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Reparations for black Americans


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I've started in on this a few times in the past and have never finished. Coates is an excellent writer, so that's not the problem. I just keep seeing links to it when I don't have a lot of extra time

Here it is:  https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/361631/ Really worth a read if you want to speak intelligently about this subject. 

Agreed. Folks, "reparations" isn't (only) about slavery. It's about Redlining and other institutional racism that has systemically inhibited black wealth in this country. Since a significant perc

36 minutes ago, lod001 said:

:lmao: these D candidates continue to amaze with their stupidity. Yeah, that's gonna get you votes. No, that's gonna lose you a ton of votes.

Not in the primaries.  It will hurt in the general though.

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19 minutes ago, pantherclub said:

Godalmighty people are stupid.  And this is who Tim thinks is going to win?  Unreal

Thanks for bringing me in to the discussion. It’s a non issue in terms of 2020. However, Ta-Nahesi Coates wrote a fascinating and brilliant argument for reparations a few years back and kind of changed my thoughts on the subject. I’ll see if I can find it. 

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Just now, timschochet said:

Thanks for bringing me in to the discussion. It’s a non issue in terms of 2020. However, Ta-Nahesi Coates wrote a fascinating and brilliant argument for reparations a few years back and kind of changed my thoughts on the subject. I’ll see if I can find it. 

Do Wut?

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21 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Here it is: 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/361631/

Really worth a read if you want to speak intelligently about this subject. 

Agreed.

Folks, "reparations" isn't (only) about slavery. It's about Redlining and other institutional racism that has systemically inhibited black wealth in this country. Since a significant percentage of current American wealth is inherited based on real estate and African-Americans were largely prohibited from participation, in a just system, there would be compensation for those policies. At the very least, there should be some method to rectify these wrongs.

Everyone should read this part of Coates's piece to recognize that this type of institutional racism continued into the most recent housing crisis:

Quote

In 2010, Jacob S. Rugh, then a doctoral candidate at Princeton, and the sociologist Douglas S. Massey published a study of the recent foreclosure crisis. Among its drivers, they found an old foe: segregation. Black home buyers—even after controlling for factors like creditworthiness—were still more likely than white home buyers to be steered toward subprime loans. Decades of racist housing policies by the American government, along with decades of racist housing practices by American businesses, had conspired to concentrate African Americans in the same neighborhoods. As in North Lawndale half a century earlier, these neighborhoods were filled with people who had been cut off from mainstream financial institutions. When subprime lenders went looking for prey, they found black people waiting like ducks in a pen.

“High levels of segregation create a natural market for subprime lending,” Rugh and Massey write, “and cause riskier mortgages, and thus foreclosures, to accumulate disproportionately in racially segregated cities’ minority neighborhoods.”

Plunder in the past made plunder in the present efficient. The banks of America understood this. In 2005, Wells Fargo promoted a series of Wealth Building Strategies seminars. Dubbing itself “the nation’s leading originator of home loans to ethnic minority customers,” the bank enrolled black public figures in an ostensible effort to educate blacks on building “generational wealth.” But the “wealth building” seminars were a front for wealth theft. In 2010, the Justice Department filed a discrimination suit against Wells Fargo alleging that the bank had shunted blacks into predatory loans regardless of their creditworthiness. This was not magic or coincidence or misfortune. It was racism reifying itself. According to The New York Times, affidavits found loan officers referring to their black customers as “mud people” and to their subprime products as “ghetto loans.”

“We just went right after them,” Beth Jacobson, a former Wells Fargo loan officer, told The Times. “Wells Fargo mortgage had an emerging-markets unit that specifically targeted black churches because it figured church leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out subprime loans.”

In 2011, Bank of America agreed to pay $355 million to settle charges of discrimination against its Countrywide unit. The following year, Wells Fargo settled its discrimination suit for more than $175 million. But the damage had been done. In 2009, half the properties in Baltimore whose owners had been granted loans by Wells Fargo between 2005 and 2008 were vacant; 71 percent of these properties were in predominantly black neighborhoods.

It's not a winning political argument circa 2019 but it is a moral one and it should be taken seriously.

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Just now, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks. Can you give the cliff notes version?

