I am 100% in favor of reparations but I have a hard time picturing an adequate amount that would actually get somewhere. Maybe combined with a truth & reconciliation committee of some sort.
Thank you Ansel
ps-> the citizens of Washington are about $2b in arrears on their stated paramount goal (education) and another $2b in arrears on a debt incurred by the earlier residents of the state (to fix the culverts so that treaty obligations for an income from salmon harvest can be met).

That's only about $600 per citizen, maybe we should have a flat levy right now to get that out of the way and then move on to more complicated things.
As an exercise, what are the five concrete things you should not do to make black lives matter. No, I'm not making a joke. E.g. what are the five pet peeves that white folks do that irritate blacks?
Sixth is file tons of records requests about misconduct like Mike O'Dell…
There's an argument to be made that reparations would make American race relations worse, not better.

I believe that could be avoided if reparations were implemented in certain ways, but I can respect people who think that to "support reparations" unconditionally might do more harm than good.

On the contrary, I've heard many black people and BLM supporters say quite clearly that what they want in their communities is more policing, not less.

And also, of course, "but could we please make it the kind of policing where officers aren't killing quite so many non-resisting black people"
Here's an excerciss: What are the five concrete things black communities should be doing for themselves if they believe black lives matter?
@7, we can very reasonably doubt you without having to google anything.

Here's a fun fact: It would take cops 40 years to kill as many black men as have died at the hands of others black men in 2012 alone.

University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012.

Professor Johnson’s research further concludedthat 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

Furthermore: In 2012, white males were 38 percent of the population and committed 4,582 murders. That same year, black males were just 6.6 percent of the population but committed a staggering 5,531 murders.

In other words: black people–at just a fifth of the size–committed almost 1,000 more murders than their white counterparts.

According to FBI data, 4,906 black people murdered other blacks in 2010 and 2011. That is 1,460 more black Americans killed by other blacks in two years than were lynched from 1882 to 1968, according to the Tuskegee Institute.

Might be a good start if people who believe black lives matter stop killing each other...

Oh, that's easy!

1. Stop being so poor

2. Stop being shot and killed by policemen all the time

3. Start using non-existent savings and credit to buy homes in better neighborhoods

4. Magically transform the taxes from low-value real estate into higher revenues and use them to improve local public schools.

5. Seriously, stop dying so easily when policemen are around, enough of that already

Black community leaders speak out against black-on-black violence ALL THE DAMN TIME, and are constantly trying all sorts of things to end it, but apparently you're just not aware of any of this for some strange reason.

I was thinking more along the lines of 1.) don't break the law, 2.) don't kill other black people, 3.) raise your children in cohesive family units (with fathers), 4.) don't do drugs, 5.) do what cops say when they say it (us white folks figured that out a long time ago).

1. When the police execute you without trial when you're helpless, does it matter that you haven't broken the law?

2. When the police execute you without trial when you're helpless, does it matter that you haven't killed a black person?

3. When the police execute you without trial while you're helpless, does it matter that you're part of a family structure that white Christian Americans approve of?

4. Does your sobriety help you when the police execute you without trial while you're helpless?

5. Does it matter that you've done exactly what the officer has told you to do when that officer panics and executes you without trial when you're helpless?

Coates writes that doesn't quite know what reparations would be comprised of, exactly, but as he imagines them, there would need to be some form of truth and reconciliation.
How about one thing people can do to make Native American lives matter?

The devil is always in the details, isn't it?

The biggest problem with reparations is trying to decide who can claim them, and who can't. I don't see a whole lot of potential for either truth or reconciliation in that process, do you?
@YGBKM Living in a world void of systemic problems is pretty sweet, huh?

OK, I think I see why you don't understand the Black Lives Matter movement, now.

Believe it or not, there are quite a lot of people who do very much believe that police killing non-resisting black people is, indeed, "a thing," as you put it. I think they might prefer to refer it to it as "an outrage" or "a tragedy" or "a failure of the American justice system."
@18: How many videos showing people of color not resisting and being killed anyway do you need to be shown before that reality sinks in?
@18 2: Please point to anything that demonstrates a direct causal relationship
between BLM and this slight uptick 9f which you speak.


