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The Contender
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Should African Americans Recieve Reparations For Slavery

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,489 times Debate No: 70003
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)




Reparations should be provided to the descendants of slaves. Reparations aren't as foreign a concepts as many Americans believe. American Indians have received reparations from America in three forms: 1. Cash Payments 2. Land 3. Tribal Recognition. Germany has been paying reparations to Israel since 1953 for slave labor and the holocaust. They negotiated to pay Israel to what amounts to 13,600,000,000 dollars. If the Native Americans and Jews deserve reparations so do African Americans.

Free labor provided by slavery accounted for the wealth and continued wealth of this country, and the most of the western world. When you start talking about "old money" in America your talking about wealth brought about from slave labor. Lehman Brothers, Aetna Inc, JP Morgan, New York Life, Wachovia, NM Rothschild & Sons Bank in London, USA Today, and many other major corporations profited from slavery. This wealth which was built on the backs of slaves should be shared with the descendants of those slaves.

After the emancipation of slaves African Americans faced 100 years of open legal and social oppression at the hand of their former slave masters (From 1860-1960.) After the tokenist measures passed in the 1960's African Americans still haven't seen any real change in their socioeconomic status. Over half of the prison population in the U.S is AA; while the only account for 17% of the population. Over 50% of AA live below the federal poverty line. Unemployment rate for AA stays consistently in the 20's; while federal unemployment rates almost never rise above 15. The fact is African Americans still suffer from the open oppression of their former slave masters and their children.

WEB DuBois said in The Souls of Black Folk, " (The African American) He felt his poverty; without a cent, without a home, without land, tools, or savings, he had entered into competition with rich, landed, skilled neighbors. To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. He felt the weight of his ignorance- not simply of letters, but of life, of business, of the humanities; the accumulated sloth and shirking and awkwardness of decades and centuries shackled his hands and feet. Nor was his burden all poverty and ignorance. The red stain of bastardry, which two centuries of systematic legal defilement of Negro women had stamped upon his race, meant not only the loss of ancient African chastity, but also the hereditary weight of a mass of corruption from white adulterers, threatening almost the obliteration of the Negro home. A people thus handicapped ought not to be asked to race with the world" without reparations.


Argument I: Government Programs.

Reparations serve no purpose in the US. They are based on the idea the Black People are owed financial aide from people who never oppressed them (note: my grand father oppressing some one =/= me oppressing them) in order to help them in their current situation. However, the US Government provides benefits for all races and people facing difficulties.

*High unemployment rate among black people? Unemployment Benefits and Job Fares.
*High hunger rate among black people? Food Stamps.
*High poverty rate among black people? Negative Tax Rates.
*Low Education rate among black people? Pell Grants (1)

That being said, every issue facing black people has a pre-existing program (both federal and charitable) meant to help. Reparations serve no role in fixing these issues, but leads to numerous problems, such as calculating the amount of blame per person. I'll explain these issues in my Rebuttals.


Rebuttal I: Prior Reparations.

The first of Pro's arguments are in Paragraph 1. The issue with these examples is that they aren't relevant. Israel is a country surrounded by enemy states and terrorist groups, and Germany isn't the United States. They are not comparable to African Americans or the US. Also, Pro begs the question here... He says they pay Reparations, but never explains why Germany paying Israel is right, or that they should. He also says the US has been paying Native Americans... This also begs the question, as he never shows why paying Native Americans reparations was a good thing either. In fact, many believe paying reparations to Natives is wrong, so it's far from Status Quo. Pro must prove the US or Germany paying reparations was good to begin with.

Rebuttal II: Historic Free Labor.

This assumes that wealth can be tracked or that, after 150+ years, it's in the hands of someone responsible for slave labor. By now, all of the wealth collected via slave labor is likely in the hands of people who's ancestors didn't even own slaves, and some of that wealth (and inflation from the wealth) might not even be in the US anymore.

This case more appeals to emotion than logic. My great great grandfather might have owned a slave and made a fortune (he didn't, but go with the example)... I don't have that fortune. I didn't own slaves... Why should I pay then? This is based on the flawed principle that we are responsible for the sins of our father. A fair system would have slave owners pay back the slaves, but neither are a live anymore.