 

That wouldn’t be fair to Coates. It’s a nuanced argument, like everything he writes. And frankly I’m not even sure I agree with him. But he caused me to think more deeply about the subject which I appreciate. 

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6 minutes ago, timschochet said:

That wouldn’t be fair to Coates. It’s a nuanced argument, like everything he writes. And frankly I’m not even sure I agree with him. But he caused me to think more deeply about the subject which I appreciate. 

Is it as nuanced as his arguments in favor of political violence?  

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4 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks. Can you give the cliff notes version?

 

You really owe it to yourself to read it.  Probably the most important work on race in America in the last decade. It demonstrates how past and ongoing prejudice continue to negatively impact African-American communities in ways most people generally don't even realize (redlining, predatory lending, etc.).

Nobody who's read it will ever make or tolerate the "slavery ended 150 years ago and Brown v Board of Ed was decided 60 years ago!" argument again, which is the way it should be.

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Seconding the posters who say to read the TNC piece. As a practical matter I just don't think anything approaching reparations can ever be done. But anyone with the slightest interest in history owes it to themselves to read and understand this argument. It's absolutely worth your time.

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Also FWIW here is the statement Harris gave to the Times on this issue:

“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” she said. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”

Anyone who thinks this is an outrageous or even particular controversial idea ain't voting Dem anyway.

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2 hours ago, MechEng said:

The ideas from the left are unbelievable.  2020 Democrats Embrace Reparations

Trying to pick out actual ideas from the article-

  •  blamed “generations of discrimination” for black families earning far less than white households
  • “We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,”
  • “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”
  •  her calls for the federal government to provide special home-buying assistance to residents of communities that were adversely affected by “redlining,” the discriminatory practice of denying mortgages, usually in poor and nonwhite areas.
  • She also announced a sweeping universal child-care proposal that could strongly benefit minority communities that often have limited early childhood services.
  • Senator Cory Booker’s “baby bonds” policy aims to help poorer children by giving them a government-funded savings account that could total up to $50,000 for the lowest income brackets
  • Kirsten Gillibrand has endorsed a proposal to allow Americans without checking accounts to bank at the local post office; a disproportionate percentage of America’s unbanked population are people of color.
  • And unspecific support for reparations.
  • That reparations isn't likely to get through Congress in 2016 or 2019.

Which one exactly is unbelievable?  Did I miss something?

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Just now, rockaction said:

rockaction:  [disparages Coates' work in general by falsely claiming he advocates for political violence]

also rockaction: "read this nice article by the guy who argued that we should hang women who have abortions!"

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4 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

rockaction:  [disparages Coates' work in general by falsely claiming he advocates for political violence]

also rockaction: "read this nice article by the guy who argued that we should hang women who have abortions!"

I think I'm allowed to be unaware of a random author's comments about abortion that I don't agree with in the least. 

Mea culpa. 

That is a logical fallacy, though. His argument about reparations should not be diminished by his views on what should happen to procurers of abortions, though it points us in a direction of understanding in terms of relevant evidence behind a worldview.  

Like I said, I was unaware of his position on abortion and his subsequent firing from the Atlantic.  

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9 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

Also FWIW here is the statement Harris gave to the Times on this issue:

“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” she said. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”

Anyone who thinks this is an outrageous or even particular controversial idea ain't voting Dem anyway.

To be fair that was issued in response to questions re: her comments on a show where she allegedly supported reparations. 

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2 minutes ago, AAABatteries said:

I will try and make time to read the article later but I’m curious if the idea is expanded to other minority groups.  

IIRC it touches on it a little bit, but most of the policies and factors it discusses simply aren't applicable to other minority groups.

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3 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I think I'm allowed to be unaware of a random author's comments about abortion that I don't agree with in the least. 

Mea culpa. 

That is a logical fallacy, though. His argument about reparations should not be diminished by his views on what should happen to procurers of abortions, though it points us in a direction of understanding in terms of relevant evidence behind a worldview.  

Like I said, I was unaware of his position on abortion and his subsequent firing from the Atlantic.  

Yet you just ripped Coates for his supposed views on violence. Didn’t you just commit this same logical fallacy? 

