The Instigator
Lexus
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
Flannel
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The USFG ought to pay reparations to African Americans.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Lexus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 450 times Debate No: 81041
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Lexus

Con

Resolved: The United States federal government ought to pay reparations to African Americans.

I am going to be con and my opponent will be pro. The burden of proof is shared.

Rules:
1. All definitions are debatable (not really a rule but this is important)
2. No plans or counterplans
3. Maintain a discourse-friendly environment that allows for debate (so no forfeits, trolling, deconstructional semantics, etc)
4. Follow round structure

Round structure:
Round 1: Con (me) creates debate, pro (you) gives constructive case
Round 2: I give constructive case, you refute my case [kind of like c-x in PF but it's more of a rebuttal speech]
Round 3: I give refutations, you defend from these refutations and say why you won
Round 4: I defend from refutations, you pass this round to allow for equal debate times.
Flannel

Pro

PRO CONSTRUCTIVE ONE}

The thesis of this case is that justice demands reparations for the government-sanctioned brutality and deprivation visited upon African Americans over the past three centuries. Contrary to the claims of some, the brutality did not end with the civil war, but has continued up to the current generations of African Americans.

The affirmative side would like the provide the following definitions to clarify debate:
1. Ought defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as "used to express obligation , advisability , natural expectation , or logical consequence "
2. Reparation as defined by Oxford Dictionaries as "the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged"

Contention 1: AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE SUFFERED HORIFFIC ABUSE

A. SLAVERY IS PROPERLY REGARDED AS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

{Klein, "THE GUARDIAN", 2009}
The final Durban Declaration became the first document with international legal standing to state that "slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially, the transatlantic slave trade." This language was more than symbolic. When lawyers had sought to win slavery reparations in the US courts, the biggest barrier was always the statute of limitations, which had long since expired. But if slavery was "a crime against humanity", it was not restricted by an statute.
{Brooks, "ATONEMENT AND FORGIVENESS: A NEW MODEL FOR BLACK REPARATIONS", 2004}
Salves were not only dehumanized, but were typically treated with vicious brutality-- worked from dawn to dusk, whipped at the whim of the overseer

B. SLAVERY DESTORYED THE FABRIC OF AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILIES

{Wenger, "LOYOLA OF LOS ANGELES LAW REVIEW", 2010}
Slavery and Jim Crow inflicted horrific harms upon Blacks in America. Slaves were subjected to physical injury, mental anguish, loss of property, loss of wages, loss of liberty, and loss of family relationships. The entire system of slavery depended upon a series of massive deprivations of basic human rights.

C. "JIM CROW" POLICIES HAVE CONTINUED THE OPPRESSION OF AFRICAN AMERICANS UP TO THE PRESENT GENERATION

{Lyons, "BOSTON COLLEGE THRID WORLD LAW JOURNAL", 2004}
Reparations claims do not require us to go back in 138 years. We need not go back in time at all, as I'll now explain. American practice of racial subordination did not end with slavery but evolved into the system know as Jim Crow. The system received a veneer of legal legitimacy from new state constitutions and legislation around the turn of the century, every African American knew -- or was in the position to know-- that Jim Crow was built upon the illegal disfranchisement of African Americans as well as fraud, harassment, coercion, and brutal violence, and that it became possible because of an unwillingness in all three branches of the federal government to enforce clear constitutional obligations and legislative mandates that been established after the civil war.

Essentially, contention one is the basis for this debate. The brutality the United States Federal Government allowed to happen upon African Americans is atrocious and should* not* go without reparations. It the united states duty to uphold justice, as justice is the first virtue of social institutions. To the citizens are alike that justice is their first concern. Not power, or the GNP, or efficiency or the endless pursuit of private interest but justice is the proper political thought and action as it is the defining characteristic of the good state. Reparations would atone for the wrongs done to African Americans in US history therefore, providing justice for the people as a whole and would be good political action for the Us as well.

