Mike...What Is Your Take On Reparations?

Discussion in 'Black Men - Fathers - Brothers - Sons' started by Joyce, Aug 21, 2002.

  1. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Hi Mike,

    Just the other day, I read a poem written by Bruce a.ka. Heartbeart. It was on the subject matter of reparations. The poem made complete sense to me. Yet, I am in a fix between two views. I am still in the "gathering information and insight" mode, between I also understand the view of others who believe AAs deserve it. I don't know what to think. Thoughts within say they don't owe us anything, I want to work for what I get. I don't want nothing given to me, if the ones giving it are being forced to give, rather than giving from a heart that is truly sorry for what the government allowed to happen to it's fellow americans.

    Then the opposing thoughts say: Why not, others have being compensated for treatment to their fore fathers and mother. And though this happened to the slaves, I can't leave out the fact of the total injustice that I (I grew up in the south during the civil rights movement) and my parents suffered just recently, (not 200 years ago), should be compensated for. The hangings, the beatings, the rapes, the verbal slanders, the racial profiling, the water fountains, (all black/white) the restaurants, the restrooms, the german shephards, the schools and on and on. :mad:

    I told Heartbeat, that I hated being a 'gray' person on this issue, :confused:because I am basically a black and white person. Either I'm for a thang or against it.

    What I would like to know is what are YOUR views on this issue and why. Thanks. To read Bruce's poem pleaseClick Here to read: Reparations...Fools Gold

    Joyce
     
  2. Mike Ramey

    Mike Ramey Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Reparations--YES! Here's Why...

    Several years ago I penned a column on the Reparations issue, from a Biblical point of view. Far TOO many have forgotten that the Bible is clear about the subject of Slavery, and how slaves should be treated (OT Book of Exodus; NT Book of Philemon) and how slaves should treat their masters IF both are of the household of faith.

    There are three current schools of thought:

    1) America issued a promisary note in the form of the '40 Acres and a Mule' back during the Civil War, and NEVER paid it off! Like EV Hill said: "My Mule may be sick, she may be lame, but I STILL want my Mule!" America 'reniged' on that promise, as the administration that followed the Lincoln Administration quickly 'forgot' what was owed to our ancestors.

    2) One extremist side says that African Americans are NOT owed anything...and there are some black folk who agree. However, WHEN Reparations are paid, Will they give the checks back?

    3) Another extremist side says that African Americans should 'get over it!" Well, the Indians have Reservations, the Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese have EACH been compensated, one way or another, by Uncle Sam. It's OUR turn in line. Even the Jews afflicted by the Holocaust have been compensated--but they represent ONLY 6 million out of the 20 million (including Africans) who were killed in the Hitler Death Camps.

    Here is the column I originally penned on the subject. www.swagga.com has even MORE on the subject....the good, bad, and ugly.

    The Old, The New and My Mule-Please!
    The Manhood Line By Mike Ramey

    Brothers, if many of you are like me, you could best be described as being of the 'Old School.' Meaning: many of us were infants and toddlers during Brown vs. the Board of Education, and the first march on Washington; teenagers at the time of the Jackson and Kent State University murders (I am a KSU alum-Class of 1979), and became full-fledged, card-carrying, tax-paying adults as the information age and the internet broke onto the International scene.

    However, our generation has a struggle before us!

    In the words of one of my heroes, Tony Brown, paraphrasing a statement he made in Indianapolis, Indiana nearly 20 years ago: "You are the best educated, best funded, and best equipped generation of Africans on the face of the planet. You are America's bridge to Africa - or she doesn't have a bridge! As a people, we control the wealth equal to between the eighth and tenth largest nation on earth. If we left America, ***********Wall Street***************would have collapsed last week!"

    Now, this has always been a column written from a biblical, business and common-sense perspective--and it will continue to exist from that perspective.

    Thus, every generation is defined by the struggle before them.

    Our struggle is to get our community back together again to fight for and to receive payment for services rendered by our ancestors during the more than 400 years we have been on American shores. It is called 'Reparations.'

    In short, and to put it simply, America: I've come to claim my 40 acres and a mule-with interest, and in cash, please. I am not alone, and we aren't going away. For those future African Americans who want to become elected to office representing either political party, or, who want to be regarded as 'leaders' in our community, where stand you on this matter of Reparations.

    This is a two-pronged struggle for those of my generation to be involved. We must get our community ready to receive what is due us-while at the same time persistently pressuring the Federal Government to settle up by our votes. Our rallying cry is going to be even more simplistic.

    "America - Check, please!"

