The FHTE (From Here to Equality) Reparationist Quick Guide Response was initially established in October of 2020, as the ADOS Reparationist Quick Guide©, and is designed to be a civic engagement resource for anyone. It allows supporters to take an ownership share in our online social justice advocacy. Authorship is being encouraged from
every sector and community of citizens concerned with restorative justice for black American Descendants of Slavery in the United States (i.e., ADOS) by the closing of the black-white racial wealth gap. The book From here to equality: Reparations for black Americans in the twenty-first century (Darity & Mullen, 2020) will serve as our base source for the volumes’ invited authors. Each issue will contain reparations-related topics and five quick points from featured guest authors who offer their responses to commonly held questions raised and positions taken in opposition to reparations.
The multi-generational inherited disadvantages of slavery and the inability to transfer wealth to ADOS descendants have been significant contributors to the marginalized class status of this ethnic group. This series is published to encourage study and dialogue. It is an instrument for personal empowerment. The guide creates a space for the civic engagement and participation of Reparationists in national coalition-building, including petitioning for significant revision (or replacement) of the bill H.R. 40 (S.1083) currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress.
For a pdf download, click here: From Here To Equality Reparationist Quick Guide, Volume 2 Issue 1, October 2021
1.“Married couples have far less poverty than families headed by single women or men so why can marriage not be used as a method for economic advancement?” • Married black couples, at the median, possess two times LESS the amount of
wealth than households headed by single white women, $16,000 for married black
couples compared to $35,000for households headed by single white women.
Single white mothers have a median net worth of $3,000.00 while for single black
mothers it is ZERO. Think being college-educated makes the situation better?
Think again. Older (over 60 years of age white women with a bachelor’s degree
have a median net worth of $384,000, for older black women with a bachelor’s
degree, it is JUST $11,000. For younger women (in their 20s)it is $3,400for white
women, and NEGATIVE $11,000.00 for black women. Drastic wealth disparities
exist between white and black Americans regardless of their marital status.
Furthermore, reparations is a DEBT that is owed to all black Americans who are
descendants of those who were enslaved, whether married or single, or rich or
poor. FHTE (p. 33, Paragraphs 1-3). *These results are based upon data from
Darity et al., (2017) from the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Survey of
Income and Program Participation.
2.“Instead of waiting for our oppressors to pay us, why do we not just pool our resources, and start our own businesses, our own economic movement?”
• This statement is interesting because it implies that Black Americans have just
been “waiting for our oppressors to pay us” when the reality is that Black
Americans have built thriving communities despite being denied equality, access,
and resources that were readily made available to White Americans. This
statement asserts that the wealth disparities Black Americans face are because they are not engaging in a sufficient amount of self-employment when, the reverse is
true, wealth disparities make it very difficult for Black Americans to have higher
levels of adequate self-employment. The data shows that the higher level of wealth
a person possesses, the far more likely they are to be able to start and SUSTAIN
sufficient self-employment. Starting a business usually always requires startup
capital and access to sufficient lines of credit. In the 2016 Survey of Consumer
Finances data the average median net worth of a black family is just ONE-TENTH
of the wealth of a white family, $17,600.00 to $171,000.00 respectively, it makes it
clear who is more readily able to self-employed and start a business. Now you
might think, “just get a loan” but that is much more difficult for Black Americans.
Even when the level of creditworthiness and the financial resume are the same,
black-owned firms are still twice as likely to be denied a loan, and even when they
are approved, they are far more likely to pay much higher interest rates. Now, that
being said, Black Americans are and have historically been one of the most
entrepreneurial groups in the US. They have also been the most terrorized group
that has seen their businesses discriminated against, excluded from available
support, and in many cases, outright destroyed. Even more, when Black Americans
DO start businesses, they bring in far less revenue than white-owned firms.
Anyone who wants Black Americans to have high levels of self-employment and
business ownership should push that much more for reparations since that will
provide the resources, we have been due for centuries but have yet to receive.
FHTE (pp. 36-38).
3.“How exactly do you intend to get enough votes for reparations when we still cannot even get the basics like well-funded schools and clean water?”
