A discussion on repairs – SaportaReport
By guest columnist RICHARD ROSE, President, Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP
America’s enduring human tragedy is the racism that began with the ill-calculated arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean. The enslavement of indigenous peoples led to the forcibly importation of sub-Saharan Africans in 1619 which was justified by Christianity.
In my view, the concept of monetary reparations is both incalculable and insufficient, given the time frame that has entrenched discrimination in all societal systems. The dual purpose of oppression, deprivation and denigration must be factored into all efforts to redress the effects of 246 years of institutional slavery followed by 156 years of targeted racism rooted in law, policy, practice and American extrajudicial intimidation.
The initial central issues of the NAACP were education, voting rights, equality of justice, and economic opportunity. A random selection of 10 Whites and 10 Blacks will always reveal significant differences in each of them due to a legacy of privilege that continues to victimize black newborns and hold even the most annoying white youngsters accountable. There are success stories of superstar athletes, musicians, and academics, but the data confirms that the opportunities are always race-skewed.
The discrimination was so total that each of Georgia’s historically black private colleges and universities was founded before Booker T. Washington of Atlanta, Georgia’s first public high school for black students, opened in 1924. This year, the Georgia legislature returned in the 1950s with voting rights legislation, Senate Bill 202, which targeted the most populous counties where black voters fled small town justice. Labeling black men as lazy, dishonest, nimble and over-sexed has created both suspicion of illegal behavior and fear of retaliation that results in the execution of unarmed black citizens who run away or curl up in a closet. with hands raised to surrender. Black men and women are always the last to be hired and the first to be on leave or fired. Black businesses are automatically labeled second tier by consumers, investors, and banks. Less than 2% of Georgia state contracts are awarded to black-owned businesses.
Like the oppressive campaign against black Americans which included violence and psychological symbolism, a reparations campaign must be multifaceted and long-term, not to deprive or subjugate someone else, but to compensate. the long-denied lack of fairness. It must begin with the removal of psychological symbolism from Confederate monuments. No monument is “history”; rather, they are political declarations of the time and place. These statements set in stone and metal declare and encourage white supremacy and racist policies. Germany banned the symbolism of anti-Semitism without forgetting its horror. America can do the same.
Kindergarten to grade 12 education needs to be improved with a focus on every student. Instead of identifying “failing schools” for recovery, the focus should be on failing students to bring everyone up to grade expectations. Elite private schools provide teaching assistance in every classroom on a daily basis. Public schools must offer the same services. The long-term societal cost of letting black students fall behind due to lack of resources at home is lifelong. The cost of incarceration exceeds the annual cost of a college or trade school. School is temporary while incarceration can last a lifetime.
After high school, non-superstars now have the opportunity to incur a mountain of debt. A black student in the 1960s could work minimum wage and pay tuition, fees, and books at either school in University Center Atlanta. Tuition fees now exceed two incomes of the full-time minimum wage. Non-superstars (sports, music, academics) now face a mountain of debt unless their black parents were able to repay their student loans and fund costs of $ 100,000 to $ 250,000 for a four-year degree. years. Black students deserve grants for business or liberal arts programs equal to the cost of enrollment at a state’s flagship university for at least the next 156 years to counter the apartheid policy of education. Exceptions can be made for students from affluent households, but the current terms are oppressive and constitute another form of economic slavery.
Even a cursory examination of the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration policies confirms the policy of uneven justice for non-white citizens. Despite the claim of ‘a few bad apples’, the entire police system is racist, having evolved from slave-catching patrols and the practice of respecting convict rental quotas, particularly in the States of the former Confederation. Every prosecution and conviction of every black accused should be reviewed by an outside body with the power to reduce or overturn unjust sentences. Public safety must include mental health and social work professionals and exclude both uneducated and biased officers.
America has become dependent on the car and this dependence affects access to the basic services we all need: medical access, education and the workplace. The cost of a car is prohibitive for so many black families. Beyond the purchase price are insurance, licensing, maintenance and operating costs. This barrier can be offset by efficient and available public transport, but racial considerations once again trump humanity. Southern states are the latest to embrace public transport for the public good.
The success of the city of Atlanta’s black business participation goals should demonstrate its ownership and fairness. The state of Georgia should adopt a similar program with tools and policies to both encourage and assist participation. Blacks make up around 33% of Georgians and have been deliberately excluded from business opportunities. Funding recruiting, training, and a mentoring program are easy solutions that will likely lower the overall cost of services by increasing competition.
Voting should be made easier instead of more difficult. Too many black men and women see no benefit in voting. They feel rejected and ignored. Economic and educational progress can overcome the apathy of poverty and create a better America for all of us. When America was born, the vote was reserved for the land nobility. There is no functional reason why a resident of a county cannot vote in a constituency of that county. We do this at the start of the voting period. Why not?
No one alive today has created the global system of racism that exists in America. We are all victims, some more than others. The system is at fault, but we are at fault if we do not recognize that the fears that consume us today were sown in the past. The system enslaves us all unless we break free from selfishness and the envy of racism and embrace America’s freedom and promise. That all men (and women) are created equal and should be given the opportunity to live, to be free and to seek happiness.
Note to readers: The proposal to establish a federal commission to study and develop redress proposals for African Americans has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee and a vote is pending throughout the House. House Resolution 40 was first introduced in 1989 by the late Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), who described it in This declaration. HR 40 has been reintroduced in every Congress since 1989.