Sarah Hoyt posted on FaceBook about the twitter comment about ‘White Privilege’ that MSNBC commentator Toure made in response to a tweet about him recommending a piece in The Atlantic about reparations. This got me thinking what ‘White Privilege’ means, reparations, class and work ethic. Go back and read the links and the comments for background while I try to make my thoughts here coherent.
Coates article was about how he came to support the idea of reparations. While I don’t have a problem with reparations paid to victims, the time for such action would have been over a century ago when there were still victims around. Doing so now, 150 after the Civil War, would involve monumental problems. 1) There are no surviving former slaves from antebellum South. I doubt there are any surviving children of former slaves, though if there are you can probably count them all on your fingers and toes. 2) If we should pay reparations this would set precedent for a dangerous defunding and bankruptcy of our country. How far back would our country need to go to address all the other injustices committed in our history? 3) How would beneficiaries be determined? It’s not like we have a lot of official records of who was betrothed or begotten of whom. Sure, there are plenty of genealogical sources out there, but few of them are actually official documents. 4) Who will be funding these reparations? Will it be the Federal Government? Will it be the descendants of former slave holders? Why should people who have never owned a slave, and whose ancestors didn’t even arrive in this country until well after slavery ended in this country be financially responsible for this? There are many citizens here who weren’t even around for the Jim Crow era.