The Instigator
GaelinAsh
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Hiu
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

The United States Government 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...
Hiu
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/24/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 458 times Debate No: 90153
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

GaelinAsh

Con

I negate the resolved. I have three contentions supporting this. First, I will define key terms. Legal-Dictionary.com defines reparations as "compensation for injury" and uslegal.com defines African American as "citizens of the United States who have origins in Africa".
1. My first contention is that it will be very hard to determine who will receive these reparations.
a. according to theatlantic.com, "there are no living former slaves and their descendants are so mixed with others that it is nearly impossible to determine who qualifies."
b. There are many white African Americans
c. according to capitalismmagazine.com, "Many Americans today do not go back more than three or four generations in citizenship." Because of this, it will be even harder to determine who is a descendant of a slave.
2. My second contention is that it will be difficult to determine who will pay these reparations.
a. the governments funds come mainly from taxes and taxes come from the people.
b. according to theatlantic.com, townhall.com, capitalismmagazine.com, and countless history websites, there were many black slave owners.
c. according to townhall.com, "between 80-90% of white Americans never owned slaves. There were also several thousand black Americans who owned slaves."
3. Black Americans are not the only people to have been wronged by the government.
a. Native Americans lost their land and have received little to no reparations.
b. the US government once legalized the killing of Mormons and have never paid reparations.
4. the government has already paid reparations.
a. black only scholarships
b. affirmative action
In conclusion, you must negate this resolution on paying African Americans reparations for these three reasons. First, it will be very hard to determine who will receive these reparations. Second, it will be difficult to determine who will pay these reparations. And third, the government has already paid reparations.
Hiu

Pro

Without creating any confusion, I will argue the OP point for point so I can leave a segway in refuting the Op's point of view creating a segway for mine.

Arguing on the first contention, I would hardly consider theatlantic.com (commenting on bullet point A) a considerable source of determining whether any living person among the African-American demographic, a descendant of a slave given their political affiliation of the far right (conservative political lean who have had a track record of a racial bias towards African-Americans). But alas, let us assume the opposite that there members today who have who are descendants of slaves. Given the terrible nature of slavery, and the reported incidents of rape and torture we must understand that there is indeed a genetic mixture of descendants of slaves and former masters in the DNA of many African-Americans that exist today. However like the woman who is rape and sues her rapist for justice, the DNA mixture which is the result of a non-consenting human being should not mitigate justice, nor should it prevent someone from financial compensation.

According to two economists, William A. Darity Jr. and Dania Frank, "individuals would have to prove that they are descendants of persons formerly as slaves." Of course since there are families who are biracial, I would suppose these genetic tracings would be done either through the matrilineal descent (via mother) or patrilineal descent (father). Danity and Frank also suggest, that prior to the adoption of a reparations program, African-Americans would have to demonstrate for the past 10 years they have considered themselves African-Americans. I would assume based on job applications, school registration, drivers license, identification, birth certificate would suffice as appropriate forms of cultural identification.

See:https://newrepublic.com...

Bullet point B) states "there are white African-Americans." Just as we can safely assume that the Dutch and any other "white person" that lives in South African are indigenous to South Africa, we can assume that white Americans whether they are Irish, Dutch, German or otherwise are not indigenous to the Americas. With that being said, any South African who is white that happens to come to the United States wouldn't be socially considered African-American, given the historical socialization of the population being "color conscious." Besides, if we are discussing the reparation of the African-American people we have to rule out any foreigner who appears white, and/or is originally from South Africa who migrates to the states. Their migration automatically rules them out of any monetary benefit. If we are referring to people of mixed genes, we only need to go back to the aforementioned reference based on the two economists (regarding individuals proving they have claimed to be African-American for the last 10 years).

Regarding bullet point C), I do agree that many Americans do not go back far enough given different family structures, and perhaps some family lack information regarding who they may be related to. I believe the difficulty is even greater with people who are severely impoverished and/or homeless. Which is why I believe genetic testing as one would test ancestral lineage would be an alternative to this.

The OP in his second contention states:

"it will be difficult to determine who will pay these reparations."

Going back to citing Danity and Frank, reparation would be paid by the federal government, however, they would suggest reparation would be in five different form (see:https://newrepublic.com...) so all would not be in the form of direct payment although both would suggest that a lump sum would be one form of payment.

