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Can Reparations Restore What Was Lost?

It’s no secret that victims and descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade across the four corners of the earth built the infrastructure for the entire world. Reparations are due.

Much of what we see today was a direct result of the free and harsh labor from slaves in Africa and the diaspora. There is an undeniable connection between the industrialization of power-house countries like America and Britain and the slave trade. Having access to free labor to drive an economy gave these countries and similar ones like it a head start in capitalism and in financial domination.

Because of the centuries of free labor, Black people have experienced a delayed start in reaping the economic benefits of what has been sowed.

If someone has a 400 year head start, how long would it take to catch up to where they are now? The not-so shocking answer would be that you’d never catch up. Because you’d have to work four hundred times harder than them even if they weren’t moving. But the catch is, they are still moving! It would be a forever cat-and-mouse game, which is what it has been.

The government has attempted to offer support to give the appearance of restitution for the wrongs that have been committed against the victims and descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. But even with government assistance and programs, it still has not made up for what was originally lost, which was their nation. Before being taken to a foreign land and forced to serve with no end in sight, our people had our own land with our own culture and identity. We had our own set of laws and government. We had our own businesses and wealth.

How can this be restored with reparations?

Once slavery ended, we tried following the system, thinking that it would put us on a level playing field. Work hard and you can have everything that your ex-slave owner has. Go to college and obtain a degree. Work for a company with decent pay and benefits. Purchase a home with an affordable mortgage. Be an active contributor to society and vote during elections. Send your children to a good school and teach them to follow the path you took. And it goes on and on. But in this cycle, there was no true restoration for what we lost. It was the appearance of equality. It was the appearance of justice. It was the appearance of an apology.

Today, many conversations are being had on a global scale about reparations. How much is owed? What should be paid? Who will distribute the funds? Who decides who gets what? Why should the descendants have to pay for the wrongs of their ancestors? The last question is a valid one. Why should the descendants have to pay for the wrongs of their ancestors? I will tell you why. The actions of the slave owners are the reason why their descendants live so care-free today. They couldn’t begin to imagine the struggle of trying to make up for a never-ending deficit. And telling us that slavery ended so long ago, and now, everything is equal, is nothing but a lie. Participating and contributing to a society and economy that was not built for you to succeed will never restore what was lost. So are you saying you don’t want reparations? What will reparations do to restore our nation? Will it build up our own land with its own infrastructure and economy? Will it pay the way back to the land in which we were taken? Will it remove the barriers to entry for economic growth and financial stability? Will it reestablish our own governance and education system? Will it provide stable and quality housing for all of our people? Will it secure access to nutritious food and clean water? What will it do?

The harsh reality is that no dollar amount can restore what was lost. And to rely on the system that oppressed you and your ancestors to provide equality to you is foolish in nature. Yes, they should admit that restitution is in order and apologize for the atrocities that have taken place. But it’s not up to them to restore what was lost. And how dare they say how much our intellectual capital is worth. It’s up to us. We can no longer sit back and expect someone else to build our home. We have to unify together and rebuild our nation. We freely built the infrastructure for the entire world. Now it’s time to freely build it for ourselves.

If you’re ready to mobilize and restore what was lost, visit and get involved. If you have agricultural, construction, electrical, engineering, sewage, waste management, or water skills, we need you! And your nation needs you.

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