African Slave Reparations? I Have A Better Idea!

African Slave Reparations? I Have A Better Idea!

Chicago Mayoral Candidate, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins raised the subject of African Slave Reparations during last night's six candidate free-for-all debate. As we know, this has been a divisive and controversial subject for some time now. There are many pros and cons on the subject, but, I for one do not believe that it is practical, or even possible. Where do we even begin to separate who is legitimately entitled to such payments in the first place and how many generations would that entail?

And what do we tell the Irish, Scottish, English and the Germans who came to Colonial America as indentured servants? Many of those ethnicity's never gained their freedom or the economic autonomy promised because of a high death rate. Then, what of the ancestors to those children that were ultimately left homeless and orphaned, after their indentured parent died? What about the Chinese? What about the Japanese-Americans who were put into detention camps during World War II? Better yet, what about the Native-Americans?

When it comes to paying reparations, as a policy, haven't all seen the blatant fraud that was perpetrated on Germany after they agreed to pay the alleged survivors and their families? Guess what - not everything is as it seems! The lure of free money tugs at the heart of many despicable people who see nothing more than an opportunity to get something for nothing. And now too, those legitimate survivors of Nazi atrocities must relive their horror and anguish once more, just to prove that they are entitled and that they are who they say they are.

Reparation policies are nothing more than an invitation to massive fraud.

In so far as what Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins said last night about "off our backs," well, I find that to be f#cking repulsive and ignorant. How is it that the African-Americans are the only persecuted group in this nations history? I ain't gonna buy that bullshit for one moment. And no, I am not ignorant of the fact that slavery was immoral or inhuman or that slavery was one of the biggest blemishes on American history. But, at the same token, there have been other human indignities and tragedies when it comes to racial and ethnic discrimination in Americas history. It wasn't only directed at African-Americans!

Americas pursuit of Manifest Destiny has left many peoples in its wake.

You know, many liberals complain about race relations not being further along than it is. Well, if you keep trying to avoid looking ahead instead of behind you, what in the hell do you expect? What happened to real tolerance - is that a one-way street?

Prior to last night, I had really believed that Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins deserved the same opportunity to participate in these mayoral debates, as well as thinking that she had tried to take a higher ground throughout. Quite frankly, after last night's ambush in front of a captive and easily persuaded audience, Van Pelt-Watkins stooped to the same level as her crack head calling opponent Moseley-Braun. If she was offended by Braun's comments, well, then I think she owes ancestors of all ethnicity's an apology too.

Instead of trying to bankrupt, as well as further divide, this nation - why aren't we all thinking in greater and nobler terms? Instead of slave reparations, how about if we start righting the wrongs by improving the educational opportunities of those now being denied that? Of course, that would probably illicit a heated debate too. All anyone ever does in this city, and state, is blindly follow a crippled ideology filled with broken or empty promises. Why haven't any of these hot shot Democrat candidates ever demanded that their party reform the education funding in this state, instead of letting their party elders stick it to everyone with an inequitable method of funding based on property values. We know that that method doesn't work and keeps impoverished areas behind the eight-ball.

A good education is the greatest equalizer in any society. Rather than stoking the fire of historical discontent, perhaps the best thing you could do for the people is the pursuit of  equal footing in educating their children. That would be a the most positive step forward.

If it is righteousness that Van Pelt-Watkins wants to preach, then start a grassroots effort to open up serious debate and change for generations of children that have, up until now, been given nothing but empty promises.

The debate should begin with the federal and state government to begin education funding at 125% in disadvantaged areas, as opposed to the so-called richer school districts. I am sure that other formulas, or better ideas would be brought forth if that is where the conversation went. Either way, we need to get every child the exact same educational opportunities that exist elsewhere. Instead of talking about something that isn't going to happen in the first place, people should want to speak of improving the lives of their children?