• Reparations ARE the “basics” for black Americans, and we must view them as
such. Reparations include direct monetary payments as one means to close the
wealth gap. The closing of the wealth gap (reparations) is our preeminent objective
but not our sole objective. There also must be a demand to prosecution and hold accountable the anti-black terrorists who are still living. Hence, ultimately ALL disparities that are a consequence of anti-black racism must be eliminated. Any additional policies above and beyond monetary payments to achieve those goals must be implemented. As far as getting enough votes, an argument can be made that more Black Americans need to be more politically engaged, a problem that exists among all demographics in the US, but the issue has been more for WHOM we vote than our level of voting. Malcolm X once said, “we are not outnumbered, we are outorganized”. For a long time, Black Americans have voted for politicians that did not live up to the responsibility of promoting policies that would specifically address the damage faced by Black Americans, a black agenda that puts reparations front and center. However, that is starting to change with an undeniable groundswell in reigniting the call for reparations in the past three years by many
authors like Ta-Nahesi Coates, Dr. Darity, and Kirsten Mullen; organized groups
such as ADOS, The United Sons And Daughters of Freedmen (Be The Power),
The National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants and The National
Coalition of Churches For Reparations. There have been resolutions that have
received the support of hundreds of governors and mayors across the nations. The
movement has only grown, and the call has become louder. As in times past,
during the Abolition Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, our people faced
seemingly impossible odds but fought for what was right and what was their due.
We still do so now, the question is whether others will join us. FHTE (p. 269; 270,
Paragraphs 2-4; 1-4).
4.“Let’s be honest, if we were to get reparations, all most of us would do is put it right back in the same system that oppresses us so what good would it do?”
• This statement is a very strange one if not ridiculous altogether because no
evidence gives any indication of how Black Americans would spend their money
when they receive the wealth, they are due. Point two, there has never been a
world where Black Americans have received their due. Anyone that predicts how
Black Americans would behave in a world in which they received reparations is
simply speaking from conjecture because such a world has never existed. It is
important to make one point very clear, a person can spend their money however
they choose in a free society. Black Americans have certainly earned that right.
Nevertheless, the closest era that represents how Black Americans would operate
economically if they were to receive reparations is the time when they received
something similar to reparations remedy in the form of Special Field Order 15.
One of the first decisions made by the formerly enslaved Freedmen was to live
apart from whites and to be self-sufficient. The desire and movement of black
Americans to have equal access to the country they built continue till this day.
Additionally, anti-reparations arguments based on deficient black behavior should
be dismissed just like the belief that because Black Americans do not engage in
what some view as sufficient levels of entrepreneurship, we suffer severe
disparities when the reverse is true. Without reparations black Americans continue
to engage in a system in which we have been forced to participate with insufficient
resources, we seek to be self-sufficient. If anyone wants black Americans to cease
“supporting” the system, and build our own, as we have always strived but have
been prevented from doing, they need to avidly support the Reparations
Movement. FHTE (pp. 36-38; p. 251, Paragraphs 2; 3).
5.“Yeah, what sense does it make to just wait around for them to give us reparations as if it will happen in this lifetime if ever, how can anyone think it will be nothing more than a waste of time?”
• There are people alive today who are the children of those who were enslaved.
Their parents lived to see the end of slavery. The majority of black Baby Boomers
were born during the era of Jim Crow and lived to see its end. Now, all Black
Americans alive today have lived to see the drastic resurgence in the call for
reparations across this nation and the first Congressional hearing on the matter. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr once said “the time is always right to do what is right” so, to
anyone who feels the movement is not progressing fast enough, we welcome them
to join to do their part in speeding it up.
FHTE (p. 270).
6. “How would the government determine the debt to African American descendants of slaves as a whole?”• Determining the debt (how much is owed) has been a huge concern for Black
descendants of American slavery, as well as other Americans uncomfortable about
the topic of reparations. Extensive research has been conducted by economists,
academia, and Reparationists to help make the case for the reparations. Attempting
to quantify the amount needed to somewhat make Black American descendants of
slaves whole has been difficult because the maltreatment has gone on for so long
and continues today. Economists’ estimates range from $5 billion to nearly $18
billion, with some estimates reaching up to 42 trillion dollars (FHTE, p.260-262,
The federal government has never attempted to determine the true debt owed to us,
taking the “delay to death” position instead, hoping Blacks die off so they
wouldn’t have to admit guilt or compensate for any losses. Recently, Congress
voted to establish a Congressional Commission to investigate the multigenerational
impact of slavery, Black codes, Jim Crow, and discrimination in their current
allusive forms. Federal legislation is required to move forward to conduct a study
before any sort of reparations package could come up for a vote (FTH, p.257,
At the end of the day, reparations are a method of atoning for injustices, in the
same way, an apology does when someone has been wronged. However, if
someone was to walk up to you the reader out of the blue, slap you to the ground,
wouldn’t you want justice? Wouldn’t you want the police to come and investigate
the crime committed against you by a stranger? Wouldn’t you want your day in
court? Wouldn’t you want your perpetrator to reimburse you for medical costs you
incurred because of that slap? Wouldn’t you want to be paid for time missed from
work due to no fault of your own? Well, that’s what reparations are. Reparations
for Blacks American descendants of slavery are a method to address living victims
of discrimination and segregation. Sometimes the crimes were legal, other times
they were not, but the federal government is responsible for all the citizens of
America, not just the Whites ones. A debt is owed to Black people, and citizens
must work with Reparationists and other supporters of the effort to encourage the
federal government to move from studying reparations to acting on reparations.
