient the scientific diagnosis of his illness if the patient has never taken a simple biology class, it is impossible to converse with someone who has little awareness or consciousness of history and the effects of institutionalized racism and discrimination or who has bothered to do some inquiry about a topic before blasting those advocating for a particular cause. Even if you were to do some research you still might maintain that reparations are in order but at least you might have a respectful understanding of why millions of people in the world are working towards reparations--who are indeed in their right minds.