You just can't keep looking backwards and playing the blame game. There has been enough garbage thrown at every ethnicity and/or nationality. Damn it, I am tired of that "chip on the shoulder or you owe me something attitude" that people seem to carry around as if it were their own personal pain. Descendants of the wronged have no right to claim it as their own personal burden. Why is it that people forget that, just like African-Americans were forced to endure racist slurs or "No Colored Allowed" signs there were also those "No Irish Need Apply" signs, or ethnic slurs directed at them and others?

Racial and ethnic discrimination is one and the same -


and most of our ancestors have suffered at one time or another!

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  • Mr. Ciric, I believe that your history is way off about what indentured servants were.

    First of all indentured servants were not slaves, meaning they were not owned in perpetuity. Initially, African slave

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    Mr. Penn, indentured servants very rarely made it to the conclusion of their agreed upon terms. Yes, I will agree that the two are not one and the same. No doubt that the uprisings of freed indentured servants was in an impetus to seek slavery of "colored" peoples. I do not diminish slavery's dark shadow on the nations history, I was just trying to draw a comparison. And it is valid if you put it into perspective.

    For instance, who exactly were these people that usually signed-up for indentured servitude? They were almost always the lower crust of Anglo-Saxon society and as such were looked down upon by other "whites" of means. The fact that many did not survive the terms led to many orphans and all I said was - are they not owed something also if we used twisted rationale? Historically, African-Americans could have a case to make against the African Tribes that captured them in the first place and then sold them for rum. Look at the modern world with the Hutsis and Tutsis. So far as trust funds and legacy earned from slavery, well my God hasn't that also been the case with anyone else that has been dehumanized throughout history? Peoples of all colors have been enslaved in the history of the world!

    Look, man's inhumanity to man is well-documented throughout history and we can not keep going backwards with financial demands upon those who had nothing to do with the events. It is patently wrong. What we need to do is educate everyone, even though that is a difficult task, so that these history's don't repeat themselves.

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    I forgot to add one thing; you said that no apology was ever made for slavery - however Congress did issue an apology not only for the institution of slavery but the Jim Crow Laws.

    Just so you know, I have always believed that slavery was an abomination but I can never support reparations. First there is the potential of fraud (which is a very likely reality) and many other people can make relative claims. How do we reconcile it? I am also curious as to how the African Tribes would fit into the equation of reparations since they enslaved and sold other tribes for rum? Do they not share part of the burden? The Dutch for their part?
    The issue gets convoluted very quickly.

    So far as the country working on two tracks and still do? Yea it is called the haves and the have nots and that through history has been very color-blind. I will say it again, racial and ethnic discrimination have existed since the beginning of time and has affected every race and nationality. It even continues today - human trafficking?

    I refuse to use selective history.

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    In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    That is a ridiculous statement. In fact, Indentured Servitude is Slavery, as the children of these "Indentured Servants" also became the property of the slave owner as well. Don't think they weren't slaves because they were called Indentured Servants. True fact: Europeans were the first slaves to step foot on this continent, and in fact were bound and shipped in EXACTLY the same manner as African Slaves. The word kidnapped was actually penned from kidnabbed, a term used in Europe for the slave traders that were literally snatching people off the streets, then sent to the Americas to become Indentured Servants! That my friend is Slavery! Whites were the first slaves in America, and in case you didn't know the first Slave Owner in America was a black man who was supposed to free his black Indentured Servant, instead he told the man that he was extending his imprisonment, at which time the "Indentured Servant" ran away, began working as a free man for a white man that gave him a job on his land. The black man he belonged to then took the case to court, at which time he was granted the right to own this Indentured Servant for life, and that his children will also belong to the slave owner. This is the problem with how slavery is taught in schools, it has never been the truth. Another truth, only about 5% of all African slaves were shipped to America, the other 95% of African slaves were shipped to the Carribean, South America and most importantly to the middle east. The slave trade of the middle east continues to this day, including the ongoing kidnapping of Africans!

  • I'll tell you what,I know that slavery was wrong and has been an issue in this country. You can't right a wrong from so long ago with money.How about demanding more from the very same people you want to help. I can't help nor am I to blame for ALL the problems in the community. I applaud you for your success, now how are we to show the young men of the community that hard work in the classroom is their ticket out not a cash payment? Demand more from them and less from the government.