7.“What measures would be put in place to ensure the federal government not only paid its debts to Blacks but that those payments are distributed equitably or fair?”
To distribute reparations fairly, the government would have to ensure there was a
vehicle for compensation to flow through and a committee, commission, or some
other type of group in charge of ensuring those payments were distributed fairly.
The same has been done in the past for Native Americans and Japanese Americans
when those groups received compensation for their victimization (FHTE, pg. 250-
251, paragraph 3). Reparations for Blacks would flow similarly. The federal
government must ensure debts paid to Blacks are distributed fairly or it negates the
intent. Fairness is essential in the atonement process. In From Here To Equality,
Reparations For Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, several options for
ensuring reparations are distributed fairly are proposed.
Although some scholars such as V.P. Franklin have written extensively from a
more global reparations supervisory board approach to reparations; that is not the
advocacy stance taken by Darity and Mullen (2020). The authors of From Here to
Equality: Reparations for black Americans in the twenty-first century argue for
“both symbolic and substantive reasons, [holding] an effective program of
restitution must include direct payments to eligible recipients” (FHTE, pg. 265,
paragraphs 2-3; bold type emphasis added). Hence, those moneys distributed to
reparations recipients are not controlled via any type of a Superfund being
overseen by others. Some other possibilities for reparations include finally giving
Black folks their 40-acres and a mule (FTHE, pg. 261, paragraph 5). There are
numerous ways reparations can be made and or distributed. Reaching a respectful,
reasonable, and feasible agreement to ensure a reparations package is fair and
equitable is important. That requires the federal government to be fair, and with
today’s political climate, that’s a tall order.
8.“Why does the federal government owe Black people reparations?”
• The atrocities of the Holocaust were so immoral and so egregious, the Germans
believed Jewish descendants of the Holocaust were deserving of reparations to atone
and bring healing. Germany needed to show the world it was sorry and that it had
changed. In fact, the United States was extremely supportive of reparations for Jewish
survivors of the Holocaust. America believed Germany had a debt. America on the
other hand has been quite challenged in the area of atoning for atrocities committed
against African slaves and their descendants. America ignores its debts. Slavery, Jim
Crow, lynchings, police brutality, eugenics, medical apartheid, segregation,
employment discrimination, slave codes, Black codes, draconian laws, and other
immoral yet legal atrocities have been used against Blacks since the day their
ancestors involuntarily arrived on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619.
There are many valid reasons why America owes a debt to Black Americans (FHTE,
pgs. 278-280, paragraph 1).
While slavery, brutality, anti-Blackness, exclusion, and discrimination were the law
(legal in all 50 states), additional immoral and unjust practices were not federal law
(i.e., Jim Crow). Nevertheless, the federal government allowed states to continue Jim
Crow and other egregious acts for more than one hundred and fifty years while turning
a blind eye. Jim Crow still exists today in various forms that are often difficult for the
average person to see. That’s the way White Supremacy designed it.
For example, many Blacks were excluded from the Homestead Act, a United States
federal law enacted to break a cycle of debt during the Reconstruction. Blacks
experienced difficulties buying land due to racial discrimination (FHTE, pg. 37,
paragraph 2). Another example of legalized inequity is the federal highway system.
America’s highway system was designed to exclude and displace Black people at the
same time. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 decimated many thriving Black
communities by running highways through them. Black people lost vibrant businesses,
generational wealth accumulated through homeownership and a sense of community.
Another example is The Federal Highway Act and how the federal highway system
was used to quietly separate Black communities from White ones in plain sight.
Highways placed huge concrete barriers through cities and towns all across America to
divide and exclude Black people from the rest of the world. The planning of the
federal highway system demonstrates yet another way the federal government
impeded self-determination by discriminated against Blacks, taking property from
their communities, and returning the lots to the government’s control (FHTE, pg. 222-
223, paragraph 4).
The federal government must make right the problems it’s created for African
Americans. Without intentional, direct assistance and payments, and modification of
existing laws, it will be impossible for Blacks to close the wealth gap.
9.“What specifically did the federal government do wrong that it needs to make right and how will reparations fix those things?”
• The federal government has played a huge role in maintaining inequity and
upholding White Supremacy legally for as long as America has had a government.
One of the problems with reparations opposition is that most people don’t
understand the lengths the federal government undertook to help maintain
inequality throughout the centuries, creating the wealth gap, poverty, and many of
the other social problems Blacks endure today. While slavery and Jim Crow are
the more well-known immoral acts committed against Blacks in America, there are
so many more. When you tally the number of offenses committed and the types of
atrocities committed by the federal government, it’s quite difficult to dispute that
something needs to be done to make things right. America needs to move forward,
but it cannot do so if the nation remains divided on reparations. More specifically
if the citizenry remains ignorant about our nation’s past and present segregation
and discrimination, and if the federal government refuses to acknowledge what it
has done to harm Black Americans we cannot move forward.