Contention 2: JUSTICE DEMANDS THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS BE PROVIDED REPARATIONS

A. THE QUESTION OF PLAN DETAILS IS WHOLLY SEPERATE FROM THE QUESTION OF WHETHER IT "OUGHT" TO BE PAID

{Corlett, "RACE, RACISM, AND REPARATIONS", 2003}
If it were the case that no proposed reparations policy to date is plausible for whatever reasons, it would not follow logically that African Americans are not owed reparations of a just nature. to think otherwise would be to fallaciously infer that our supposed inability to work through the problem of how to award reparations logically implies something about African Americans deserve, in this case, as a matter of corrective justice through compensation. We must* not* confuse the question of the moral requirement of reparations to African Americans with the question of how they ought to be awarded,

B. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRACTICALITIES OF REPARATIONS ARE RALLY JUST A DELAY TACTIC - AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE JUSTICE OF REPARATIONS SHOULD COME FIRST.

{Coates, "THE ATLANTIC", 2014}
Broach the topic of reparations today and a barrage of questions inevitably follows: Who will be paid? How much will they be paid? Who will pay? If the practicalities, not the justice, of reparations are true sticking point, there has for some time been the beginnings of a solution. The past 25 years Congressman John Conyers Jr . has marked every session of Congress by introducing a bill calling for a congressional study of slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for "appropriate remedies". A country curious about how reparations might actually work has an easy solution in Conyer's bill. We would support this bill, submit the question to study, and then asses the possible solutions. But we are not interested.

Note the resolution asks only whether reparations "ought to be paid" - It does* not* ask to engage in the details of the payment. What contention two is saying is it doesn't matter if we can or can't pay reparations all that matters is that we should or shouldn't pay them. In which all aspects we should due to extreme oppression and brutality faced by African Americans the Federal Government allowed to happen. The plan details do not need to be considered in this debate at all. If impracticalities are really the issue then why has congress for the past 25 years rejected to study a bill that doesn't authorize a red cent to anyone. This implies that problems aren't linked in the practicalities of reparations but something more existential.
There is clearly no other vote than, affirmative.
Debate Round No. 1
Lexus

Con

We negate the resolved: the United States federal government ought to pay reparations to African Americans.

We offer the following observation before we start this debate.
Observation 1. Ought implies can.
  • Theodore Gracyk of Minnesota State finds: "Ought implies can ... "Can't implies ought not." In other words, if you can't do x, then you have no duty to do x. (And "can't" means you really can't do x because x is impossible, not just that you don't like the results of x.) It also means that we should not blame people for failing to do what they cannot possibly do. "

So, the pro's advocacy must be able to show that there is an ability to pay reparations because not being able to means that there isn't a moral obligation to.

We concede to the definition of reparations that the pro presented for sake of time.

The only the way the aff achieves their goals is through the pretext of a transaction of goods. Allan Cooper, Professor of Politics at Otterbein University in 2012 writes,

  • "the fundamental justification for reparations has been economic: [asserting that] African Americans are owed a debt. Reducing slavery to a cost-benefit analysis connotes that the inherent indignity of being a slave is merely a matter of ... compensation"

Our sole contention is that the affirmative advocacy is inextricably rooted in the use and perpetuation of transactional justice that guarantees the replication of all the harms they identify. This is true for two reasons.

1. Economic solutions are inherently tied to the path of capitalism, because they strive for growth and expansion of African American wealth, and growth and expansion are capitalism. According to anthropologist Hans A. Baer, June 2012:

  • "capitalism is a global economic system that in its drive for profits requires ongoing accumulation and expansion"

Seeing as reparations attempt to promote economic prosperity, the affirmative advocacy is firmly and unavoidably rooted in the expansion of capitalism.