This is also based on the flawed idea that half, or even a quarter of wealth back then, was based on slave labor. The North hardly had slaves, if any. The South, the group that utilized slaves, made up an agricultural economy, and was responsible for only 10% of all manufacturing in the nation (2). By that understanding of industry back then, slave labor wasn't even responsible for a tenth all production in the US. Even in the industry that the South excelled at, the North out produced them (Review source 1). Therefore, not even the agricultural industry owes much to slave labor. And if it had, it still raises the question of why the grandchildren 8-12 generations down should be held to that debt. 8-12 generations down (about 150-180 years) is too far for debt to rightfully travel.

Another issue... My great great grandfather moved into the country from Poland during World War II. He never owned slaves. So how am I to be held accountable for slave owners? My net-worth is in Nintendo Stock and income from a job working for an Italian who's family arrived after the Civil Rights movements. All of their income comes from people buying their food, all of whom earn their money much the same as me. At what level of responsibility am I for slavery? And how is my wealth the result of slavery?

And my case isn't alone. Even today, 12.9% of Americans aren't native born, therefore they weren't here for the Civil Rights movement or slavery (3). Throughout US History, a fare percent of Americans weren't native born. Following the charts, it wouldn't be a far strectch to say 40% of Americans today didn't have ancestry living in the US during slavery, and at least 20% weren't living here during the Civil Rights movement.


Rebuttal III: Modern Conditions.

Pro is wrong to assume white people should be responsible for oppression in the 1900's... Most white people were on the black populations side during the movement. You would have to find the minority of white people who opposed black people, hunt down their children and grandchildren, and hope none of them had grandparents on both sides of the issue, and tax them. This again raises the question, should they be responsible for what their grandparents did?

Many of the condition Pro lists off makes assumptions he never proves. For starters, the majority of the prison population is black, but why? Because the US is racist? Or because crimes are more common among people who live in poverty and ghettos, of which black people make up the majority of? Then ask, why are they poor and living in ghettos? After 50-100 years, can the white people of long ago be held responsible for conditions today? At what point does blaming the original cause end, and responsibility for one's situation take hold? This is a common Sunk Cost Fallacy, although it's hard to detect... You see, the fallacy is based on two principals.

*The first is the flawed idea that because you spent $200 on an Apple Keyboard, you need to spend $1000 on a Mac. In reality, you should acknowledge that the $200 is gone, and buy a $500 PC.
*The second principle is related the the second half of the first case (acknoledging the the $200 is gone). Making a case that is based on not acknowledge that what happened is done and tring to fix the issue instead of continuing to blame the original cause.

Either of these make up the fallacy, and in Pro's case, it's the second one. Instead of fixing the issue by continuing to focus on why it happen, black people have become equally to blame for the issue not getting better.

Pro must prove that high unemployment rates and the high crime rates are still mostly the fault of today's white people. He must prove it's today white population who is to blame, as proving that it is the fault of white people a century ago does nothing to prove white people today should inherit their father's sins, espcecially when such a high percentage of white people today didn't even have ancestors in the US a century ago.

The whole of Pro's last paragraph is an appeal to emotion.


White People today simply can't be held accounted for what White People a century did, and there are too many Government Programs for Reparations to be justified.
Debate Round No. 1


Reparations aren't a financial aid, but the paying of an owed debt. The con seems to look at the debate from an individual standpoint. The former slave masters are deceased; however the governments that sanctioned, profited, and grew off slavery continue to thrive today.

The safety nets you mentioned are nothing more then a tool to keep those on the fringes of society from perishing. They're meant to sustain the unfortunate; not elevate them. Besides they pale in comparison to the wealth acquired from the free labor provided from slavery. Reparations would give African Americans a way to build a foundation for a successful community. It will help them gain independence, and provide a way to get off these handouts..

1. Prior Reparations
The examples of other reparations are extremely relevant; they set a precedence for what .should be done when a civilization ogresses another civilization or group of people. The United States supported West Germany's reparations to Israel. The U.S also paid reparations to both Native Americans and the Japanese held in internment camps. The con brought up the point that Israel is located around enemy states. This is of no consequence in this argument, because the reparations were paid, not to help secure Israel's borders, but as retribution for the atrocities committed during WW2.

Since the examples of reparations were for the use of setting a precedent; the question of whether or not they were good or not makes no difference. However in all the for mentioned cases the receivers of the reparations benefited from them. The country of Israel was on the brink of collapse with both austerity and high unemployment. The reparations served as a kick starter for their nation. Native Americans were robbed of land, life, and liberty. The reparations helped them keep some since of identity, and independence from their oppressors.

