I am for reparations. I was for before writing this and even more for after writing the first blog post. I am not going to lie, the 2nd blog post put some doubt in me for a minute. I could stop there really. Instead, I want to contribute. Advocate for the reasons why there should be reparations. And really the arguments for reparations are sounds. People against reparations do not challenge the reasons for reparations. They mainly challenge the mechanics around reparations. Let’s unpack the arguments against reparations to make our case more compelling.
- Blacks in the US are better off economically than Black in the Caribbean or Africa. OK, maybe. So what? Is it due to slavery that they are better off? How do you define being better off? This is the equivalent of saying that Angelina Jolie should not seek justice following the sexual harassment she suffered from Weinstein because today she is better off than other women who did not get harassed. Enough said
- Who to pay reparations to? I do not know how to answer this question. It is tricky and could cause a lot of other issues. That’s just not a good enough reason to not pay reparations. Getting to the moon was not easy, we still did it. Decades later we all have as much computing power in our pocket than was necessary to get the first man to the moon. My point is that a lot of things are hard to do, and we are continuously pushing the limits. Why not push the limits of a cause we know is right?
- Where to get the money from? The new GOP tax law will dig a huge hole in the budget. We are talking billions. And mostly to make companies and rich people wealthier. When you want to find money, you can.
The 3 most valid arguments I found against reparations can be crushed in 214 words. So the reasons for Blacks to still be waiting on reparations has to be deeper, much deeper. And most likely the reasons are emotional. People have pre-established opinions on topics such as the reparations. In the majority of cases, people opinions cannot be changed purely with facts and logic. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot explains in my favorite NPR podcast, Hidden Brain, that it is difficult to change false beliefs. She explains how you need to bring people along with you. Pushing more facts towards them, actually consolidate their pre-existing opinion. Instead, with powerful stories, your audience thoughts become more aligned with yours. When done extremely well, people come to your conclusion before you even have to spell it out. I feel like that this is what is missing. All my research found facts. I did not come across how people, on both sides, felt or are currently feeling.
Connecting on the emotional level is key. We need to achieve that first step before there is a chance for any arguments to be received the way they should.