  • In reply to waterbill:

    I think everyone would agree that slavery was wrong; but then again too, I have never been able to figure out why the Jewish kid next door called me a Nazi and then threw a knife that stuck in my cheek just missing my eyeball. People are filled with misconceptions and hatred and I blame that on the ignorance of parents who don't teach their children well.

    That begs the question: what are parents teaching their kids to demand blood money?

  • Mr. Penn, one thing for sure is that all black students do not have the worse teachers in the worse classroom in the worse schools all over this country.Lets be a little honest here with ourselves. People today have no illusions or do they benefit from keeping anyone down.As a nation most of us want what's best for all,we just want everyone to pitch in and dig along with the rest of us.

  • In reply to waterbill:

    Here here! You are so right! The ideals of uniting for the common good is the noblest of ideals. Unfortunately, we humans have never figured-out a way to overcome greed and isn't that what holds society back?

  • AGREE TOTALY! Watkins would have people in need of life saving med's on a waiting list while she paid people for Reparations in a time when budget cuts may seriously effect low income people getting access to med's. EMMANUEL WAS RIGHT, WE HAVE A BUDGET CRISIS THAT NEEDS BALANCED TODAY. I don't care if Van-Pelt Watkins brings her whole church every time she speaks at a public forum to APPLAUD her. What Watkins is passionate about is obvious and its 1% is showing up in the polls and a campaign almost totally funded by her live with pastor (???)Watkins Certainly makes for a NOT VIABLE CANIDATE on the ballot or not! EMMANUEL glad you didn't answer her. You would get a porch full of "Watkins for mayor" sign swinging radicals. If she so radical for justice how about sending her protesters to the drug companies demanding lower cost med's, but instead their out demanding apology's for a lil name calling. (Watkins vs. Braun)
    Even when invited to the LGBT debate, Watkins only committed with a "maybe" maybe she would come. WATKINS has been a whining victim about Chicago Tribune and WGN not allowing her in the Debates, then when invited she says "Maybe" (maybe she will come)! I AGREE MORE I HEAR FROM WATKINS LESS I BELIEVE THAT THE DR. OR REV. TITLE BEFORE YOUR NAME MEANS ANYTHING OF ANY VALUE! Where is this Dr.Reverend's forgiveness message Christ tought her? OMG history is full of examples of injustices aginst humanity,(Islamic Jihad from its beginnings at Mecca in 620 C.E. up to 9/11 or Christianitys Inquisition led to the mass expulsion of Jews and Muslims, The Jews in Nazi Germany suffered appallingly and etc.

  • In reply to politicaltruth:

    I don't see how reparations is even a topic, in that, not only is the city broke, but how could it be a city obligation?

    With regard to the Holocaust, the Germans paid the reparations, not then Chicago Mayor Kelly, because the Germans inflicted the harm. The last I heard, Illinois was a free state 170 years ago.

    It just appears that by polling 1%, Watkins had to throw some meat out on the table to get up to 2%. Meantime, as noted yesterday, polls state that Emanuel has either closed it out or is close to doing so.

    Probably what should be discussed is how the formerly 5, and now 3 Black candidates have campaigned themselves into oblivion. Marlow Colvin talked about that a couple of days ago when he said he was in favor of Chico appearing before the committee, but was shut out, and now won't make an endorsement because Jesse White endorsed Emanuel and he won't go against White. In the meantime, Braun and Watkins stab themselves in the foot, even in their own communities, and even Braun going after Watkins.

  • In reply to jack:

    I guess it depends what kind of meat you throw out there right? I mean, make it tangible. Moseley-Braun has tanked primarily because people figured out the obvious with her, she has been a fraud her entire political life. As I replied to JP, I like Meeks early on because he had an issue he would have kept hammering on - education. The mistake of the candidates that were was that they never stayed on any message.