The con has to show either how the precedence set by the examples of U.S supporting or directly dishing out reparations are irrelevant; or what makes the African American case different from the Jews, Native Americans, or Japanese.

2. Slave Economy
In this country corporations are looked at as people. If a company made its first profits from the many businesses associated with slavery, then used this money to invest in other ventures; the slave trade is still the original source of their wealth. It doesn't matter if the people currently in the corporations owned slaves or not; the very foundation of the business was built on slave labor. If a business admits to profiting off slavery at one time and still exists today its obvious that their current fortune, in some way is connected to slave labor.

Cotton provided for over half of US export earnings. The US supplied 70% of the worlds cotton. Today total international trade of cotton is estimated at $12 billion. The North also profited from slave labor. They developed a number of business to complement the South, like textile factories, insurance companies, shippers, and cotton brokers. In fact New York was one of the only northern states against the freeing of slaves. The 350 years slavery existed were New York's most profitable in it's history.

The industrial revolution and international trade were built on the backs of slave labor. "Britain, the most powerful nation in the world, relied on slave-produced American cotton for over 80 per cent of its essential industrial raw material. English textile mills accounted for 40 percent of Britain"s exports. One-fifth of Britain"s twenty-two million people were directly or indirectly involved with cotton textiles."
The crime of slavery accounted for the economic rise in the U.S and Great Britain. Without slave labor the so-called new world wouldn't have been able to be colonized. The triangle trade, from Europe to Africa to the Americas, was the first international trade route and served as the basis for modern day capitalism.

Again individual circumstances are of no consequence in this debate. You nor your Polish father would directly be paying reparations. However the country that your father immigrated to because of its wealth and prosperity, provided in part by the trade of cotton and free labor of slaves, will be the one's paying.

3. Current conditions
It's incorrect to compare human beings to computers. The problems of humans are much more complicated then an incompatible key board and desktop. I'll give an example with animals to show how I see the problems of modern conditions for African Americans.
Say we capture a pride of lions. Keep them in captivity for 5 generations. Manipulate their family structure. Feed them. Work them. By all means domesticate them. Then you take the lions and put them in the wild. Then block their access to all the best resources for another three generations. Would you expect these lions to flourish? And then blame them when they don't?

What we are witnessing in African American society is something that has never been recorded in human history: post traumatic slave syndrome. PTSS is an explanatory theory which posits that centuries of slavery in the United States, followed by systemic and structural racism and oppression, have resulted in multigenerational maladaptive behaviors, which originated as survival strategies. The syndrome continues because children whose parents suffer from PTSS will often be indoctrinated into the same behaviors, long after the behaviors have lost their contextual effectiveness.

Lets take some specific problems with the African American communities as examples. Single mothers have been touted as the single biggest impediment to African American progress. 70% of African American children are born to single mothers. Its a very curious fact; especially when you see that no where in Africa (except South Africa) are more than 30% of the kids born to single mothers. This suggests, contrary to popular belief, that men abandoning their families is a learned trait. The theory is the family structure was ruined by centuries of slavery.
African Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease than their white counterparts. This has been attributed to their diets which still consists of the traditional food from slavery.
African Americans lost their real names and language; which erased their identity and culture as a people.
African Americans were stolen from their homes in Africa and brought here to America. This in itself is a negative effect still seen today from slavery.
African Americans are forced to live and compete in a society in which their former slave masters own and control the means of production, the land, the education system, and the political system.

African Americans still suffer psychologically, sociologically, and economically from slavery. Reparations wont cure all the ills facing the African American population, but it is deserved, and will help them gain independence from their former slave masters.


Argument I: Financial Aide.

Pro's case assumes, again, that there is a debt owed. The only reason the question of Reparations comes into discussion is the belief that black people are, today, still harmed by the actions of long ago. The idea being to make up for the difficulties faced today because of issues long ago. However, as stated, these financial aide programs I pointed out, as well as programs like Affirmative Action (regardless of how unpopular it is) already aids the issues black people today face.

The issues faced because of Slavery are the reasons reparations are considered, and if there weren't any issues created by slavery, there wouldn't be a need for reparations. But since each issue faced by black people because of slavery has a corresponding social program to help, reparations are unnecessary. Especially since it's questionable if the problems faced by black people are even related to slavery after 150 or so years.

