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titanic1216
Con (against)
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The Contender
Ellison
Pro (for)
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c Resolved: The United States Federal Government ought to pay reparations to African Americans.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2016 Category: People
Updated: 12 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 214 times Debate No: 85674
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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titanic1216

Con

Slavery, a subject discussed in hundreds of schools by thousands of teachers. A popular subject among social studies classes.
First we start off with the definition of ought. Merriam Webster states ought as moral obligation however Steven Horowitz of St. Lawrence University writes, "Before we say we "ought" to do something, we should be sure we can do it, in the sense that the action is likely to achieve the intended ends." Second, we look at an observation. Derity writes that the role for reparations is to redress for the injustice, thus to redress for oppression.
Firstly, the immorality in government. America simply would not be the prosperous nation it is now without enslaved Africans, so how can it repent for an act necessary to its very existence? This is the quandary of colonial morality; it forces the thinker to say, contrary to our atoning pronouncements, though unfortunate, the atrocity was necessary to our very being.
Any attempt towards racial reconciliation would require Black [people] to legitimate an immoral government. Atonement becomes a type of apathy; that urges the raced citizen to consider their recent victory over and against the continuing transgressions of the government and its white populace against humanity. , it demands from Black [Americans] their allegiance to the myths of American benevolence as the price Thus this prevents the state of being able to pay debts, while still furthering the oppression.
In the case of reparations, this would entail a prima facie rejection of atonement, because these theories assume the morality of historically immoral racist actors, when morality is defined not by the empirical acts that demonstrate immorality, but the racial character of those in question, our ethics become nothing more than the apologetics of our tyrannical epoch.
Thus, if we go through with reparations we are forcing African Americans to be complacent to racism
The push for reparations well stiffen opposition to other programs designed to address those disparities. Reparations may become the basis for further conflict between aggrieved groups of citizens. So not only are reparations morally impermissible they worsen the plight of minorities.

secondly, Culpability
means that individuals are born burdened with duties they never took on and that are not required of them " Since present day citizens were not complicit in slavery [and oppression] that claim can only be based on the morally repugnant idea that individuals can be burdened with the duties that other people incurred."
Moreover Alfred Brophy of UNC Law agreed, writing, "The taxpayers are the people who will have to pay, many who " have no culpability. Where is the fairness in asking people whose ancestors were not even in the US in the period of slavery or Jim Crow to pay " for crimes occurring in that time? David Horowitz phrased the argument in this way: "The two great waves of American immigration occurred after 1880 and then after 1960. What rationale would require them to pay reparations to African Americans?"
Placing moral blame on individuals is a huge burden for them to bear. When the majority of our population has no connection whatsoever to African American oppression, it is immoral to force them to pay such a large percentage of their income.

thirdly, While paying money from the federal government is inadvisable Mary Franisis Berry former chairman of the UN human rights commission writes; "Monies could come from institutions and corporations that profited from slave labor; additional funds could come from banks and insurance companies that had been guilty of racial discriminatory practices, such as redlining and predatory financial lending."
Beyond reparations to individuals, there should be a "Reparations Superfund" as historian V.P. Franklin suggests. Monies could come from institutions and corporations that profited from slave labor; additional funds could come from banks and insurance companies that had been guilty of racial discriminatory practices, such as redlining and predatory financial lending.
Bruce Nagel furthers companies that we can prove were built on the backs of African slaves, would be the ones to pay for it."
These lawsuits are occurring today thus rather than linking to the inherent disadvantages of the USFG paying reparations other means could be mandated to pay reparations.

And those are just some of the reasons that the United States ought not to pay reparations to African Americans.
Ellison

Pro

I accept the challenge. I accept the stated definition of ‘ought’ as a moral obligation. I accept the definition of reparations as redress for oppression. I accept the requirement that reparations be actionable.

Since Con has begun stating arguments in the first round and has not laid out a specific structure for the debate, I will also present a case in the first round. I expect that the second round will be for rebuttal, third for defense, fourth for rebuttal, fifth for a summary.

OBSERVATIONS

OB1. Con did not define ‘moral obligation’ in their opening case. I will be using the following definition: a duty that arises from conscience rather than law. (thelawdictionary.org)

OB2. I will be operating with the following definition of ‘oppression’ from Merriam-Webster: the unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power.

OB2. I will be operating with the following definition of ‘justice’ from Merriam-Webster: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.

FRAMEWORK

I will be operating within the moral framework of classical justice as defined by giving everyone his or her due.

ARGUMENTS

C1. African-Americans have been treated unfairly by the US government and American society.

SC1. The slavery of African-Americans was unfair.

