So why are Native Black Americans still waiting for reparations when other groups including Japanese Americans and Native Americans, have already received their reparations?
Professor Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University, discussed this in an article for The Conversation.
According to Howard-Hassmann, there are a number of conditions making it harder for reparations to be issued for Blacks. She noted that it is much easier to obtain reparations under the following conditions: “The number of victims is relatively small. The victims are easily identifiable. Many of the direct victims are still alive. The injustice took place during a relatively short time period. The perpetrator is known. The injustice is easily identifiable. The amount of reparations asked for is not so large that the public will find it unreasonable.”
This was the case for the Japanese-American victims of internment. There were about 120,000 people and the injustice took place between 1942, when the Japanese were first interned, and 1945, when the war ended.
The U.S. government was the perpetrator and the amount issued was relatively low — $20,000 for each of 80,000 living survivors. It totaled about $1.6 billion.
“Compared to Japanese-Americans, enslaved African-Americans and their descendants endured much more severe injustices. Enslavement violated all norms of personal safety; owners were permitted to beat and torture enslaved people, and in some cases even to murder them. The violations offend all our contemporary norms of racial equality,” she wrote.
Also, the injustices didn’t stop with slavery.
“Slavery was abolished in 1865, but many injustices were perpetrated during the post-1865 Jim Crow period and beyond. These included continued violations of bodily safety, such as lynchings and police shootings. Segregation and discrimination violated the principle of equality. And even when African-Americans earn the same incomes as their white contemporaries, they own much less wealth because they do not inherit from generations of property owners,” Howard-Hassmann wrote.
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