Argument II: Inherited Responsiblity.

Pro drops my entire case about how too many people today did not have ancestors in the US at the time of slavery. Therefore they had nothing to do with it.

A note on how responsibility works... By pro's case, if the money you earned while working hard was, over a century ago, earned by a slave owner, you are now responsible for slave labor. This is not the case.

Rebuttal I: Prior Reparations.

By Pro's case, slavery should still exist because a precedence was set a hundred years ago... As should war over diplomacy, and reserving rights only for men. A precedence isn't good enough. Pro must prove why these reparations from Germany to Israel, and from the US to the Native Americas, are appropriate to began with.

This is clearly fallacious.
P1) Should the US pay Reparations to AAs?
P2) The US pays Reparations to NAs.
C) The US should pay Reparations to AAs.

It assumes that because of P2, the US paying reparations are good... However, it could be that the US paying Native Americans reparations is wrong to began with. Paying Native Americans reparations is highly unpopular (not the Status Quo opinion), so it's on Pro to prove that these reparations are good, and that the precedence sat by them are good.

Pro says that it's not important if these Reparations are good... They should still be followed. No, they should be repealed.

Rebuttal II: Historical Free Labor.

It must also be noted that exports aren't representative of the US economy at a time when only Europe and South America were viable trade partners. Half of US Exports does not imply a large portion of the US economy. And a large portion of the US economy does not imply a large portion of companies. Just because a dollar went through a company with slave labor does not mean every company that the dollar went through has profited from slave labor.

By that principle, if I have a dollar that a drug dealer once had, I've profited from drug dealing and should help for the cost of an OD victim's funeral... Obviously this thinking isn't correct. If half of the Economy goes through 5 out of 100 companies, it doesn't imply half of the 100 companies profited, or are responsible for, what the 5 companies did. The companies in the South using slave labor may have made a lot of money, but still only account for less than 10% of all US productivity at the time. I should note that Pro's claims here aren't sourced.

This is where Pro's case simply doesn't work. It's based on the idea that earning a dollar means you are responsible for every enterprise that that dollar has gone through. If a dollar is made in slave labor, goes through a restaurant, than a bank, than an IT company, down to you, you are responsible for slave labor? Pro's whole case here is flawed, and only works if you don't look into it.

And again, Pro assumes the US only rose because of slave labor... In fact, had the south had to pay for labor, it would still have rose, if not faster. I will repeat myself, since Pro ignored my stats: Slave labor was mostly in Agriculture in the South... The South only accounted for 10% of the US economy (1). Therefore (since Agriculture was not the South's only industry) slave labor accounted for far less than 10% of the economy. And the North produced most of the US's agriculture, so the South wasn't even responsible for our Cotton Trade... The North was. Meaning slave labor helped in near to none of the US economy. Pro's case is based on historical stereotypes of the US Economy.

And if his case was right, it still doesn't imply that every company of today is responsible for slave labor just because the dollar they earned, once 150+ years ago, was made off a product made by slaves.


Rebuttal III: Current Conditions.

Pro's case is red herring. He misrepresents my entire case COMPLETELY to the point that it is questionable if he read my case. My case was using Computers to explain a fallacy...

Pro's case about PTSS is copy/pasted from Wikipedia, and flat out cherry-picks the case to leave out that the article also says that the author (yes, the whole theory is based on one author's book, and hardly exists elsewhere) claims the issue of PTSS can only be treated by social change... Financial aid does not treat the issue. What the author implies is that PTSS is based on PTSD, and must be fied by becoming more accepting of black people. Pro's case also assumes that all PTSS are slave related and that, after far over a century, PTSS would still be predominate in black culture because of white people, and not because of black people. If a disorder caused by abuse is carried on to a child, it's an issue... If it carries on for a century's worth of generations, it becomes a blatant victumization and the parents passing down the belief that the child is a victim instead of teaching them to better their lifes and make their future and children's future brighter.

That is what Pro isn't getting... To prove his case, he must prove that everything facing Black people today is the result of modern people. Crimes and actions are not genetic or inheritable. I can not inherit my fathers murders, or my grandfathers assault, or my great grandfather's racism... In fact, such a concept (inheriting an ancestor's sins) is opposed by western law. A child can not inherit the sins of his father, and unless Pro proves that we inherit our father's crimes, he can not prove we are responsible for them, and therefore can not prove we should pay for them.