Crime is up all across America.


According to all available evidence, crime in America is at historic lows, and declining, across the board.

You admit it's unproven, but you insist it's a factor, okay then. So, essentially what we can derive from this, at this point at any rate, is that's it's completely random and not actually tied to any one single inciting incident.


You're arguing the difference between "weather" and "cl…
I would honestly love to see a BLM shill honestly attempt to refute @11's statistics.

Inb4 Shaun King tweets.

What about White-on-White murder? Numerically more White people are killed by other White people, which percentage-wise comes out pretty close to Black-on-Black murders (82.4% versus 89.9% respectively, per…">2014 figures supplied by The FBI). So, what is the exact point you're trying to make? Because, if it's that Black people kill each other with greater frequency than White people kill each other, it's not a very persuasive argument.

I think the argument is that @30 @28 and @14 are fucking imbeciles who will bleat out their idiocy at every given opportunity.

That may be the case, but I am making a concerted effort to not devolve into ad hominums or other logical fallacies, if at all avoidable. I'm just tired of troll-baiting is all, for the sake of my blood pressure, if nothing else.

The biggest obstacle is that people who are against reparations use that very question as an excuse to claim they can't work. There's no amount that can make up for slavery and segregation and lynchings, and everything else, but detractors are obsessed with the idea that no one should get a single penny more than they "deserve." But a serious and genuine set of policies that support and advance reparations will heal a lot of wounds.
@6: Pretty much.
If you want to help impoverished black Americans, teach them to fish instead of just giving them fish. Fund programs to help them afford proper childcare, make education more affordable for poor people, and help build communities. A lump payout to the descendants of slaves won't do shit.

It's not the detractors I'm suggesting would be the obstacle to the question of who can and who can't claim reparations-- it's the proponents.

Let's assume that reparations are successfully passed and funded; what's your plan for deciding who we should award them to?

I'm probably a bigger believer in the benefits of helicopter money than you are, but we've already got racially charged resentment of government benefits (e.g. the ugly "welfare queens" rhetoric) which is only going to be exacerbated by a benefit explicitly tied to slavery unless it's funded on an entirely voluntary (and, I think, public) basis.

Like, have a checkbox on your tax form to pay X dollars for that year into the reparations fund, and a public database where anyone can go and look up your name and see whether or not you've contributed.

But the funding is only half of the program, and I don't have any bright ideas on the other side-- deciding who should be compensated for the damage done by slavery in the US.
@30 Baltimore murder rates are down 5% from last year. At least as of July 2.
@38: In addition, how should reparations be funded. By what tax policy would be imposed. Just tax whites? Exempt blacks? Or a sales tax on body lotions and skin creams?

Then supposing there was funding somehow, should it be federal or local? What happens when its expenditures exceed its revenue?

If only those carpetbaggers had been building a database during reconstruction instead of going after Tara.

Funding seems like the easier part of the problem, see @39 for a broad sketch of one idea I think could work well enough.
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I don't want to hear about Marissa Johnson, she's doing more harm than good, to put it politely.
*Some* cops can manage to do their jobs without gratuitously killing people. Lots of cops, actually, in lots of countries. Could be that oversight causes some bad cops either to refuse to do their job or to really not be equipped to do it. Those cops should not be on the streets.
And it's entirely possible to ask for both 1) stop police killing black people and 2) start solving more crimes against black people.

There is nothing special about "black on black crime" despite its fetish use for some. Most crime is short-range, and our society is segregated: that's most of it. But when crimes in black communities are under-pursued, sure, you rationally get more crime. Without getting police protection, some people take gang protection as better than nothing. When police act like gang killings are fine and you can't expect arrests, some people take retaliation as better than nothing.
@36: To paraphrase:
"this argument against a given policy is invalid because it's used by people who oppose that policy"
BULL FUCKING SHIT. I'm with robotslave here.
@39: Lovely, and what mob actions do you suggest for taxpayers you do not check the box? You really want to toss kerosene on that fire don't you?
@47 Seriously. A shame database?