    Reparations-Black History For a New Millennium: The issue of just, fair and reasonable compensation for services taken from my people during the period of 1619 to 1865 is not a new issue. The tab is into the trillions of dollars and the note has come due. We were promised, by the Federal Government, 40 Acres and a Mule. We have not received either.

    When famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran successfully represented his clients against the forces of the Walt Disney empire and won a judgment in excess of $220 million in court, August 2000, no one dared say that his clients were not entitled to that jury award. They were injured, and, under U.S. law, were entitled to compensation. When Cochran's clients will actually get their money-or how much of the judgment they will ever see is not important. A court of law ruled that they were entitled. A jury heard the evidence and made a decision that an injury did occur. It was not a racial decision, but an economic decision!

    Yes brothers, I do believe that we as a people need to spend more of our annual gross worth of $500 billion-plus among ourselves. We need to come together to create our own businesses.

    Angela Watkins is working on writing for 400 sites within a 12 month period. http://www.skynary.com/awatkins. Angela Watkins is also a cousin to Rev Clay Evans, as well as a Board Member/Historian of The Clay Evans Scholarship Fund.

    Our own educational opportunities (http://www.bicodiversity.com) Diversity Training and our own capital pool (Clay Evans Scholarship Fund; Rev. Clay Evans is the founder and the Scholarship Fund is 25 years old and three scholarships every year are given out in Brownsville, TN, where he is from - email: [email protected]). We have the talent, the drive, and the ability to get this done.

    However, the real struggle--once we do come together--is to focus our people on receiving payment for services rendered. It is not going to come overnight, but it is going to come if we remain true to Jesus Christ, and fight for the cause of justice. And the church-and it's Pastors-must speak up!

    Here is, in a nutshell, some Black History that many of us - even those who claim to be teaching multiculturalism - have forgotten. African-American men showed up for every war and crisis that this nation has faced. African-American women watched their men suffer indignity after indignity, slaughter after slaughter, for defending our adopted homeland.

    "America - Check Please."

    A Few Recent Examples To Support My Point: July 2000, a settlement to roughly 600,000 claimants, worldwide, for financial double-dealing done to Holocaust survivors by Swiss banks during the Second World War was approved in New York at a cost of $1.75 billion plus.

    The U.S. State Department is involved in negotiating yet another settlement to Holocaust survivors who provided free labor to German Companies during their internment in Concentration Camps. Several other countries and corporations are involved in setting up monies for this second settlement package.

    1988--The US Congress puts forth an apology and $1.2 billion ($20,000 each) to descendants of those Japanese Americans forcibly detained in U.S. Concentration Camps during the Second World War.

    Countries such as Canada and Australia have also settled claims against different groups of people they have wronged, and they have paid cash to go along with their apologies. American Democrats and Republicans have not gone beyond the talking stage to determine if African-Americans are really owed anything for some two and a half centuries of slavery. The Reparations issue is barely mentioned in U.S. history books. "America - Check Please."

    From A Biblical Point of View

    The Bible is very plain on the subject of slavery. During the Roman era of the New Testament, slaves were to be treated well by slave owners and not abused-and vice versa-especially if one, or both were of the Christian faith.

    The same was held for the employer-employee relationship.

    But, as for the matter of Reparations, we must head back to the Old Testament and the Book of Exodus. The Hebrews were held in slavery for some 430 years. It took God, via Moses; and ten plagues to break the captives out. But on the way out, the former slaves spoiled Egypt. The descendants of slaves were compensated for their bondage. Read it for yourself.

    In short, the Bible teaches that a man-and a people-must be properly compensated for services rendered. Otherwise God steps in and levels that nation through plagues, and a host of other curses such as natural disasters, diseases, famine, social, marital and economic chaos.

    We have to push for what is due us in the form of compensation, and we have to build ourselves spiritually, morally, and economically to have some place to put that compensation once it does arrive, for the betterment of all, and as a proper remembrance of the sacrifices of not only our ancestors, but the Lord Jesus Christ, as His Tithe comes off the top. "America - Check Please!"


    Now, there may be some who take exception to what I have written, but the bottom line is that it is an issue that is NOT going to go away. If America can make sure those who DON'T live in this country get compensated, and WON'T take care of her citizens who were brought here, as ancestors against their will, then the problem will grow worse...not better.

    AMERICA--CHECK PLEASE!

    Mike Ramey
     
  3. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Mike,

    Your reply to this question was nothing short of extraordinary. This is hard to refute. The biblical response was the icing on the cake. I also read a poem written by Blakverb.
    I can tell by the way the poem is worded that he is angry and
    coming from a position of emotional frustration. Personally, I can relate to this, because it frustrates me so, when whites express this "get over it" attitude or they'll say it not fair to make me pay for something I didn't do.

