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Without question, I have written millions of words in my life. Ninety-nine point nine percent of which no one has ever seen, other than the intended recipient (which, sometimes, is myself). Rarely do I enjoy what I am writing as I write because I have to, not because I want to and that includes my daily business life. In that sense, I am the epitome of an ungrateful bastard (you may quote me). The aforementioned notwithstanding, there are times when I enjoy writing whatever it is that is subject; and there are times when I dread it. It has taken me months to muster the intestinal fortitude to reduce my thoughts to writing in this case, but that is the only way that I can exorcise the demon. And, unless expelled, demons not only linger, they get stronger.
"Reparations" have come into vogue as of late; there was even a congressional hearing to discuss discussing them/it. With a general election looming the issue is being referenced more than usual. It has been "discussed" for centuries in some way, shape or form.
Sill ain't seen no 40 acres, still ain't seen no mule.
I wonder how many apartment buildings, shopping centers, malls and infrastructure would be on that 40 acres these many years hence and what its value would be today. I wonder how that would have affected the socio-economic status and education of my family, my people, today (you know, like white folks and the Homestead Act). Of course I am being flippant to some degree, about the 40 acres and the mule, but not entirely. The statement was made to make a point.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine (and I do not have many) came to visit. His name is Scott. Scott is an ace auto mechanic, on top of being a very sharp guy. Scott has little formal education, but he is one of the most educated people I have ever known. He is well spoken and reads constantly; on top of all of that, Scott is a man with good character and independent thought. Scott is very "progressive".
Scott is also very white.
So, here we are talking politics, current events, sports, etc. and Scott begins to tell me about some DNA/ancestor program he got involved with. He told me that he found out that he was the fourth generation of mechanics. He spoke with great pride about his ancestors and his Scotts-Irish family name. He knew how his ancestors came to the United States, a relatively simple task when you have birth and death records; but you have to be human to have such luxuries. No vital statistics on property. His pride was virtually palpable; almost infectious.
As I listened to this, quite intently, I started asking myself could I make the same statements. In the process of doing that, I inquired: "Scott, have you ever thought about what you might think and how you might feel if you woke up in the morning in a foreign place, stripped of your native tongue in a way that death would ensue if you dare spoke it and told your name is Kwame Mfume by a black M.F. beating your ass? How different would your ancestry report be?" I said that to Scott because I knew he could handle it, but he was seriously, visibly, taken aback. Scott is one of those who is passionate and has a well thought out response to damn near everything.
He was stuck on that one.
The first reparation needs to be an acknowledgement that there are no reparations. The entire premise, the dialogue, of "reparations" is bovine feces. Because there is no repairing me not knowing my native ancestral language; like every other so-called American enjoys. There is no repairing me never knowing my ancestral name like the Steinberg's, the Bumstead's, the Chow's, the Garcia's, the Singh's, The Cloud Feather's or the Nagasaki's. You see my history, and thusly my name, has been erased. Worse, most of my people wear the names, like badges of shame, of the very people that raped, murdered and destroyed them. This is not an accident. None of it is.
There is no repairing me for not having a cuisine like every other so-called American. Let's see, dear, you feel like Chinese (an ethnic group and country)? Italian (an ethnic group and country)? Japanese (an ethnic group and country)? How about Spanish/Mexican (ethnic group/countries). Indian perhaps, I do love curry (ethnic group/country). Get to me, and what have we...
I thought Seoul was in South Korea, part of a shoe or a saltwater fish.
Names, language, religion and food give an individual identity and a sense of self-worth. Knowing where you came from gives an individual identity and a sense of self-worth. My history, and that of my people, did not begin 400 years ago. Negative. My ancestors, and where they came from, are where history began. That is why it was erased; and there is no repairing that fact.
I had to be erased, to be debased.
In the final analysis, all of this kabuki theater about reparations is just that. The subject is diminished to how white folks (and everybody else) don't want to send checks to Negroes.
"I didn't own slaves". Yeah, but your entire economy/capitalism is built on them and you benefit from the practice to this day. Further, slavery is still legal in the United States, so pass the plate on that excrement. It is also why you, despite your rhetorical platitudes, continue to view your life more valuable than mine within a society that codifies that belief.
"There's no way to tell who is a descendant of slaves" (thank you for making my point). Yeah, but if you are a Black Person in America reparations aren't about direct descension from slaves, they are about what happens to you because you look like you. Kamala Harris is not "African-American", Barack Obama is truly an "African-American", but they both are n-words and if the slave patrols (you call them police and adore them) see their child in a park, a la Tamir Rice, that child is the same dead. Or if Barack finds himself selling loose cigarettes he'll die and the racist anal orifice that killed him will not only not be prosecuted, he will get a paid vacation and keep his job. Might get an award. You will hurry up and tell a Black Person in America "I'll call the police!" Because, whether you are truly cognizant of it or not, when the slave patrol shows up they will act as just that. That is why you have such adoration for them.
You can't repair that either.
Black People in America come in more hues, eye colors, hair textures and skin tones than any other so-called American. Please ask me why that is so. I bet you won't.
You can't repair that either.
In the final analysis, from my limited perspective, the only reparation is an acknowledgement that there is no reparation; think hard about what I am saying here. And, to that end, there is no amount of money that can be forwarded to Black People in America that will erase their erasure. However, there is something that the United States can do, for free to show me, us and the rest of the world it is not what we all know it is and start the reparative process.
I challenge all three branches of the United States government to say these words: "We, as a nation, formally apologize for the kidnapping, enslavement, rape and murder of millions of Melanic people from Africa. These great Americans who have built our nation, the greatest nation on earth, for far too long have been marginalized in every conceivable way and to this very day. This is our national tragedy and we must never forget the debt we owe to these proud people, which is a debt we can never repay." A national day of remembrance would also be in order, and also"free".
"Americans" love the word "free", so let free dom ring and let's get real, "America". Take that check and shove it up your Netherlands until it pops out of your ignorant, arrogant, denial ridden head, because you are going to be held to answer one way or another. Anybody past the age of 12 should understand karma, cosmic justice and the universal order of things.
At least I did when I was 12.
(Article changed on August 2, 2019 at 20:44)