Pro's remaining case is about issues found in modern black culture... This case does not prove that it's because of slave labor. After 150 years, the state of one's culture is no longer the fault of the original issue. It becomes the fault of the people in the culture. Pro's case of victimization does not help make things better, and neither would reparations.

Also, most of what Pro stats is based on the ghetto culture, which is the result of black people's treatment of their situation, and of the Civil Rights violations in the early and mid-1900's. These attitudes were not caused by slavery, as slavery was largely caused by public opinion of black people, not vice versa. The problem for Pro is that his case must prove slavery was the cause, not the Civil Rights violations, as the Resolution is about slavery.


Conclusion: Black People and Civil Rights violations are equally to blame for issues facing black people today. Unless pro prove's that white people today are responsible for slavery, he can not prove that white people today must pay for slavery.
Debate Round No. 2


Slavery was an economic system that benefited both southern and northern states of America. The south benefited by selling their agriculture products to the world. The north profited by using the products produced in the south to boost their industrial revolution. Slavery existed in America for 245 years. African Americans were brought away from their home to a foreign land; stripped of name, language, and identity. These effects can still be seen clearly today. African Americans are still outcasts in this foreign land; surviving on the brinks of society. African Americans still call each other by their slave masters name. African Americans still speak the language they were taught by their slave masters. African Americans will probably never be able to speak their mother tongue again. How much is an identity? How much is a language? How much is a name? Their priceless. However, reparations can be a way for this country to pay back all that was stole from African Americans.

Prior Reparations

Precedents is fundamental to modern law. If a judge rules one way in a court; a lawyer brings up this ruling because it has set a precedent. If the precedent is set by a superior judge, the judge has to follow it.

Again the example of prior reparations sets a precedent for reparations in this country. If a country wrongs another civilization or people; they should pay reparations in the form of money or land; or both.

Reparations to Native Americans and Israel were both beneficial and just. Without reparations Native Americans wouldn't have land. This is good because it gives them a identity. It gives them independence of their conquerors. The state of Israel was on the brink or collapse; until Germany paid their reparations for the Holocaust.

The government of America supported both of these reparations Why not AA? Why is their case different? These are the questions that have not been answered by the Con. Because there is no difference. AA were stolen from Africa brought to America. Murdered in the millions on the way. Raped in the 100 millions when they were here, (humble estimate.) They worked trillions of hours all unpaid. They were let go and excluded from society. Surely reparations should be paid.

Free Labor.

The con first makes the statement that the south was responsible for "only 10% of all manufacturing in the nation" (round 1,) then he says the south, "only accounted for 10% of the US economy," (round 2.) Clearly the economy and manufacturing are not synonymous. I believe either one was a typo, or their both not true. Can we see proof??

Slavery is intrinsically an economic system. If it didn't make economic sense it would have never been done. So lets be clear on this: This country made trillions and trillions of dollars on African slaves. From the source he cited it said, "In 1860, the economic value of slaves in the United States exceeded the invested value of all of the nation's railroads, factories, and banks combined." Definition of economic value: Economic value is a measure of the benefit provided by a good or service to an economic agent. Slaves were a large part of the American economy. Insuring them was a large part of the northern economy. The goods they produced were a large part of the north's manufacturing economy. The staples they planted, tended, and picked FOR FREE were a large part of the world economy.

This money didn't disappear in thin air like the Con claims. No it laid a foundation for a great number of fortune 500 corporations still in existence today. It laid the foundation for the industrial revolution of the North; which turned this country into a super power.

This isn't new great countries are usually built on slave labor. For instance Rome. America is no different. Reparations would be a way to pay back the fortune that was gained from their labor.

Current Conditions

Stepping away from the phsycological effect of slavery; now lets look at the economic and status effects of slavery on African Americans. African Americans were brought to America to be slaves. Centuries of indoctrination of the lie that Europeans are intrinsically different than Africans were instilled on white America. Now when the AA were let free this mentality didn't go away. It morphed into laws to stymie the competition presented by AA. After civil rights this mentality still hasn't went away. You see it in the repel of Affirmative Action, murderings of unarmed black men, high incarceration rate. How are they connected you ask? Well Africans are a minority in this country. The police are their former slave masters. The teachers are their former slave masters. The people who hire them are their former slave masters. And my argument is this: if AA would have never been brought here they would never have been made to live and compete in this hostile environment.