From practicing the institution of slavery, (FTHE, pg. 278-280, paragraph 1), to
the dilution of rent regulations in New York City (FHTE, pg. 224, paragraph 5),
that allowed whites to refuse to sell lands set aside specifically for Freedman
(FHTE, pg.141, paragraph 3), or by limiting the rights of Black beginning with the
Declaration of Independence (FTHE, pg. 76, paragraph 3), America has been
steadfast and committed to engaging in numerous wrongs against black Americans
to preserve white supremacy both directly, and indirectly. While much of the harm
done to Blacks was legal it most certainly was not just or humane. America has
done a lot of wrongs, and it has a lot to make right. The longer the nation delays in
atoning, the more divided this nation will be. Reparations planning is a way for
America to bring us all together and to set an example to future generations. If
Germany can atone for crimes committed against Jewish descendants of the
Holocaust, so can America for its crimes against Black humanity.
Reparations for Black American descendants of slaves would be a way America
could help to close the wealth gap it designed and provide millions of new
opportunities. If desired, America could improve educational attainment, provide
resources for skills and trades, and dismantle policies and programs currently in
place meant to maintain existing inequities between Blacks and Whites.
Reparations are a way for the government to atone, offer a justice that has never
been provided to Blacks before, and heal a broken nation.
10.“What might our government do to stop reparation efforts, or try to avoid being held accountable?”
● No one is certain why atoning for the sin of slavery is so difficult for America, but
many believe America has chosen to use the “delay until death” tactic, which
essentially means the government hopes enough Black descendants of American
slaves die so they do not have to pay us, or our descendants will eventually forget
(FHTE, p. 243, paragraph 6, p. 385, 11). If enough Blacks die off, the federal
government can continue to avoid teaching real American history in public and
private schools, it can erase the debt owed, and avoid any type of restoration or
giving Blacks justice. In Germany, everyone must learn about the Holocaust, so
they won’t repeat the same mistakes. In America, White people want atrocities
committed against Black people erased from history books and not taught in
schools to prevent future generations from engaging in inequity. Education has
been used as a tool to stop reparations efforts. Black people cannot get reparations
if White people don’t believe discrimination and victimization are still occurring.
America has used all sorts of tactics in the past to avoid paying reparations.
Waiting and delaying are the most successful tactics States and the federal
government has used to avoid paying Blacks reparations. Asking Blacks to
continue waiting to be made whole is either asking them to wait until death or wait
in hopes they forget.
For instance, the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Riots occurred in 1921, but the state of
Oklahoma only decided to form a commission to study the violent incident in 1997
some seventy-six years after the riots occurred (FTHE, pg.18-19, paragraph 3).
Bombs were dropped during the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riots, meaning the federal
government had to be aware those bombs were going to be deployed inside of the
country. The federal government has gone to great lengths to avoid being held
accountable or accepting any responsibility for States’ and the federal
government’s role in slavery, discrimination, inequities in education, police
brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, huge wealth transfers,
Another tactic the federal government has used to avoid paying reparations to
Blacks for decades has been by creating “white-targeted” policies such as the G.I
Bill, Affirmative Action, Workforce Development, giving the appearance the
federal government is trying to close the wealth gap, when in fact those policies
were intentionally crafted to help widen the wealth gap. The government appears
to be trying to do the right thing, when in fact the government is not (FTHE, pg.
247, paragraph 2).
Many believe Blacks should just forget about reparations because it’s too hard to
convince America to do the right thing. The demand for Reparations is not simply
a moral issue, it’s a justice issue. Without justice, this country can never begin to
heal. All good people interested in making America better should advocate for
reparations. Moreover, Reparations is not just about giving Blacks money, land,
policies, power, rights, other tangible benefits Americans have deemed valuable,
precious, or scarce. Reparations are about justice, healing, and restoring what was
taken from African American descendants of slaves due to no fault of their own
(FHTE, pg. 245, paragraph 4). If African Americans don’t seek justice and attempt
to hold America accountable, the nation will continue its assaults towards blacks
and those practices that continue socioeconomic violence that leads to more
hardships and enlarging the black-white wealth gaps. Such offenses will only
serve to drive African Americans and our communities back to lives of both
individual and collective disenfranchisement. A terrible time reminiscent of the
period following slavery emancipation marred by a failed reconstruction era and
overt racial sabotage.
Click here for a pdf download: From Here To Equality Reparationist Quick Guide, Volume 2 Issue 1, October 2021
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