Posted on March 3, 2020

When It Comes to Reparations, Differences in Black Lineage Matter

Antonio Moore, USA Today, March 2, 2020

What we are now witnessing with reparations has been 400 years in the making. {snip}

Arguably not since the Reconstruction era have we seen reparations being talked about so seriously and in such a high-profile way. {snip}

At the root of this development is the American Descendants of Slavery movement, or #ADOS, which I co-founded with Yvette Carnell. #ADOS is a political project built upon our respective YouTube shows — ToneTalks and BreakingBrown — and it arises out of our nation’s failure to contend with its original sin of slavery and the remnants that occurred through Jim Crow. {snip}

This reparations discussion, however, is not about whether blacks will be disaggregated from a singular oneness.

Rather, #ADOS seeks recognition of what everyone has known for some time: Black people in America are all very different groups who are being carelessly lumped together under the umbrella of blackness. Detractors of the #ADOS movement refuse to acknowledge this truth. They label us “divisive.”


Worse yet is that these attitudes are being espoused in the very country that enslaved my family, and families like mine, for hundreds of years. That enslavement led to trillions of dollars in wealth being stolen from slaves and blacks who are the descendants of slaves. This debt is owed not to the color of blackness, but rather to the specific lineage that fully bears the cost of blackness in America — a cost that is built into the very roots of #ADOS family trees.


The significance of this is revealed in the recent Color of Wealth reports issued by the Federal Reserve. They show that in cities across America, there are massive gaps in wealth holdings between #ADOS and black immigrants. In Los Angeles, for example, native black households have liquid assets with a median value of only $200, compared with $60,000 for African immigrants.


All of this injustice was birthed from a slice of American history that everyone wants to ignore.