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If you're new to the reparations discussion, if you're well versed in reparations, this is an exemplary presentation of the argument for reparations for descendants of slavery and segregation that you'd do well to wrestle with.
I must concede that I used to be one of the Americans who argued:
1. I didn't enslave anyone, why should my tax dollars (or money after inflation) be spend to rectify something I had no commission in. It is incumbent on the ones who perpetrate the atrocity to remunerate it. 2. My family is Irish, we came as immigrants-- not only did I have no part in slavery, none of my family did either. 3. It is not feasible to give reparations because there is no heuristic we may use whereby we demarcate descendants of slavery from first/second generations African immigrants who have come to this country without impediments of slavery/Jim Crow.
Darity does an excellent job of tackling all of the aforementioned queries/objections. I did NOT want to change my views, but in the force of such evidence, the historical precedent in the US for giving reparations to other people groups, the atrocities that have adversely affected the African American community from competing equitably in our free market, and the need for the United States government to pay their debt owed to the AA community-- I was convinced! The question I continue to ask after reading this text-- how come reparations have not ALREADY been effectuated in America for descendants of slavery? It is truly perturbing. Seems like this is a logical, ethical, and American thing to do (confront sins of the past)... so why are we still not talking about this? How come no major players in the major political parties are pushing this?
From a former enemy of reparations-- for me moving forward, it is REPARATIONS NOW! They are desperately needed and beyond that, it is the moral thing to do.
Honestly one of the best accounts of ADOS (American Descendant of Slavery) history i have ever read. Its so well researched and informative while remaining a quick read. Something substantive included for seasoned scholars and those new to the reparations discussion. Should be implemented as supplemental public education material as part of the AKS curriculum across the nation and required reading for all public officials, especially congressional black caucus members. We have the means and the knowledge to correct the mistakes of the past, we only lake the political imagination and the will. This book helps to change that.
The book is a super recount of the story of racial inequality in the US since colonial times. Importantly, the book emphasizes how institutions were shaped to preserve said inequality, and how the political choices at each juncture prevented the implementation of changes that set the black population in equal terms with respect to the rest of the society. It also shows how that institutional path was not the only one available, and that political choices at different points are to blame for the present inequality
This effort along with Professor Gerald Horne are fundamental to any meaningful discussion validating Reparations and should be required reading for any governmental body studying the systemic depth and breadth of unrighted wrongs against the Black community.
The first 11 chapters are very interesting and well worth reading. They remind us of the injustices that blacks have received throughout this country’s history. Though many were learned in grade school, it is worth a reminder and there were a number of topics I had never heard of before I do not support reparations and the book did not alter my view. It is interesting that one of the most respected black politicians, President Obama, does not either and the author(s) dismiss his reasons for this. I found the Chapter on responding to arguments against reparations somewhat contrived. I have heard very few of these arguments made and question how many people hold these views e.g., blacks should be happy they were brought here in slavery rather than living in Africa. I personally believe that reparations, as the author sets them up, is another form of welfare which many states have realized do nothing to lift people up. The author(s) also state early on that the reparations will not be a one-time deal if the behaviors that led to them continue. Who is to determine this? As a white person, I already feel like I walk on eggshells in today’s society, which all too readily throw racist or unconscious bias accusations around. My bottom line is that I think the book is worth reading as a way to understand the author(s)’ and this point of view on the topic. I doubt it will change minds either way.
I only recently (Aug 2019) became aware of “Sandy” Darity’s work through Antonio Moore and Yvette Carnell and the ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) movement. So, when he announced the release of this publication I immediately secured my copy, bearing the now “not in stock” status. The argument for reparations for ADOS is not a new concept for me to grasp thanks to Antonio, Yvette, and Mr. Darity, but FHTE still, not surprisingly manages to be an enlightening read that’ll be the bedrock of my political identity for some time to come. William Darity is a cherished intellectual presence of this movement and he’s worked tirelessly for his people. Grab a copy or two or three. Give to family and friends. This is the political stance of tangibles that ADOS needs. Great work! Reparations Now!
This book is groundbreaking with historical content , with updated data , showing the importance of reparations to foundational black Americans. The author totally reveals the systematic economic racism and the outstanding justice claim debt that the American government must pay , if African American descendants of slavery (#ADOS) are to be ever equal in America .
I purchased the text largely for two reasons. First, to allow me to more-fully document the continuous events and actions that served to support the reparation's argument. The text's organization, and its copious use of footnotes, served that purpose very well. Simply put, the vast majority of the text spoke to a well-documented immorality. It represented a sound factual statement and much-needed argumentative basis. Second, to discover and learn what methods and means have been developed to organize and affect reparations. The arguments and illustrated applications were disappointingly brief. I do believe reparations are warranted; however, after the authors' nicely established the factual practice and pattern of that immorality, I craved a far more well-developed discussion regarding possible methods and means of reparations. Both elements of the reparation argument warrant substantial research and elaboration, so, I am now waiting for Volume Two.
HR-40 is a bill that has be reintroduced every year since 1989 and finally cleared committee this year. It would create a commission to study reparations for descendants of slaves. "From Here to Equality" is supposed to be THE book to make the case for reparations. Although it has received glowing reviews on Amazon and I went into it inclined to support reparations I felt less inclined to do so after reading the book.