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12 minutes ago, Murph said:

Seconding the posters who say to read the TNC piece. As a practical matter I just don't think anything approaching reparations can ever be done. But anyone with the slightest interest in history owes it to themselves to read and understand this argument. It's absolutely worth your time.

That was where I thought the Coates piece failed. He made a persuasive case for the continuing impact of institutional racism on African Americans, and as I was reading it I kept thinking, "OK, but how would this actually work?" And then I got to the end and he called for ... passage of a House bill that would study the issue. So basically a punt.

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:

The posts here from both sides are pretty representative. One side is arguing for a nuanced consideration of a lot of complex issues. The other side is arguing sound bytes. 

The sound bytes side is going to win. 

I haven't really seen the sound byte arguments. I've more seen "LOL. That's stupid." 

That's not a sound byte, that's dismissing it out of hand. I'm not going to get into this today, but Williamson, abortion aside, gets into the more nuanced points that people are making on the other side.  

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2 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

To be fair that was issued in response to questions re: her comments on a show where she allegedly supported reparations. 

Sure, but to also be fair the definition of "reparations" is broad enough to include what she described in the quote. It doesn't just mean going around and finding the ancestors of plantation owners, taking their money and giving it to the ancestors of slaves.

Coates defined it even more broadly in his article:
 

Quote

 

Reparations—by which I mean the full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequences—is the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely. The recovering alcoholic may well have to live with his illness for the rest of his life. But at least he is not living a drunken lie. Reparations beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans.

Won’t reparations divide us? Not any more than we are already divided. The wealth gap merely puts a number on something we feel but cannot say—that American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt.

What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal. Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling “patriotism” while waving a Confederate flag. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.

 

 

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:

Yet you just ripped Coates for his supposed views on violence. Didn’t you just commit this same logical fallacy? 

His views on violence were pretty well documented. I also said that radical arguments in favor of certain policies are relevant evidence when it comes to one's worldview. 

His views on political violence do not detract from his distinct views on reparations, but they go to a typical outlook on issues that we can expect one to have.  

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1 minute ago, zftcg said:

That was where I thought the Coates piece failed. He made a persuasive case for the continuing impact of institutional racism on African Americans, and as I was reading it I kept thinking, "OK, but how would this actually work?" And then I got to the end and he called for ... passage of a House bill that would study the issue. So basically a punt.

Which is the issue with most critics of society, going all the way back to Upton Sinclair from the left or Ayn Rand from the right: their criticism is far sharper and clear minded than their solutions, which tend to be fuzzy at best. 

Yet the criticism itself is extremely worthwhile. 

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4 minutes ago, zftcg said:

That was where I thought the Coates piece failed. He made a persuasive case for the continuing impact of institutional racism on African Americans, and as I was reading it I kept thinking, "OK, but how would this actually work?" And then I got to the end and he called for ... passage of a House bill that would study the issue. So basically a punt.

Makes me wonder if this is a case of the Title not doing any favors to the Article. The article works best as history rather than a persuasion piece for a particular solution.

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15 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

Also FWIW here is the statement Harris gave to the Times on this issue:

“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” she said. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”

Anyone who thinks this is an outrageous or even particular controversial idea ain't voting Dem anyway.

Fwiw, this is traditional US social policy, at least since the 60s. I don't think this is explicitly reparations. (And maybe that's your point). I mean there's reparations as an idea, and then there's Harris' couching it in a way that avoids talking about reparations, and it's two different things.

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Just now, TobiasFunke said:

Sure, but to also be fair the definition of "reparations" is broad enough to include what she described in the quote. It doesn't just mean going around and finding the ancestors of plantation owners, taking their money and giving it to the ancestors of slaves.

Coates defined it even more broadly in his article:
 

 

I didnt find the broadcast he was talking about. I just know when i read the article my first thoight was that it was a terrible representation of what she said. I reread it and realized what the quote actually was. I would like to see what she originally said. 

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2 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I haven't really seen the sound byte arguments. I've more seen "LOL. That's stupid." 

That's not a sound byte, that's dismissing it out of hand. I'm not going to get into this today, but Williamson, abortion aside, gets into the more nuanced points that people are making on the other side.  