    Well, the way I see it...I'm not trying to make YOU (the white individual) pay, I only want the american govt' to pay for the atrocities it permitted for so long. If you are apart of the american govt', that is not my fault. I have nothing against you personally, so please do not take it personally.

    What's YOUR take on the excuses that whites are giving blacks?
    Two of the excuses are:

    1. My family was not here during the slave era or the 60's

    2.It's not fair for me to have to pay YOU anything.


    Mike, you have pulled me pretty much, out of the gray, but still I wonder, what type of ramifications, this will have on interracial couples. In fact many blacks are married to white spouses who don't believe anything is own to blacks.

    Question: Isn't it possible that a race war of some kind will get started if we are compensated?

    This is going to be a long battle. With so many black men, becoming 'soft' on issues concerning race, what strategy should the AAs use in order to bring this about???
     
  4. blakverb

    blakverb Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother,

    this is on point!!! I was directed here by another member and am glad that I made it. Yes, we will get our jut due. we need to stay diligent with our focus clear.

    "America...check please"

    God Bless
     
  5. Heartbeat

    Heartbeat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Mike this is an outstanding essay expressing this point of view. Thank you.

    BE
     
  6. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    In the "Questioning Mode"

    Mike, you said:But, as for the matter of Reparations, we must head back to the Old Testament and the Book of Exodus. The Hebrews were held in slavery for some 430 years. It took God, via Moses; and ten plagues to break the captives out. But on the way out, the former slaves spoiled Egypt. The descendants of slaves were compensated for their bondage. Read it for yourself.


    Me:
    I see where you are coming from on this Mike, but the Hebrews who were set free, are the ones who were compensated, not their children's, children, children. In my case, I am not a slave, I am a descendant of slaves. Tell me, why should poor whites who had nothing to do with what happened hundreds of years ago, pay me for something that they had absolutely no hand in. See, America is a melting pot now. Should the asian americans pay? Should the mexican americans pay? Do you see where I am coming from? These and a few other things are keeping me in the gray area concerning reparations. Your insight on this would be much appreciated.

    Joyce
     
  7. Mike Ramey

    Mike Ramey Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    No Problem, Story!

    I appreciate your being in the Questioning mode. Let's see if I can come up with the answers...

    The Hebrews who were set free, parallell US in several respects:

    1) They originally entered the land peaceably under a good ruler, as free citizens. Later, when the ruler changed, they were enslaved. When SOME of us first got HERE in 1619, we were NOT slaves, but indentured servants. As those ancestors worked, intermarried, and grew in number, according to Tony Brown, they were enslaved because the ruling class at the time wanted/needed a free labor base. That's all slavery boils down to: Those in power wanting someone to work for them for nothing. In the tradition of tribal culture of many lands, the vanquished were eventually 'enslaved' to work for the victors.

    2) When they spoiled the land upon their release, the Hebrews 'spoiled' the place: They were allowed to take with them assets of the Egyptians to their hearts content! While the current Egyptian class could say "Well, WE didn't enslave you..." the 'act' of enslavement was practiced and put forth by the Egyptian rulers and government. Thus, the government was responsible for the act, and the 'people' of Egypt paid, through their giving the Hebrews the right to 'take what they wanted and leaving'. The Hebrews knew that this was a 'token' payment for generation after generation of slavery, but God did NOT say only take X amount...He said that they 'spoiled' the land. A free people needed some kind of cash and goods to take them where HE was directing them to go.

    3) When Joseph took Mary and Jesus out of their land to 'hide out' in Egypt (during the Herod occupation), the gifts given to the child Jesus included cash, in the form of gold, frankencense and myrrh, to get and keep the family financially secure during their life 'on the run'. When Joseph brought the family back, there had to have been enough in the way of assets to keep the family going until the Lord called them back from Egypt.

    4) The NT book of Titus also deals with the issue of employer/employee, slave/owner relations. Just and fair compensation does not mean that every wrong is going to be addressed. The Lord set the standard, and it was up to the obedient to carry it out.

    5) Our struggle for Reparations is with the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. It was the one that offered 'Fourty Acres and a Mule' and reniged on the promisary note. It was the one, through Lincoln's 'Emancipation Proclamation' that took responsibility for our 'enslavement'. Yes, Reparations have been paid to blacks who set up towns in Rosewood, and Tulsa (and had them burned to the ground by whites) by the respective state governments. IF we are going to get paid, it is going to have to come from the Federal Treasury! That way, it represents compensation for a 'sin' committed by a nation, on a people. Nations ARE going to be judged, and held to account by God for their actions.

