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I’m all in on Reparations and you Should be Too

by Rich Monetti 2 years ago in controversies
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Reparations Benefits us All

Photo by Fibonacci Blue

Reparations - some people get so upset at the mere mention. You need to calm down. I think it provides an excellent discussion point to delve into our past and possibly come to understand each other better. But I’m starting to think that there’s more here than just a theoretical conversation, and the check actually made out would serve us all. That’s right “some people,” I’m talking to you.

So how does that work. Well, not by adding a trillion dollars to the US debt. Why should tax payers pick up the tab for a crime they had nothing to do with. This especially when many of our family histories don’t start until after the Civil War.

But guess what, the entanglements tie directly to a whole host of current institutions, and given what they’re still doing to us today, we should all be licking our lips at the prospect of making them pay.

Let’s start with Wall Street. Yes, slaves built the initial structure, and the landmark served a major auction block, but that’s small potatoes. The economic epicenter of the world sprung to life as a result of slavery.

The American economy modernizing in the 1820s and 1830s, novel debt instruments allowed slaves to be counted as assets. In turn, these devices could be factored into mortgages, securities, and bonds, according to Sarah Churchwell’s article in the New York Review of Books on The Lehman Trilogy.

Thus, the net totals went into the ledger and could then be sold to investors. A complicated web that infiltrated all parts of the national economy, and one of the beneficiaries was a staple we know well. “Small merchants like Lehman Brothers repackaged credit and debt, selling it on to other investors; like plantation owners, they also borrowed against human collateral, thus profiting not only from the slaves they personally owned, but from the system’s shared mortgaging of human property,” wrote Churchwell in her discussion of the 2013 play.

The slave owning start up was also firmly rooted in the Confederacy and suffered no penalty for the atrocity they partook in. The brothers property was reinstated after the war, while their firm profoundly shaped American history in an economic legacy of white wealth and black impoverishment, asserted Churchwell.

Across the street, our bankers had no qualms taking in the ill gotten gains of a Confederacy they supposedly opposed. Banks accepted slaves as collateral so if plantations defaulted on loans the banks took ownership of these slaves. JP Morgan Chase , Citibank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are all implicated, according to Zoe Thomas piece in BBC.com.

The revenue obviously added up, and now for the insurance companies. It was quite a risk to kidnap human beings and transport them over in floatations of death. So companies like New York Life, AIG and Aetna were there to facilitate this American crime against humanity.

Admissions and apologies thus far have been pretty hollow, and the $5 Million Scholarship fund that Chase offered in 2005 is an insult. We need to make them pay, and this is where “some people” also get their share.

When the Wall Street Journal itself admits that tax cuts to the rich increase wealth disparity, why are we succumbing to propaganda that has long been bought and paid for. So instead of leaving the money and power to those who use it only for their benefit, a trillion dollars could be much better spent.

African Americans will buy houses, send their kids to school, invest in local businesses and simply spend what was due their ancestors. The money flowing and ordinary Americans investing in themselves, that’s how to build a prosperous economy for everyone, and for good measure, we all get to stick it to the man.

Reparations, I’m a big yes and you should be too.

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Rich Monetti

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