Reparations.pngThe Civil War ended in 1865 with the occupation of the South by Northern troops, which established a Reconstruction plan to try and dismantle the South's several centuries old culture founded on slavery and the institutionalized legal inferiority of African Americans. One of the proposed mechanisms to supposedly try and integrate Blacks into a reinvented Southern society was the proposal to give all ex-slaves 40 acres of land and a mule to make them econmically self sufficient. Regrettably, it never came to pass or things might be very different today.

In the presidential election of 1876, although Samuel J. Tilden, a Democrat from New York, beat Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican from Ohio in the popular vote (50.9% to 47.9%), Hayes was nonetheless declared president in a shady deal memorialized by the Compromise of 1877, where Hayes was elected president by the electoral college through the key support of 4 Southern states. This Southern electoral college support was garnered by Hayes agreeing to support the Compromise of 1877, that called for the removal of all federal troops from the South. And with the removal of these troops came the re-institutionalization of Black second-class citizenship, which was given an anchronistic reprieve that even the civil rights movement of the much later 1960s and beyond has yet to dislodge from the South and elsewhere in the United States. Black Americans are still waiting to be given the equal opportunity that even immigrants, who came to this country hundreds of years after them, have been offered and take for granted.

What kind of reparation might finally address the unaddressed and purposefully ignored negative heritage of slavery in this country, that still is allowed to haunt the African American community in a manner that no other people in this country have ever had to deal with. Up until now raparations have been talked about almost exclusively in terms of money. While this might work with a Japanese American population which suffered the loss of money and property during their unconstitutional interment during WWII, it would not work with a Black American population, where Black families- 70% of them are single-woman head of household- have never been allowed to have the normal positive identity sustaining and defining ethnic families and communities that other components of American society take for granted and contribute to this society.

The mechanism that has allowed most other ethnicities that make up this country to be economically and socially integrated into American society in one generation is an excellent public school education, which continues to be denied the vast majority of African Americans, because the de facto segregated public education system most Blacks are subjected to literally makes no attempt to teach and has no expectation that Black students can learn. Regretably, too many Blacks buy into having no expectation that Black children can learn like any other group, if only given the opportunity.

And it's not as if this inferior education that Blacks are subjected to is a new topic. It was laid out clearly in the Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education 65 years ago, when the Court at that time stated clearly that, "Separate but equal... is inherently unequal." But up until now nothing has been done to address this known reality and the busing that would have ended segregation was immediately taken off the table by the Joe Biden-types, who still cared more about their political careers than finally addressing the objective needs off some of our oldest citizens, who still never seem to get invited to dinner.

It's hard to maintain the fantasies all segregated- White and Black included- groups continue to harbor about each other, if you finally have to deal with each other on a day to day basis in an integrated public education environment that finally educates ALL STUDENTS to their highest subjective level. It is also a great deal cheaper than spending $146,000 a year to incarcerate predominantly minority ex-students, who were allowed to pass through the public education without an education for the alternative chance of becoming working and taxpaying members of this society.

A raparation that pays for any and all education that minority students might want in an education conducive environment would go a long way to finally addressing the legacy of slavery that as of now continues to go unaddressed. Come to think of it, all education for all students irrespective of ethnicity has been shown to more than pay for itself, when given the significantly higher productivity, earnings, and taxes of a highly educated workforce.

I wonder what a July 4th Independence Day would be like, if we finally put the unaddressed legacy of slavery to bed with excellent public education reparations that made "liberty and justice for all" a reality and not just empty rhetoric.

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