    6) Keep in mind the passage of time. WE have only been 'allowed' to read for a little over a hundred years. Thanks to the Civil Rights movement, coupled with the Civil Rights act, we have been 'allowed' to earn a living in the economic mainstream. For a people to go from nearly zero in earning capacity, to over 600 billion in some 40 years is nothing short of a miracle.

    7) On the matter of the 'interracial' question, well, the children from those unions are still black citizens. There are 'some' folk that believe that one drop of black STILL means black! So, THEY would be (the children, that is) entitled to compensation.

    Bottom line: The US Government allowed this system to go on for as long as it did (some 135 years, I believe) and, with more and more proof coming out about how OUR ancestors built Washington DC without fair compensation makes the issue MORE of a Federal matter, rather than an individual matter.

    Plus, the Federal government has compensated the American Indian with the Reservation, and the Chinese coolies and the Japanese interrment victims. WE are still wating. Congress settled with those other cultures LONG ago.

    America--Check please!

    Mike Ramey

    PS: The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress have, on record, interviews with former slaves, documents of who owned who, etc. As part of the CCC project during the Great Depression, a lot of those records were preserved. All the feds have to do is look up the information, aided by individual information kept by various families. No, they won't get ALL of us...but it IS a start!
     
  8. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you for replying to my questions. I agree with your point on the children of blacks, whether half or not. The amount of money being asked, goes into the trillions...that's a fact.
    I believe this could possibly bankrupt our nation...what do you think?

    You said: PS: The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress have, on record, interviews with former slaves, documents of who owned who, etc. As part of the CCC project during the Great Depression, a lot of those records were preserved. All the feds have to do is look up the information, aided by individual information kept by various families. No, they won't get ALL of us...but it IS a start!


    Are you aware that blacks also owned slaves. Many blacks owned black slaves right here in America. Should the decendants of black slaves owners get a check too? If so, how can this be fair, seeing that they are the descendants of slave owners.

    In 1830, in the United States, more than 3,000 free blacks owned
    slaves. Free blacks owned more than 10,000 slaves in Louisana,
    Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina alone in 1830...a documented fact.
    Shameful...but true.

    You or I could be the descendant of a free black who owned slaves. Do you see the unfairness of this? I can only trace my family back 5 generations so I don't know if I'm a descendant of a black slave or a black slave master. :confused:
     
  9. Mike Ramey

    Mike Ramey Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Oh sure, it is going to be sticky

    If my memory serves me correct, there were some 4,500 to 5,000 blacks who owned slaves (based on the last US Census Count in the 1800s). BUT the question still remains...what of the documented cases that the Federal government has on file within its own vaults? I would rather see folk whom we KNOW have actual proof, rather than a blanket settlement.

    The payment of Reparations can be made to us. All the feds would have to do is filter out those who came over as legal immigrants (Among African Amerians), plus weed those out who have already received some kind of federal compesation. If NASA can spend billions to get a probe to Mars, money CAN be diverted from the federal treasury for this activity.

    Plus, I might add, there are billions of dollars the feds have set aside in the form of 'slush funds' that could be released for such a thing as this.

    One other item...Reparations are based on the promise made by the federal govrenment in the original 'fourty acres and a mule' ideology. Factor in current market rates, and the payments can be in cash, a combination of cash, tax moratoriums, and scholarships to colleges we want to send our kids to, or redeemable treasury notes.

    If we can come up with a bailout package for Chrysler, the Airlines, and WTC, the feds can come up with what it takes to settle up with us. An apology letter to each family, and cash/cash combo would NOT hurt my feelings.

    Mike Ramey

    BTW We've got the computers and the scientists already on the federal payroll. It's about time that they did some meaningful work.

    Bottom line: The Feds set the precident with the Indians, the Chinese and the Japanese. It's our turn NOW!

    America--Check Please!
     
  10. Mike Ramey

    Mike Ramey Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Oh, by the way...

    Just happened to think of this one...

    The tab I last heard was between $3 to 10 TRILLION dollars.

    No, the US Won't go bankrupt by paying us what is ours. The Feds control the presses. They would likely go with some kind of cash settlement first, followed by other incentives to 'settle up' my claim.

    For example, how about my NOT having to pay federal taxes for LIFE! Or, at least a 25 year moratorium for ALL of us! That would be fair to me!

    It matters NOT to me HOW it could be negotiated. The promissary note is due. If YOU owe a creditor, the creditor doesn't care how the money gets there...as long as it does!

    :eek:

    America--Check Please!

    Mike Ramey
     
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