People always like to point out the model minorities as a comparison to AA. Well lets see what they have that AA don't. 1. Culture: AA have a slave culture derived from their time in slavery 2. Language: AA have no language of their own. Look at Mexicans who are hired in large numbers because of the large population who speaks their language. Or Asian Americans who stick together, look at China town, because of their shared culture and language. These things were stolen from AA. And they are partly to blame for the current conditions of AA.

The Con is supporting arguments that I believe are futile. 1. That slavery wasn't a huge part of the American economy 2. That Slavery has no impact on current conditions. Slavery was an economic system for 245 years. It made this country A LOT of money period! We can argue about the numbers, but we have to agree on this fact. The Con acts as if humans are born into a vacuum. As much as we may hate to believe everybody is not born with an equal amount at chance to success. A kid of a millionaire does not have the same chance as success as a kid born to a mother in the ghetto. History has a huge, if invisible, effect on all of our lives. If slavery is the reason AA are in this country and AA are doing bad in this country slavery is the reason AA are doing bad in this country.


Pro puts forth new arguments, dropping several of his R2 cases. To counter these new arguments, I must also post arguments. Pro's inability to counter them is on him.

Rebuttal I: Pro's Case.

Pro starts by explaining how Slavery boosted the Industrial Revolution... This, in no way implies companies today are the product of Slavery, or that they are responsible for slavery. Pro continues to fail in meeting his BOP... He MUST PROVE THAT WE ARE RESPONIBLE. After 150+ years, the benefits of slavery is impossibly small to measure. Pro is lost in understanding this... 150+ years is far too long to assume slavery's economic benefits still affect today's world in a notable way. In fact, Pro claims that slavery aided the Industrial Revolution, but in reality, Slavery hurt the ability to industrialize. (Seen later.)

The primary issue with responsibility is that it implies that we are guilty of something... However, slavery was not illegal not the time. Even if Pro proved that because 150+ years ago, a small minority of people had slaves, and that this small Southern-restricted activity still largely impacts the industry of today, it doesn't mean slave owners were guilty of a crime, or that we would inherit that crime. The Law can not punish or sue people for activities their grandfathers did, or for activities that weren't illegal at the time...

This is called Ex Post Facto. Pro also does nothing to show that immigrants afterwards are responsible for activities that their ancestors weren't around to see or help stop.

Pro's case here is entirely an appeal to emotion.

Argument I: Current Financial Aide.

Pro drops this case. This case is crucial to my side, because it shows that there are alternatives already in play... Aide meant to help in issues that Black people face today... Even if Pro proved that the issues of today are caused by slavery, each of those issues has a corresponding program to help it. By dropping this case, Pro has guaranteed himself defeat by conceding that there are already programs in place. The resolution is negated.

Pro dropped this argument.

Argument II: Prior Reparations.

Pro doesn't understand principles and precedence... A precedence doesn't imply it's good... Just that it's how it's done at the time. How it's done can still be bad. As my example went, the Right to own slaves was the precedence at the time. The precedence is bad and should be repealed.

Pro's whole case is an appeal to tradition.

Argument III: Free Labor.

Pro starts by trying to target onto a minor typing error. He asks for evidence, but I provided evidence (for the first claim, the second being an error only in that I forgot the work "manufacturing.") This is a weak attempt to find something to use against me, and is nitpicky.

Pro claims that Slavery was done because it made sense... No, it was done because it was cheap. Economically, though, it was costly. Slavery has the same negative effects on an Economy has workers with low incomes, only magnified by the fact that low income workers still got paid. Slavery was profitable, but halted economic industrialization and created massive debts (1).

Pro strawmans me. I never once claimed the money disappeared. I claimed that the sins of an industry does not stay with the dollar... Stating how I am not responsible for Drug Dealing just because, say 50 years back, the dollar I earned once ran through a drug dealer's hands. Pro's case is based entirely on the idea that we are responsible for the way each dollar we earn today was earned a hundred years ago. Not one dollar today is earned on the backs of slaves, nor do we owe our money to slaves. If anything, slavery costed us, and the South, money.


Argument IV: Current Conditions.