According to bullet point B) the OP states "there were many black slave owners"

According to theroot.com:

"So what do the actual numbers of black slave owners and their slaves tell us? In 1830, the year most carefully studied by Carter G. Woodson, about 13.7 percent (319,599) of the black population was free. Of these, 3,776 free Negroes owned 12,907 slaves, out of a total of 2,009,043 slaves owned in the entire United States, so the numbers of slaves owned by black people over all was quite small by comparison with the number owned by white people. In his essay, " 'The Known World' of Free Black Slaveholders," Thomas J. Pressly, using Woodson's statistics, calculated that 54 (or about 1 percent) of these black slave owners in 1830 owned between 20 and 84 slaves; 172 (about 4 percent) owned between 10 to 19 slaves; and 3,550 (about 94 percent) each owned between 1 and 9 slaves. Crucially, 42 percent owned just one slave."

See:http://www.theroot.com...

Regarding the OP's bullet point C) "between 80-90% of white Americans never owned slaves."

I didn't continue to quote the rest as I found that the last point was redundant and if you look at the above, I believe I addressed that point. According to some statistics if you include the South and the North slave owners approximately 1.6% of whites (plus or minus) owned slaves so yes that statistic may be true. But reparations is not about punishing the people, but making the government(s) accountable for profiting from oppression and the disenfranchisement of African-Americans using systemic racism over the centuries and decades of the U.S existence.

Regarding contention point 3 the OP states: "Black Americans are not the only people to have been wronged by the government."

I believe nobody is arguing otherwise, but most minorities who have had a historical impact in the formation of the United States knows that many minorities have been abused by the U.S government. Regarding bullet point A) the OP states: " Native Americans lost their land and have received little to no reparations." To put it simply, according to The Washington Post:

"The greatest harm done to us was the theft of land " our homeland " often accompanied by forced removals and under the cover of law. To American Indians, land is not simply a property value or a piece of real estate. It is a source of traditions and identities, ones that have emerged from centuries and milennia of relationships with landscapes and seascapes."

See:https://www.washingtonpost.com...

I believe the mention of other groups continues to not fully acknowledge the atrocities that are in front of us. It is almost like a child who is caught stealing a cookie and the child exclaiming "but, Susy stole a cookie too!" just because someone else has done something does not negate the actions of what YOU do.

Regarding bullet point B) the OP states "the US government once legalized the killing of Mormons and have never paid reparations."

Is the OP referring to Executive Order 44? Which states in the following:

"Executive Order 44 was issued during the 1838 Mormon War, which was caused by friction between the Latter Day Saints and their neighbors due to the economic and electoral growth of the Latter Day Saint community and their Prophet Joseph Smith's vocal opposition to slavery."

See:https://en.wikipedia.org...

The OP states regarding contention number 4 in the following: "black only scholarships"

Actually no because the Center for Equal Opportunity has called on universities to curb racial practices that has benefited minorities. A lot of scholarships that are ethnically based, are usually from private organizations, not necessarily government sanctioned. Scholarships or awards from the governments are usually based on hardships and/or grades or other means. The OP would have to cite specifically where in the government that scholarships are specifically reparations and/or the OP would have to prove that these scholarships is directly from the enslavement of the African peoples and their descendants.

Regarding bullet point B) the OP states "Affirmative Actions"

Which ironically white people, specifically women, benefit from more than any other minority demographic, so no, there is nothing that is federally funded nor taxpayer funded that specifically is repairing the history of slavery and systemic racism that has given African-Americans monetary awards for historical damages.

See:http://www.diversityinc.com...

In conclusion, the OP fails severely in the following:

1) Providing a concrete argument as to why reparations ought to not be paid to African Americans and the OP tried to make such an attempt using biased sources. If the OP is going to attempt to make an argument against the awarding of reparation it is best to leave out biased sources as it would skew the opinion in favor of the OP. Rather, it would be best to use other sources preferably scholarly sources.

2) The OP has not offered an alternative to monetary award and in fact, the OP uses black slave owners and other oppressed minority groups as elements to not acknowledge the U.S involvement and benefit of slavery and the following systemic racism (Jim Crow, civil rights etc).

3) The OP is intellectually dishonest using affirmative Action (which came centuries later) and black scholarships (which are not sanctioned by the government as forms of reparations. The payment of reparations must be done an initiated by the federal government as well as state governments who have directly benefited from slavery. Finally, "ethnic scholarships" are done by private organizations not by the federal government, and affirmative action has benefited white women more than minorities. So no, the OP fails in their argument being against reparations. The OP must create a coherent argument that lacks historical redundancy and racial biased source
Debate Round No. 1
GaelinAsh

