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Old 28th March 2021, 03:54 PM   #1
TellyKNeasuss
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Should American Blacks Receive Reparations

Today's Washington Post included an op-ed (unfortunately, probably behind a paywall for most) asserting that the US should pay reparations to Blacks who can trace their ancestry back to slaves (I believe around 10% of Blacks living in the US are immigrants).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...t-reparations/

The authors of the article have published a book on the subject,
From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century
.

The gist of the article is that Blacks deserve $14 trillion in reparations and that it should be in direct payments. They criticized the Evanston, Ill. plan to pay reparations by subsidizing Black home ownership.

Since the end of the US presidential election and resulting insurrection has died down, this seems to be a good topic for getting some animosity flowing.

My take:
I concede that it is appropriate to give Blacks some sort of benefit for the losses suffered due to the legal impediments historically imposed on them. I do see some opportunities to discuss the proposal, however (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be posting).

The op-ed does not explain how the figure of $14 trillion was reached. This amount works out to somewhere between $350,000 and $400,000 per person (I think something on the order of 10% of the Blacks in the US are immigrants, so not all Blacks would qualify), which the authors believe should be paid directly to individuals. $350,000 is around the household net worth of the 80th percentile and nearly twice the median white household net worth. Is this really a realistic assessment of how much Black people have lost?

Another possible topic for discussion is whether all of the reparations should be paid to people who happen to be alive at a particular time. Should payments be spread out over time so that future generations can get a share?

There is also the issue of whether all the money should go to individuals or if some or all should be used for community projects, such as improved schools, more early childhood education, seed money for Black-owned businesses, and better infrastructure in Black neighborhoods.

For the economics-minded, there could be a debate over the inflationary impact of the government spending an additional $14 trillion dollars in the next few year.
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Old 28th March 2021, 06:07 PM   #2
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Reparations are a one-time kind of bogeyman, serving only to distract from the real need for change in how Americans are treated based on their skin color.
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Old 28th March 2021, 06:58 PM   #3
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No. Take that money and put it into improving schools, scholarships, and vocational training, improving black neighborhoods, helping black businesses, loans for homes, etc.
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Old 28th March 2021, 07:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Silly Green Monkey View Post
Reparations are a one-time kind of bogeyman, serving only to distract from the real need for change in how Americans are treated based on their skin color.
This, absolutely right on the button!

Originally Posted by Stacyhs View Post
No. Take that money and put it into improving schools, scholarships, and vocational training, improving black neighborhoods, helping black businesses, loans for homes, etc.
And this.
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Old 28th March 2021, 07:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TellyKNeasuss View Post

The op-ed does not explain how the figure of $14 trillion was reached.

Then how can anyone have an opinion on this? Can't even read the article

This will cost every adult in the US, regardless of race, $70,000 each

$14 trillion / 200,000,000 adults in the US (all races)

Think of something else, that's my opinion. Stacyhs already has. I could build my own country with that much money.
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Old 28th March 2021, 07:50 PM   #6
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I think too much water's gone under the bridge to be direct payments as suggested in the article. And it bumps into the problems with identifying who counts as black in the 21st century. It may have worked a century earlier.

I've always had in mind payments to black institutions of various kinds instead, though I haven't thought that through very well.
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Old 28th March 2021, 08:02 PM   #7
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I've gone back and forth on this.

But I don't know how anyone can say that they shouldn't receive reparations.

It's how we do it that is the problem.
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Old 28th March 2021, 11:17 PM   #8
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They should propose some realistic reparations. Even those who believe in reparations would have an issue with the figures presented in the article. It makes it seem like they didn’t put very much thought into it.
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Old 28th March 2021, 11:58 PM   #9
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"We need to do something about the systemic racism in America!"

"Shut up, we've solved the racism problem with monetary reparations years ago. Move on."
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Old 29th March 2021, 04:07 AM   #10
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I don’t know how true it is, but there is a meme about lottery winners being broke again in a year or so because they don’t know how handle suddenly having a big chunk of money. If that’s generally true, I’d have to think that large direct payments would have the same effect.

