A recent article in The Atlantic magazine has raised the issue as to whether the American government should pay monetary compensation to those who fall into the category of African Americans due to the horror of slavery, and the subsequent years of segregation, prejudice and denial of basic rights such as access to home loans or jobs. After World War II, the German government paid, and still pays, compensation to Jews for the horror of the Holocaust. In the 1980s, the American government paid compensation to Japanese Americans for violation of their rights by being sent to internment camps during World War II. In other words, the concept of “reparations” has been recognized by nations throughout the world.
There remain several issues related to the concept of reparations.
1. The definition of who is an “African American” is not clear. Examine a basketball game and note the wide discrepancy in skin color among players.
2. In 1948 my sociology professors insisted that each year at least 50,000 “black skinned Americans” crossed over and became “white.” Their figure may not be accurate,but there is no doubt that thousands did so. In other words, untold thousands of “white people” derive from these crossovers.
3. Certainly, American Indians(or Native Americans) also suffered from discrimination and at least half died because of prejudice. It there are reparations, they must be included.
4. Yes, there was difficulty for Negroes to live in certain neighborhoods, or to gain access to home loans. This was also a common problem for American Jews and Italians.
5. Prejudice in jobs, access to college, loans were issues confronting many immigrant groups. Let me emphasize their problems never matched in severity those encountered by Negroes,but they were normal aspects of their lives in America.
My argument is that POOR PEOPLE, regardless of skin color be given free college, a guaranteed minimum wage, and free health insurance.