Con

I would like to begin by pointing out something. The legal definition of "african american" is a person of african descent who is currently an american citizen. Because my opponent failed to provide their own definition, they automatically accept my definition. To defend my first point, while theatlantic may be biased in some cases, it is correct in the statement that there are no former slaves alive today. Also, to reiterate another point. Most us citizens do not go back more than three or four generations in citizenship. That means that a large number of black americans are not even related to former slaves. My opponent attempted to discredit my point regarding the legalization of the killing of mormons, but failed to refute it. So the argument stands. The fact of the matter is that mormons were slaughtered for their beliefs and the us government sanctiond it. So I ask this, why are black americans more entitled to reparations than mormons? The pro stated that these reparations would come from the federal government. What the pro appears to have forgotten is the fact that the federal government's funds come from the people through taxes. So the black americans will essentially be paying themselves. To quote my opponent, "Bullet point B) states "there are white African-Americans." Just as we can safely assume that the Dutch and any other "white person" that lives in South African are indigenous to South Africa, we can assume that white Americans whether they are Irish, Dutch, German or otherwise are not indigenous to the Americas. With that being said, any South African who is white that happens to come to the United States wouldn't be socially considered African-American, given the historical socialization of the population being "color conscious." Besides, if we are discussing the reparation of the African-American people we have to rule out any foreigner who appears white, and/or is originally from South Africa who migrates to the states. Their migration automatically rules them out of any monetary benefit. If we are referring to people of mixed genes, we only need to go back to the aforementioned reference based on the two economists (regarding individuals proving they have claimed to be African-American for the last 10 years)." What the pro failed to realise is that according to my definition of african american, (which my opponent agrees to) it is possible to be white and 100% african. Another thing I would like to mention is that there were also white slaves in the United States. So why are these reparations only going to black americans and not all who were affected by slavery? Also, nowhere in the resolution foes it say that these reparations will be monetary. So my points of affirmative action and black only scholarships still stand seeing as how according to my definition of reparations, (which the pro agrees to by default) affirmative action and black only scholarships are given in order to make up for a wrong done.
Hiu

Pro

For the record, I didn't feel it was necessary to provide my own definition of African-American seeing how personal definitions can skew one's agenda and so therefore, I felt it was not necessary to provide my own definition. I therefore felt, it was valid enough to go with "my opponent's" definition regarding the term "African-American." My opponent states in the following:

"To defend my first point, while theatlantic may be biased in some cases, it is correct in the statement that there are no former slaves alive today."

I would argue that if this news source is bias in other areas what makes their viewpoint objectively valid in others? I would submit that any source that is relevant to a subject matter ought to be objectively valid in all respects. Using websites that have political leans especially conservative websites in which conservative views are known to be prejudicial against African-Americans, questions the nature of my opponents ability to substantiate their claim using an objective source. But whether or not African-Americans alive are not directly related to slaves is besides the point of reparations. Reparations is not just about the monetary payment from slavery, but the subsequent damages that most slkaves, former slaves and their descendants endure during pre and post civil war. My opponent forgets that many African-Americans endured racism, rape, torture and segregation.

My opponent failed to realize that African-Americans despite being "freed," and I use that term loosely believes that upon freedom one is released from physical bondage, but my opponent forgets that racism was a byproduct of slavery, and because it was a byproduct, both slavery and racism were concurrent and subsequent damages continued. So we're talking about from 1619 to 1865 and then from 1865 to 1950-60's is when African-Americans had complete "civil rights" ( also use the term civil rights loosely considering we still continue to fight civil rights). So the argument is thus:

"Are we discussing reparations from slavery from the onset until the ending, or are we going to include subsequent damages that are the direct result from the systemic racism in place that many Africans endured which directly affect the descendants of slaves (whether my opponent admits or not there are still African-American generations that still are effected by the residual effects of racism from slavery times). In essence you cannot have one without the other because history does not deny the system that was in place to make Africans inferior which was slavery and in post slavery African-Americans still continued to have second class citizen status so my opponent has to answer for those particular damages as well."

In regards to the Mormon atrocity, my opponent is attempting a red herring by citing the Mormon atrocity as comparable to the issues of slavery and the African-American plight. My opponent also failed to answer my question whether it was in reference to Executive 44, or some other incident. Again, these are two separate issues that are unrelated. The question of whether Mormons deserve reparations ought to be asked to the Mormon, not in this discussion. If indeed we are entertaining red herrings, then we can ask why the U.S paid $20,000 and an apology to every surviving internee a price tag of approximately $1.25 billion for as the L.A times called "It acknowledges "the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment" of the 120,000 men, women and children, mostly West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry, in the months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, propelling the United States into the war." We can discuss why one group gets reparations but not others however I find citing the Mormon issue in comparison to a centuries old atrocity is bit of a red herring on the subject matter so my opponent's view does not stand on this matter. My opponent fails to recall that It was Smith"s successor, Brigham Young, who adopted the policies that now haunt the church (Mormonism). He described black people as cursed with dark skin as punishment for Cain"s murder of his brother. But on that I digress.

My opponent states:

"The pro stated that these reparations would come from the federal government. What the pro appears to have forgotten is the fact that the federal government's funds come from the people through taxes. So the black americans will essentially be paying themselves."