Pro has dropped his whole R2 case on Current Conditions. He now claims that White people are still indoctrinated with the idea that they are better than Black people. This is stereotyping, and racist... To start, opinions on Black people are hard to find, but I did find this: A Gallup poll stating that White People approve of marrying Black People by 87% (2). Also, almost half of all White People voted for Obama in the 2008 election (3). This includes voting for him over top White competitors in his own party as well. Pro's broad generalization fallacy doesn't hold true to reality.

The rest of Pro's argument is a huge appeal to emotion... And is wrong. African American's have the single largest Civil Rights Group in the world (the NAACP) and have a massive culture to their own, including in Harlem. To claim that Black People have no voice is false, and irrelevant, since whether they speak or not is on them. Although turning on the news during any case where a police officer shot a black man will show just how much of a voice black people get.

Pro's case is based on demonizing white people and making us feel sorry for falsified stats.
His case is an appeal to emotion and a broad fallacy. He has also dropped his whole case.



Pro has dropped my winning argument: Argument I: Financial Aide.
Pro's Argument II: Prior Reparations case is an appeal to tradition.
Pro's Argument III: Free Labor case is false, and does not hold up to history.
Pro dropped his whole Argument IV: Current Conditions case, switching to an appeal to emotion, and demonizing white people.

I have shown that we do not inherit the legal consequences of actions our ancestor did, especially when they weren't illegal. I have shown that there are already programs that aide in fixing issues that Black people face today. The Resolution is not affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by WellEducatedAmy 9 months ago
I am in favor of reparations. Some arguments that stood out to me are:

-Whites today did not enslave the current black population.
While this is true, the same argument could be applied to the German-Israel Reparations and U.S.-Native American Reparations. Israel was compensated by Germany for the actions of people who are no longer alive and most of the people enslaved/imprisoned during the Holocaust died. Likewise, those who committed atrocities against Native Americans are no longer alive, nor are the NA victims. Both of these facts create a clear historical precedent in favor of reparations for the AA population.

-Pell grants are available to blacks.
Pell Grants are not a reparation. A reparation is some form of payment that is completely separate from anything available to the general public. Any form of government assistance that is available to qualified individuals, regardless of race, are not reparations. Reparations are a specific recompense for a wrong. Reparations are a legal admission of wrong-doing. Welfare, WIC, Pell grants, etc. are not remedies for wrong-doing. In addition, given the state of inner-city public education, one could argue that Pell grants are not easily attainable to young blacks because they lack the necessary and basic skills required to gain entrance to colleges or to maintain a college career due to a lack of adequate preparation during their K-12 program.

In regards to the importance of precedence (or lack thereof), as argued by Zarroette, it should be pointed out that the English Legal system, upon which the U.S. Legal system is based, relies heavily upon precedence. The claim that simply because there is historical precedent for reparations does not mean it should be implemented for African-Americans merely because it may not be a good policy fails to recognize that, given the results of the Germany-Israel and US-N.A. reparations, it is, indeed, a good policy. I look forward to rebuttal.
Posted by Zarroette 1 year ago
RFD: 1/3

I am happy to discuss my RFD, if anyone is dissatisfied with it.

==Current Financial Aide==

This contention was dropped by Pro and left Con to do as he pleased with it. As Con pointed out, black people today are receiving help merely because they are black. So, because Black people are already being helped, Con apparently links this to blacks no needing any further help, but that really isn"t what the debate is about. The debate is about whether AA should receive reparations for slavery, not whether they should be helped financially. I do not agree with Con"s claim that this is a debate winning argument, but Pro lets Con have free reign of this contention by declining to respond to it, so Con"s points remain uncontested but not very relevant to the debate.

==Prior Reparations==

Pro mentions that in the past, the Jews being paid by Germany 13.6 trillion dollars for reparations. The argument from Pro is that because we had this precedent with the Jews, why should be not have it here? The problem with this argument is, as Con mentioned, that it is an appeal to tradition, which is a logical fallacy. Even if it were a precedent, why should it be one? Is there an ethical argument is favour of it? Perhaps an economic or practical one? Pro never gives us an argument in favour of precedence, rather he merely assumes that they are all good. Pro"s argument here is shut-down pretty badly, and so I give Con"s counter-arguments full mitigation of Pro"s.
Posted by Zarroette 1 year ago
RFD 2/3

==Free Labor==

Pro claims reparations would be a way to pay back the fortune that was gained from their labor. It seems likely that these slaves were producing wealth for their owners, seeing that the system existed (why else would it exist other than to make profits?). Con"s counter-argument to this is that in the long-run, slavery hurt the U.S economy due to stagnation and high levels of debts. However, I do not believe that just because of stagnation and high levels of debt being the result of slave labour, slaves should not be paid anything. Thus, it does indeed appear that slaves were working for free.

