Monday, March 10, 2008

Reparations and Presidential Politics in the United States


As the media and local conversation are dominated by the election, congress deliberates on testimony from the H.R. 40 hearing. Foul play has already been declared in certain areas in the election, yet, African-Americans continue to cast their votes, as they should.

But let’s recognize H.R. 40 hearing coverage should equal that of the election, as it is vital to the future of Black America and race relations in our nation. N’COBRA and H.R. 40 advocates should take a lead role in articulating and publicizing H.R. 40 testimony, but it appears as though we can use some help in that area.

H.R. 40 asks congress to form a commission to study the injuries of slavery, the impact it has on African-Americans today and to suggest remedies to cure those ills. This would enable us to create programs for rehabilitation to heal deep emotional scars, examining Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS) and compensation to reform social and economic deficiency.

This is a major task that includes repairing damage over the last 500 years. There is no easy way, it will not come over night and there is no singular solution, but it must be done. The solution should be tailored to fit the scope of the crime. Since the crimes are profound and cover generations reparations should equal that stratum.

This means reparations should consist of various social programs for a variety of reasons. African-Americans should receive a cash settlement for unpaid slave labor and reimbursement for contributions in the form of slave crops, achievements and inventions, because America has reaped benefits to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars from these forms of exploitation.

Now, the most important function in reparations is for African-Americans to gain knowledge of their spiritual and cultural heritage along with attaining liberation and independence. They should build institutions to incorporate these values into their lives. This should be done by developing an infrastructure designated on land set aside for reparations purposes.

African-Americans need a spiritual and cultural revival as well as enforcement of 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. This should come by way of land and infrastructure to make up for enduring abuse of power, conferred dominance, preferential treatment, unearned privileges, social disadvantages and lost economic opportunities.

Blacks and all Americans will benefit much more from reparations than electing the next president. We should demand black churches, organizations, leaders and those who claim to be liberal or sympathetic to Black people, and their call for truth and reconciliation; to expose, evaluate and mobilize around the H.R. 40 testimony, with the same zeal and compassion as they are on the election trail.

African-Americans can reach an equal status and gain respect as equal human beings with reparations. This is the best way for African-Americans to reach equality with hopes of renewing peaceful and prosperous relations with others, especially those who have exploited them.

This is a reflection of a scriptural perspective on reparations for it is lawful and right, (Ezekiel 33:15-16). The act of repentance works in conjunction with goodwill towards all people and we can heal the wounds of slavery. This will help us to eventually eliminate the undercurrent of racial tension and inequality in our beloved nation, which has become evident in the rise of hate crimes. Let the healing begin.

Yes, H.R. 40 can serve a purpose but we should have reparations debates in addition to H.R. 40 testimony since blacks, whites and others know that blacks have suffered the most, worst and longest injustice in this country. When you factor in racism, slavery and segregation in addition to new found injustice that others and blacks are harmed by, you find an overwhelming reason to award African-American Reparations!

Reparations are in order to change patterns and social constructs of racial imbalance that institutionally excludes blacks and prevents them from receiving equal treatment under the law, so yes, let the healing begin with reparations.

In memory of our ancestors,
Brotha Pruitt
Reparations Leader and Chairman
Committee for African American Reparations (CAAR)
Reparations Union Lobbying Association (RULA)

No comments: