White people don’t panic. It’s not about you owing us, personally. It’s about the U.S. government owing us the debt stolen from our forefather’s labor that benefited White people…which you benefited from, personally. “Friendship” with you is difficult because of this. Race relations today boils down to the dominant community’s “compassionate” refusal to give back what’s owed, let alone talk about the debt. Now, Blacks have to be “okay” with these false terms of friendship while our children go hungry in the process. We are called “divisive” and “troublemakers” when we reject this putrid agreement of social amnesia. We live in the cold shadows of a golden empire built from our unfathomable misery and watch the grandchildren of the Klansman and European immigrant franchise Starbucks in our communities. They build dog parks where affordable housing used to be. They never have to question where the seed money really came from, but you’re free to buy from them as “equals.”
Black people “equality” is a fool’s game. Raise your standards, or call it quits in the fight for freedom. Equality and “progress” are too low of a target. A knife in your back nine inches deep pulled out to six inches is not progress, though you’ve accepted it as such. The knife removed would be equality, but you need something deeper to heal the wound and must demand it. You need repair stitches, a blood transfusion and time away from your assailant to heal, lest they stab you again.
So, what happens when the assailant keeps attacking, and has built industries to catch your spilling blood? When the Department of Justice finds widespread corruption in Ferguson’s police department, you’d think that would settle the argument. Eric Holder made it clear Ferguson was not the only place where police are fleecing African-Americans for profit, but the denial still continues. This is because a system fundamentally designed to promote one race and ensnare the other cannot easily relinquish the habit.
“But, how bad can the situation really be? How much money are Black people really owed as a result of their enslavement?” Well, a tally of the still-existing and recently defunct corporations and businesses that profited from slavery is staggering. The Atlanta Black Star newspaper listed that JP Morgan Chase, AIG, Norfolk Southern, Brooks Brothers, USA Today, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, as well as Harvard University, Yale, Penn State, Columbia, Rutgers, Brown and Dartmouth Universities can all trace their fortunes, or the fortunes of companies they acquired, directly to the slave trade of Africans. Imagine the combined fortunes of these institutions being paid out as restitution for the crime of slavery. Many would find that idea objectionable. This author finds it too small by a long shot. It’s because we’re only talking about the current fortunes and not the money made along the way.
Consider this – We’ll never be able to fully calculate the missed opportunities, every broken family, every dollar owed, every never-to-exist empire that could have come about had that money been invested. And there is one more incalculable variable: The pain and suffering.
The murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alone caused a psychic wound in the Black community worth the combined wealth of the aforementioned institutions. Consider that the U.S. Government has already been found guilty of his murder and we’re talking one more tool for us to leverage what we’re owed.
It’s not just a matter of justice, or equality, or fairness. It’s the fact that inherited wealth matters in a capitalist society. The Pew Research institute found that the average asset wealth for a White family in America was $141,900 in 2013: conversely it was $11,000…that’s it. That’s down from $19,200 in 2007 before the financial crisis. This is a dismal 1/13 the wealth for Blacks than Whites. That number factors in Oprah, Bill Cosby, Jay-Z, Bob Johnson, Dr. Dre and every one of our shining examples of Black wealth. In a monopoly game, starting off with even twice as much as your opponents almost guarantees a win. A Black child starts off at a 13:1 disadvantage in this country and we are the wealthiest Blacks on the planet. This gap persists regardless of education and income.
The question is this: Can you raise a child in a world where they start off at such a steep disadvantage and still call yourself a good parent? The wealth that we are owed from slavery is still in the hands of those who always had it, so why aren’t we fighting for it? How can we continue for another generation at such steep disadvantage? Let’s face it; equality is a lost cause with odds like this against you.
Here’s an even deeper truth; getting what we are owed monetarily may not be a buffer against White supremacy. In fact, it has been the successful among us that have been targeted and taken down by the system. It was the Black business man who got lynched more often than the beggar, who got chain-ganged for Negro vagrancy. Success and wealth may actually make you more of a target for White rage and fear than you were when you were broke. This reality leaves us with one option: Exodus.
Perhaps it’s time to take what little you have and invest it in some place where you can see the return in your lifetime. Why continue to play with such sick, backwards and violent people at the helm of the institutions you depend on? Who are you to leave your offspring in the line of fire because of a dream that was clearly not for you? Hasn’t this system proven itself criminal beyond repair?
What a crappy destiny for a race of people to be trapped on the hamster wheel of proving their humanity to a bunch of criminals who outlaw resistance to their crimes! How irresponsible would we be as parents to continue another cycle of poverty and want in a land that knows nothing of justice, regardless of what it professes?
What the DOJ found in Ferguson may be the beginning of what we need. Let’s win the case there for reparations there and set a legal precedent in Ferguson. Then, our case must go international if it is to gain enough momentum. The Fox News loving majority in this country has a denial complex too deep to keep this fight domestic. This is how you make Black lives matter; by making them matter to the whole world. You make Black lives matter when Black people stop settling for a penny less than what belongs to us by birthright.
We cannot wait any longer, because the momentum is with us now. We are owed the world because we built it. Let our children call us the greatest generation. Let them say that we struck while the iron was hot and forged a mighty sword of power. They’ve run so much game on us, by now, we should be undeceivable. May the truth of your blood right guide you to victory here, or in our motherland that birthed us all.