I frankly do not know why I am writing this. There are too many entanglements for the sake of clarity. Here, however, are a few random thoughts.
Jemar Tisby, Reparations, and the American Rescue Plan Act
Jemar Tisby. I was listening to his podcast this morning while exercising. He spoke of reparations and why the need for. I had read in days gone by Ta-Nehisi Coates and his compelling article about reparations. I recall Senator Mitch McConnell's comment about sections 1005 and 1006 of The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 as reparations. Tisby and Coates get it, and McConnell does not.
Sections 1005 and 1006 are not reparations in the strictest sense of the word. They are about debt relief for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers who experienced egregious maltreatment at the hands of the county FSA office of the USDA. Debt relief was allocated for those who had one of three different types of loans guaranteed by the USDA. But then, the white farmers stepped in and claimed their privilege so as to be included in the debt relief despite the fact that they are not members of the class of SDFRs and neither have they been discriminated against. Nobody ever said that farming was easy, but it should not be made more difficult because of the color of one's skin. And that, my friends, is the root of the story of discrimination within the USDA.
White Farmers Feel Discriminated Against
To add fuel to the fire, the litigation on behalf of white farmers against the USDA and the debt relief is Stephen Miller, and also Mark Meadows, via American First Legal. As we know, Miller was in charge of trump's aggressive immigration policy that marginalized all sorts of people. It'll take a while to overcome those policy decisions and for trust in America to be restored. Many see this move on behalf of Miler and American First Legal as another white nationalism effort.
White farmers never ever experienced the degradation of discrimination by employees of the USDA at the County Committee level. There are literally dozens and dozens of federal reports and reports and briefs done by outside consultants which explain definitively what happened to Black farmers. For a briefer story, check out details in Hinson 2018.
The Numbers of Enslaved People Who Made it to Our Shores
I reviewed the numbers for those enslaved Africans who embarked for the Americas and those that arrived in the Americas and those that arrived in American ports. The numbers are astonishing: 12,521,335 embarked and 10,702,657 disembarked in the Americas. Into American ports disembarked 388,747 and then 835,000 were moved across the Second Middle Passage. Check out Hinson 2018 for more details.
I then reviewed some numbers of whites and Blacks back to 1790 in the census for that year and up this way. In 1790 there were 607,681 Blacks and in 1860 there were 3.95M. In 1790 there were 3.17M whites and in 1860 there were 26.92 million. And, there were 59,527 free people of color in 1790 and in 1860 there were 488,070. Whites outnumbered Blacks and free people of color.
The Economics of Slavery
Then, I perused an online article entitled "Measuring Slavery in 2020 Dollars" published by the Measuring Worth folks. You can find the article here: Click Here .
Slavery had incredible influences on the economic, political, and social fabric of our country. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. The average price of an enslaved person in 1850 was $400. In 2020, the price would be anywhere from $14,000 to $240,000. $400 was much larger than the average person's income during 1850, so why would enslavers want to spend so much money on them. Profits. It was all about the profits. If an enslaved person costs $400 but was able to generate well up into the 100,000 during his or her lifetime, then the investment would be worth it. When compared to the costs and profits of hiring someone to work the cotton or the corn or the rice or the whatever was much, much less.
Despite the horrors that enslaved people had to endure, up to the point of death, and living on meager amounts of food, working sun up to sun down and longer, and wearing woeful clothes, the profits were clear. Take a good look at what Frederick Douglass said in chapter 7 of the "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass," and the glaring distinctions between life in the big house and life in the row houses were brutal.
Divided by Commitment to Enslaving People for Economic Gain
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