You know, when conservatives harp on white liberal guilt, I never expected it to show up in the form of a checkbox of guilt on a tax form. That's absurd.
there's no given amount of reparations that would be acceptable to anyone; thus the idea is insane.

What's not insane is for police who kill people without good cause (and that appears to be happening solely to black people, fairly often and all over the country) to be tried and found guilty and thrown in prison. In Washington state that's impossible unless we get rid of the "malicious intent" clause in the statute covering cop shootings. Sign the goddamn petition and quit the stupid arguments about whether Baltimore's murder rate has gone up or down.
Nobody's paying fucking reparations. Safe your breath.

This thread is a cringe-worthy screed of white guilt, lib slogans and baseless nonsense.

Statistically, the best way to improve the lives of black people and the black community –– is for black people to stop being so amazingly shitty to each other. Dare you to watch:…

And you think this is uncommon. There are thousands of videos -- just like this – uploaded per day. Two America's and it isn't white people or cops causing 99% of the day-to-day problems that make life so shitty.

Let's keep it real.
@47, @48

Sure, it might be a good idea to let people opt out of making their contributions public. We can discuss this like grown-ups, can't we?

The public database would only serve to "shame" people if they 1) say they support reparations, but 2) don't put their money where their mouth is. Presumably the people opposed to reparations to begin with would be proud to have proof that they're not contributing, no? That part of the population isn't going to vanish overnight if we do get reparations rolling, is it?

Raindrop, perhaps violence motivated by the victim's contribution or non-contribution might be prosecuted as hate crime? It seems rather unlikely to me that a reparations program would necessitate a de facto legalization of, er, lynch mobs.

The idea here is to make the funding both voluntary, to prevent the program from simply exacerbating resentments, and verifiable, to address the rather understandable suspicion that there are lots of Americans willing to talk the talk about improving society's racial disparities, but unwilling to walk the walk.
Reparations should require us to do the exact opposite of what we were doing back in the plantation slaveholder days.
Education. Good paying jobs. Safety. Security. The things so many of us take for granted. You know when we should have been saying All Lives Matter is when humans first started walking the earth. Now, it's too late. We have to get back to that metaphorical garden and look out for each other, especially the ones that are being harmed the worst.
I'm pretty much on board with most of the agenda. Especially on the line item about helping people who are imprisoned, there are several things that average people can do.

1) You can offer support by being a pen-pal. Consider as an avenue.

2) If you have the relevant background, consider being part of a support group that visits jails and prisons. Various Anonymous groups (AA, NA, etc.) and religious groups as well as others often participate in visitation programs.

3) In a similar vein, there are groups that help tutor inmates who are illiterate or working towards completing their GED or other educational goals.

4) If you are an employer, consider reaching out to organizations that help convicts who are being released find work. Studies show that the number one thing that will prevent recidivism is a full time job.

In short: political action is all very well and criminal justice reform is sorely needed, but if you really want to make a difference, that requires you to engage in one-on-one relationship building and work on the small scale.

On the topic of reparations, there is absolutely no possible way I can see that ever ending well. Let's suppose that a reparations bill did pass and every descendant of a slave (if such a thing could even be determined) was handed an appropriate lump sum.

What happens next? People will assume that reparations, having been done, fixed the problem once and for all. And the structure of reparations is such that they would be entirely justified in thinking that. So what's next? Do we get rid of affirmative action? Preferences for public colleges and universities? Do we officially implement "color blind" policies in government? Because that is precisely what will be demanded in exchange.

Reparations is a bad idea because it will be seen as a "one and done". And if reparations does not solve the issue once and for all, it will never happen, because it will otherwise be seen (correctly) as a simple cash grab.

Plus, it sets a horrible precedent. What's next? Reparations for Chinese immigrants who built the railroads? Or Jews turned away prior to WWII? Catholics discriminated against by Know Nothings and "Irish Need Not Apply"? To say nothing of the devastation visited on Native Americans. Where does it end?

As far as truth and reconciliation go, is there anyone in this country with the stature of Abp. Desmond Tutu who could run it? I'm highly skeptical that it would be anything other than a partisan free-for-all.