I’m with the “build up infrastructure, tear down systemic racism” crowd, I think. It seems like a better long term solution. And since this is USA Politics, I’m looking at you “charter schools and election integrity” GOP.
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Old 29th March 2021, 04:14 AM   #11
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Let them have it. They worked four hundred years for free. Forced to do what the Man says.
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Old 29th March 2021, 04:17 AM   #12
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I'll note that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is, yet again, introducing a bill to study what size and form reparations (for long-standing systematic racism, I suppose the cut-off date would itself be debatable - should it involve slavery, should it include disinvestment up through the 80s or today, and so forth) should take. I recommend passing this bill, again.

And no, it likely won't solve cases like this one (which is far more common than many realize, and has been studied extensively), but it'll be a start.

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Old 29th March 2021, 04:26 AM   #13
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I think they deserve reparations of some sort. I don't know if $14 trillion is the correct amount or not. As an opening bid, OK. You don't open a conversation about it with a lowball bid. Another article published last year suggested $10 to $12 trillion.

It would have to be paid in installments obviously, not a lump sum.

Exactly how how many people are we talking about?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americans

Maybe 46 million? Maybe 40 million who are descendants of slaves?

If it's 40 million, and $14 trillion, that would be $350,000 per person. If paid out over a 20-year period, that would be $17,500/year for 20 years. For a family of four, that would be $70,000. Not impossible. You'd have to be creative about how to pay for it. If it's $10 trillion, that's $12,500 per person, or $50,000 for a family of four.

It could help the economy, assuming they spend most of the money, and why wouldn't they?

Will it actually happen? I kinda doubt it, but I would support it in principle.
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Old 29th March 2021, 04:52 AM   #14
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I need some clarification. Are reparations meant specifically for slavery or any of the racist shenanigans the US has perpetrated on it's citizens over the last 250ish years? Lost wealth, it seems to me, includes things like red lining, segregation, Jim Crow, the war on drugs, etc.
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Old 29th March 2021, 05:02 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
If it's 40 million, and $14 trillion, that would be $350,000 per person. If paid out over a 20-year period, that would be $17,500/year for 20 years. For a family of four, that would be $70,000. Not impossible. You'd have to be creative about how to pay for it. If it's $10 trillion, that's $12,500 per person, or $50,000 for a family of four.

It could help the economy, assuming they spend most of the money, and why wouldn't they?
If there were no cuts in other areas of the federal budget, it would increase expenditures by 15% and in the absence of tax increases nearly double the budget deficit. Wouldn't that potentially trigger inflation?
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Old 29th March 2021, 05:06 AM   #16
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I would say 'no'.

Reparations are supposed to be provided to the actual survivors who were wronged, as opposed to people who are several generations removed from the original offense.

Furthermore, I believe that such funds would be much better spent on improving education, improving the right to vote, and so on for these descendants instead of giving these descendants some sort of cash settlement.
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Old 29th March 2021, 05:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
I need some clarification. Are reparations meant specifically for slavery or any of the racist shenanigans the US has perpetrated on it's citizens over the last 250ish years? Lost wealth, it seems to me, includes things like red lining, segregation, Jim Crow, the war on drugs, etc.
All of the above, plus ongoing discrimination.
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Old 29th March 2021, 05:35 AM   #18
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The former Confederate States should be put under the Total Authority of an all-Black Stewardship that will extract all the wealth it can for 89 years.

Then the issue will be settled.
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Old 29th March 2021, 05:51 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Stacyhs View Post
No. Take that money and put it into improving schools, scholarships, and vocational training, improving black neighborhoods, helping black businesses, loans for homes, etc.
But it isn't the neighborhood's money.

This isn't an ethics question but a numbers question. The government denied certain parties income, the interest from it, and the next generation's inheritance.
Calculate the income, calculate the interest rate, make the deprived parties whole.

The parties, after being made whole, can decide to do with their property just as all other people who receive their inheritance can.

Trying to find other uses for the money makes it seem like you don't actually think it is their money.

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Old 29th March 2021, 06:18 AM   #20
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In the sense that they should be given assistance for ongoing issues that are still plaguing them now? Absolutely.

In the sense that they should be given anything because 150 years ago someone like me who has been dead for a hundred years did something to someone like them that has also been dead for a hundred years? Absolutely not.

Slavery, Jim Crow, and Segregation left wounds that are still there. Those wounds need medicine. But I refuse to let liberal white guilt get solidified into paying for some kind of inane racial "original sin."
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:18 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
I would say 'no'.

Reparations are supposed to be provided to the actual survivors who were wronged, as opposed to people who are several generations removed from the original offense.

Furthermore, I believe that such funds would be much better spent on improving education, improving the right to vote, and so on for these descendants instead of giving these descendants some sort of cash settlement.
The damage done is not nearly as far back as you might think. There are plenty people still alive who were directly impacted by explicitly racist policies, and the damage done across generations is not abstract.
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
"We need to do something about the systemic racism in America!"

"Shut up, we've solved the racism problem with monetary reparations years ago. Move on."
That is certainly a risk, but people already say the same thing about the fact that we ended slavery (outside of prisons) or that we had a black president, or that we've done away with the explicitly racist laws, or that race is a protected class.

Reparations might give the "Let's ignore systemic racism" team one more piece of ammo, but it doesn't create that position, and it wouldn't be likely to sway people towards it who are otherwise intelligent enough to be capable of seeing and understanding systemic racism anyway.

I'm honestly not sure where I stand on reparations.

We gave reparations to families put in Japanese internment camps 43 years after the fact.

Jim Crow laws were far more extensive and long lasting in their impact and they ended less than 60 years ago, still very much in living memory. I'm not sure I buy the argument that 43 years ago is reasonable, but almost 60 is a distant past we can't address.
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
I need some clarification. Are reparations meant specifically for slavery or any of the racist shenanigans the US has perpetrated on it's citizens over the last 250ish years? Lost wealth, it seems to me, includes things like red lining, segregation, Jim Crow, the war on drugs, etc.
Does it make a difference in practical terms?

I feel like there needs to be some sort of limiting principle or there's no end to it. As I see it, the reparations are primarily for slavery, but also partly for all the other racist nonsense that followed. It still should be limited to the descendants of slaves because they suffered all those things as well as slavery.

Not people who voluntarily immigrated to America or their descendants.
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:34 AM   #24
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Curious - when the UK ended slavery completely “we” paid reparations to the slave owners, did the USA do something similar?
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:46 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by TellyKNeasuss View Post
If there were no cuts in other areas of the federal budget, it would increase expenditures by 15% and in the absence of tax increases nearly double the budget deficit. Wouldn't that potentially trigger inflation?
Conceivably, but not necessarily. Arguably it would be worth it even if it did lead to a modest increase in inflation. Modest inflation isn't the end of the world. And we could raise taxes to go back to where things were in the 1990s. The 90s were a good decade economically, and by the end of the decade, for a brief moment, we actually had a balanced budget.
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:55 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Curious - when the UK ended slavery completely “we” paid reparations to the slave owners, did the USA do something similar?
No. Not as such. Lincoln freed (most of) the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. It was seen as a punishment for the South rebelling (It only applied to states that were in rebellion). Later it also became part of the Constitution with the 13th Amendment.

The difference is that it happened in the context of a Civil War.

As far as I know, no slave owner was compensated by the government.
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:56 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Curious - when the UK ended slavery completely “we” paid reparations to the slave owners, did the USA do something similar?
Actually, we burned Atlanta.
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Old 29th March 2021, 06:59 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
No. Not as such. Lincoln freed (most of) the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. It was seen as a punishment for the South rebelling (It only applied to states that were in rebellion). Later it also became part of the Constitution with the 13th Amendment.

The difference is that it happened in the context of a Civil War.

As far as I know, no slave owner was compensated by the government.
Only in DC were slaveholders compensated for their lost slaves. Lincoln supported compensation, but such measures were defeated by the legislature. DC was under direct federal control, so a small group of DC slavers (about 900) received compensation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compen...#United_States
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Old 29th March 2021, 07:00 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
As far as I know, no slave owner was compensated by the government.
At least not until the establishment of all the laws that helped them to assure former slaves and their descendants remained an exploitable underclass for generations.
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Old 29th March 2021, 07:02 AM   #30
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Here's about a 5 month old article from Quartz (I'm not overly familiar with it, but it seems decent) that discusses the way Germany paid reparations after WWII.

I don't know how I feel about the whole article, I've just read a bit of it, but the U.S. has paid reparations before, so it wouldn't be something new.