The bottom line is probably the most important part of this book if you are interested what any HR-40 committee is likely to conclude: Their conclusion, no surprise, is that descendants of slaves should be awarded reparations. The amount should be enough close the gap between the average family wealth of white versus black families. The total invoice would come to about $10 trillion or about $250,000 to each black person in the US descendent from slaves. They feel this money should go into trusts for individual black people (regardless of age) with a reparations committee approving of expenditures. To generate this kind of money they say that either the Fed should just print it, or that it be tacked onto the national debt. They feel that Congress is the entity that must bring about reparations. They see the courts as a dead end: they will just rule that most of the actions were legal at the time so there is no authority to correct them now.
They spend a chapter discussing objections to reparations. Some they deal with well, but often they miss the point of the objection and end up dealing with straw-men. For example, they cite as an objection that since Africans sold other Africans into slavery it should be African nations who have to pay reparations. I think there are a couple of points to this objection and that authors are misrepresenting it. Anyone who makes the objection is certainly not saying only African nations should have to pay. They are pointing out that Western nations were not uniquely evil at that time which many on the left today would like to make us feel. The objection is meant to be reductio ad absurdum: if the US should to pay so too should Africa, do you really believe that? By missing the point they end up merely dealing with a straw-man.
Another objection they miss the point of is "if we pay black people reparations won't we have to pay other groups"? Their answer is "yes, that should happen and especially for natives". Again the argument is meant to be reductio ad absurdum: what limiting principle would make us stop at any point if black people are compensated for past injustices? Should we pay all Irish? All Catholics? All women? Should we just do a reset where we redistribute until everyone has equal wealth now and start again? From what they state I cannot rule out that this is their ultimate intention. They hint that the principle might be that in addition to past injustice you also have to be subject to ongoing prejudice today, but they do not explicitly state this. Indeed, if that were the limiting principle then a sufficient remedy would be to get rid of present day racism. No need for reparations.
Other problems with the book are the way it presents history. There is some outright revisionist history. The main culprit here is the claim that slavery ended in England in 1772 and that a major motivation of the American Revolution was fear that Americans would lose the right to own slaves because of this. This claim was also stated in the 1619 Project and forced to be corrected. This book, however, was written just last year so the authors should know better. Since one of the authors is a professor at Duke, versus some random Joe on the Internet, I can only conclude that he is deliberately spreading misinformation. There is also a claim that all slaves were promised 40 acres of land after the civl war. This turns out to not be true when you dig into it: there was a field order to provide 40 acres to some slaves, but there was not enough land allocated for it to be all slaves. There was also a provision to allow the Freedman's bureau to confiscate planter estates and lease them to black farmer with an option to buy but there was no mandate to give all black males in the US 40 acres of land.
The book has the the usual problems you see these days with statistics reportedly proving inequality. Any inequality is taken to be proof that the cause must be racism. For instance, the authors conclude that a black life is only considered to be worth 30% as much as a white life due to the fact that, per capita, blacks people are about 3x more likely to be shot by police. No discussion of the fact that higher crime rates, particularly due to gang violence might account for this. Along with this the authors try to imply that there are more lynchings today than during Jim Crow based on the fact that about 1000 black people are shot by police every year.
Other reasoning in this book: if your ancestors were involved in commerce involving the cotton trade at all you are on the hook for ill-gotten intergenerational gains. There could be some truth here, but they take it too far. For example even if all your ancestors did was sell food and clothing to slave plantations they were part of the problem. At the same time they mention that when there were disruptions of food supplies to the West Indies as a result of wars many thousands of slaves ended up dying. So was providing food and clothing wrong or was it good because it prevented starvation?
I do give the book 2 stars instead of 1 since there are some tidbits that were descent. There is a short history of rulings of committees with narrow mandates on reparations for specific incidents. They also discuss an interesting study that immigrants tend to move horizontally in terms of relative economic standing once they come to America. They also go into considerable detail about political violence by the KKK and other Southern Democratic groups like the Red Shirts. With a few glaring exceptions, the history of the failure of Reconstruction is decent, but there are other better books like "The Republic for which it Stands" if that is your interest.
Darity and Mullen present a thorough, meticulous case for reparations for Black descendants of slaves. Most of the book is a history of Black oppression in America, moving from slavery, through the Civil War and Reconstruction years, and on through Jim Crow and the systemic anti-Black racism still at work in the present day. The book reads like history, recounting facts and figures, but there is always an eye toward the case for reparations. So the authors highlight occasions when America faced opportunities to right the wrongs of slavery and racism, such as the idea continually advanced by Lincoln of compensated emancipation, or the promise of "forty acres and a mule" for each freed slave family. The authors recount how White America repeatedly turned its back on justice at each of these critical moments.
The actual case for reparations is made in the final two chapters of the book, following about 300 pages of historical groundwork (more if you count the meaty endnotes). The penultimate chapter is a thorough--and persuasive--rebuttal of the most common objections to reparations. And in the final chapter they make their own proposal, beginning with several plausible models for how to calculate what quantitative reparations might be owed. These models range from using the present value of the average wages of remunerated labor at the eve of emancipation and the present value of 40 acres to calculations based on the current racial wealth gap. The latter is their preferred method as it implicitly incorporates the effects of systemic racism as it has existed long after the end of slavery. Darity and Mullen allow that reparations should not be made in a single lump sum for a number of reasons--including banal but important considerations such as inflation risk--but should be paid out over time, possibly with some portion of the total coming in the form of grants for asset-building endeavors. Institution-building should also be part of a reparations plan but cash transfers must play a central role for both symbolic and practical reasons.
The general case for reparations made by Mullen and Darity is solid and persuasive. Their particular proposal for reparations is plausible, and demands the attention of anyone serious about achieving racial justice in the United States.