The Debt: What America Owes Blacks

William Reed, EURWeb (Los Angeles), July 3, 2008

Segments of Americans are gearing up to oppose Senator Barack Obama because they fear he will be more considerate of the debt America owes to Blacks.

Anti-Obama whites, in particular, are concerned he’ll get into the White House and put Blacks on track for “a reparations gravy train.”

CNN debate moderator Anderson Cooper put Black Reparations on track to be a part of the presidential dialogue during the South Carolina Primaries.

The African-American vote in South Carolina was very important, and that made the reparations question relevant in the Democratic Debate. At that event former Senator John Edwards said ” I’m not for reparations . . . but I think there are other things we can do to create some equality that doesn’t exist in this country today” he said, going on to talk about inequities African Americans experienced paying mortgages in Charleston, S.C., where the debate was held.

When Cooper asked Sen. Barack Obama about reparations he sidestepped a yes or no answer instead preferring to redefine reparations to make it part of a broader conversation about economic justice. “I think the reparations we need right here in South Carolina is investment, for example, in schools.” Obama said.

To corner Obama and nail all the candidates down, Cooper asked for a show of hands and questioned: “Is anyone on the stage for reparations for slavery for African-Americans?” The only “yes” came from Congressman Dennis Kucinich who said: “The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach. And a breach has occurred. We have to acknowledge that. It’s a breach that has resulted in inequality in opportunities for education, for health care, for housing, for employment.”

From then on, reparations have been an issue in the campaign. America owes Blacks $700 billion to $1.9 trillion for unpaid labor that built the country’s infrastructure, including the U.S. Capitol. While Obama dodges the issue, his “old church, Trinity United Church of Christ, lists “The Debt: What America Owes To Blacks, by Randall Robinson (Penguin Putman Inc., 2000) as recommended reading”. In The Debt, Robinson argues that America still owes an enormous debt to Africans and African Americans for the incalculable damage that backs have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of two hundred and fifty years of slavery and segregation.

Barack’s birthright brothers many whites; but Wautella Graham of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) breaks the question of slavery into four categories of involvement: victims, collaborators, perpetrators and beneficiaries and makes the point that, “Even immigrants and people whose ancestral line contains no slaveholders should pay reparations, since every American benefits from slavery.”

Slavery victimizes free blacks to this day. All American people are responsible for the debt America owes.”

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