The concept of owning another human being violates justice on a variety of levels. The most basic are that it denies self-determination to one set of people while giving it to another. It is difficult to come up with a more obvious lack of fairness. Not only did it deprive slaves of self-determination, but it prevented them from having any civil rights as humans or citizens. It is clear that providing rights to one set of people and completely denying it to another is unfair and thus unjust.

SC2. Racial prejudice resulted in continued unfair treatment of African-Americans.

The unfair treatment of African-Americans continued far beyond slavery through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and general cultural discrimination. The broad belief that African-Americans were not fully persons deserving of civil rights was reinforced by slavery to such a degree that the systemic impact of racial prejudice would continue long after slavery’s technical end.

C2. The oppression of African-Americans, particularly slavery, has had unfair repercussions the consequences of which can still be seen today.

The economic benefit of slavery reaped rewards only for the slave owners. If emancipated slaves had been able to gain benefits from their labor, the African-American community would today have far more control and input regarding the American economy and status within society.[1] Since the benefits of their invaluable labor only went to the owners, a significant disparity in power and status was allowed to continue economically alongside the systemic racial prejudice.

C3. The injustice of oppression results in a duty to account for the lack of fairness.

Since the historical unfair treatment of African-Americans continues to have an impact today, the injustice has not been rectified. The United States was in part built upon the labor of slavery and that labor was never compensated for. Even the United States government recognized in 2008 that they owed African-Americans an apology. [2] The fact that the government recognized the need for an apology was an admittance that an injustice had still not been rectified.

In that apology, the House of Representatives admitted that slavery and racial prejudice “became entrenched in the Nation’s social fabric” and that “African-Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow — long after both systems were formally abolished — through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity.” [2]

Not only did the government admit a moral obligation through apology, but they admitted that the impact of slavery continues to this day and that it includes financial loss and opportunity loss. The injustice of slavery and oppression continues today and that injustice is not simply one of past moral failure but one of tangible loss.

C4. The precedent of the US government providing reparations in the form of financial disbursement means that reparations can be actionable.

There is a significant precedent for the US government providing actionable reparations for past wrongs through financial restitution. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 provided financial reparation for the Japanese-American Internment Camps [3] and the US government has been continuously giving Native American tribes tangible, actionable reparations through land.

It is clear that the US government is willing and capable of providing economic reparations in order to give each their due and rectify continuing injustice.

  1. 1. http://www.thefreelibrary.com...
  2. 2. https://www.govtrack.us...
  3. 3. http://www.civics-online.org...

Debate Round No. 1
titanic1216

Con

titanic1216 forfeited this round.
Ellison

Pro

Ellison forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
titanic1216

Con

titanic1216 forfeited this round.
Ellison

Pro

Ellison forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
titanic1216

Con

titanic1216 forfeited this round.
Ellison

Pro

Ellison forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
titanic1216

Con

titanic1216 forfeited this round.
Ellison

Pro

Ellison forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by LostintheEcho1498 1 year ago
LostintheEcho1498
I think you spent a lot of time and effort making a beginning argument, but for the size of debate you have laid out, you should set up some structure ex. round 1 accept round 2 arguments round 3 rebuttals round 4 more arguments round 5 finishing rebuttals. It can be something different, but I can say personally that when I look at this, I see an enormous argument and that's it. Just an attempt at constructive criticism, if that.
Posted by Zarium 1 year ago
Zarium
Whilst I do not condone Slavery, past or present - Someone being forced to pay reparations will actually have an adverse effect in my opinion - The people accused of their ancestors having slaves and a reparation being demanded, them paying the reparation is technically accepting guilt on the subject.

The fact alone that ancestors did something that was reprehensible should not mean that the following generations be put in the 'name and shame' corner - This does not nullify that Slavery itself was bad, but keeping the grudges alive - no matter how 'justified' it is - cannot be maintained.... It will start a loop of bad feeling and grudges (We cannot assume that everyone who pays the reparations will not hold a personal grudge of giving their hard earned money to someone else). This could cause repercussions, which would just cycle the blame game around to a new round.
I feel that the government should make a public apology, maintain their current policies regarding the reparations for the ancestors of slaves - for their ordeals the ancestors had to face, but to organize each individual who had ancestors directly responsible, Is an unfair shifting of the blame.

Again - This is no way supports Slavery, and I do believe that those affected by it receive some kind of recognition - They had an uphill battle to simply be accepted as people - and deserve recognition for how far they have come (No matter how much it shouldn't have been addressed to begin with).
However - what has happened, has happened - We need to start moving forward instead of stagnating, as this fosters separation between citizens - The Ideal should be for each to acknowledge that no matter one's beginning, all are one, and one are all now.

Good debate topic though, I like your ideals there.
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