Apparently my opponent failed to recall the Japanese reparations as TAX FREE:

"WASHINGTON " The House, with Rep. Norman Y. Mineta (D-San Jose) emotionally recalling his own experiences in a camp for Japanese-American internees during World War II, today gave final congressional approval to a bill expressing a national apology and providing a $20,000 tax-free payment to every surviving internee."

See:http://articles.latimes.com...

My opponent stated:

"What the pro failed to realise is that according to my definition of african american, (which my opponent agrees to) it is possible to be white and 100% african."

False. I committed a typo when I stated the following:

"any South African who is white that happens to come to the United States wouldn't be socially considered African-American, given the historical socialization of the population being "color conscious." Besides, if we are discussing the reparation of the African-American people we have to rule out any foreigner who appears white, and/or is originally from South Africa who migrates to the states."

Without skewing the discussion in another direction if we are staying with the current definition then we must question the term "origin." Whites who inhabit South Africa are not the indigenous people of South Africa, nor do they historically originate from South Africa as we can see the first settlers in South Africa began in the 17th century so by the term "origin" my opponent must be clear if he or she means origin as indigenous origin or citizen (born into the country). If my opponent asserts citizenry, then by default rules out any white South African of obtaining any benefit of reparations. In addition, we are discussing slavery which included "black people" not people of English or Dutch descent, so a white South African in that reality would not be able to receive benefits. Even if we take my opponents definition, it would be argued that in referring to slavery we are referring to a specific group of people which who their phenotype was black.

"Another thing I would like to mention is that there were also white slaves in the United States"

Another red herring, I would like to kindly remind my opponent to stay on one thought and not sidetrack the issue as he/she did with the mormon example.

"So my points of affirmative action and black only scholarships still stand seeing as how according to my definition of reparations, (which the pro agrees to by default) affirmative action and black only scholarships are given in order to make up for a wrong done."

Apparently my opponent failed to address my point in the fact that the government does not hand out "ethnic specific" grants or awards as I have submitted in my previous post that CEO (Center of Equal Opportunity) have argued against systems that favor one group over others. My opponent also fails to address my point which I have proven via link that whites actually benefit from affirmative action more than minorities, I kindly submit the link (again):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

Also:

"According to the United States Labor Department, the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action are white women. The Department of Labor estimated that 6 million women workers are in higher occupational classifications today than they would have been without affirmative action policies."

https://www.ncsu.edu...

Also I have to ask my opponent since the mentioning of "white African-Americans" if in fact the government is awarding us via Affirmative Action and "ethnic specific" scholarships (which I have to remind my opponent are privately funded), what does that mean for white African-Americans? Do they too, reap the awards of American slavery via reparations through Affirmative Action and black scholarships? This furthers my inquiry...If in fact we are going by my opponent's definition and in fact my opponent submits that "blacks" have been awarded so if such is the case, how can a "white African-American" be awarded a "black scholarship" which is the result of in my oppnent's view "governmental reparations" if they are not black? In other words, how can a white African-American reap the rewards of reparations via affirmative action and "black scholarships" if 1) They are not black and 2) Their ancestors were not enslaved?

Either my opponent needs to clear up some inconsistencies or submit defeat because these viewpoints are quite contradictory and inconsistent.
Debate Round No. 2
GaelinAsh

Con

GaelinAsh forfeited this round.
Hiu

Pro

I argue that the only issue with reparations for African-Americans is that the government would need to fix the budget to mitigate the high payout for African-American reparations. In addition, the distribution of "who gets money" would be another issue, other than that I see no problem.
Debate Round No. 3
GaelinAsh

Con

GaelinAsh forfeited this round.
Hiu

Pro

Hiu forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
GaelinAsh

Con

GaelinAsh forfeited this round.
Hiu

Pro

It seems my opponent has no further argument
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Vox_Veritas 1 year ago
Vox_Veritas
There is only one reason why slave ancestors should be a valid ground for reparations: that their enslavement caused their descendants up to you to be more economically disadvantaged than the average person. If this is not the case then I fail to see why reparations are needed. There's no reason for a rich black man to receive one penny in reparations.
If we're talking about slavery, however, then we should also address any thing which would make one person born more financially disadvantaged than the average person. What if your father were a lazy bum? How would it be fair that you should be poor because of his behaviour?
Instead of talking about race-based reparations, redistribution to those born in poverty should be proposed instead. If more blacks are already poor, then it will have the same effect anyway.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SolonKR 1 year ago
SolonKR
GaelinAshHiuTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ySh0xRDlzDgjS0JtR1eQYCJdaE2Xao10o5T0wiRprRw/edit?usp=sharing