Slavery didn't happen in one lump sum; there's no reason reparations can't be ongoing for some period of time. It would make the funding a lot easier to manage, and you could set up some sort of test condition which would have to be met to end the program. Or you could have a fixed term, or an inflation-adjusted total, or any number of different targets.

But that's still the easy stuff-- the hard part, as you allude to, is deciding who receives the reparations.

Limiting it to descendants of slaves ignores the damage that slavery's lasting legacy has done to black Americans who immigrated as free citizens in the years after slavery was abolished. Limiting it to verifiable lineage will tend to leave out people lacking good family records-- and those will tend to be poorer people. If you grant reparations to anyone who self-identifies as black, you'll get a storm of accusations that this and that person is cheating the system, or stealing or making false claims... and indeed many people will be doing just that. It won't look anything like justice and healing.

This leaves us with the awful prospect of trying to create a government test that determines who is and who is not "black enough" to receive reparations; exactly the sort of deeply hurtful institution that reparations are supposed to make amends for.

I suppose you could make payments to organizations or institutions instead of individuals, but this depersonalizes what many people feel should be a very personal sort of restitution, and that's before you even get into the pitfalls of deciding how much money to give to which group, and what kind of group is "worthy," or more likely to spend the money improving black lives, etc etc.
@54, but even you are referring to reparations ending at some point. After that point has passed, do you see civil rights organizations saying "Well, we're good now!" and closing up shop?

Slavery and its legacy have ongoing repercussions. Reparations offers a way of avoiding dealing with those repercussions. That's why they're a blind alley.
We have spent about 16 trillion (yes, trillion) dollars since 1965 on welfare and programs for the poor, most of which has been focused specifically on helping black people out of poverty. These are the reparations people like Coates and those above talk about. Money invested into programs, not lump payouts. How many trillions more do those demanding reparations want?

I don't really see how another 50 years and another 16+ trillion dollars of cash thrown at the problem will help, even if we decide to call it "reparations" now. Money and more programs is not helping. It has not helped after 50 years and 16 trillion dollars of reparations in the form of welfare programs, food assistance programs, educational programs, and work training programs.

Hasn't worked yet. Does anyone seriously think more money is actually the answer at this point?
@55 "Reparations offers a way of avoiding dealing with those repercussions"

reparation could be in the form of socio-economic programs mandated to address these repercussions until systemic racism is no more.
It looks like we've enumerated the many reasons why repartitions, while in inherently noble idea, is an administrative impossibility. In addition, there are African-American libertarians whom would not "check the box."
This is a great Tumblr you guys have. You should get some reporters though and maybe start a news magazine or something.

Anyway, did you know that while blacks commit more than 50% of all murders annually, twice as many whites as blacks have been killed by cops so far this year? This is information I found on a news site, not on your Tumblr:…
I don't know what's worse: the regular trolls, or the people that know better and engage them anyway.
@59 Imagine that, the majority of the population is killed at a higher rate than a minority of the population. If only there were ways to account for those discrepancies in absolute values... math is hard.

In fact, you can find that exact data in another article on the Washing Post website (which I can't find the link to) that pointed out that despite lower absolute numbers, black people are killed at a higher percentage given their population in the country. That damn math and stats thing again.

As for black-on-black crime vs. white-on-white crime, that data should be normalized for income because poor people commit more crimes against other poor people. Hopelessness turns into violence, whether you're in urban Baltimore or rural Kentucky. Cops in poor white rural areas turn a blind eye to a lot of lawless behavior (mostly dealing with meth), but you just don't hear about it because it's not population and media dense areas.

Oh whatever, here's some stats, but it does involve math:…

For the period 2008–12—

Persons in poor households at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (39.8 per 1,000) had more than double the rate of violent victimization as persons in high-income households (16.9 per 1,000).

Persons in poor households had a higher rate of violence involving a firearm (3.5 per 1,000) compared to persons above the FPL (0.8–2.5 per 1,000).

The overall pattern of poor persons having the highest rates of violent victimization was consistent for both whites and blacks. However, the rate of violent victimization for Hispanics did not vary across poverty levels.

Poor Hispanics (25.3 per 1,000) had lower rates of violence compared to poor whites (46.4 per 1,000) and poor blacks (43.4 per 1,000).

