Should The United States federal government should pay financial reparations to African Americans?

Posted by: NoCoolNameNate

This is the debate topic my high school has. Please feel free to weigh in with your opinion!

  • YES

  • No

12% 3 votes
88% 21 votes
  • The US federal government was responsible for destroying the African American community financially and allowed horrible human rights violations to occur. The USFG is responsible for the large poverty rates the African American community faces and should give them reparations as a result.

  • These should be in the form of vouchers for houseing, education, starting small businesses etc. Not simply a check in the mail.

  • Will the federal government pay through taxes? If so, the American people will be paying reparations. 1.4% of white Americans owned slaves, so having Americans pay reparations would be punishing people whose ancestors didn't partake in slavery. Mention that in your class.

    Posted by: Dilara
  • Last I checked, there are no living black former slaves within the United States.

  • Is this a joke question? We should punish people who nearly all believe slavery was wrong, for something their ancestors did? What about the people who owned Irish slaves? Should they be punished for something they didn't do too? Maybe it's you who should check your privilege, if you're that entitled.

  • No. If black people want reparations they should seek them from the African's that sold them in the first place.

  • My first reaction was definitely not, but I thought about it some more and decided that it depends. I'm going to go with no on the assumption that this would work like giving out stimulus checks. That would be overly costly and wouldn't solve anything. Racial discrimination is still very real, but it's difficult to catch it happening. Some black people are well off, and it would be absurd to give them more money. The most rational course of action is a combination of affirmative action and improving underprivileged communities with better schools, law enforcement, etc.

  • Not only are the people in the federal government different from who they were during slavery, but it's not the federal government that has to pay: the federal government doesn't really make money, it gets its money from the taxpayers. So why punish American taxpayers for crimes committed in the past? That makes no sense.

  • What a coincidence, my school is also debating this same topic! I'd say no because although it is true that American capitalism has benefitted off the exploitation of slavery and segregation, the damaging legacy of slavery is not necessarily going to be solved by financial reparations. For example, incarceration and gang violence won't be solved by a check in the mail. The best thing would be to improve on affirmative action that already exists to benefit those afflicted. Also, the federal government gets money from taxpayers, meaning these reparations would be bad for the people, and it may not be seen as right to punish white people for something their ancestors did, not to mention not everyone in America is descended from white slave owners. Private companies such as tobacco and cotton producers exploited African Americans the most, not necessarily the federal government itself. Well, I have to argue both sides anyway so I'm sure there's evidence to support either :) #defendthattitle

  • We need to limit government spending. In addition, there aren't any former slaves currently alive, so there is no need to pay them reparations. And lastly, on a side note, racism is virtually nonexistent. Blacks should have no problem finding job and living a decent life, thus there is no need for affirmative action.

  • No financial reparations. Blacks will have to learn how to pull their own weight like whites did.

  • In no way are blacks systematically discriminated against in the Uinted States anymore. There aren't even any more black slaves alive anymore! All blacks in this country have the same rights as all other people, so there is no reason for any government, federal or state, to pay reparations to blacks in this country.

  • So why should people alive today be paid for what was done to their ancestors? They have it better than they did.

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Heterodox says2016-08-10T23:45:30.0571593Z
Also, I would suggest you watch this video, it kind of discusses this.
karlmarx59 says2016-08-11T00:11:57.5771718Z
How would you figure an amount per person?
Black-Jesus says2016-08-11T02:22:31.9230294Z
@NoCoolNameNate, The federal government isn't really responsible for the poverty rate of the black community. I mean, the White Flight is a huge event that largely contributed to the poverty and crime rates of the black community. That was an event in the 20s when, thanks to the invention of the car, people were able to leave the cities and move to suburbs and just drive to work. Minority groups were both unable to afford cars and the suburban houses because they were paid less than whites. Then minority groups were forced into increasingly smaller and smaller neighborhoods in the inner city and still didn't get better pay until the 60s and 70s, but then it was too late and our schools had already decayed, houses had fallen apart and criminal organizations had risen. So, I suppose you could say it is the fault of government to not step in and force companies to pay blacks better. It doesn't matter anyway because all of this stuff is in the past and the people guilty of them are either dead or messing their adult diapers in a nursing home.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T02:44:34.4852628Z
@Black-Jesus: One could then say that USA needs to pay reparations for discriminatory laws against blacks putting them at an economic disadvantage which they need to repay.
Black-Jesus says2016-08-11T03:05:47.5941943Z
And then one could respond with the same thing because, as I said, these things are in the past.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T03:28:20.0448638Z
Justice doesn't have a sell-by date...
Throwback says2016-08-11T03:32:34.9348977Z
@NoCoolNameNate...I take it you are doing this to prep for a school debate? Your comment "justice doesn't have a sell-by date." Is not quite accurate, and you may not want to use that. Most crimes have a statute of limitations, after which the 'sell-by date' has been exceeded. Even murder, which has no statute of limitations, per se, is still limited by the death of the offender. In the issue of slavery within the U.S., both all victims and all offenders are deceased. There are no reparations to be made.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T03:36:50.4762025Z
Oooh that's a good point. To be honest I'm mostly going with AFF because everyone else is neg on this site haha.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T03:39:49.3976827Z
However, I'd question whether or not that's justified. If someone can draw direct family links between them and a slave (Slave being one who worked for free and deserved money) then I could see a contention being drawn for that family member receiving some portion of the deserved pay
Throwback says2016-08-11T03:51:42.5874544Z
Would that also apply to 3rd or 4th generation robbery victims? See my point?
Dilara says2016-08-11T03:56:50.9504881Z
AsianInvasion Plus only 1.4% of white Americans had slaves.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T04:29:08.0865400Z
But couldn't that logic be used to justify Germany not paying for WW2 or something along those lines? It's their country still.
Throwback says2016-08-11T04:42:06.6044390Z
I would agree with Germany paying for the war they inflicted on the world contemporaneously with that war. 70 years later, I would not. The people involved on both side are mostly passed away now. Absolutely not if WW II had happened 130 years ago, as did the end of US slavery.
BrendanD19 says2016-08-11T05:05:45.5558133Z
Just so people know, this could be in the form of vouchers which would have to be applied for, not guaranteed.
Black-Jesus says2016-08-11T05:38:09.2496086Z
@NoCoolNameNate, Justice does have a sell-by date. The sell-by date is when one of the parties are dead. There is no way to make it better for the slaves: it is many years too late. But that isn't really applicable in this situation because the federal government doesn't really make money on it's own: or at least most of the money it has is gleaned from tax payers. So, really, by saying that the federal government should pay reparations for black people, you are saying that the American people should pay reparations to black people. The problem with this is the vast majority of Americans are not the offending class. So, I mean, the only way to conceivably find justice here is to track down each and every single employer from 1865 to 1970 who turned down a black person for being black or hired one for unfair pay and make the surviving ones pay back the surviving blacks who were turned away or given unequal pay.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T13:37:44.3672633Z
Oh for some reason my comment from last night didn't send. Anyway Germany JUST finished paying off WW1 in 2010, it was a long term deal. It's still their country.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-11T13:48:15.3757082Z
OK but here's the thing black Jesus- Their descendants are less financially able as result of injustices that the US facilitated through their laws and need reparations for it as a result. It's saying the government should pay. Your logic would justify Germany not paying for WW1 once enough of them die off. It's still their country and they reap the benefits and the drawbacks.
Throwback says2016-08-11T14:13:40.8105434Z
@NoCoolNameNate.....Reparations which were required of Germany as part of their surrender need to be paid no matter how long it takes. In that case, it is a nation state agreeing to pay for what that nation state did. But there is no outstanding agreement dating back the the U.S. Civil War era for reparations to distant descendants of freed slaves. It is a vast (Yooge!) difference. Germany contracted an obligation at war's end which must be met, unless all parties agree to dissolve it.
Black-Jesus says2016-08-11T14:24:36.1090090Z
@NoCoolNameNate, I agree with Throwback's comment, but I want to add on that, at some point, personal accountability also has to come into play. I mean, Germany was aggressive before WWI started, and you could make a case that it is wrong to charge Germany so heavily when some other nations were just as if not more culpable for WWI, but they still agreed to the charge. But in the case of the black community, while their ancestors were treated wrongly, the black communities problems are now their own. Just because the same fate could befall any other group of people in the same circumstances doesn't mean the US government should coddle us. It is still the black community that is running the criminal organizations that are keeping them in lower economic conditions. When viewed as a whole body, the black community is our own worse enemy, but this is a fundamentally flawed way to view race. Yet this is how reparation proponents must view race.
Throwback says2016-08-11T14:37:40.1098217Z