Now, the question becomes should African Americans receive reparations based upon this? As critiqued under "Pro"s Case" Con notes that the fundamental flaw of Pro"s case is that the slaves are no longer alive, that it would be "ex post facto" to award modern AA with payment for past=day AA"s labour. Con is right that the labour was free, but Pro doesn"t really provide a reasonable suggestion to solve this unpaid debt: why are people, who have nothing to do with the incident, getting paid for work they never did? I do not buy this argument, even if I do agree the labour was free and made people money.
Posted by Zarroette 1 year ago
RFD 3/3

==Current Conditions==

Pro claims that if AA would have never been brought here they would never have been made to live and compete in this hostile environment (hostile environment due to, for example, the killings of unarmed black men). Con counters with statistics that show white people have rather favourable opinions of black people. I am not seeing a "hostile environment" on this front; the instances of hostility Pro mentions are not sufficient to overcome these statistics.

Pro claims that AA don't have: 1. Culture: AA have a slave culture derived from their time in slavery, and 2. Language: AA have no language of their own. 1. Was proven patently false with the reference to Harlem amongst other things. 2. Language was not directly countered by Con, but I really do not see the point of this contention, anyway. Who does it matter if AA don"t have their own language? Con showed with "Current Financial Aide" that AA are given plenty of help and handouts. I think this contention is not particularly relevant to this debate.


This debate digressed into irrelevances, of which if they were counted, Con wins in a landslide (the current financial aide argument would have been huge to drop, if given a slight variation of the resolution). However, for the points that were relevant, I do buy Pro"s argument that the free labour was perhaps something that is undesirable, but Pro"s solution is ridiculous. Who would the government pay? The blacks who worked and were exploited are long deceased; the Ex Post Facto point really stopped Pro"s arguments from gaining too much ground. I am never given an argument that shows AA *should* be given reparations, rather only that there is perhaps some unpaid dues from the past that can never be paid, thus I vote Con.
Posted by LostintheEcho1498 1 year ago
This is very interesting. I look forward to seeing it progress.
Posted by HumbleAfrican 1 year ago
The recommendations have been heard and implemented. Thanks a bunch. This is my first attempt at a debate on here.
Posted by christopher1006 1 year ago
I'd recommend limiting the judges by increasing minimum ELO rank. Otherwise it's unfair to the person who will go against you as they're at risk for useless judges who evaluate using morals rather than deciding who won.
Posted by TBR 1 year ago
Its a good debate HumbleAfrican. I have no interest in taking it, but hope you get a good debate out of the question.

You may want to break the points apart a bit. Format some. Its tough to read and address as it is.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Very well pulled off piece of rhetoric, might have won if not for specifying so clearly the desired form of the reparations in this debate. In short pro suggests throwing cash at problems like fathers leaving their children and giving themselves heart disease, as a way to get rid of social improvement means such as Pell Grants and Affirmative Action (yeah no job, but a cash payment...). Then the figurative drinking of the Kool-Aid with con pointing out how harmful blindly following precedents would be to almost everyone, but in particular formerly enslaved people since there's a precedent for enslaving them; to which pro says "Precedents is fundamental to modern law" basically agreeing that black people should be enslaved since there's a precedent for it; better yet, there's a precedent of not paying reparations.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Everything is tied besides arguments, of which I will explain why in the comments.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro drops Con's C1, which is we are already giving black people a significant amount of aid already which could be seen as a form of reparation. This alone is enough to vote Con. In the final round he drops the majority of his arguments. He instead attempted to garner emotional support by portraying white men as evil slave owners who exploited black labor in order to inject the economy with trillions of dollars--something immoral, but may or may not prove his case. Con offers evidence that what we did 100+ years ago does not apply today. And any harm done through discrimination afterwards is not slavery, and isolating the variables is impossible. Pro also dropped his third argument, and his first, and his second is responded to. Pro has the BoP, and he failed to prove really anything except that slavery was immoral--but as Con pointed out, why fix a mistake 150 years later when its effects are minimal, at best.