Why reparations are not a handout

Personal finance guru Michelle Singletary explains why repairs aren’t a gift for black Americans. Photo: Young children in Rio de Janeiro are sold as slaves to men wearing coats and wide hats. Aquatint by Edward Finden, 1824, after Augustus Earle, ca. 1820. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Thanks to a major push in ADOS, the issue of repairs does not go away.

Respected personal finance guru Michelle Singletary weighs in on repairs in a 10-part series. The Washington post the columnist speaks about common misconceptions about race and inequality, tells her family story and pleads for reparations.

Black Americans have won reparations in many ways, Singletary wrote. Bottom line, “We deserved them. ”

Singletary tells a story her grandmother told her about her slave great-grandmother, Leah Drumwright. “Even his last name belonged to the plantation owner,” Singletary wrote.

As a slave, Leah was forced to breastfeed the baby of the white woman who owned her. And she had to follow this rule: a new mom herself, Leah could only breastfeed her own black baby on her right breast. Her left breast was reserved for the white baby. “The reason given to her was that the left breast is closer to the heart, making the milk healthier, and the best milk should be given to the white infant,” Singletary wrote.

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Personal finance guru Michelle Singletary explains why repairs aren’t a gift for black Americans. Photo: Flickr / United States Department of Agriculture

One evening, Leah was caught feeding her own child with her own left breast. She was whipped as a punishment.

“This story of the beating Leah endured that day has been passed down through generations of my family,” Singletary wrote. “It’s still very real and raw to me as yet another example of the indignities and brutality experienced by millions of black people, and not just during the 246 years they were enslaved in America.”

Leah’s story is just one example of how black Americans have been systematically ripped off.

“These are the US legal systems that have allowed black people to steal, literally to the point of stealing a mother’s milk from her baby – and that can only be completely undone if the theft is fixed,” Singletary pointed out. .

Over the years, black Americans have been beaten, killed, disenfranchised, denied fair and equal pay, and even denied the right to their own bodies. Blacks have been prevented from creating wealth.

White men who fathered children with black slaves “never paid child support for the black children they fathered.” They were the ultimate deadbeat fathers, ”she said.

These are just a few of the reasons repairs are due, Singletary said.

The invoice is due by the US government, wrote William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen in their book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century”.

“While it makes perfect sense to seek redress from clearly identified perpetrators… the bill for reparations must go to the nation’s government,” Darity and Mullen wrote. “The US government, as a federal authority, is responsible for sanctioning, maintaining, and permitting slavery, legal segregation, and continuing racial inequality.”

Darity explained in the book that if freed slaves had received the 40 acres and a mule promised to them by the government, they could have started to build wealth generations ago. “If this promise had been kept – if the ex-slaves had received a substantial endowment in southern real estate – it is likely that there would be no need to consider repairs now. “

There are of course Americans who bristle at paying reparations to black Americans, arguing, “I haven’t enslaved anyone.

“Your ancestors may not have enslaved anyone, but America benefited from the institution of slavery,” Singletary wrote. “Segregation and voter suppression gave advantages to white Americans in the form of cheap black labor, reduced competition for employment, and the power to elect politicians who promulgated laws that have worked in the best interests of whites and against equal opportunities for blacks. “

Others argue that slavery happened too long ago to merit redress. However, when you think in terms of generations rather than years, it wasn’t that long ago, Darity said.

Singletary said her own family exemplifies this point. Leah Drumwright’s son, Byrd Drumwright – his grandmother’s grandfather – was also born into slavery. His son Tobie lived under the brutality of Jim Crow. Tobie’s daughter, Singletary’s grandmother, lived in isolation.

“My mother was already a mother when the Civil Rights Act was passed. I was born just three years before the Voting Rights Act. Even now, with the November 3 elections, voter suppression measures are undermining this fundamental right. Despite my success, I have experienced racism. My children have also faced racism, ”she wrote.

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Award-winning Washington Post columnist Singletary has written three books on personal finance, including her latest, “The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom.” Singletary also hosted her own national television program, “Singletary Says,” on TV One, according to her. website.

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