    I like the free state comment - very true. The Germans, as you said inflicted the harm and have been held account. They have gone above and beyond the Nuremberg Trial Mandates, yet they fell victim to fraud by a classless society hungry for free money. Even if reparations were paid, we would see the same thing. I am just opposed to it - period. Non Issue. Especially in this election.

  • In reply to maciric:

    "I guess it depends what kind of meat you throw out there right? I mean, make it tangible."

    Which may be the problem. Only Meeks had any kind of program with regard to the schools. However, I previously noted that at least various neighborhoods of Chicago Now had no use for him.

    The rest of the Black candidates seem to throw out the meat of race based issues, without having enunciated any plan for improving the schools, economic development, transit, or even fresh vegetables in their neighborhoods (if you believe the food desert propaganda). At least JJJr. and Sandi gave lip service to economic development through the apparently moribund Peotone Airport and South Works proposals.

    However, despite diversions such as reparations, if we believe the polls, not even the Black community is buying what little Braun and Watkins are dishing. This all started when WVON and the Sun-Times indicated that the 3 major Black candidates couldn't get into a run-off since the most they each could pull was 9%; with two out, the remaining one can pull about 12%.

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't know why many at Chicago Now were so opposed to Meeks, probably his angst for the Gay and Lesbian Community. I thought he could have overcome that, but when they declined to believe him, well whatever. Whatever people think of Meeks (and I know there are heavy accusations about him belonging to a group of pastors that denounce gay life) he at least understands the need for education and fights for it. The Jackson's, yeah Peotone - quite frankly - we here in Will County don't want him here. Peotone don't belong to Cook County. If economic revival is the aim, take care of the food deserts on the south side (in other words in their district). I think, had the Black community had a charismatic candidate that didn't give the idea he was hook and crook a machine knob, we would see a different dynamic.

    Braun is a fraud (always); Danny Davis (legacy builder - how many jobs does he need to hold); Doc Walls (all talk - refuses to release taxes because of wife?) & now we have Watkins with misguided perceptions.

    You know, if Jessie White wasn't getting on years he could build a coalition.

    I think the Black community needs a fresh face (and without baggage) because people even inside their community have tired of the choices they have been given. Just my thought - probably means nothing.

  • In reply to maciric:

    I wasn't referring to the Halsted-Waveland or Andersonville neighborhoods, but the hood.

    Those writers didn't indicate their sexual preference, but have no use for people like Meeks, Gerrard McClendon, or Blair Holt, and think that Art Turner had an entitlement. Get my drift?

  • In reply to jack:

    Get it my friend.

    Just so you know though, there are many bloggers at Now that support / advocate Gay Lifestyle. It doesn't bother me either, unless of course it resembles the Perez Hilton variety (he is such a little f#ckhead) or whatever his name is. Meeks had spoken out about his opposition for years, so there was going to be a distrust and backlash with his candidacy anyhow. The African-American community is obviously divided on the issue even though we all have heard about the down-low.

    Art Turner, I believe gained some support because of his runner-up finish to Cohen and people didn't understand there is no automatic bump up if the top dog gives up, I don;t know if it was entitlement as much as confused about election law and how the back room is always protected by the slate-makers. Turner, from what I know of him is that he is competent, but a straight tow the party line loyalist.

    Between you and I , I don't know of anyone in the Black community that could rally support based on being independent of the machine. They do need new blood though.

  • In reply to politicaltruth:

    Makin' Sense, Rahm has a way of staying out of frays in spite of his reputation. Yes the budget needs balancing and that resonates right now more than anything among the people.

    I don't know why African-American candidates choose to alienate the LGBT vote. Religious thing? I don't know, but certainly they have a voice and concerns that need to be addressed whether you agree with the lifestyle or not. For instance, I am straight and traditional in my views, but at the same token I know people make other choices that is right for them. If I were a candidate, I would be mindful and respectful of that fact.

    And yes besides education as my cause, the cost of meds need to be made a major issue. It is unfathomable when we live in the most advanced nation on Earth. After all, we are not living in the third world where other factors dictate distribution of medicine. This is America.

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