@Black-jesus....Agreed. No one is oppressing blacks in America on account of race anymore. Look at blacks who grew up in poverty and became wildly successful in their field (Dr. Ben Carson, Head of thoracic surgery). Blacks have the same opportunities as anyone else in this country, if they don't listen to radicals telling them they don't. We see a lot of white people who make a whole lot of nothing out of themselves as well, and they, too blame everyone but the lump of fairy dust in the mirror.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-13T21:33:53.8038114Z
@Throwback: Analogies don't need to have the exact same circumstances set and parallels can still be drawn from the two situations, in that the tax payers were not necessarily responsible for what occurred but they still were punished for it. That is how the government works, the representatives of the people make decisions for them. Black Jesus, their communities are bad as a result of the poverty they face as a result of them being robbed of their full financial potential as a result of the United States Federal Government oppressing them heavily. No, they don't deserve to get coddled, but they do deserve what was rightfully theirs (Or their ancestors, which traces back to them and they would have received it had the system been just).
Black-Jesus says2016-08-13T21:52:48.7872449Z
But precisely our point is that it's not rightfully theirs. Maybe it's rightfully their ancestors. Maybe. But not rightfully theirs.
Heterodox says2016-08-13T21:58:27.3457482Z
@NoCoolNameNate, Gonna go out on a limb here and assume you didn't watch the video (link) I posted.
Dilara says2016-08-14T05:04:34.7661455Z
NoCoolNameNate Most German people who were alive at the time of ww2 were not nazis. The people of Germany today should not have to pay for what some Germans did. They did not agree to it. They lost millions of people during ww1 and ww2, they already suffered. They did not benefit at all. Just like how most Germans weren't Nazis, most Americans didn't own slaves. Only 1.4% of white Americans had slaves. Americans should not be punished for what a minority of Americans did. The government won't pay. The tax payers who didn't own slaves and likely are not decadents of slave owners will be the ones paying. It is not their fault or even their ancestors fault that some black people today suffer from slavery. Germany and America paying reparations are both wrong. Hopefully no one would vote for a representative who will punish them for what some people did. The nazis did not represent most Germans at the time. Slave owners did not represent most Americans at the time. Slavery and the holocaust were done by a small percentage of Germans and Americans. Plenty of Americans and Germans voted against slavery and the holocaust. Should they and their descendants be punished for what some others voted for? Why should the actions of the minority affect the lives of the rest of us? There are lots of poor choices in the blakc community. Slavery is not the cause of all of the black communities problems.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-14T05:06:07.7907344Z
I watched the video, I wasn't very impressed
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-14T05:08:31.6064260Z
BlackJesus, it IS rightfully theirs. When someone dies their possessions generally go to their descendants/family unless otherwise specified. Same applies to this.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-14T05:17:23.9598385Z
The majority (In America) of taxpayers are still the one's who vote certain people into office who enact laws and policies. The fact that taxpayers don't like something or aren't at fault for something is completely irrelevant due to the fact that if we were to base decisions off of whether taxpayers approved literally nothing would get done. Not to mention the fact that it's completely outweighed by how we're meeting the demands of justice and giving blacks what they have been due for a while now.
Dilara says2016-08-14T05:23:58.8451698Z
It might be rightfully theirs. But that doesn't justify stealing. Its not just that tax payers don't approve. They will be stolen from. Injustices towards blacks now or 150 years ago do not justify stealing.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-14T09:32:45.9419162Z
Stealing? They haven't broken into banks and redistributed the money on a large scale Robin Hood style, this would be a program that the government creates. Tax payers don't get 'stolen' from, they pay to live in this country and receive the benefits that come with it... As the affirmative my plan would be to cut from military spending and put that into reparations to African Americans. Rather than just throwing it away, we'd actually be doing a moral act with the money.
Black-Jesus says2016-08-14T12:10:34.8436760Z
@NoCoolNameNate, I guess we just fundamentally disagree. Cool name, by the way.
Throwback says2016-08-14T13:10:35.0495538Z
@NoCoolNameNate: When the government institutes programs to take money from one individual to give it to another, that is stealing. This behavior is understood as such when one individual does it to another. A government is nothing more than a group of men and women who have empowered themselves to overstep their proper bounds, stealing with impunity. The idea that government can legalize theft and make it moral is pushed by leftists who push tyranny.
NoCoolNameNate says2016-08-14T14:05:29.6044108Z
@BlackJesus: No lol, I'm just arguing with anyone who wants to because I'm trying to get practice for debate. The only reason I took affirmative here is because almost everyone else took the negative and I wanted it to be more balanced. Thanks for the compliment. @Dilara: What? They didn't put themselves in power, the people did. With that power comes control of finances. Again, I'd take money from the military which is severely overfunded in the US so that it wouldn't entail an increase in taxes but it sounds like you want to just abolish taxation altogether, which is a different issue entirely. Also, money blindly going into another fighter jet we'll never use doesn't really help taxpayers at all. Having a community that has traditionally been impoverished due to circumstances out of their control be able to finally live up to their financial potential? Immensely useful and helpful! When poverty starts to go away Ina community it lowers crime, ensures that families are more solid, reduces poverty related stress thus increasing general productivity, and multiple other tangible economic benefits that far outweigh the use some random abandoned militaristic weapon would have.
Dilara says2016-08-15T04:48:33.7772075Z
The government has stolen but not all tax payers have. High taxes and unjust taxes are stealing. Those are immoral. And most tax payers won't benefit from reparations. If taxes are raised to do so its certainly stealing. If cut from military spending, ok. If the people vote for that, ok. I don't agree with all the military spending either. I don't think public money should go to bombs or other weapons. If your plan did happen, certain people in the black community would also have to change. Personal choices like crime, drug use, promiscuity which are common would have to stop. Reparations won't end poverty. But along with other things it could lower poverty. Crime, promiscuity ect are choices that some people make regardless of income. Its better it go to this than weapons. If there is no increase in taxes, ok.

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