The following list of questions targets both the philosophical and practical grounds for reparations for decedents of slaves in the United States. This isn't about reparations in all cases, especially to those who were directly harmed by unjust actions (for example somebody who was shot by the police for no reason). The question of reparations for decedents of slaves has become a debate in the Democratic Party, with some of the Left wing (although not including Bernie Sanders!) voicing support for reparations. Feel free to add to the list in the comments:
Why should white people today, including those living in poverty, pay for what their ancestors did?
If low-income whites will be exempt from the tax, don't you think people will find a way to dodge it? (For example putting their money into crypto or otherwise obscuring the amount of wealth they have?)
What if a white person can not afford to pay for reparations? Will they be fined, or sent to jail for failure to pay taxes?
If a person refuses to pay the tax on ideological grounds, will they be fined or jailed for resisting?
In fact, how much will this all cost overall anyway?
What about the white family that immigrated here in the 1900s? Or even 2000s? Why should they have to pay for what people did before they were even in this country?
Taking the last question to its logical end, if a white person arrives in the US the day before a theoretical reparations tax is due, do they have to pay it? What if they become a citizen the day of the tax?
If a white person is here for an extended time, but is not a citizen, do they have to pay? If only white citizens have to pay, then wouldn't that discourage people from becoming citizens?
Who is to be put in charge of determining who is black?
Do white-passing people who are decedents of slaves count as black?
Who is to be put in charge of determining who is white? Do South Italians count? South Spaniards? Middle Eastern people? Jews? Slavs? All of those groups have been considered white or non-white at points in history.
What about mixed race people? Is somebody who is 3/4 white and 1/4 black free from paying reparations? Do they pay less reparations? What about somebody who is 1/4th native American, 1/4 black, and half white? Or any other mix?
Would a person who is a quarter white and 3/4 black get less in reparations than a somebody who is 100% black?
What about the decedents of abolitionists who did everything they could to end that system?
What about people who have both abolitionists and slave owners in their family tree?
What if someone is a decedent of both a slave and a slave-owner?
How will our nation deal with the intense racial divide and resentment this will cause?
A vast majority of white people in the US are decedents of people who came here after the end of slavery. Doesn't it seem weird to assign blame so...collectively?
How do you think the Democratic Party will survive the severe voting/political realignment this would cause? 85% of white people oppose reparations, and many will vote Republican if this happens. The Dems would get wiped out in most of the US.
Anywhere from a third to half of blacks oppose reparations. Why don't you listen to their opinions?
What about a black family that moved here only in the last decade or so? Are they entitled to reparations for something that happened 140+ years before they even came here?
Who will be in charge of determining if people fit all of the Demographic criteria above? How much would that new bureaucracy cost?
Finally, and I think one of the most important underlying flaws with the slavery reparations idea: Why do you not support reparations for other groups, like the LGBT community, non-religious people, Jews, Muslims, people living in poverty, disabled people, and especially Native Americans, all of whom are either facing discrimination right now, or have in very recent years? Don't they deserve reparations just as much? I mean, many of them were the actual people impacted, not just decedents 150 years later.
The right-wing wins when people are divided by race. The left-wing wins when people are divided by class. The reparations debate does nothing but sidetrack the Democratic party and alienate voters in a way that would make it almost impossible for Democrats to win in the future.
Feel free to add more questions below, and share this to counter pro-reparations arguments wherever you see them. Thanks for reading, sharing, and tipping!
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