Poor persons living in urban areas (43.9 per 1,000) had violent victimization rates similar to poor persons living in rural areas (38.8 per 1,000).

Poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000).
@61, don't know why you barfed out those crime victimization stats, they're not relevant to question of crime perpetration.

Anyway, poverty is irrelevant. Compare poorest part of US (Appalachia, nearly all white) with say Chicago. You could take any region in Appalachia and any city with a sizeable poor black population and find the same thing: exceedingly low/non-existent homicide rates for former, exceedingly high ones for latter. You need a better excuse.……
@53 thanks for the suggestions - i just wrote 4 prisoners
@60 - So, then where do you fit in?
I can't support this. Who would get the reparation and who pays the tab? It is well documented that free blacks also had slaves. My family didn't own slaves and didn't come to America until the 1900"s. Certainly not all blacks have slave ancestry. I get this plan is to discuss and feasibility but I just can't see it happening.
@62 I didn't realize Appalachia had the population density of Chicago, my bad. I also didn't realize that Appalachian crime victims imported black people, possibly from Chicago, to commit crimes.

I would say that crime victimization stats are relevant, since most of our poor areas are segregated.
@65 While I'm not a proponent of reparations, or at least have yet to be convinced of its goals beyond the notion of "healing," the "who pays for it when I didn't own slaves" argument falls apart when you break down all of the services you pay for even when they don't directly benefit you. Like childless couples paying into schools, or the carless paying for road maintenance, or car owners paying for public transportation, or hey, affirmative action programs. If there is some greater social benefit to others, we should all be willing to contribute even if we aren't the direct beneficiaries.
On the All Lives Matter / Black Lives Matter controversy,

Check out the statistics on gun deaths per 100,000 by race.

Now check out the statistics on workplace fatalities per 100,000 by job.

Interesting coincidence: black people overall have just about the same fatality rate as police officers (16.9 per 100,000 vs. 16 per 100,000). Incidentally, that's everybody-on-black gun violence, not just white-on-black or police-on-black.

Another observation: we may quibble over police violence, but one thing that is quite clear is that working class lives really don't matter at all to the people writing the narratives here. You have industries here with 8 times the fatality rate of blacks dying from gun violence, and all that means to us is "Hey, that would make an awesome reality TV show!"

Talk about burning houses with no-one showing up....
@68 While you're correct about fewer people valuing working class lives, in general, people take those jobs despite knowing the risks, there are laws and regulations to help make them safer and recourse for when those safety requirements aren't met and chances are, they will die on the job and not because, say, they were playing with a toy in a park. In most of those cases, the accidents are just that, accidents. And if they aren't accidents, they aren't committed by people tasked with protecting and serving the population, who are granted much broader rights than anyone else in society and therefore should be held to a high standard for conduct.

But aside from those differences, you're right, they're totally the same and it's a total justification for blacks to just get in line. Preferably in the back of the line, because white loggers and fishermen are dying at a higher percentage, presumably at the hands of beavers and crabs.

(Also, those police stats include people who die in car accidents, of heart attacks, etc. "Forty-one officers were killed with guns last year (2015)" according to USA Today. That cuts it down by like three-quarters.)

Except that there is no evidence of any such "change" in BPD's behavior; not according to them, not according to the Baltimore Mayor's Office, and not based on any objective, empirical observation you can point to, especially when one takes into account the fact that shootings were already on an upswing during the first quarter of 2015, well before Freddie Gray's killing in mid April. So, in this instance, as in so many others, correlation does not imply causation.

Also, last time I checked being poor and Black was not a priori cause for a LEO to commit summary execution of a citizen. And given how many White gun-toting citizens are treated with kid gloves, even - and especially - when making openly threatening actions against police - then clearly, if THEY can not get shot by cops, so too can Black citizens, regardless of whether they exhibit similarly threatening behavior - or none at all.
I would like to know Hillary's views on reparations; she's the one this question should be put to.
@70 Or alternately, the lack of black lives mattering caused an increase in hopeless, nihilistic behavior.
@75 Or alternately, you can read this link from that Google search:…
@69 My bad. I was working on the assumption that dead is dead.