2. Affirming means treating humans as objects that are broken or damaged in some way, and the only way to fix them is through investment via capital. Furthermore, reparations as a policy action necessitates quantification in some way. This notion of quantifying injustice and suffering is based on capitalist ideals. Dehumanizing African Americans in this way portrays their hardships as economic misfortunes and re entrenches capitalist solutions as a whole.

The impact of this perpetuation of capitalist solutions is the continuation and re-entrenchment of racism as it exists in society today. According to Taylor in 2002,

  • "Racism isn't just an ideology but ... an institution ... [and] racism originated with capitalism and the slave trade. As the ... writer CLR James put it, "The conception of dividing people by race ... [was so] opposed to all the conceptions of society ... that the only justification by which humanity could face it was ... decide that the Africans were an inferior race.” History proves this point. Prior to the advent of capitalism, racism as a systematic form of oppression did not exist."

Capitalism created racism, and only by negating can we step away from capitalism as a solution the problem it created. Epifanio San Juan of the University of Belgium in 2003 writes,

  • "race relations and race conflict are necessarily structured by the larger totality of the political economy of a given society, as well as by modifications in the structure of the world economy. Corporate profit-making via class exploitation on an international/globalized scale, ... still remains the logic of the world system of finance capitalism based on historically changing structures and retooled practices of domination and subordination.”

Earl Ofari for the Radical Education Project writes,

  • "it is impossible to resolve the problems of black people under the structure of American Capitalism."

All hardships unique to African Americans exist because of the capitalist system and our use of that system to try and solve our problems. Moreover, history demonstrates that capitalist solutions never work. When slavery ended, the Government promised Black Americans 40 acres of land and a mule. Since then they have attempted countless reparation policies. While all were noble efforts founded with good intentions, NONE OF THEM HAVE EVER WORKED. A far preferable alternative to reparations would be remedial policies designed to help all people by improving existing laws. According to Lee Harris writing for the Southern University Law Review in 2001,

  • "Policies, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, that are designed to improve the condition of poor people as a matter of course, including poor African-Americans, are not necessarily reparative. Put differently, a social policy program that aids the conditions of African-Americans vis-a-vis whites, but does not acknowledge the basis for such programs (racism), is remedial, and not reparative."

In conclusion, paying reparations to African Americans further continues the cycle of capitalism, and in turn racism. Thus because negating is the only step away from this vicious cycle, we see no other vote than in negation.

Flannel

Pro

Flannel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Lexus

Con

I await my opponent's return so we can continue the debate.
Flannel

Pro

Flannel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Flannel

Pro

Flannel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
Lexus
wait i'm incredibly stupid. heads/tails requires a preference -.- I'll just challenge you and I'll be on the con.
Posted by Flannel 1 year ago
Flannel
I would like heads.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
Lexus
Do you have a preference? If not tell me heads or tails since I don't have one and was going to do a coinflip :p
Posted by Flannel 1 year ago
Flannel
I would love to do this debate seeing as am also a NSDA PF debater, but sadly I don't meet the age requirement. I would love to either way on this topic.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
Lexus
what style then?
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
lannan13
I would accept, but I'm not doing this PFD styled.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
Lexus
Yep, that's exactly what I actually expect the PRO to argue V5RED. This is a national speech and debate association debate topic and I have seen a few debates on this already; that is the general advocacy.
Posted by V5RED 1 year ago
V5RED
I don't plan on engaging in this debate, but if the government were to pay "reparations", I do not think it would be helpful if it were in the form of direct money to impoverished black people.

I don't know too much about programs that are currently extant in terms of whether they are funded by the government, but it would seem that renovations to largely black communities, improvements to schools in largely black communities, job training and placement programs, more scholarship programs to higher education, and expunging criminal records of minor crimes and victimless crimes like drug possession and gambling (thus enabling them to find jobs) would help significantly more than handing people piles of money. We have all seen the stories of lottery winners and athletes(ie people who got a crapload of money in a short time) going bankrupt.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by V5RED 1 year ago
V5RED
LexusFlannelTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit by Pro