No, it really doesn't at all.  Housing discrimination/Redlining and predatory lending aren't mentioned a single time in the piece you linked.  He thinks it's about reparations for slavery. That's not what's being discussed here.

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2 minutes ago, Murph said:

Makes me wonder if this is a case of the Title not doing any favors to the Article. The article works best as history rather than a persuasion piece.

I made this same point around here when it was first published; it's much more nuanced than what people have generally thought when they hear the word "reparations," so the title seemed needlessly provocative.

OTOH it certainly got the article some much-needed attention. So :shrug:

 

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1 minute ago, Workhorse said:

No, it really doesn't at all.  Housing discrimination/Redlining and predatory lending aren't mentioned a single time in the piece you linked.  He thinks it's about reparations for slavery. That's not what's being discussed here.

Predatory lending only buts up against usury laws. Predatory lending, I assure you, is largely colorblind. It's class-based. Whether one demographic group is within a certain economic class can be systemic, I'll grant, but the lenders hit everybody during the housing crisis.  

Housing discrimination and property values and covenants are another issue entirely and worthy of doctoral theses. I'm not sure what you want accomplished in an op-ed.  

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Just now, rockaction said:

Predatory lending only buts up against usury laws. 

Housing discrimination and property values and covenants are another issue entirely and worthy of doctoral theses. I'm not sure what you want accomplished in an op-ed.  

How about some intellectual honesty?  His op-ed is essentially making the case against an argument that wasn't made.

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

Here it is: 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/361631/

Really worth a read if you want to speak intelligently about this subject. 

Quote

In 2011, Bank of America agreed to pay $355 million to settle charges of discrimination against its Countrywide unit. The following year, Wells Fargo settled its discrimination suit for more than $175 million.

I actually think this article points out a problem with the reparations idea. Yes, it's a long detailed, interesting and scholarly article. But BOA & WF victims are easily identifiable and the basis for their damage is clearly provable. - The why is clear. The who, what, how, how much is completely impossible to set out practically and even Coates as terrific as this article is doesn't attempt to do it. The sole point is a bill by Conyers to have a study, it's not an actual proposal to do something.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

Predatory lending only buts up against usury laws. 

Housing discrimination and property values and covenants are another issue entirely and worthy of doctoral theses. I'm not sure what you want accomplished in an op-ed.  

I wouldn't call it an op-ed.  Closer to a thesis, to be honest.

Put it this way: I understand why Joe asked for a cliff's notes version.

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3 minutes ago, Workhorse said:

How about some intellectual honesty?  His op-ed is essentially making the case against an argument that wasn't made.

He wasn't arguing against Coates. He was arguing against reparations for slavery. He's certainly allowed to do that. 

I don't think he mentioned Coates's piece once. That's not intellectual dishonesty and I'm not discussing it. 

You want him to address that, and that wasn't the point of his (Williamson's) daily op-ed.  

Edited by rockaction
edited for pronoun clarity
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Just now, TobiasFunke said:

I wouldn't call it an op-ed.  Closer to a thesis, to be honest.

Put it this way: I understand why Joe asked for a cliff's notes version.

I'm talking about Williamson, not Coates' long form piece, which I have indeed read.  

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1 minute ago, knowledge dropper said:

My people didn’t come over until the Great Potato Famine.   I’m not paying a dime.  

And mine came over as Slav peasant farmers in the 20th century and were immediately in poverty and faced institutional discrimination, both in terms of ethnicity and religion. 

I'm not sure exactly what I owe.  

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I actually think the best argument for reparations is the housing/covenant problem that existed in the fifties and sixties. 

It's weird, you'd figure slavery would be, but there are so many problems with that argument because of immigration patterns and the impossibility of tracing lineage and family history that the administration of reparations for slavery becomes very problematic at best.  

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12 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Which is the issue with most critics of society, going all the way back to Upton Sinclair from the left or Ayn Rand from the right: their criticism is far sharper and clear minded than their solutions, which tend to be fuzzy at best. 

Yet the criticism itself is extremely worthwhile. 

I thought the issue with Rand was that she was a crazy cult leader.

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