I guess I get kind of pissy about the discussion because I happen to work in one of those high risk occupations (as a tow truck driver doing roadside assistance). And my life is routinely threatened by careless motorists, people texting behind the wheel, or people who really don't give a rat's ass about the guy trying to work about five feet away from where you're whizzing by at 70 mph. This is in spite of move over or slow down laws that are routinely ignored.

Presumably, a healthy percentage of these assholes (which my highly unscientific estimate places somewhere north of 80%) also think the abstract (to them) cause of black lives matter is very important, while the highly concrete cause of being respectful of my life in the here and now matters not a whit, if it means arriving at their destination thirty seconds later.

This is indicative of a larger problem. When it comes to actually doing something for the people who actually do a lot of the work that keeps civilization viable (frankly, like I and my co-workers do...without tow trucks, road transportation would quickly grind to a halt), and the response, when there is one, is dismissive smarminess. Otherwise, you just keep whizzing on by, completely oblivious to anyone else around you.

Hell, even your resident Marxist economist spends far more time on racial issues than labor concerns.

Frankly, I'm not at all convinced that the racial problems in this country are the biggest social problems we face (don't get me wrong: racism, both institutional and particular, is real and deserves attention). Rather, there is massive class-based discrimination, on the part of both liberals and conservatives. Conservatives hate workers because they resent paying them what they're worth. Liberals hate labor because they they disapprove of working class beliefs and culture. Also because they love appearing cosmopolitan and reaping the benefits that globalization brings, while ignoring the very real slavery that globalization creates.

Addressing that problem would incidentally probably be the best thing you could do for the majority of black people, who rely on the availability of working class jobs and rising pay from that work in order to advance.

But that might end up helping working class whites too, and goodness knows they deserve to be ground into dust, right?
This should be retitled "5 Ways you can assuage your guilt over the fact that black lives don't really matter that much"
@79 let's be real: The problem is that The American Identity is fundamentally a white identity. Our entire political, legal, linguistic, military, economic, educational, and religious (and more that i'm omitting) institutions all are direct descendants of fundamentally white, European systems. Therefore, the American Identity will always be white, whites will always feel it's "their country" and that they're allowing blacks/asians/latinos/arabs/etc to be in it and it's a fair question to most if those other groups should benefit as much. Until a new American Identity is formed - by radical changes - then Black Lives Matter (and it's spiritual successors) will always need to be a thing.
@77: I like your thinking.

Actually, a new American Identity is being formed slowly and inevitably by slow demographic and economic shifts, as it has been for the country's entire existence. Americans saw themselves very differently in 1809 (agrarian society) 1859 (on the brink of the Civil War) 1909 (urbanization) 1959 (suburbanization) and 2009 (de-localization/globalization).

One thing radicalism has never had any noticeable success in changing is a society's sense of identity, unless you include the kind of radicalism that is now more commonly referred to as "genocide."
Appreciate your comments on this, Corydon.

I'm not really interested in which is bigger, class or race (or gender), because they don't need to be fighting over a sliver of the pie. The comfortable people, are we maxed out on how much attention and effort and money we devote to justice, so it's a zero-sum game from here? No, we're devoting like 1% effort now. Less.

There's definitely a lot of class snobbery that's unexamined and still widely acceptable.

I don't know what to do about class, to be honest. Our economic system is a big problem. Maybe ideas are out there and I'm not aware? At the same time we can work to make the police stop killing black people.

Empathy is a multi-purpose tool.
The police in the US (esp. in the South, but throughout the country) have been historically (up to the present) responsible for enforcing the racial order in this country. This is one reason police killings of black men are so emotionally freighted. Conservative christian right-wing republican straight white american males are afraid of 'inner-city blacks' and see police actions in light of the perceived protection their tribe accrues (and tend to valorize cops no matter how backwards they are). From the other side of the racial divide aggressive policing looks like enforcement of racist systems. Personally I think the BLM perspective is basically correct. It does seem unfair, however, that we (white America, including liberals) have left the cops in this situation. We need to take responsibility for allowing a racist justice system to develop and persist while patting ourselves on the back for 'democracy'.

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