Quote:
The US government has paid reparations before. In 1988, it paid $1.6 billion to Japanese Americans interned during World War II. It also compensated Native American tribes about $1.3 billion between 1946 and 1978 for seizing their land, although the program was criticized as incomplete and paternalistic. As activists revive the conversation around slavery reparations, they could draw lessons from the most substantial model to date, Germany’s reparations for the Holocaust.
Anyway, good article that tries to point out the plusses and minuses of reparations.

I believe they could be a good thing if given out properly. I do disagree that reparation money should be used to change systemic racism or even that systemic racism should be the focus. That's just making them pay for something that we should WANT to do as a society anyway.
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Old 29th March 2021, 07:23 AM   #31
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Following through on some of the land and other promises made after the civil war would be tough to argue against. Going through and trying to make square with some of the families of farmers that never got their share of useful federal loans and got muscled out by directly racist politics in the many decades after would be good too IMO. (You could even roll that into help for the many small white farming families who have lost and ended up poorly paid employees on their own farms.)
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Old 29th March 2021, 07:33 AM   #32
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The problem I have with the whole concept of reparations, aside from randoms paying for the sins of someone elses fathers, is that the payout is expected from the government that stopped the practice, at massive loss of blood and money, as opposed to those that started and entrenched it. It cheapens whatever sense of right it may inherently entail, and makes it sound like a "gimme a handout"/ "assuage my white guilt" show.
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Old 29th March 2021, 07:37 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The problem I have with the whole concept of reparations, aside from randoms paying for the sins of someone elses fathers, is that the payout is expected from the government that stopped the practice, at massive loss of blood and money, as opposed to those that started and entrenched it. It cheapens whatever sense of right it may inherently entail, and makes it sound like a "gimme a handout"/ "assuage my white guilt" show.
I don't see it as sins or damages for a practice. I think it is closer to returning stolen paintings from the holocaust. It is just a matter of getting property back to the heirs.
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Old 29th March 2021, 08:38 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
The damage done is not nearly as far back as you might think. There are plenty people still alive who were directly impacted by explicitly racist policies, and the damage done across generations is not abstract.
Indeed! You are quite correct.

However, I expect that it would be more accurate to describe such payments as "damage settlement" instead of "reparation settlement".
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:08 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Does it make a difference in practical terms?
Only in response to who might be included. The thought occurred to me when someone referenced descendants from slaves vs later immigrants. It seems to me that black people whose ancestors immigrated to the US post-Civil War still went through some ****, for example, in the 20th century.
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:12 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
I don't see it as sins or damages for a practice. I think it is closer to returning stolen paintings from the holocaust. It is just a matter of getting property back to the heirs.
Ok, the freedom was stolen first by African slavers, and legalized and codified by the UK colonial government. The new US government abolished the practice after relentless internal warring. So by all means, chase down those who brought the pain, not the wrong entity with coincidentally the deepest pockets.
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:16 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
The damage done is not nearly as far back as you might think. There are plenty people still alive who were directly impacted by explicitly racist policies, and the damage done across generations is not abstract.
Racist policies need not have much to do with slavery, though. Racists are racists. Neo-nazis aren't harping about slavery, nor did their hate originate in it.. They're just racist.
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:25 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Ok, the freedom was stolen first by African slavers, and legalized and codified by the UK colonial government. The new US government abolished the practice after relentless internal warring. So by all means, chase down those who brought the pain, not the wrong entity with coincidentally the deepest pockets.
It isn't "freedom". We are discussing actual lost wages and assets.
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:33 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Only in response to who might be included. The thought occurred to me when someone referenced descendants from slaves vs later immigrants. It seems to me that black people whose ancestors immigrated to the US post-Civil War still went through some ****, for example, in the 20th century.
Should people who voluntarily move to a country with the knowledge that a different demographic dominates the economy and political system be entitled to compensation for any losses suffered due to the domination by that other demographic? Unlike descendants of slaves, Native Americans, and certain Hispanics, post-Civil War immigrants had a choice as to whether to participate in a society where they might be disadvantaged.
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:49 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
It isn't "freedom". We are discussing actual lost wages and assets.
Same argument. Take it up with the primary culprits, not the ones who fought to remove the rightful claimants' ongoing victimization.

Eta: if you are robbed on the street, you don't ask the arresting officer to give you his money in retribution.
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